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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.

jared-lydaI 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.