Mead Minutes: What if?

Greetings from the Philippines!! Rains and hot, humid days mark summer here in Davao. People seek the shade or the cool of the malls. Gardens are groomed as new plants pop up and grow rapidly. Children are preparing to return to school. The hospital remains busy.

Last week we ran the gamut of the difficult and unusual and successfully made it through. As I mulled over the cases, evaluating what went well, where we struggled, and what could be improved, I was drawn to the effect CURE International has had on the lives of many.”What if?” is a difficult and unanswerable question, often pondered by many. Usually, the accompanying statement is, “If only.” Most of the time the questions arise when life has turned sour or events have led to regrets. That was not the way my mind drifted this day.

Dr. Tim does his best to serve our kids, even when it means getting on a pediatric-sized exam table to demonstrate exercises patients can do at home

Serving our kids, even when it means getting on a pediatric-sized exam table to demonstrate exercises patients can do at home.

What if Scott and Sally Harrison decided to take up golf and collecting seashells instead of founding CURE? How different the world would look for children with physically disabilities in many parts of the world! CURE started with a small hospital on the edge of the Rift Valley in Kenya in east Africa. Since then, hospitals have been founded and are growing in many locations. CURE International reaches out into the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, UAE, Philippines, Niger, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya. Every year, thousands of children with disabilities are offered hope and restoration emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Most have no other options for care. If CURE cannot assist them, most likely they will live with their disability as it is. How will their healing affect the world around them? Who knows if a future president was a CURE patient?

Additionally, CURE has programs for clubfoot and hydrocephalus that enter other countries, providing these services. Thousands of children enter these programs, getting life-changing treatment, love, and care. But the effects do not end at this activity. CURE has started orthopedic residencies, fellowship programs, and specialty neurosurgical hydrocephalus training. Physicians are given skills that will assist the children but will also be used throughout their home countries to improve the lives of many.

Partners such as SIGN, MEDS, MAP, RTIX, Smile Train, International AID, West Michigan Wire, and many more have assisted in making the programs succeed. Donors have stepped up at all levels to pursue the vision of helping these children all over the world. Visitors have come to serve the children and staff at the CURE hospitals. Lives are changed as hearts are touched. God may use a short trip to change the path of a life. He changed mine.

Personally, I can look back and ask the same question, “What if?” What if we decided not to go volunteer for our “once in a lifetime, never to be repeated” trip to Africa? What if Scott and Sally chose another time to come to Kijabe? What if I decided to remain comfortably in west Michigan?

Wild giraffes. Only in Niger!

I can hardly imagine what my life would have looked like. So many adventures came about because we said, “yes!” We have friends around the world in many cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences. We met the President of Ethiopia. We walked The Mara. Aaron took Maasai warrior training. Michael joined our family. We chased zebras and giraffe through the valley. I have enjoyed coffee ceremonies. Jana has taught sewing, giving skills to survive to many. We have lived on islands, on large continents, in major cities, at small mission stations, in the desert, in the tropics, up at 7,000 feet, and at sea level. Our children attended Rift Valley Academy with friends from all over the world. We know the struggles in living in countries different from your home country. We have seen a world much different from the one in west Michigan. Unbelievable! Some people would see the “coincidences” and be amazed. Who would have guessed? Who indeed!

Life is not merely a series of coincidences. Life is an adventure with opportunities to follow. You may have what looks to you to be grand plans; I did. But even though you form your plans, God determines our paths. His looked very different from my dreams. You cannot know the future and what it brings. Thank you, Scott and Sally, for stepping out in faith. Your steps opened the opportunity of an adventure for us to travel in His grip.


Photo of the Tim Mead

About the Author:

Dr. Mead served as the Medical Director of CURE Kenya from 1999 until 2011. After that, he headed up orthopedics at the CURE Oasis Hospital in Al Ain, UAE, followed by a time as the Medical Director at the Tebow CURE Hospital in the Philippines. Dr. Mead then served as CURE’s Senior Orthopedic Consultant, traveling to various CURE hospitals, supporting and mentoring physicians across the network. He retired from CURE in 2018. Dr. Mead is a U.S. board certified orthopedic surgeon from Muskegon, Michigan, with specialized training in pediatrics. Prior to joining CURE, he ran an orthopedic practice in western Michigan providing a broad range of surgical reconstructive services, including joint replacement and arthroscopic surgery.

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Further Reading

People of CURE

Serving God and Healing kids in Malawi

Serving God and Healing kids in Malawi
Patient Stories

The Unbelievable Love of God

The Unbelievable Love of God
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Holistically Treating Cerebral Palsy

Holistically Treating Cerebral Palsy
Reflections

The need for children’s medical care in Niger

The need for children’s medical care in Niger
In the Field

Conditions we treat: Burn contractures

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Conditions we treat: neglected, broken bones

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