Over the last few weeks, we have seen numerous instances of tragedies related to weather, poverty, civil discord, etc. These are troubling for us all, but there is a constant thread that becomes very apparent to trained eyes that spend their time focusing on addressing the issues of those in need. The answer must have a long term focus, not a short term response.
Barbara Stark Baxter, MD made a call in 1983 to the Dallas County (TX) Medical Society (DCMS) to ask about physician volunteer opportunities in Dallas. The director of DCMS had never had such an inquiry. He referred Dr. Baxter to Los Barrios Unidos, a clinic in the West Dallas Barrio. Unfortunately, administrators at the clinic feared that having a volunteer physician would jeopardize their much needed federal funding. So instead, they put her on its board of directors. “At one board meeting a passionate individual made a presentation for a clinic she wanted to start in East Dallas,” Dr. Baxter says. And therein was her volunteer opportunity and the Agape Clinic was born.
Over the last 30 years the Agape Clinic has expanded to 11 exam rooms and now is open six days a week and in the last 4 years services have nearly tripled and yet the Clinic is still seeking to provide services to all that are in need of medical care. Dr. Baxter is joined by other medical professionals and students that donate their time to help address these needs. Their work is making a difference and Medical Ministry International realized we could come alongside and help to expand the work of the Agape Clinic in a substantial way.
In late April of 2015, over 30 MMI Volunteers, International Board Members, and Staff joined the Agape Clinic team to address their backlog of patients focusing our efforts on Vision, Primary Care, and Integrated Health. Many of the volunteers regularly join with MMI throughout the world and jumped at the chance to address the needs of the least of these in our own community. The Project would be the first time in the 47 year history of Medical Ministry International that we were able to bring our worldwide expertise to our own backyard. The Agape Clinic has the resources to see approximately 30 vision patients a month. Over the course of the two day project, 250 appointments were scheduled to address the vision care backlog. The Primary Care and Integrated Health Teams were able to see another 66 patients and bring our two day total to 316 patients that received direct services!
We are thrilled to be able to come alongside organizations, clinics, and hospitals throughout the world. We are especially excited to see that we can use our program executions and services to help those in our own community that need help. This is just the beginning and as we continue to expand our operations around the world, we are able to also reach out to those around our own community to ensure that they receive the care, love, and support that they so desperately need.
To learn more about Medical Ministry International and get involved Click Here!
There is nothing that happens in the world more depressing than the chaos that results from poor leadership. I have seen this first hand within organizations, nations, and cultures where leaders use the lack of civility to achieve their objectives through the fog of deception. It’s heartbreaking to deal with this and it is even worse to see those seeking justice use violence and destruction to get their voice heard. Martin Luther King Jr. talked of this very issue in the 1960’s and his insight is still very true today….
“Beyond the pragmatic validity of violence is its inability to appeal to conscious….non-violence is power, but it is the right and good use of power.” He goes on to say “If a method is not effective, no matter how much steam it releases, it is an expression of weakness, not strength.”
Medical Ministry International has been working for over 47 years to seek out the poor and provide them hope for the future. Our Programs have led to us to over 70 countries around the world and over time our focus has moved from just providing care, to now providing care while being intentional to build capacity for the future. We seek to come alongside those that we serve and help them to help themselves. We cannot solve the world’s health problems by just doing good work, we must be focused on providing the guidance that builds lasting care for the long term. This holds true for any ministry effort in the over 23 countries we currently work in, and now it holds true even in our own backyard….