Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crazy Church

Most communities have at least one crazy church. In my neighborhood there is a crazy church just down the road from Willem and Beth. They meet on Thursdays, for almost the whole day. The women wear all white to church. They begin the day with nice singing, but by the end of the day they are chanting to very loud drums (which is generally associated with voodoo here). Beth told me a little about the church last week because I could hear them singing on the day I arrived. Just before dinner Lonise, one of the maids, came into the house and said the pastor of the crazy church had set a woman on fire. Apparently she was sick and went to the church for help or healing or something. The details are not clear, but supposedly pastor doused her in gasoline and set her on fire. Lonise saw the fire from Willem and Beth's house, and about 10 minutes later we heard lots of police sirens. Many, many people had gathered near the church. We could hear that there was some sort of commotion, but we can always hear noise so I didn't think much of it. I'm sure it was much like what happens if there is a police car in my neighborhood in the States: all the neighbors come out to watch what is happening. Anyway, by the time we got to the balcony to see for ourselves it was too dark to see anything more than the mass of people standing around near the church. The boys speculate that the woman, if she was still alive, was taken to the hospital and the pastor was likely taken to jail. I feel sick thinking about that poor woman.

This crazy church is in no way affiliated with MTM. Nor does it reflect mainstream Haitian culture. This is a very peculiar group of people and other Haitians view them at best as odd but now it's more likely they'll be viewed as a cult.


  1. The kids and I are catching up up on your blog posts. This post topic was "weird", as the kids put it. We talked a lot about how having darkness in your heart and mind can make you make bad choices. We prayed for the crazy place (the kids didn't think such a place should be called a church), the leader (the kids also didn't think he should be called a pastor), and the woman who was burned. Laurel would like to know if the woman is alive. Thank you for showing us about the world outside of ours, Britney.

  2. I'm glad you asked about this because I have a little bit of an update. We learned the day after this happened that one of the men in the congregation is actually the one who doused the woman in gas and set her on fire. He and the "pastor" (I think the kids are right about not calling it a church and not calling him a pastor) were taken to jail and the woman was taken to the hospital. As far as I know the woman is still alive. I don't know how badly she was burned, but I'm sure she is in a LOT of pain. The "pastor" was released from jail the following day because he didn't actually set the woman on fire. Beth is hoping this will shut the "church" down, but we don't know for sure. I'll let you know if I hear anything else.