So often, we see national emergencies occur and we think, “What can I do to help?” and the answers we come up with seem insufficient. Then, how often do we fail to do even the little we determined was possible? I admire the people who show up.
When I was in high school, I loaded a trailer for the Medical Missionaries as part of a service project. We wiped down old-fashioned, dusty hospital beds and wheelchairs that had been pulled out of storage somewhere and spruced them up for a second life in a third world clinic. I was so impressed by the collection of medical professionals who were making sure older equipment went to a place where it could help save lives. It’s hard for us to imagine a place where a hospital bed or a wheelchair is a luxury, but in many rural areas across the world, even access to a doctor is a luxury. Medical Missionaries is doing something to change that.
Years later, I had the privilege to travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti twice. I witnessed firsthand the life-saving work that Medical Missionaries had done in several communities there. I still clearly remember climbing into the bed of a packed, blue cattle truck to jolt two hours across washed-out roads back from Thomassique, Haiti. The only English speaker in the town ran after us shouting. “Thanks be to God for you! Please, never forget us!” We gave them nothing on that short trip. We were there for a tour. But they were so proud of what they had been given–a school, a clinic, and some dignity. Their thanks was not for us, it was for Dr. Irwin and the priests of the Arlington Diocese missions who served them.
This week, I had the opportunity to feature Dr. Irwin’s great work with the recent U.S. Hurricane victims. He’s a hard man to get a dramatic story out of because he doesn’t act like he does anything special. But the people who receive the benefit of his caring heart and generous and skilled hands know better.
Also, you can help his work monetarily or through donations. There’s plenty of information on his webpage here.