From the Jesus House to Port Au Prince, Haiti
1970 – 71: Port au Prince, Haiti . Dave Skinner and Jimmy Barcia – Methodist Church
The buzz around the Jesus house was about a mission trip to Haiti. We all worked and pooled our money. We didn’t live for ourselves and we didn’t work for ourselves but we lived, worked, breathed, ate, slept and woke for the kingdom of God. We were going to Haiti to preach the gospel. I had never been to a foreign country before and I was excited. Our preparation was spent in the prayer closet and in Bible study with a few Creole lessons from those who had been there before. When the day finally arrived and I stepped off the plane at François Duvalier airport in Port-au-Prince that hot day in 1970, Haiti stunned me. As we drove to our rented house I scarce could take it all in. The colors, the people, the culture, the sounds, the Caribbean. This was Haiti. Haiti Cherie. As we arrived at a small concrete house with white wrought iron and painted in scarlet and yellow there were many small, thin Black children with huge smiles on their faces all chattering away at full speed to welcome us. Unfortunately, we could not understand their language. They only spoke Creole. But the loving embraces and the obvious excitement communicated their message well. They lived there because they did not have parents we were told. Even though these next two weeks would be lived through translators the bond of the Spirit would be more than enough. Night came quickly after early morning boarding the plane, flying to another country and then from the airport to our home, it was then time for church. That night we visited Andre Azore’s church on La Rue where La Voie du Peuple radio was. Written on a cinder block wall was the question, “Is Christ divided?” The song service was loud and frantic and Haitian drums rattled my frame. It was hot. Very hot but I was excited and soaking it all in. I was wearing my white cotton, John Lennon suit except I had on shoes. After several testimonies were given through translators in the church it came time to preach. I was elected. Me? I had never preached. I did not know how to preach. Then one of the brothers encouraged me and said, “Just tell them about Jesus, You know”, as I went to the concrete block pulpit and climbed up on a wooden crate behind it something began to happen to me. A power like I had never known turned me into a different person. As I opened my Bible and began to preach the words came from my mouth like molten lead and people began to shout and jump as if not to be burned. I preached as hard as I could. I had exceeded my physical limitations and expectations and the white cotton suit was clinging around me soaking wet. This was the anointing of the Holy Ghost. I sweated, I pleaded, I travailed, I wrestled while the fire consumed the chaff. The response was phenomenal, the conversions valid and the healings authentic. We continued day and night with all of our strength and the Lord confirmed His word with signs following. At the end of two weeks it was time to go home but we just couldn’t. Jimmy Barcia, John Fortman, Clarence Gregory, myself and more stayed behind to bring in the abundant harvest. For the next four years we continued daily with all of our strength on national radio, in the marketplaces, in the churches, in small villages and even walking across the entire nation to witness to every person one on one. Voodoo drums beat, spirits were conjured and spells were cast all to no avail because the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. We prayed with thousands. Thousands received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. Demon possessed were set free and lives were changed at an unprecedented rate.
Jimmy Barcia was our front man always keeping the schedule maxed out. Quiet Jimmy, the brother of vocal and totally unchurched Bobby who said he felt as if he had been “born again” after returning from the altar where he committed his life to Christ, understood the need to build the kingdom of God with the preaching of God’s word.
On one instance we were invited to preach at a Methodist church in downtown Port-au-Prince. At this time Jimmy was still preaching in English and on this event I was his translator. It was my first time translating and I didn’t feel confident at all. Our regular paid Haitian translator had accompanied us to the meeting and was sitting on the front row ready to jump up and take over should I falter. I could only think, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” and I took the task even though nervous. As Jimmy began to preach the anointing fell in a powerful way. Actually, this was to be expected whenever Jimmy preached but tonight was different. Very different. This anointing did not just suggest God’s call of evangelist on Jimmy’s life but it was rather directed to the church. God wanted to speak to the church and the volume was full blast. The congregation was casually listening with no idea what was in store. Like a building full of high voltage electric arching through the air from the pulpit to the congregation. I watched as everyone’s eyes got huge like saucers. Every word broke like a hammer. We were in a different world. Within minutes the supernatural had completely taken over. Jimmy was preaching about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jimmy simply repeated the words of Jesus; “Lazarus, Come forth!” The power was so intense that people began to fall onto the floor. Many chairs tipped over backwards and the people sitting in the windows fell to the ground. Others rocketed to their feet some spinning, others running and the entire building rang with the concert of other tongues. If you sobbed and cried, you sobbed and cried in tongues. If you shouted, you shouted in tongues. If you sang, you sang in tongues. The preaching was over! It was now just Jesus standing in front of the church with the words ”Come Forth” right here and right now. The fire fell for many hours that night and even as I write this almost 50 years later, I still feel the heat. (Actual picture of service above).