On Jan. 10, a group of 13 people – nine of whom are from Neosho – will embark on a medical mission trip to the southern part of Senegal, Africa.
“We will be holding clinic in a little village called Bamacounda,” said Cindy Daugherty, director of Open Doors Foundation, Inc., Neosho.
There are multiple churches involved including Neosho’s First Baptist Church, which has several people going. There will also be representatives from St. Charles, Mo., and Joplin as well.
“Our American physician that is going is Dr. Ray Woodmansee who has served on our team before and used to be an ER doctor (at Freeman Neosho),” she said. “He is presently working in Branson.”
This is the team’s seventh year going on the medical mission trip.
“Of course, we do other trips in between but January we always kickoff the year with the medical team,” she said. “The main purpose is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we use medicine as a platform to demonstrate His love and to have what we refer to as ‘Open Doors.’”
As the medical team, they do a number of procedures while in West Africa.
“The medical team is one, we do medical consultations, we do pharmacy things, we also do dental extractions and we do preventative work with dental hygiene,” Daugherty said. “We also go to the hospital and do some of the burn dressing changes and things like that at the hospital. We’ll also be going to a local school, doing work with the kids, teaching some of the basics like English and counting, we use Bible stories in order to do that. Our hope in the next year is to build a multipurpose building there on some land that we have purchased. We were able to complete a well there this last year. Now that we have the well, we would like to continue with the building process and so that is one of our goals for this upcoming year.”
As far as how many people they help out when they go to the medical mission trip, Daugherty said, “well, just in the clinic alone, we usually treat – that we have official record for – around 1,000 people. Now, that doesn’t count the people that we treat kind of behind the scenes, that come to the river house and things like that.”
Daugherty said she goes on these trips for a couple of reasons.
“First of all, I feel like it is a call that God has put on my life,” she said. “But the main reason is, a lot of people ask the questions, ‘Why not here?’ ‘We have so many needs here, why would you go to West Africa?’ My answer to that is that we do have needs here and Open Doors does participate in things here and we are eager to do so. But here, we have all avenues. People can’t be refused medical care in case of an emergency. We have Medicare, we have Medicaid, we have Bright Futures that helps, and we have all kinds of benevolent offerings with churches that help people, Crosslines, all of these various avenues. Where in Africa, if you don’t have food, you don’t have food. If you don’t have medical care, you don’t have medical care. And the region that we go to, there is one surgeon for 475,000 people. So that pretty much tells you that care is nil. The area that we go to also has the highest infant mortality rate of Senegal, so there are a lot of needs there. We are a faith-based organization and we look at scripture, God always had a balance of preaching and healing. He didn’t preach without serving the needs of the people. And so I feel that is what we are called to do.”
Page 2 of 2 - People can donate to this cause either by medications or by monetary donations.
“It is strictly by donations. The actual team members they pay their own expenses,” she said. “So 100 percent of all donations goes to the mission work itself. There is no administrative fees, it all goes to medical supplies or love offerings for the interpreters fees, things like that, gasoline, lodging for the interpreters that will help us. We have two Senegal physicians that will be helping us. We can take donations in multiple ways, we can either take medications, people can also make monetary donations to Open Doors Foundation, it is all tax deductible, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, they can also go to our website: www.opendoorstoday.org and make a donation online. Since we are getting more restricted by weight, sometimes it is better to do monetary because we can either buy medications over there instead of having to ship them or one of the local pharmacies here helps us get them at a less amount, so we can get more for the same amount of money.”
To donate or for more information, contact Cindy Daugherty at 451-6701 or 389-4680.
The majority of the team will be in Africa through Jan. 22, although three will stay through Feb. 3.