My mind has been racing since my return home. Not just trying to catch up with my life here, which is difficult enough, but trying to wrap my head around what just happened with CURA and what it might mean for the future. And, as I have been thinking about that, my grandson said something this past Sunday that got me thinking. I had arrived at the church building a bit early to make some deliveries and to prepare to count the attendance. As he walked in, he stopped, stared at me, turned to his mom and said, “What is doc doing in my church?” I was a bit taken aback but then realized I had not been there in 3 weeks, a really long time to a 2-year old.
Medical missions have been questioned for years now as to what they are truly doing. Are they helping or hurting? Often times, I think it is important to ask, “What are we doing here?”
As I look back at this campaign, I realize just how far we have come, and truly believe I can answer that question, (at least as far as CURA is concerned). CURA is truly invested in the communities we serve. We love the people, and we respect and care for them by providing services they truly need and are unable to get elsewhere. A few examples:
• 17 people were able to be scoped and treated by Karina that otherwise would not have been. I know this because the Health department has told us so. These are people they would likely never have been able to help. Courtesy of our gracious donors and supporters at our spring fundraiser, a nasopharyngoscope was able to be purchased for not only these 17 people, but also an additional estimated 200 people over the next year as this becomes a full time service.
• Houses in Vila Progresso were painted and freshened, because we had so many local volunteers willing and able to donate their time and energy.
• Milena, a precious 3 year old with hip damage and an inability to walk as a result of septic meningitis was able to be transported to a prosthetics factory to be cast for a brace. This custom-made brace will allow her to walk without assistance for the first time, giving her a chance to be an active child – something she has never experienced.
• 450 people had sight restored through the gracious donation of glasses via the First Baptist Church–Ferguson, in St. Louis, Missouri. Thank you Bennie Goodwin for all you do for ministries around the globe.
• These same people were able to be tested for glaucoma through the kind loan of tonometers through Dr. Alan Larsen in San Angelo and the Dawson’s from Florida.
• With the help of Dr. Roberto in Brazil, retinal exams were provided as needed.
With the incredible drive, devotion and love of Dra. Greicy, the dentistry ministry is now year-round. We have been blessed with an abandoned trailer that we look to restore and refurbish, making it our own dental trailer. With this addition, plus renting another trailer as needed, we plan to make more of our services available throughout the year!
As for our needs for the next campaign, we are hoping to acquire a phoropter (the weird device used to determine your eyeglass prescription), a machine to fit lenses into empty frames, and a slit lamp. This would greatly increase the number of people we can serve and increase the likelihood that we could serve this overwhelming need throughout the year. (If you are able to help us with any of these things, please reach out!)
For all of this, I give thanks.