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Russellville church sends medical aid to Belizecomment (0)

October 7, 2004

By Lauren Brooks


Walking around somewhere in Belize is an older man who is wearing Leigh-Ann Dolan’s running shoes.

“His feet were pitiful and when I asked about shoes, he didn’t have any,” said Dolan, one of 18 people who went to Belize with Calvary Baptist, in Russellville.

“He had a small stature and it looked like my shoes would fit him. When I thought about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples I knew I needed to also serve others so I gave him my shoes,” she said.

Dolan, a respiratory therapist at Russellville Hospital, joined this medical missions trip — a mix of doctors, nurse practitioners and a medical student. The group held clinics in several villages from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5.

Dr. Joe Johnson, a member of Calvary Baptist, spearheaded and organized the trip.

“We’re supposed to be fishers of men,” Johnson said. “Well, medical missions is our hook and it’s our means of going fishing.”

Johnson said the team treated more than 1,000 people and saw 296 on their first day. He also said they took more than $100,000 worth of medicines and surgical supplies.

 “We need to meet physical needs like Jesus did and then bring a spiritual aspect to it, too,” he said.

At each clinic the team broke up into five areas: triage, medical group, surgical, respiratory and pharmacy. The team also presented a Bible and gospel tract to every person who came to a clinic.

According to Johnson, the people of Belize are fairly shy and determining their spiritual condition was challenging. “It was tough for them to tell us about the medical problems they were experiencing,” he said.

Jeff Bumgardner, the church’s minister of music, served in the surgical area. “I actually assisted Dr. Johnson in surgery,” he said. “Before the trip he gave me some training in suturing so I would know what to do.”

To attract and entertain the children of the villages they visited, the team brought a blow-up gym for them to bounce around in.

The team also brought a generator to blow it up and left it behind.

“We’d also take the kids’ pictures with a Polaroid camera and put it in a little frame for them,” Johnson said. “Most of these children had never seen or had a picture of themselves.”

In the evenings, the team showed two movies in the various villages: “Finding Nemo” and the “Jesus” film. “We tied the two films together,” Johnson said. “Nemo is a story about a father looking for his child and in the “Jesus” film it shows our heavenly Father pursuing us.”

Calvary Baptist has started an international missions ministry and plans to take a missions trip every year or two.

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