Saved by a Soccer Ball

It was a Saturday night in March 1993, when Bill Rudge and his team arrived back at the Mission Possible compound in Haiti after an outreach in Gonaives. They heard voodoo drums, so Bill decided to go research a Rara. Bob, Toni, and BJ went with him, while the others stayed back at the compound.

The lights go out at the compound at 9:00 p.m. and it is pitch black. So they each took a flashlight. Bill told Bob, Toni, and BJ that if they got into trouble to turn off their flashlights and run into the jungle and hide until morning. Edmond, the night guard at the mission compound who spoke a little English, saw them going and insisted on coming. He took them the back way through jungle trails.

As they were walking down a narrow path to get close to the site where over 100 voodoo practitioners were gathered, the ceremony was just breaking up and the participants were heading up to the street to dance from hut to hut. Bill and those with him stepped to the side of the narrow path to get out of their way. But when the Rara participants saw Bill, about 40 of them surrounded him and his team.

Bill had no idea what they were going to do. Some of the men and women and teens sounded extremely agitated. Not being able to speak their language nor knowing their intentions, Bill quickly pondered an escape behind a nearby hut, but decided to stay and face them. It was a good thing they did not try to run into the jungle because there was a high fence behind the hut, and they were trapped.

A few days before Bill and his team arrived in Haiti, a Haitian woman at a Rara was hacked on her face with machetes and left to die by two men who were drunk. She was taken to a Haitian medical center, but told they could do nothing. Then she was taken to the Baptist Mission Hospital where Doctor Rhode’s (who was also staying at Mission Possible with us) daughter is a nurse. She didn’t know if she could save her, but began to sew her back together. She did live but will be scarred for life.

A sign in Haiti at a voodoo display read, “The Rara is to celebrate the crowd who cried for Christ’s death.” No wonder the voodoo practitioners were so hostile when Bill and his team encountered them at the Rara.

Toni and BJ stood behind Bill, and Bob stood beside him. When the hostility was at its peak and it appeared we were in grave danger, two of the younger boys, who played soccer with BJ a couple days earlier and received a gift of a soccer ball from him, saw BJ was in trouble. They then walked out of the hostile crowd and stood by him. They both held his hands. The crowd’s demeanor immediately changed and no longer were threatening our lives.

The leader of the Rara said to Edmond, “Are the white people afraid?” Edmond replied, “No, the white people are not afraid!” Women started dancing around Bill and those with him. But Edmond said to them, “These are Christians; they do not want you to dance for them; they are only here to watch.” Edmond later said they were saying, “I danced for you, now pay me!”

After some harsh glares and comments the participants at the Rara continued their procession up to the street where the people began dancing from hut to hut to receive money. Bill and his team went up to the street, watched for a few minutes so they would know that they were not afraid, and then headed to the mission compound.

Thank the Lord that Edmond went with Bill and his team to interpret or it could have been a much different scenario. What was a small problem could have easily – with language barriers – escalated into a life threatening situation. The Rara participants’ aggression could have led to a fight for survival — one Bill now knows he could not have won. For all Bill knew then, the Haitians could have been saying, “We are going to kill you, prepare to die.”

It was the Lord, and the gift of a soccer ball that saved our lives.

Will You Have Regrets?

by Bill Rudge

I have never met anyone who, facing death, regretted committing their life to Jesus Christ. But I have met many people who, as they lay dying, wished they had accepted Jesus earlier or had served Him more faithfully.

I have never met anyone who, as they got older, regretted having lived a disciplined life of health and nutrition. But I have encountered many who, having abused their health, regretted poor choices made when they were younger.

I have never met anyone who, having spent time with their children and grandchildren, regretted doing so later in life. But I have met many who regretted wasted years and lost relationships because of lives squandered in immoral behavior and the dissipation of drugs and alcohol; or because they were too self-absorbed, resentful, unforgiving or busy to spend time with loved ones. Many in isolation and loneliness discover – too late – the importance of family and right, loving relationships.

Make wise choices concerning your commitment to Jesus Christ, your health and your family – while you still have the opportunities to do so.

Pandita Ramabai accurately said, “A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.”

Revelation – Beginning to Make Sense – Part 2

by Bill Rudge

Things that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago are becoming a reality in our lifetime. Recorded live shortly after the September 11 terrorism attacks, this audio message gives timely insight into the coming mark of the beast and how the unity of different religions is rapidly moving toward the apostate church described in Revelation.

To download this Radio Broadcast click here.

Whose Standards Are You Living By?

by Bill Rudge

I was having a conversation with “Joe” at his place of employment one day. A co-worker blurted out that “Joe” was living with one woman but also had several girlfriends in other cities. I told him about a voodoo witch-doctor I knew who had women in many different areas of Haiti with several children by them. Later, when he became a believer in Jesus Christ, I counseled the former witch-doctor to choose only one of the girlfriends as his wife, but support the others financially.

“Joe” said that he could never do that because his family has always lived this way. I informed him that God’s standard was to marry one woman and be faithful to her. He repeated that his family has always lived the other way and he could not change.

I asked, “If you let a buddy of yours move into your house, could he do whatever he wants or would he have to obey your rules? What would you do if he messed with your woman or trashed your place?” “Joe” emphatically said that his buddy would have to live by his rules and standards or he would throw him out.

“Your own words will be your judge” I quickly responded, “because God created this world and everything and everyone in it. He gave us standards to live by and we will one day stand before Him and give an account. He will respond to you that just as you required those who live in your house to honor your standards so God expects you to honor His.”

He looked at me and the other man who was listening and said, “I am speechless! I am speechless!” I think that was the first time he was ever speechless. I hope the day comes when he gives his life to Christ, and will be found living by God’s standards, and not his own.

When a person comes to Christ, God changes the inner man through the Holy Spirit, and one’s lifestyle begins to conform to God’s will and standards. This is something only God can do.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Revelation – Beginning to Make Sense – Part 1

by Bill Rudge

Things that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago are becoming a reality in our lifetime. Recorded live shortly after the September 11 terrorism attacks, this audio message gives timely insight into the coming mark of the beast and how the unity of different religions is rapidly moving toward the apostate church described in Revelation.

To download this Radio Broadcast click here.