My first trip to Haiti was with the medical team following the earthquake 3 years ago. It was my first close up look at a third world country. I saw the overwhelming results of the tragedy and the desperate needs of the people. I witnessed their crying out to God for mercy that Sunday morning in church~their praise in the midst grief. I was profoundly touched by this demonstration of trust in God.
I had looked forward to returning to Haiti, and didn't quite know what to expect under "normal" circumstances. There is a truth that while we seek to bless others we ourselves are the ones who are most blessed. Yet, I was not anticipating how God would reveal Himself to me during my brief
stay in this country with so much need.
Along with our team of 12 from Idaho, a large construction team joined us from California. It was incredible to how these guys worked, and to see all that they accomplished in 4 days. More than that, to witness how God was working in their individual lives. Other projects~ the building of fish ponds, and gardens being planted at various
churches, teaching them how to replace nutrients in the soil and grow their own food. This has been the amazing work of Kim, from California. There was also a small YWAM group working with Justice Waters at the compound of HEF as well. Two of this group are young Haitian men. Each day we drive out to a different village where a church had been planted by HEF. We set up a simple clinic area and then would listen to and treat hundreds of people with basic things like vitamins, ibuprofen, blood pressure meds, antibiotics, antacids, and iron. Not so normal to us, is that each person is de-wormed. We were able to visit four different villages this time.
As I looked over the crowd of faces, I saw the bright eyes of the children, and the sad, weary eyes of the ones who were older. I saw the hunger, the malnutrition, the results of untreated disease that we never see in our country. My heart become heavy and overwhelmed by the realization that this is life in Haiti. Every day one wakes to labor~to survive. God said to me, "don't look at the big picture as that is My job. All I want you to do is touch the one in front of you."
So, each day, we touched them, we listened, and looked into the sad eyes and tried to be His vessels and pour out His love through our brokenness. If for a brief moment we can lessen their load and lighten their burden. What a joy it is to see a smile break across their faces. Especially the children as we give them small little gifts we brought with us. For a short time their lives will be less painful with the ibuprofen, and antacids. They will be stronger because of the iron, and vitamins. Overarching all of that I pray that the love of God and the hope that comes from knowing Christ is real to them.
The two young men I spoke of earlier, Philipson and Jacques, taught me a very important lesson as they led worship each night. I will never be the same. These are two young men who have lived their life in Haiti. They have seen the light of hope leave the faces of children as the real world and its reality sets in. They have come to know that the only hope we have is Jesus and that while this life is full of pain and suffering there is a better day coming. If I know Jesus, someday I will be with Him. If I immerse
myself in Him I can know this beautiful joy that is not hindered by my circumstances today, and someday I will be with Him in glory. If I know Him, and know of His sacrifice for me, there is a sound that erupts from me that cannot be stilled and we witnessed that sound each evening. The sound of worship. If I love my God I cannot be silent. I will not sit slouched in my pew, hands in my pockets, and sing with half a heart. I will not go to work each day begrudgingly, and unthankful. I will not grumble when I serve my family or church body. Our joy is based on the promises of God. He is strong enough and wise enough to make all things work together for our good. Trust Him and praise Him with all your heart. Be the broken vessel that God can pour His love though.
Valencia Paulus, RN
In the past year I have had the privilege to become part of a family made up of students and adults from all walks of life with one common purpose- to serve the people of Haiti in any way that we can. This mission has taken me to the country 2 separate times in the last year and I am planning to return again in the next 6 months. The last trip was put together with the objectives of conducting “ESL” (English as second language) classes and to help the educators decorate their classrooms to make them more visually stimulating.
The students did an amazing job both the decorating and teaching English. However, this trip became much more than what we wanted to accomplish. It was clear that our hearts were being transformed as they were breaking for what breaks His heart. Our team witnessed first hand the affects of living in a third world country. As a mother it is a tough thing to witness. I see my own 2 children in the eyes of every little boy or girl and I can’t help but ask myself “what if that was one of my babies?” It is now that I realize that this is exactly what God sees. He sees each one of them as I see my own children. Understanding this comforts me and gives me the strength to go back and do the work that God calls me to do, whatever the mission may be.
Our trip to Haiti in April 2012 was one unforgettable experience. Each and every day during our trip, God never failed to amaze us with his power, presence, and unrelenting faithfulness even in the midst of the hardships and heartache we witnessed in Haiti.
Our trip of 30+ people was mainly comprised of high-schoolers, many of whom had never been to Haiti before. Our young, unaccustomed eyes were opened to a harsh reality of poverty and destitution, but it was a reality that we all needed to see. Yet even through all this, we discovered the true beauty of a nation ready and willing to serve the Lord.
Our team witnessed the sheer joy of children when we taught English at some of the bush schools and visited an orphanage/hospital. We were humbled and blessed to hear the sound of Haitian voices lifted in praise to our Savior on a Sunday morning. We were even blessed to have a Haitian worship leader on our trip with us who, like so many other young Haitians, so desperately wants to turn his countrymen's hearts to God.
The Lord truly moved throughout our team, working in the hearts of each member and unifying us through our experiences and struggles. God even placed a dying little boy in our path to bring us together to worship Him with an intensity and intimacy that few of us had ever before experienced. It is not an exaggeration to say that Haiti has changed all of our lives. Although we have since returned from Haiti, I know that Haiti still holds a piece of our hearts and is constantly on our minds. God has impressed the faces of children and men and women on each of our hearts. Haiti will not easily be forgotten.
High School Senior
I recently had the opportunity to travel back to the country that changed my life forever. Every time I visit my friends in Hinche, Haiti I leave another piece of my heart there. I had the wonderful opportunity of taking 32 students, parents, and staff from Calvary Murrieta Christian School with me. Boy, did we have a huge team! We were nervous about the size in the beginning, but soon realized that our team was incredibly unified and ready to serve our Savior, Jesus Christ.
During our week in Haiti, we had the privilege of visiting five different schools to teach English and decorate their classrooms. This was a great opportunity to bond with the kids at the schools and get an idea of what Haitian life is like! On Saturday, we were able to visit a children's hospital called "Missionaries of Charity". This was a life changing experience for my teammates and I as we saw firsthand the effects of evil in the world. Davidson is the victim of a witch doctor who gave him a concoction that burned the inside of his body including his digestive system. He was not able to retain any food or water because of this "medicine" given to him. We don't know where Davidson is right now but I know that I will see him again in heaven.
On this trip, I was reunited with many old friends as well as met a lot of new friends! I am counting down the days until the next trip!
Student at Calvary Murrieta High School
In July I had the privilege of being on a team of women that partnered with HEF to host a women’s conference on their compound in Henche. My heart is overwhelmed with all the Lord did on that trip. One thing that really ministered to me was that the Haitian believers seem to be able to make Philippians 4:4 a reality in their lives. Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Although many of them experience extreme poverty, wrestle with diseases and frequent deaths of loved ones, and lack shelter, they still “praise the Lord.” They have learned to be grateful for the things they have, and cling to Him in their time of need. I know I can’t speak for every one of them, but the ones I personally know don’t point their fingers at God and curse Him for their circumstances. They continue to call out to Him in prayer for help, deliverance, safety, provision, and healing. Their faith is strong while their bodies are weak. They don’t doubt His love for them. They seem to echo the words of Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). While the suicide rate climbs higher and higher in the United States, the land of plenty, the Haitians struggle to survive. They don’t take their lives; they do everything they can to live. When we sing and worship with them, it’s an amazing thing. While I want to cry for them, they lift their voices in praise to their God. The words to one of their songs still rings in my ears, “Papa’m pran control sou tanpet yo” which means, “My Father, take control of the storm, I will be still and know You are with me.” As Hurricane Emily approached, they kept right on singing!
I must point out that Haiti is a nation that was dedicated to satan many years ago, and voodoo houses and witch doctors are still present throughout the country. I don’t know who or what they blame their circumstances on, but the Christians are much different. They believe God and trust Him, despite their circumstances. Don’t get me wrong; they aren’t “happy” about their lot in life, but they “give thanks in all things” despite them. Not thanks “for” all things, but thanks “in” all things. There’s a huge difference between the two.
I easily get distracted by daily “life,” including difficult circumstances and situations I find myself in. I pray that I will grow in my understanding of what it means to “rejoice always” and “give thanks in all things.” Even if we don’t understand what God is doing, we can trust Him. We don’t live on explanations, but on promises, which His Word is packed full of. I am “determined” to make rejoicing a reality in my life. Will you join me?
Where do I start! We really had a great group of people to work with. The unity and love was great as well as fun, laughter and hard work and longs hours. What a privilege to be allowed to help and give a “cup of cold water” in Jesus name. I am so thankful to have been part of the team and look forward to the next time.
Thank you, Harold and Natalie, for your vision for Haiti and for so tenderly caring for God’s lambs and training shepherds to walk alongside them. God bless you, and thank you, for the honor of having a tiny part in that vision.
“Nurse Nancy” Gabor R.N.
For many years I wanted to Glorify our God by serving others. My opportunity came when I was able to go to Haiti with H.E.F. My initial thought was to help as many Haitians as possible in dentistry. So I worked hard as I could. During my trip, I realized God has another plan for me. He has allowed me to experience the true meaning of serving. I have never worked so hard and yet received so much JOY in serving HIM. As the verse in Acts 20:35 states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I have been truly blessed by the trip. Thank you Pastor Bither and Haiti Endowment Fund for allowing me to be part of this dedicated group.
Breck Yun D.D.S.
My time serving the Haitian people is a precious gift to me. As much as I try to help them with their heartbreaking medical needs, I know that I am the one so very impacted as I see their joy in the Lord despite their circumstances. To love and be in unity with people, who are in the body of Christ, even though they have such a foreign culture to me and their ways are often a mystery to me, is an amazing blessing. I also get great joy when I introduce new people to mission service. I watch their hearts being touched by the Haitian people and their excitement to continue in their service to the Lord in the future. I am excited for the adventures that God has in store!
Walt Combs M.D. (15 yrs. Serving)
There is pain and suffering in Haiti, but for the Haitian that knows Jesus Christ as their Savior there is an abundance of hope and peace that only God can give. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15) It is exciting to watch them worship. For the Haitians that don't know the Lord I pray they may hear and see how much the Lord desires a relationship with them. I love being part of a team that prays the same prayer.
When God asked me to go to Haiti my first response (I'm ashamed to admit) was "Oh, no." After a few moments, I reluctantly agreed to go (you do know what happened to Jonah) and immediately prayed that God would change my heart. I know that if I don't do what God wants, the weight of disobedience is great. We all know how God loves to mold us. Psalm 37:4," Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." The Lord knows the desires of my heart better than I ever will. Haiti is where I belong.
Amara Nieland, RN
Working with Haiti Endowment Fund, I believe I am not out to change the world, only to change the one world for one person at a time. I see my role as one of supporting our Haitian pastors through the provision of health care to the malnourished, hurting and sick living in their villages. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, traveled from town to town, teaching, comforting and healing the sick. I know this is what He wants to do amongst the beleaguered Haitians. I truly believe that He is accomplishing His work through us and I am humbled to say that I definitely feel Him working through our medical teams! In addition to sharing my God-given medicals skills and experience with the Haitian people, I feel strongly that this work is an opportunity to teach and encourage high school students, college students, nurses and medical students from back home in the US. I trust that these experiences in Haiti will fill them with enthusiasm to pursue the highest levels of training in medicine and nursing. I also hope that they will leave their time in Haiti with a burning desire and calling to return to work with Haiti Endowment Fund again or to serve Christ in other needy community of the world.
Michael L Ettner, MD
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Michael L Ettner
After the earthquake in Jan 2010 in Haiti I was contacted by Kevin and Cindy about the security situation in Haiti and if I could help to get a team of doctors and nurses safely from Cap Haitian to the compound in Hinche. I arranged with the Chilean UN soldiers an escort from Cap Haitian to St. Raphael – the border with my Region. This was the first time I met a team of 17 people from HEF. Immediately I felt the appreciation and warmth from all and the strong will to help to help the injured and sick.
During the last year I have met many different teams, doctors, nurses, technicians, agriculturist and students and I was amazed how much good was done by all. I was encouraged to bring people in need for medical attention to the HEF compound and I did several times. For two patients, Dina and Tama surgery was arranged and this made a difference in their life’s – big time!!!
I am not sure, how many project HEF is supporting… schools and churches were built – a garden to train Haitian farmers was created, fish ponds tested and all was done with volunteers – very impressive indeed.
During Kevin’s and Cindy’s last meeting I told them about my project to built a school in Clory and Kevin offered to help constructing an iron roof. If all goes well, the team to help us with this project will arrive in the middle of March 2011. Construction at the school has started already and I am sure, that we will be ready at this time. THANK YOU in advance for this offer.
Last but not least I have to mention, that every time a team from HEF is in Hinche, I get an invitation for dinner – and only those who know the food situation in Hinche can understand my appreciation for all the fantastic meals I enjoyed.
For all the volunteers from HEF – thank you what you do for the people of Haiti!!! You made a change in many life’s here and you should be proud of yourself. I will continue to do what I can to keep you safe during your stay in Haiti.
United Nations Regional Security Officer in Haiti
Anna & I are from Bethel Christian Church in San Francisco and have been going to Haiti with Haiti Endowment every year since July 2000. We have been involved in building roof trusses for many church buildings, a dormitory at the compound, and a school at Raven Caw. In addition to the construction we have had a VBS for most of the years and have shown the Jesus Film at many bush churches in the area. We have also distributed rice, beans, and clothes and have gone on many prayer walks. We have had great joy over the years in seeing the children grow up and become part of the work God is doing through Haiti Endowment. In 2010 our VBS team was blessed by having Patrick as one of our interpreters who had been one of the young children at a VBS several years before. We have also been able to have many of the young men at the different bush churches come along side our construction team and be a part of building their own churches and schools.
It has been a great growing experience for us as a couple and we pray that Haiti Endowment and Bethel can continue their partnership as the Lord allows.
Thank you for being a part of our lives and allowing us to be a part of yours.
Jeff & Anna Moore
Jeff & Anna Moore
Every time I go to Haiti and come back with an adjusted perspective on life. I am always reminded that there is so much more to this world than what is happening in my life and its challenges. The people of Haiti are so precious it has been so much fun to make friends and renew acquaintances on each trip. I have never been so happy to be so tired in all my life. Working with HEF has been my opportunity to “go into all the world” and to “give a cup of cold water in Jesus name”. Haiti Endowment Fund and its founders, Harold and Natalie, can only be described as the love of God in action.
I was born in Haiti. When I was about six years old I fell and brook my leg. I wasn’t able to receive the proper medical treatment that my leg needed in Haiti at the time. God had his plans for me though, because Haiti Endowment was already working their medical in my home town Hinche. My family and I attend Pastor Iliober’s church in Hinche where Haiti Endowment is very much involve in. God led Dr. Combs and the Bither’s to me though their involvement in the church. Dr. Combs sow my damage leg and was able to examine the situation where he came to the conclusion that something could definitely be done to help me walk properly. When he presented the situation to Haiti Endowment, arrangements were made for me to come over the United States to get the proper medical treatment that my leg desperately needed. Over the years God have allowed so many wonderful things to happen in my life. After all my successful surgeries I was able to go live in New York with my family where I finish my high school and college career, now I’m back living in California. The Combs have had a major impact in my life and I’m entirely grately for each and everyone of them. God have also place many other people over the years to help me along the way and I’m grateful for all of them. I’m especially grateful to Haiti Endowment for all the amazing work they are doing for Haiti and the people. I pray God continue to bless all the amazing people who give their time and energy to help with Haiti Endowment.
I was privileged to be a member of the medical team from the January 2011 mission. It was an awesome experience – and one that I will not soon forget. I was able to bring my 17-year-old daughter Kendall, and we both developed a love for the Haitian people. We will definitely be going back someday!! I thank you so much for your vision to serve the people in central Haiti – and will continue to pray for, and support that mission in as many ways as I can.
Post Falls, ID
At the invitation of my son to go on a trip to Haiti with him, the last thing I expected was healing. But God chose this magnificent and wild country to pursue me and lovingly draw me to Him. I had been angry with God for some time and it had become a habit, a way of life. But God is faithful although I had not been.
He began to show me that He wanted the Haitians to begin feeding themselves and He began to show me how it could be done. The Bither family lovingly listened and felt it was God’s timing for HEF to begin an agriculture push on the Central Plateau.
We began a tree nursery and a large garden using nitrogen-fixing trees to provide sustainable “green manure”. We built the infrastructure necessary to support the endeavor. It was a lot of hard work and came with its share of heart ache. On my next trip, I walked out into the garden to witness a transformation. Where there had been barren ground, now grew an abundant garden. People gathered around to marvel and congratulate me. And that was nice. But when everyone moved on, I stood alone in the garden and felt God’s presence. I began to cry and felt God’s healing awaken my heart once more as I realized God would never have invited me to participate in something so magnificent if He didn’t truly love me. Love heals, it’s that simple. So while I have worked very hard during my visits to Haiti, I have also been learning to rest in His salvation and His love.
Santa Ynez, CA