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A Place of Grace

April 9, 2015

Dave Zollner, center, works alongside team members in the clinic pharmacy.

Written by Dave Zollner, a member of the March team and a HFH board member:

Three weeks ago I returned from spending ten days in Haiti as a part of a 19-member medical team.

This was my tenth trip to Terre Blanche. Since 2006, this annual trek has been a part of my March plans. This year I found myself wondering how long I plan to keep this as a part of my March plans?

I suppose it raises the bigger question of why do I go at all. This year’s team was made up of medical providers with decades of experience in medicine. These folks are dedicated to helping those who cannot access medical care in a country that demands payment for the doctor, bed and medicine before being  considered for help. A couple of hundred people are seen on most clinic days with everything from acute medical problems from sickness and accidents to the usual chronic problems of diabetes, hypertension, prenatal care and lots of kids.

So why do I go? Every year, I inform our team leader that I am applying to go but I know that many others could do what I do and I am willing to step aside. And so, once again, I found myself at 6 am on the flat roof of the clinic watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee and pondering how I found myself here again.

I will attempt to answer my own questions with a couple of simple thoughts that resonate with me. I realized on the second day in Haiti that I had been thinking a lot about “me” and what “I” was doing here? Was I really all that valuable to this team effort?

Dave sharing pictures of his family with Haitian team members.

And then it came to me.  This isn’t really about me. I have been given a sense of calling to serve others. This is a gift of grace to learn something about being “other” focused and not “me” focused. For those of us who are Jesus Followers, we know that His presence is in all things and the sooner we get outside our own self focus the sooner He can change our hearts and minds.

Secondly, I read somewhere recently about “thin places.” These are places where we get a unique sense of the space between heaven and earth as being very thin. Terre Blanche is a thin place. Life is very simple there, very basic, very dependent on hope. This is a place where “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” is being lived out daily. People who often struggle to clothe their family and give them one meal a day are living with a joy that you can only experience and not describe.

That is why I keep going back. That is why Terre Blanche is a place of grace and a “thin place” for me. This is where grace is seen in ways that I have never before experienced.

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