Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why I'm going to Haiti

Three and a half months before the Haiti earthquake, FBC Bentonville hosted Rev. Chuck Sackman, pastor of Piney Point Baptist Church.  He shared about his ministry to Haiti over the last several years, and my heart was warmed with the idea of volunteering in Haiti.  I recognized this "feeling" because twenty years ago, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to join a dentist in several medical/dental missions to Guatemala after sensing this same "heart warming."  Knowing it had been nearly 5 years since I had volunteered in Indonesia after the tsunami, I wondered if God was leading me to go to Haiti.  So, I placed this concern on my daily prayer list - "Should I go to Haiti?" 

For the next 3 months, I felt no clear answer, until the earthquake.  My wife will attest that since the earthquake in mid-January, my mind has been consumed with the thought of providing medical relief to Haiti.  During the first several days after the quake, I wrestled with options of entering the country, to no avail.  It would be foolish to enter without ground support and security was poor. 

Then Lance Faddis, my partner in medical practice, along with John Caubble, missions pastor at FBC Rogers, found a way to enter Haiti.  This opportunity arose through Craig Miller of Thirst No More, a Christian relief agency, who had entered Haiti soon after the earthquake.  Lance and John quickly assembled a medical team from their church and paved the way for our entry.  God had answered, "Should I go to Haiti?" with a "yes!"

Once a second team's entry was approved, God brought us together as 2 doctors (Jim and Steve), a nurse practitioner (Paul), 2 nurses (Edie and Maureen), and an assistant (Chad).  At this point, we've had a Skype conversation with Craig in the Dominican Republic, purchased our airline tickets, made initial plans, and ordered $4400 of medicines and supplies from Blessings International.

Over the coming week, prior to departure on 2/5/2010, we must secure the remainder of medications and supplies, pack all of this within the limitations of commercial flights, and prepare for experiences we've never encountered before.  Please pray for us that we will prepare wisely, gathering supplies that will be needed for the work we'll be doing.  Pray that God will use each of us to touch hurting people with the love of Jesus Christ in a real and practical way, and that we'll have opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them through our Creole interpreters.  Certainly pray for these people who have suffered so greatly that God will provide relief in their time of need, and that they'll realize that their help has come from the Lord.

Jim Byrum


  1. Dr. Byrum:
    I'm so excited that ya'll are making this trip! I would give anything to be able to go but instead I'll be praying and supporting you and all the others who are going! I went to OBU with Lance and Bob Wilson who are there right now with John Cauble so I'm keeping up with them.
    Praying that God uses ya'll in a mighty way to help the people of Haiti.
    Kelly Stamps

  2. Dr. Byrum,

    Praying for you all and for Dr. Faddis and the team that is there now. Excited that our AWANA clubs can help your team out in a small way by helping you gather supplies.

    Cindy McCorkle

  3. I am so excited about this trip. I am very thankful for your leadership with this Jim.