Medical Missionaries




Medical Missionaries
By: Wendy Ray

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--A group of Heartland volunteers is packing up it's bags and heading to Jamaica

, but it's not for a vacation. The group is volunteering it's time to give medical care to people who need it.
39 men and women, including nurses, pharmacists, a pediatrician, and a dentist will leave for Jamaica Monday, and the volunteers who've made this trip before say it's a life changing experience.

You may think of Jamaica as a vacation paradise, but the reality is there are areas stricken with poverty. Many of the people who live there don't receive regular medical care. That's why a group of volunteers from Cape Girardeau wants to help. For ten days, every other year, members set up a medical clinic at a church deep in the mountains of Jamaica.

 Dr. Scott Gibbs has been there before. He knows what the volunteers will see. "We've seen everything from parasitic infections to hypertension, diabetes, eye disorders, gynecological disorders, minor surgery," Dr. Gibbs says.

This won't be the first trip for Linda Williams or Gwen Maloney. Maloney is a registered nurse, Williams helps with paperwork and other duties. "I think because the people are so in need of care they'll walk for miles to get it and stand in line from seven in the morning to five at night," Maloney says.

Willliams says, "To see people in this primitive mountain region coming to us for help, and appreciating so much what we do for them, is so humbling."

This will be Victoria Holman's first trip. A nurse practitioner, she knows she'll have to treat ailments she's not used to seeing. "You provide care to patients, people who have no other means of getting healthcare," Holman says.

The volunteers pay for their trip to Jamaica. The group brings it's own medical supplies which are donated, by people in the Heartland. It's hard work, but volunteers say it's worth it. "I think I get more from the trip than I actually give to the trip," Maloney says. "It's very rewarding to do something for someone they can't do for themselves."

All the medical supplies the Cape volunteers don't use during this trip, will be donated to other missions.