I had seen him before. He led the band at the parade around the city at the dedication service in January 2013. I knew only that he was a former voodoo priest. He was present at the morning service on January 5th when our team was there to begin an incredible week of work. He led a band of 33 instruments. We later learned that all were borrowed. None of the band members owned his or her own instrument. The rest of the story follows.
His name is Clervius Henri. Dennis Moore interviewed him on one of our trips and was kind to share this back story from an interview with Clervius. Clervius was born in Gros-Morne on 11/10/75 to a Christian family. When he was 16 — he was a member of the choir at the Bethel Baptist church. He had a child out of wedlock in 1994. That was when he left the church and went into voodoo. When the child was sick — his friends encouraged him to take the child to a voodoo priest. He took Welson to many voodoo priests. While he was doing this — they prophesied to him — informing him that he could be a voodoo priest and do all that they were doing too. When he told them, he was not seeking to be a voodoo priest– they told him he had a voodoo guardian angel (or a spirit to watch over him). He agreed to become a voodoo priest. He started to prepare. He is also a trumpet player. He was involved in an orchestra. But he left the orchestra after becoming a voodoo worshipper.
To become a voodoo priest — he had to learn how to call on the evil spirit. He went to the mountains for much of the training. When you call upon the evil spirit — the spirit possesses you — and tells you what to do. When he became a voodoo priest — the voodoo community united against the Christians (instead of fighting among themselves). If there was any Christian event — the voodoo people would have a big ceremony against the event to create confusion so the Christian event would not take place. The voodoo priests would meet together before any Christian service or event — to create confusion among the people. It was their “prayer” that the meeting would not take place or would be a failure — even during the event. The voodoo community felt very threatened by the Christian community. All voodoo priest believe that Christians are their enemy.
He was the secretary of the voodoo association. He was responsible for writing the minutes and doing the communications/ writing letters. Among all the voodoo priests in the Gros-Morne community Pastor Zamor was the main enemy. The voodoo priest would do everything possible in the “spirit realm” to fight against Zamor and the church. The voodoo priest were extremely unhappy when the church was being built and enlarged.
He was involved in voodoo for 19 years. Finally he came to realize that being a voodoo priests was not helping him at all. He thought that before he was a voodoo priest — he was involved in music — and could have an income. He no longer had any friends — his old friends felt he was a bad guy. He decided that he no longer wanted to be into voodoo. He told his fellow priests — that there was nothing in the voodoo religion. He felt there was nothing he could leave behind for his son. After he realized that voodoo was doing nothing for him he left and then accepted Christ as his savior. He decided to destroy his voodoo shrine. A neighbor told him not to destroy the shrine by himself — otherwise the evil spirits will continue pursuing him. The neighbor told him that he needed a minister to assist in destroying the shrine. A friend contacted Pastor Zamor who came. They prayed, and burned the shrine — and told him his house now belonged to God. He accepted Christ October 24, 2012. He said he now knows that he will have eternal peace with Jesus — otherwise he was accepted by Christ. Another prodigal son has come home. We rejoice in the transforming power of Christ to deliver us from darkness and make us children of the light.
David F. Nixon, D.Min.
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