April showers bring May flowers and we have much to share with you this month! Our work is blossoming like the flowers are! In the merry month of May we celebrated: May Day on May 1, Orthodox Easter on May 3, Cinco de Mayo on May 5 and Mothers Day which we spotlighted on Facebook on May 9.
We like to acknowledge special days that remind us how Medical Missionaries projects affect people from all over the world. Regularly check our Facebook postings and follow our Days of Observances to stay up on events happening in the United States, Haiti and across the world.
Spotlight on Ileana Harbour, RN
Hello, my name is Ileana Harbour. I am so grateful to be invited to share the story of my nursing work. I am a hospice nurse, wife, mother to five children and grandma to seven grandchildren. I have been blessed to be able to help the amazing organization of Medical Missionaries.
Approximately 4 years ago, while caring for one of my hospice patients, her family asked me if I knew of a good place to donate the leftover supplies. I suggested Medical Missionaries as through my parish, All Saints in Manassas, I knew about Dr. Irwin and Ann Benkoski’s work to collect medical supplies. I have gotten to know Ann and Dr. Irwin from Medical Missionaries better when I began helping a young, quadriplegic man. I got involved because a friend told me about his difficult circumstances, and, as a nurse, she thought I could help him.
When I met this man, Jose David (shown in photo above with Ileana), he would cry sometimes and was depressed because of his difficult circumstances. He had nothing to do to distract himself and so I got him a painting kit and to our surprise, he discovered a “healing” talent he did not know he had. Painting became his therapy and a blessing in disguise.
With time, this motivated him to continue to do more exercises and little by little began recuperating his movement in both arms so that he can now sit sturdy. He still has no control of his legs but he is working hard and he trusts that one day he will walk again. The day he received his red motorized wheelchair from Medical Missionaries, Jose David was one of the happiest men alive as he finally felt free! His family would get him up in a regular wheelchair, but now, with this new wheelchair, he could move around as he pleased and had a new sense of freedom. His caretaker, then his wife Maria, took a video of him riding his new wheelchair in the backyard for the first time, and he looked like a little boy with a new bicycle! He was crying but this time it was tears of joy.
He has also received a Hoyer lift, a ramp and recently a new hospital bed from Medical Missionaries. They, in conjunction with Mother of Mercy Clinic, supply him with catheters, adult diapers, and whatever he needs to keep him comfortable and safe.
I was asked to share about myself, and so I’m sharing a beautiful gift God has brought into my life. I am a little link in the chain of great, golden events that God orchestrates every day in our lives through His great love for us. He touches us in ways that we can never imagine. In my work with patients such as Jose David, we are very grateful to Medical Missionaries for the great work of love and all of you do for the poor and those in need!
Jose David’s paintings reminded me of one of my favorite poems, that as a hospice nurse we give to our bereaved families: “Gone from my Sight” written by Henry Jackson Van Dyke Jr.
If you would like help Jose David please contact Ileana by e-mail at Ileana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supplies and Equipment On the Move
Destination: Appalachia, Southwest Virginia
Our team made the round trip on May 16 to meet up with Dave and Jerry from Grundy, Appalachia for the Rocklick Food Pantry. At the meeting place the food was loaded onto the pantry truck that can manage the roads in the area. Dave and Jerry shared with Dr. Irwin how much they enjoyed the recent Virtual Dinner and we were so excited that they were able to be part of the evening festivities!
Destination: Ivory Coast
A group of very strong and able helpers loaded a container to its very fullest this month. The team took as much as they could fit into the container which is now bound for the Ivory Coast
Medical Missionaries provided the Reverend Russell and his wife Ann with a truck load of medical supplies which are desperately needed for two hospitals in Jamaica. The Reverend serves 15 parishes there and also administers Grace Christian Ministries International. Volunteers from All Saints Church were on hand to help them load a box truck of food along with medical supplies and boxes of Covid-19 Care Packages.
Incoming Supplies and Equipment
Annie Berger, a seventh grader at Pennington Traditional School in Manassas, is the president of the Student Council. The students do community service by picking a different group to help out each month. Annie read about us on our website and chose Medical Missionaries. Parent volunteers brought the first two loads of donated items; Annie, her mother and brother made the final trip to the Manassas office last week with more hygiene supplies, masks, hand sanitizers and Band-Aids.
Now the toothpaste drawer is totally full! The whole school was involved and reported to us that it felt like Christmas! Annie’s mother asked Dr. Irwin if he would visit the school next year and tell them more about our work. Her Mom was so proud of the work Annie put into organizing the project and collecting the supplies.
- The Women Caring Group of Manassas donated clothing for women and children.
- The House of Mercy of Manassas, who is especially generous to Medical Missionaries, donated medical supplies.
especially generous to Medical Missionaries.
- Diane Stanley and the Women’s Group from Herndon donated a large shipment of medical supplies, hygiene kits and food.
- Board Member Debra Parrish and Manassas friends collected and donated a significant amount of food for the Grundy project.
- Food and health/medical supplies were delivered thanks to our partner Tom from ECHO.
- Girls that Give of Northern Virginia donated hygiene packets they made together with soap, washcloth, toothpaste and a toothbrush.
If you know of anyone or any groups who would like to do a project like making hygiene kits or collecting food donations please let us know! We are so thankful for the young and old who give so generously and enthusiastically of their time and energy.
St. Joseph Clinic, Haiti Update
This past month, the Clinic and residence have been getting some much needed repairs. Clinic Administrators shared that the internet connection has been restored. This is critical to the functioning of the Clinic and for the benefit of the staff. The U.S. team is working to see that the electricity is working well in the Clinic and our electrician John is looking into setting up a sensor to determine electricity usage.
Clinic Administrators are doing a great job in keeping track of all systems at the Clinic. A technician came and helped fix the inverter at the residence which improved the power. Plumbing fixtures are also being evaluated at the Clinic and residence.
Dr. Irwin reports that the 88 boxes of medical supplies and medications bound for our Clinic in Haiti are still on the way! We will hopefully hear of the shipment’s successful arrival in Haiti in June. Stay tuned!
Caring Hearts Online Auction – We are holding our Caring Hearts Online Auction later this fall. Last year’s auction raised nearly $4000 to help fund critical projects. We are very thankful for our very generous bidders.
We are now collecting gift cards to auction off. Please donate your unused gift cards to us! We expect to have national brands, such as Dairy Queen, Chik-fil-a and Starbucks gift cards as part of the Fall auction.