As I am on the flight to Kete-Kratchi, Ghana I struggle with deciding which stories I will mention about the effects of Mobile Medical Disaster Relief on people. It has had a major impact on my life not only because I am constantly surrounded by it but because I see the impact it has on the lives of others. My family has clothed thousands of orphans, widows, and homeless people. We have fed the hungry, given medicine to the sick, and freed the enslaved. My father decided that the theme verse for our mission is: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Our goal is to follow this mission statement completely and since my father is a general surgeon the way he does so is by leveraging medicine.
The most important impact my parents and MMDR have made on me and thousands of others is the proclamation of the life, death, resurrection, and return of Christ as King. We realize that without the grace of GOD we would not have the opportunity to do anything and all of our accomplishments are all due to the kindness of GOD.
MMDR was started after hurricane Katrina in 2005. My dad and oldest brother transformed a trailer into an OR and went into the town of Biloxi, Mississippi to aid in whatever ways they were needed. Since then we have devoted our time, resources, and lives to assisting in the recovery of natural disasters and wars and offering aid in poverty-stricken countries. Two days after the earthquake in Haiti my brothers and dad were on the ground doing surgeries, setting bones, and recovering people from the rubble. In April of this year we leveraged medicine and clean water to free children from the slavery that has taken hold of the nation of Ghana. On that trip we were able to release six children in three days.
For the next seven days we pray that we will be able to make the same strides that we did in April. These were children sold into slavery by their parents for about $20, usually at the age of four. The girls are forced to be house slaves – cleaning, cooking, washing, and working. A high percentage of them have been raped by their masters or male family members of their masters. The boys are forced to work in the fishing industry for over 18 hours a day. Both male and female slavers are brutally beaten and often killed. The area we are in was once a farming community so the bottoms of the lakes are covered in trees. The fishing nets used by the masters and their slaves will often get caught in the branches and a child will be sent to the bottom of the crocodile and electric eel infested lake to free the net, which often ends in the death of the child. MMDR has dedicated all possible resources in order to set these kids free.
Our focus is not only in Haiti and Ghana, but in 14 different countries. Our first international work was in Pemba, Mozambique. There we went into the bush to give medicine to people that had never seen white people before. We also set up a sewing school for women who were widows or that had been abandoned by the predominate man in their life. We started out with 75 widows and they sent all the purses back to us to sell; we sent all of the proceeds back to them and now they have expanded to 375 widows and their lives have been completely transformed! Before, they were living 50 cents below survival. Now, they are living $3.50 above survival. Now their children are beating the odds of being a part of the 60% of children that die before age five.
To get involved with MMDR is simple – apply for a trip. First, you do not have to have medical training. Over half of the members on every team do not. We took a team of college students from Texas A&M to Haiti over spring break and in one week they built a house for a widow that doesn’t have any surviving family members left and painted an orphanage. Secondly, we take a trip every month so if one month doesn’t work out for you we have 11 different options EVERY YEAR. If you want to help but feel that going on the trip is not right for you we have plenty of ways to volunteer or donate. We send out weekly newsletters specifying our most dire needs for the upcoming trip (toothpaste, soap, ect.) to get involved you can visit http://www.mmdr.org.
I know as someone that has been extremely blessed to live, work, and attend school in the USA I fully expected to be the one who gave out the blessings and impacted the lives of the people around me, but every time I come back I am continually shocked to see how GOD used the widows, orphans, and the homeless to bless ME and fill me with joy. This is when I see why GOD called us to feed the hungry, give drinks to the thirsty, house the strangers, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit the imprisoned. (Matthew 25:35-36). He called us to do this because the heart of our GOD is with these people that are enslaved by those hopeless situations.