Late-night studying in the Annie Gabriel Library transitions mid-semester to the small, mountainous island of Haiti.
Brittany Bither, freshman pre-nursing major, takes several weeks off during school to serve communities in Haiti and then transitions back into her daily life at California Baptist University.
Bither was 14 years old when she first visited her grandparents’ overseas organization, Haiti Endowment Fund in Hinche, Haiti. Today the organization has 17 churches, 13 schools and a school meal program that feeds more than 3,000 students each school day.
Haiti Endowment Fund sends close to 200 team members from the United States each year, assisting with medical clinics, building projects, and agriculture and fish projects, as well as hosting summer camps.
Overwhelmed with the cultural difference, Bither said her first trip was not what she expected.
“I didn’t really feel comfortable my first time there,” Bither said. “People would ask me how my trip went and I didn’t know how to respond.”
She decided to go again to help at her grandparents’ organization and started to develop a stronger bond with the people in Haiti.
“The more I got involved and prayed about it, the more I felt like this was my calling from God,” Bither said.
Since her freshman year of high school, Bither has been going to Haiti three or four times a year and still balances her academics.
Planning and going on aid trips consumes a large amount of time to fully be prepared. Before leaving for Haiti, Bither must train with her team for a few weeks before she arrives to her destination.
However, one of the hardest transitions Bither has had was leaving right before finals week her first semester.
“A lot of the times I go, I sometimes feel insignificant to the other people,” Bither said. “But I think realizing God has given me a heart for (aid) work and this is what he wants me to do helps me overcome the stress of coming back to school and keeps my head held high.”
Traveling to Haiti is something Bither said she sees herself continuing in the future.
Bither inspires the people around her with her commitment to Haiti.
“She has taught me to step out of my daily routine and serve those who are in need,” said Emily Lopez, freshman pre-nursing major and Bither’s roommate.
“If I had it my way, I would be there as much as possible,” Bither said. “But I know God is also calling me to become a nurse, and in order to do so, I need to make sure I’m continuing my education here so that I can use my practice in Haiti if it is what the Lord has planned for me.”