- Society Builder
Jess Stoltz is young woman who doesn’t just “talk the talk”: she “walks the walk.” Each year for the last several years she and her grandfather travel to a small village in Haiti to . . . why, simply to help. The experience has been a strong influence on her life.
Although her grandfather had been going to the same village for years, and although she asked to go along, she was still anxious about it all. Actually, she doesn’t use the word anxious, she uses the word scared. She was scared of how she would react, of not knowing how to act appropriately, of the daily living and sleeping conditions in Haiti. But she overcame her fears by just jumping into it. Since then she’s been involved with building a medium-sized medical clinic, a clean-water well, swing sets for the children, and more.
She found the people beautiful. She says, “I can’t tell you how much it changes my attitude and outlook being in Haiti each year. I truly believed we were better off than them until I spent time understanding their lives. It turns out that they live a beautifully simple life of reliance on God and a love of Jesus at their very core- not clothes, not entertainment, just simple, wonderful love. I say this all while they are fighting for food and shelter daily, have a few articles of clothing, and by no means are protected from diseases . . . But they LOVE. The men hold other men’s hands. The people don’t have “comfort zones” where someone is in their space. They just love.”
Of her “jump” into another world here on Earth, she says, “It’s something we can’t get a grasp of until we go. It might be scary, and new, and out of the “comfort zone,” But what better way to learn about loving people.” With her next big change in life, grad school far from home, she recognized a pattern with “jumping.” “It was a move that I knew I had to do but, again, that fear was present! I learned by moving [several states away from home] that taking the jump brings you more confidence the next time you have to.”
She says, “I encourage everyone to share their story- whatever way suits you. For me, it’s writing, encouraging people through my blog [Daily Illuminations] and on the softball field, passing love on and getting to know people who are different than I am. The last of which may be the hardest and is a constant jump. But jumping for others is the best jump of all.”
Hmm . . . jumping over your fears for other people . . . we’re right behind you, Jess!