Cindy Gritters has been serving in a volunteer capacity with our team in Haiti. Supporting our staff with a wide range of skills, Cindy shares the insights she is gaining living and serving in Haiti.


You have to rely on what is in your head.

What can you live without?  There’s a question I have been pondering over the last month and a half.  Can you live without your typical wardrobe?  Sure, I’ve been living the last month and a half with only a fraction of the clothes that I own.  Can you live without your favorite foods?  Yes, it’s possible; although I have to admit that I (like the Israelites) have grumbled in my heart, longing for the food I used to have access to.  Can you live without internet?  It’s our 4th day without internet and I am amazed at how crippled I am without the internet.  I’m not nearly as smart as I thought I was.  We have access to all the information we could ever want, but if there is no internet, there is no information.  You have to rely on what is in your head. 

I am currently enrolled in a college course at Samford University to gain a worship leader certificate.  It’s been difficult to get my homework turned in without internet and to watch the lectures without internet.  I am making it work by going to a restaurant with Wi-Fi in town (a 15-minute ride by motorcycle).  So yes, it’s even possible to live without internet.

I am in a country where the people are forced to live without all the time.  They are forced to live without adequate food, adequate housing, adequate roads, and adequate healthcare.  Their reliance on God is much greater than my reliance on God.  They thank him for every little thing.  Thank you, God, for that clean drink of water.  Thank you, God, for the rain that came down for our crops.

This “giving up” has been one of the greatest gifts to me.

What are some of the things you cannot live without?  I think there are a few things that are completely necessary to live. 

First of all, we cannot truly live without God. He is the one who gives me breath in my lungs every day.  During our stay here, we were reminded of the fragility of life when our daughter Calise’s college roommate, only 24 years old, was killed in a car accident.  Her life was a testimony of living with God. 

Another thing we cannot live without is the Word of God, the Bible.  It provides a nourishment that no physical food can provide.  It is our daily bread. 

The last thing we cannot live without is love. This is why God made this the summary of all his law.  Love God above all and love your neighbor as yourself.  That love is not just a one-way street, it first flows from the Creator to us.  Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorite verses.  It speaks to the way that God loves us. 

“The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” 

Since we are so loved by God, we can then love him back knowing we are secure in his love…nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8: 39). 


I’ve been living in Haiti during the season of Lent.  Lent is a time when we are asked to give something up to remind us more of God and the sacrifice he made for us.  Many people in America give up things like sweets and chocolate, coffee, or maybe even TV.  I knew that coming to Haiti during Lent, I would be giving up the many comforts and luxuries of American life. 

This “giving up” has been one of the greatest gifts to me.  When you are forced to pare down in life, it helps you prioritize what is truly important.



  1. Rob Van Beek

    A powerful reminder, Cindy. Those times of refinement or being stripped down can be hard, but so worth it in the end.

  2. Fran De Haan

    One of the things I was happy to live without, during my stay there, was the busyness of our American lifestyle. Having the extra time for bible study was a real bleassing.

    Praying that you and Dave will adjust well to your new tasks.

    Bondye bon

  3. Rose Admiraal

    Thanks Cindy! When you get away from your lifestyle it really makes you think and reflect on what is truly important. I really appreciate your reflections!

  4. Rick Admiraal

    It’s a great article. Well done! You’re right. We can’t live without God, His Word and love. I appreciate your insights.

  5. Bev Roozeboom

    Thanks for the powerful reminder, Cindy! I pray that as you live without those things we’ve often thought of as necessary, God fills those empty places with more of Himself. Continued blessings to you and Dave in Haiti. Miss you!

  6. Sheldon Starkenburg

    Thanks for the great reminder, Cindy! I remember seeing a sign once that said, “Whatever you give up, cannot be compared to what you will gain.” I think that’s a wonderful truth for the Christian life.


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