Good morning from Michigan! I find it hard to believe it is already mid-winter. One Saturday we reached temperatures over 60 degrees. I did enjoy the sunshine and mild temperatures. During my few weeks in Michigan, I had hoped to see snow and trek through the snowy dunes. No such luck. Soon, I leave to go to Niamey, Niger, in West Africa. There will be no snow there for sure.
The year 2017 has started off at a run. CURE International opened the year gathering CURE leaders from across the world to meet in Pennsylvania. The meeting was special for many attending as we rekindled friendships, listened to wise teachers, worshiped in word and song, and discussed the inner workings of the ministry. Zoom, Skype, and Facetime are all good tools that have changed the world but pale in comparison when contrasted with face-to-face time. Taking time away from daily duties is important to regain focus, rekindle the inner fires, and truly share our hearts.
I had agreed to remain behind and work in the CURE warehouse. Some of you think this is not such a great choice, but I am in my sweet spot digging through medical donations, seeking needed supplies and equipment and sharing the needs of those working overseas. I am always on the lookout for partners willing to donate supplies and equipment.
Some people mistakenly assume missionaries working overseas are the mission. Wrong. We are only a small part of a whole team. A focus on those serving alone is very limited in scope. I love to share the story of CURE. I love to share the story of the Meads. The story has many paths and twists that wind together in ways unexpected. I only know a small portion but look forward to seeing the big picture in the future.
Let’s start with CURE. Scott and Sally Harrison founded CURE International. Their journey started years ago, but I will pick the story up with what Scott shared in Pennsylvania. Dr. Harrison was offered a role to run an orthopedic company. At the time, Dr. Harrison was a very busy and successful orthopedic surgeon. To leave his practice to assume the role of running a struggling company made no sense, only God sense. After prayer, Scott left the security of what he knew well to step out. I cannot imagine the stress involved.
Later, it became apparent the company needed to merge so that it could be sold. Called out of practice only to sell a company? Really? Yes! God had a plan. The sale placed the Harrisons in the position to found CURE International. Scott and Sally had the vision to provide holistic medical and spiritual care for children with physical disabilities in the developing world. As a tool, CURE would build and develop a network of teaching hospitals where there was a true merger of medical and spiritual ministry.
But the Harrisons could not do this alone. Partners in the vision were needed. CURE needed prayer warriors to protect the ministry during its vulnerable infancy. CURE needed staff willing to join an adventure into the unknown. CURE needed supporters bringing equipment, supplies, finances, teachers, foreign government expertise, builders, and on and on.
Looking at the task, you could easily give up, but the dire straits of these marginalized children in need of emotional, spiritual, and physical care was compelling. CURE was birthed and continues onward.
My journey stretches back all the way to my parents from speaking on a ham radio to Papua, New Guinea; to my schooling at Michigan, Wayne State, and Grand Rapids; to meeting the love of my life, Jana; to Iowa and back to Michigan; to Forest Park Covenant Church; to Promise Keepers; to experiencing God; to Ecuador; and to Kenya for my “once in a lifetime, never to be repeated trip to Africa.”
We met Scott and Sally Harrison during that trip to Kijabe in 1997. I walked the empty site to be the first hospital and saw the vision of what could be, should be, and needed to be. We moved to Kijabe in 1998.
As I contemplate all those involved in CURE, and our work in particular, I am amazed. So many people have stepped forward to offer prayer, finances, equipment, supplies, emotional support, teaching, and partnership. Friends cared for our home and ran our finances. The Rift Valley Academy provided dedicated teachers so my children received excellent educations. Later, as college time separated us from our kids, family and friends in the U.S. stepped in to support their time away. Kijabe Dental cared for our teeth. Africa Inland Mission shared opportunities for education, counseling, disaster planning, and more. The local Africa Inland Church allowed CURE to use their land to build the first hospital.
Over the years, talented staff joined the hospital in Kijabe to grow the level of expertise in medical care and expand our spiritual ministry. Partners throughout Kenya opened their arms to join the mobile clinics, which widened the opportunities of care for children in need. Visiting physicians brought special expertise to teach our CURE staff. Visitors of various callings and gifts matured our staff and myself. God opened the door for CURE to be a part of the first orthopedic residency training program under COSECSA in Kenya. Later, as other orthopedic residencies were started, CURE became the site for training in pediatric orthopedics. CURE was allowed to expand our relationships: teaching the holistic (spiritual and medical) care we value. It was an amazing journey that is still unfolding even today.
Each year, CURE relies on donors to provide necessary funds to care for those in need. Each year, CURE needs medical and spiritual supplies for the tools of our work. Each year, equipment and hospitals age and monies are needed to replace and repair. Each year, we focus on the vision to build a network of teaching hospitals and programs providing emotional, spiritual, and physical care for children with physical disabilities in the developing world.
The vision of caring holistically for children does not change. The plans of how we do this best will always change driven by circumstances and opportunities. Will the vision ever be completely fulfilled? I do not know. Right now, I travel the adventure of the journey day-by-day, anchored firmly in His grip.