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Accompanied by Pastor Harold and Kevin Bither, Pastor Rick Croyle and a team from Lake City Community Church of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, spent the week of January 4-11 in Hinche with HEF. The group from Idaho had just completed a year in study, worship and prayer searching for God’s direction. Haiti was on there hearts, how and where to serve was unknown. Most were not new to the mission field. All felt a call to leadership. The goal was to find a way for Lake City to serve in Haiti, bringing Christ’s love to the beleaguered, yet resilient people. In addition, allowing for members of the Idaho church to experience mission work in an impoverished area of the world, providing for spiritual renewal and encouragement. Lake City Community Church has active mission projects oversea in Mexico and Honduras. God had put Haiti solidly in the hearts of this group.

Different Christian missions organizations working in Haiti were explored. In April I was asked to share my experiences working with HEF. Pastor Bither was contacted and more information was gleaned. A few months later this group asked me to consider assisting them with a trip to Hinche. I spoke with Pastor Bither and the trip was arranged!

Our itinerary in Haiti was full! We were accompanied by Solana Budwig, RN, from Coeur d’Alene, who had been part of a previous medical team to Hinche. We were fortunate to have Dr Goddarz of Miami, Florida, join our team as well. Together with significant assistance from others on the team we held 3 half day clinics in Raven Caw, Andra and Terra Casse. Five hundred people were examined and treated. I was excited to see the improving nutrition and health of those involved in the feeding programs of HEF! We worshipped with the Christians of Pastor David’s church in Terra Casse. They have a wonderful brass band and, of course, incredible vocalists! I wish everyone reading this could personally experience the vibrancy and hope of these wonderful people worshipping God. They have so little but are confident that they will inherit the riches of heaven! I look so forward to feasting at the table of our Lord with these brothers and sisters in Christ!

We spent a morning visiting the Maranatha Church school and participating in the feeding program. What an incredibly joyful group of children! I hope Madame Marie Iliobert recovers from the disruption our presence created! Children were laughing, clambering into our arms, jumping, dancing and singing!! I was unable to discover which child had a leaky ballpoint pen in his/her pocket that left me indelibly mark! Those of you who support the feeding program and schools would be brought to joyful tears! Thank you for your love!

Evenings in prayer, a visit to the Raven Caw agricultural program, a tour of a local orphanage, visits to the local Saturday market and government hospital, long conversations with Pastor Bither and Kevin rounded out the week. It proved to be a time of renewal, recommitment and encouragement!

On return, Lake City Community Church expressed the decision to partner with Haiti Endowment Fund in whatever manner needed. Conversations and planning with the leadership of HEF have begun. The team was thoroughly moved by the faith-base approach of HEF, the culturally-sensitive approach to projects, and the powerful, undying commitment to provide resources to assisting our Haitian pastors in reaching out to the villagers of Central Haiti with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!

Michael Ettner, MD

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