In January I traveled to Haiti for the first time with the help of my friend, Dr. Ettner and it wasn’t exactly the experience I had anticipated.
This was also to be my first time in the third world and I thought for sure the big take-away for me would be to have my materialism challenged and my worldview stretched in such a way that I’d be totally out-of-order and destabilized. The “irony” wasn’t lost on me that I had literally moved my family into a newly built home on Monday evening and then left for the western hemisphere’s poorest nation on Tuesday evening.
I expected to feel guilty because of this reality. I expected the Holy Spirit would show me all kinds of things that would have to change immediately upon my return home to Idaho. I expected I’d land in Haiti and be destabilized to the point that I wouldn’t “feel” like myself or behave like myself. Thankfully that didn’t happen. The trash didn’t bother me. The smells didn’t bother me. The language barrier didn’t bother me. The begging didn’t trouble me. I didn’t feel uncomfortable. I felt totally at home.
It’s ironic how when we are totally plucked out of the comforts we’re so used to protecting that we became totally free. We find we’re ready for anything. When those comforts are removed, nothing remains to protect or to lose. You become flexibly and joyfully dependent on God. For the follower of Jesus, prayer becomes the default position “You want me to do that? Sure, I’ll do it. You want me to speak to what looks like an entire village through a translator? Sure, I’ve never done it but let’s do it. You want me to distribute medicine to Haitians while trying to control the push of the crowd as they press in to be treated by American doctors. Let’s give it a shot. You want us to pray in faith that you’ll provide for the needs of the people around us? Let’s pray…”
What this short time in Haiti produced was not weakness or discomfort. Instead it cultivated strengthened faith in an undefeatable God. Why? Because He cares for His creation and teaches His people to care for one another. My experience with the Haitian people was one of love. I loved to be with them and speak with them. I loved to be close to them and hold their hands during painful surgeries. I loved to encourage them and thank them. I was grateful to pray for them and share Jesus with them and give them medicine in His name.
What I learned in Haiti is that Jesus Christ is a powerful God who loves the nations. He loves Americans and Haitians and everyone everywhere. Rich and poor. Healthy and unhealthy. He is close to those who need Him and reveals Himself to those whom He has created.
Haiti Endowment Fund is being used powerfully in Haiti to introduce people to Jesus. HEF doesn’t do it by words alone. They pour their money, time, and resources into the people of Haiti. They recruit others to do the same. This is an enormous privilege!
If you’re thinking about joining HEF on a medical mission or any other endeavor, I wholeheartedly encourage you to! HEF loves Haitians and loves to see lives changed and Jesus’ name made famous. I’m already dreaming about being back there to see and serve my friends.
I have been going to Haiti with Dr Combs and HEF for over fourteen years and this last medical trip in November was the most productive spiritually, economically and medically. God laid the foundation thirty years ago for the Bither’s to build on and the fruits of their labors have produced things that I never thought I would see in Haiti.
God really had a wonderful plan for this medical group in November by giving us the tools and the heart to really witness to the Haitians more than ever before. My wife Bonnie and several others were able to use a CD player and a picture chart to tell ” The Good News” to the Haitian people. The player was in Creole and told the story of Jesus and how he died for our sins. Over 150 children, young adults and adults accepted Christ. It was very obvious that God wanted this group to share Jesus with his people and everyday I heard stories of this happening.
We also saw the first fish harvest. It was really great to see the excitement in the Haitians as they scooped up the fish from the nets and put them into coolers to take to the market that same day. It was such a blessing for the Haitians and for us knowing God was in charge and blessing these people.
Medically, we all experienced Gods’, love through us, for the people of Haiti. Over several hundred pairs of glasses were given out on this trip and a whole lot of teeth were pulled. Dr Wei and James did most the work but several others on the team jumped in and helped. If you ever come to Haiti and think ” what can I do? ” we will always put you to work pulling teeth.
The rest of the doctors, nurses and helpers were busy all week not only giving out medicines etc. but sharing with the patients the” Good News” of Jesus. Dr Combs challenged us to pray with the people on this trip and I saw our team doing this all week. What a blessing for the Haitians and everyone on this November trip. Thank-you again Lord for allowing us to go on these trips and do your work!
Dr Pat Utnehmer
I was blessed beyond words to take part in the recent “Youngs” Conference with HEF. I’d heard so many great things about the ministry over the years, and being there only confirmed all that I’d heard. This was the first of what I know will be many conferences for an under-reached age group (roughly 15-21) in Haiti.
The conference theme – “Only One Life” – had a huge impact on the 300+ youngs that poured into the HEF compound for the week. The large majority of these young people never graduate high school, and those that do have a 90% national unemployment rate weighing down any hope they might have for a better future. For many of these, life has already passed them by. What a privilege it was to remind them that our hope is not found in national statistics; it is found in Jesus Christ!
I look forward to next year’s conference and to deepening the partnership between our church and HEF. It’s a joy to work alongside a ministry that is not only changing lives in the name of Jesus, but is changing an entire country for His glory!
– Ryan Sharp
The 2013 Haiti Kids Camp trip in July of this year impacted my life immensely. I went on the trip expecting to serve and have fun with the kids and show them all the love I could. But what I experienced was so much more than I could have ever hoped for, I not only saw first hand the real need the Haitians have but,saw the Glory and presence of God in these people who are so full of joy and contentment and living in such a broken country. I went expecting to serve them and teach them who God was. But in the end these Haitian people taught me so much more than I could have ever taught them myself they showed me who God is through Unconditional love. I’m forever grateful for all the lovely faces I encountered in Haiti but ill be forever grateful for the God that gave them the love they showed me.
I felt such a special bond between our team, and was blessed to serve with such a hard working and compassionate group. I learned so much from each and every one of them. || Read more