A couple years ago Bill Rudge shared with Jim Weikal what often happens when the Lord leads him to do something. First is clear direction from the Lord. Secondly, obstacles arise and thirdly – after persevering in faith – victory comes. True to the pattern, the very day our Holy Land Adventure 9 brochures were mailed out, the conflict between Hamas and Israel began and rapidly escalated. In the midst of this, Bill’s wife, daughter, granddaughter, and mother-in-law all had surgeries. People started asking if the Holy Land Adventure and speaking engagements in Jerusalem might be canceled. We assured them that no matter the circumstances, Bill has never canceled a mission trip. It proved to be a blessed trip. The Lord will always be faithful to fulfill what He leads us to do.
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.
by Bill Rudge
The senseless violence and unrestrained wickedness in our society reflects the glaring truth that evil exists. Satan, the powerful being described in the Bible, reveals himself as seeking to destroy God’s highest creation – human beings. He is the motivating influence for many of the atrocities humans commit against each other and for self-destructive behavior.
Chaos, confusion, decadence, depravity reveal that something is definitely wrong with our human experience. The Bible attributes this to the Fall (Genesis 3) – initiated by the rebellion and deception of Satan.
In his strategy to annihilate humanity’s allegiance to its Creator, Satan inspires both false religions and the delusion there is no Creator.
How better to explain the uninhibited immorality, unabashed greed and horrific violence than the malicious being in Scripture referred to as Satan (adversary), aka the devil (slanderer). He is the evil one, the murderer and father of lies – wreaking havoc on this planet.
Since Satan exists it is reasonable to conclude that the Creator-God, who threw him out of heaven, also exists. This Creator-God is seeking in every way possible to draw His creation into a restored relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
The days prior to Jesus second coming are treacherous because of demonic deception and proliferation of evil. Scripture indicates we will see uninhibited, unrestrained and unrepentant immorality, sorcery and violence as we draw closer to Christ’s return. Wickedness will reach its crescendo right before Jesus Christ returns to subdue those who would destroy and pervert His creation. But evil and death will give way to everlasting peace and joy as all of creation is restored to Paradise when Jesus ushers in His Eternal Kingdom. Be certain you are a part of it!