“Papa, please come and listen to the music down the road! It is so beautiful!”
Basile (bah-SEEL) lives in the country of Benin in western Africa. His father, whom he calls papa, believed in voodoo, a form of witchcraft that is common in western Africa. Papa kept voodoo gods in the house to protect the family from evil spirits that might want to harm them. Papa worshiped the gods of water, thunder, snakes, trees and the devil, and many more. At papa’s work, the men often argued about which god gave the best protection against the evil spirits.
One day Basile walked along the street he heard singing and stopped to listen. It was beautiful! Basile turned and ran home, calling, “Papa, Papa! Come hear the beautiful music down the road!” Papa was busy but he laid down his tools and followed his son into the street.
Papa and Basile could hear the music before they could see the choir. They stood a short distance away and listened until the singing stopped. Then they saw two men step into a concrete tank filled with water. One man raise his hand and spoke some words. Then he pushed the other man under the water. But before papa could react, the first man lifted the other man up from the water and hugged him! Basile and his father had never seen a ceremony quite like this before and they thought it was strange voodoo. As they turned to leave, the choir sang another song.
A man stepped up to papa and invited him to return the next Saturday. “We would be happy to have you.” The man said.
Papa thanked the man and turned toward home. “Papa,” Basile said, “may I come back again next week and hear the music again? It was so beautiful!”
“Yes, son, you may return,” Papa answered. “Just don’t let anyone put you into that water.”
Learning about Jesus
Basile attended the worship service the following week. He enjoyed the happy music and loved the stories he heard about Jesus. Week after week he attended the meetings, returning home to tell his family what he had learned. He invited his family to join him, and his mother and sister started going to church with Basile every Sabbath.
Then one day Basile came home from church with a serious look on his face. “Papa,” he said, “the pastor said that voodoo fetishes have no power of their own. He said their power comes from the devil, and the devil is not as strong as Jesus, God’s Son. If that is true, we should worship Jesus, not the fetishes.
Basile’s oldest brother was not pleased that his family was turning away from the voodoo gods. He wanted to show his family that Christians don’t know everything. He decided to shame the church’s pastor by asking him questions that he could not answer. So on Sabbath, Basile’s brother went to church with the family. After church his brother asked the pastor many questions, trying to show that the pastor was not so smart. But the pastor opened the Bible and read texts to answer each question. Basile’s brother realized that he was the not-so-smart one. He started attending church to listen and to learn. In time Basile’s brother along with his mother and sisters accepted Jesus as their Lord and joined the Adventist church.
Papa got rid of his gods and their fetishes, and he accepted Jesus as his Savior too. But he could not be baptized because he had two wives.
Trial and victory
Then one of Basile’s aunts became sick. Her family paid the voodoo priests to get rid of the evil spirits that were making her sick, but she did not get better. Even the doctor at the clinic could not cure her. Finally she asked Papa to pray for her. Papa asked God to heal his sister. God answered this prayer, and Basile’s aunt was healed.
Other members of the family realized that Basile’s Papa’s God was more powerful than the voodoo they practiced. Basile’s aunt began attending church and was baptized with two of her children.
When Papa’s second wife went home to her village, Papa could be baptized. Now the whole family is united in Jesus. All because young Basile believed in Jesus and shared God’s love with his family. Basile shared his faith with others. You can share your faith with your family and friends too.