God Willing, I Hope I Can Return To Haiti
V I S I
VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICAL MISSIONS
“There are too many of them; it won’t make any difference...,” said the wise old man to the
young boy. There had been a terrific storm and hundreds of starfish had washed ashore. One by
one the boy was feverishly throwing them back into the ocean before they died. As he threw the
next one back into the sea, he said, “...it does to that one...and it does to that one!” and so on....
“ God Willing, I Hope I Can Return To Haiti ”
by J. R. Richard, M.D.
So it is with a shortterm medical mission
to a place like Haiti.
How much good does
it do to go for just one
week? Well, it makes
a lot of difference...to
the hundreds of adults
who received reading
glasses, to the many
children who were
treated for parasites,
to the dozens of older
Dr. J.R. Richard (left) served in Haiti
patients who received with former colleague and longtime
knee or shoulder injec- friend, Dr. Stoney Abercrombie who
tions for arthritis, and was the team leader.
to everyone who was
treated with kindness, caring, and a smile.
Seeing so many medical needs beyond our capacity
or ability to treat in such a needy place can feel at times
overwhelming and discouraging, but regarding these limitations, the 1950’s medical missionary to Vietnam, Dr.
Tom Dooley, once told a friend, “...to cure is seldom; but
we can relieve often; and we must comfort always.” “...
even a cup of cold water given in My name,” said Jesus.
For a place so affected by centuries of profound poverty, corruption, disease, and horrible physical disasters,
there is also great beauty – in the mountains rising above
the sea, in the beautiful flowering bougainvillea bushes,
in the delicious tree-ripened mangos, and in the smiles of
the beautiful Haitian people – from babies to young children to eighty year olds.
During the week, after supper every night, we had a brief
devotional. One evening, the discussion was about the
story of Good King Wenceslas, in light of Matthew 25.
The Good King inspired his faltering protege to follow
in his very footsteps in the deep snow so they could provide help and comfort to a nameless man whom they had
seen in the forest. “When, Lord, did we see you hungry,
ill, naked, or in prison, and give you help?” He replied,
“When you did it to the least of these brothers of mine,
you did it for me.” Thus the Wenceslas story concludes,
“Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing, he who now will bless the poor, shall find himself
a blessing.” Our team was indeed blessed at least
as much as we blessed
the patients for whom
we cared. Every once
in a while, I need to
have my “reset” button hit, in order to refocus and to regain my
“servant’s heart.” This
trip did that for me.
God willing, I hope I
Dr. Jae IL Sohn, of Anderson, SC,
return to Haiti.
examines a child and offers medcial
advice to a mother during a clinic.
WE TOUCHED THEIR LIVES....
THEY TOUCHED OUR HEARTS
by Barbara Freese, RN, MSN, EdD, FRCNA
Abbeville, South Carolina
The Honduras February 2014 mission was a rewarding opportunity
for VIMM to move into an expanded role. Along with offering primary
medical care, the team provided dental hygiene instructions and began
evaluating the Village Health Worker program.
During the week our twenty member team held clinics in four different remote villages, at the Olanchito Nursing Home, and in a men’s
prison. At the clinics, we met some of the poorest and most unfortunate
of the Honduran people, yet their warm smiles and friendly attitudes
touched our hearts.
In each of the village clinics we provided a puppet show to demonstrate dental hygiene. We then offered toothpaste and 1,300
toothbrushes that had been donated by a Rotarian dentist. Our team
distributed about 570 pairs of reading and prescription eyeglasses
along with 100 pairs of sunglasses, all of which were donated by
the South Carolina Lions Club Association. We also delivered 300
Spanish Bibles that had been given by a former team member who
had previously served in Olanchito.
On one day we traveled almost two hours on a bus from Olanchito
to a tiny village called La Rosa to provide a clinic in a place that had
never had medical care. During the clinic local villagers carried in a
young woman who was having constant seizures. We did not have
medicine with us to treat her, but when we returned to Olanchito that
afternoon, we took Margarite and her mother with us on the bus to
the hospital to receive the care she needed. She was treated in the
emergency room and hospitalized for a few days, then returned successfully to her village.
On our last clinic day we held a medical fair at the Iris Merrell
Clinic. At this site we provided ambulatory medical care, specialty care
in otolaryngology and ophthalmology, Pap smears, joint injections,
blood pressure assessments, and distribution of eyeglasses. Prescribed
medications, vitamins, and parasite treatments were provided free of
This mission trip also provided an opportunity to begin evaluating
the Village Health Worker Program at the Iris Merrell Clinic. Four
team members met with the Honduran VHW Committee to discuss
the program and its needs. Two other team members visited the village of Palmira in order to assess water supply, sanitation facilities,
and patient care practices.
During this special week we used our medical skills to touch the lives
of more than 2,200 of the poorest Hondurans. We returned home very
tired, but spiritually renewed by our experiences. The team recognizes
and thanks the many people and organizations that provided support
to make the trip successful. We also owe a special thanks to our team
leader, Dr. Gary Goforth, for the many hours he spent preparing for
the trip and for his ever-present and supportive manner.
Dr. Devore Compton and Hal Freese provided
glasses at the Olanchito Prison.
The Hondurans brought Margarite to the clinic
for emergency care.
Deepika Srinivasa, PA student, examined a
child and reassured the mother.
During the February 2014 mission
to Haiti our team leader, Dr. Stoney
Abercrombie, reminded us that we
all have 86,400 seconds every day...
and what we do with those seconds is
our choice. On this trip we chose to
spend our time by giving back to the
Our team had five physicians, a
pharmacist, four nurses, one EMT,
one librarian, and many spouses. Fifteen strangers met in Atlanta with one
common goal – to help others who are
less fortunate than we are. In the end,
I think it is fair to say we received
more than we gave.
For me, the greatest reward was
the opportunity to return to the land
of my birth for the third time with
VIMM. Although there have been
some improvements since the devastating earthquake of 2010, there is
still much more work to be done.
The medical necessities have not
changed. We met people who suffer
from acute and chronic medical conditions, but either do not have access
to medical care or cannot afford it.
When faced with the decision of seeing a doctor for their health problems
or feeding their family, the latter takes
We arrived late Saturday, and after church on Sunday, spent the day
separating and organizing our medications and supplies for the five clinic
days. Our days began “byen bone” –
usually up by 5 AM and on the road
within the hour. We traveled in the
by Alberto Marcelin, M.D.
back of an open truck and visited
many remote areas in an attempt to
reach the people that needed help the
most. Fifteen strangers soon became
“close friends” by holding onto each
other with every twist and turn as our
bus driver tried to avoid hitting pedestrians, animals, and large potholes.
Our team cared for 1550 patients
during the clinics. We provided much
needed medical care to many grateful Haitians, but in the end they also
helped us more than they could ever
imagine by allowing us to reflect on
our own lives and how fortunate we
are to be in a position to give back to
One patient who touched me this
way was a 72 year old woman with a
blood pressure of 240/120. She had
recently been discharged from the
hospital and was unable to afford her
needed medication. She was more
concerned about how to feed her five
children than any sequelae of hypertensive urgency.
After I explained the significance
of her blood pressure reading her an-
swer to me was “I’m not worried because I have faith in God and I know
He is looking out for me.” Her conviction quickly brought tears to my
eyes and reminded me of the true
meaning of “faith.” I then told her
that she was absolutely right because
He made sure she got her medication
that day and a way to feed her children in the upcoming month.
That night her words sent me to a
deeper state of reflection. I thought
to myself, “How strong is my faith?”
“How many times do I simply confide
in the Almighty when I’m faced with
great danger?” She also reminded me
how fortunate we are to be living in
America and to have what we need
right around the corner.
During our evening devotions I
was delighted to hear how we were
all touched by someone we met during those seven days. I want to thank
VIMM, our February 2014 Haiti
team, and other volunteers who make
it possible for a group of like-minded
strangers to get together and help others. Let’s do it again!
“ON A MISSION FOR McINTOSH”
Dr. Donald Munro McIntosh II, was a beloved Gaffney, SC, physican
who passed away in 2011. In his medical practice he was concerned not
only with his patients’ physical well-being, but also with their spiritual
well-being. He was often heard discussing their spiritual health with patients and always gave God the glory for his accomplishments. It was Dr.
McIntosh’s wish to have a medical mission fund established in his name
and this has been accomplished by the ICU staff at Upstate Carolina
Medical Center. Dr. Alberto Marcelin and Dr. Frank Cioppettini were the
first two recipients of this scholarship and served with the Haiti team.
12th Annual Chick-fil-A
5K Challenge Report
by Larry Secrest
While most evangelical Christians are familiar with
the parable of the Good Samaritan, few would remember that the story was given in response to the questions, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus
responded to the expert in the Law by pointing out
the command to “Love the Lord your God with all your
heart...and to love your neighbor as yourself.” The story of the Good Samaritan was given to show that loving
your neighbor as yourself is connected to an intimate
relationship with God and that it is visible evidence of a
Most of us remember the account of Cain’s brutal
murder of his brother, Abel, as well as Cain’s response
to God’s questioning - “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The
answer to that question is that you are to be your brother’s keeper, as you have been created to be an imitator of God. If you love the Lord your God with all your
heart, your soul, your strength, and your mind, then that
intimacy is reflected in our care for others. This is why
Jesus told the legal expert to follow the example of the
Samaritan and to “Go and do likewise.”
The Good Samaritan put himself at risk to rescue a
man neglected by the religious establishment; he displayed mercy in giving medical assistance and spending from his own resources to provide for ongoing care
for a man whose people (the Israelites) were hostile to
his. He was willing to sacrifice his own agenda to help
a stranger who had been left to die on the Jericho road.
This is a description of how Christians are to live. This
is why VIMM came into being 27 years ago - to provide the means for believers to show mercy and provide
care for those who like the man on the Jericho road are
unable to care for themselves.
We are to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and to love our neighbors as ourselves. However,
the example that we have is much more than a fictional
character in a 2,000 year old parable. The real Good
Samaritan is fulfilled in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.
He interrupted His heavenly reign and communion with
the Father to die on Calvary, to pay our debt, and provide for us the ultimate healing of our souls.
Now, we are to go and do likewise. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, and as we
do, it is my prayer that the power of the message we
present, blessed by the regenerating work of the Holy
Spirit, will bring many to faith. May the Lord of all Mercy
allow VIMM to continue to be the means by which many
Good Samaritans are enabled to fulfill this teaching.
April 12th was a perfect day for a
run around the lake at South Cove
Park with almost 200 registered runners and walkers. The net earnings for
the event were almost $9,000. A percentage of this amount will be used
to purchase medical supplies and the
remaining portion will be applied to
VIMM’s administrative needs.
Age 43 years
Age 11 years
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
The proceeds will allow VIMM to
plan and promote the work of our
mission teams around the world.
Several years ago VIMM received a donation of two wooded lots
on Lake Hartwell in Anderson County, SC to help promote the
work of this outreach. The adjoining lots total one acre. There is
a small boat dock and a creek flows through the property.
Pray for the sale of this donated property
The price has recently been lowered to $69,500 for both.
Listed by Joey Brown Realty
Email: [email protected]
View from dock on lot
Honduras February 2014
It has been noted that when children and adults are
taught about brushing teeth and dental hygiene by demonstration, rather than just verbally, the message really
sinks in. After last year’s trip to Honduras a friend and
team member asked me if I would be willing to perform
a puppet show the following year.
“You mean with PUPPETS?... In SPANISH??” I said,
“I’ve never done a puppet show. And I don’t speak a
word of Spanish. Sure...I’ll do it. What could possibly
I had my script translated into Spanish by a friend and
I memorized it phonetically. I received a donation of
professional puppets from someone I don’t even know
whose late wife was a professional puppeteer. He wanted the puppets to go to a good cause.
I performed the ten minute show five times for hundreds of children and adults in rural villages in Honduras. I began each show with one puppet dancing to a
Honduran children’s song I found on-line. There was
great audience participation, as I chose children to
come help brush my puppet’s teeth. The show included
humor as well as instruction on proper tooth brushing
technique and they actually understood what I was saying! It truly was a unique experience for me.
St. Vincent* July 13 - 20
July 14 - 23
July 26 - Aug. 2
Aug. 9 - 16
Oct. 12 - 19
Jan. 3 - 10, 2015
Feb. 27 - Mar. 7
Feb. 28 - Mar. 7
* designates trip is full
All trip costs are estimates and are generally
based on departure from Atlanta, GA.
Serving God by providing medical
care to impoverished people in
developing countries since 1986.
Visit our web site for trip applications
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Stoney Abercrombie, MD
Anderson, South Carolina
Lindsey Clarke, MD
Greenwood, South Carolina
Rev. Michael Wooten
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Clemson, South Carolina
Permit # 50
Seneca, SC 29679
Stephanie Davis, PhD, RN, FNP, BC
Pendleton, South Carolina
Lisa Duggan, PhD, RN, FNP
Anderson, South Carolina
Barbara Freese RN, MSN, EdD, FRCNA
Abbeville, South Carolina
Gary Goforth, MD
Fort Myers, Florida
Keith Hannay, MD
Martin Johns, MD
Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania
Brig. General Joe Lax
Greenwood, South Carolina
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Kay Medlin, RN
Chandler Todd, MD
Greenwood, South Carolina
Ruth Underwood, CPS
Rock Hill, South Carolina
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Honduras February 2014
HAITI FEBRUARY 2014
Rev. Ray Sanders
Executive Director: Larry Secrest
Associate Director: Kathy Cater
Admin. Assistant: Vickie Burns
Trip Assistant: Debbie Hennessy
Web Site: www.vimm.org
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 800.615.8695 / 864.885.9023
Newsletter prepared by Debbie Hennessy
Printing by Print-It!
IN THIS ISSUE:
• Haiti February trip...................page 1
• Honduras February trip..........page 2
• McIntosh Scholarship Report... page 3
• CFA 5K Race Report...............page 4
• From the Director’s Desk.......page 4
• Trip Tidbits...............................page 5
• Upcoming Trips.......................page 5
Dr. J. R. Richard (back row center) took five deflated soccer balls and
two pumps to Haiti. At each clinic he inflated a ball and usually gave it
to the pastor. On the final day Dr. Richard and Dr. Alberto Marcelin (front
center) presented a ball to the members of the Christian Light Brigade of
Haiti. This Church of God youth organization from Port-au-Prince helped
in the clinic by managing patient flow and running errands. The soccer
balls were donated by co-workers of Dr. Richard in Fremont, OH.