• 64°

Local team travels to Haiti for medical mission

By Joanie Morris
For The Salisbury Post
Before planning a mission trip to Haiti with Bless Back Worldwide, Tom Loeblein was content in his life. Beautiful wife, beautiful kids. Amazing job and wonderful church.
Then he went to Haiti.
“I had never known what nothing was,” said Tom, who called the trip life-changing. “I had never seen nothing before.”
Tom, his wife Leigh Ann and one of his daughters, 17-year-old Joy, went on the mission trip in May as representatives of Bless Back Worldwide, a group that sends mostly doctors, physician assistants and others in the medical field to places around the world to offer medical expertise and procedures.
With the Loebleins went 12 other people — a dentist, dental assistant, four physician assistants, two medical doctors, an athletic trainer, nurse, journalist and photographer.
Part of the crew was from Salisbury. In addition to the Loebleins were Doug and Kelly Carroll, a husband-wife physician assistant team (Doug works for RoMed and Kelly works in the emergency room at Rowan Regional Medical Center), and Rachel Gray, a physician assistant with Salisbury Pediatrics Associates.
“Coming from America where we have so much (and going to) the poorest country in the western hemisphere, it is truly overwhelming,” said Tom, vice president of Healthcare Management Consultants. Tom was asked to lead the group because he has experience in organizing and coordinating. Using his skills, the group was able to do the maximum amount of work possible, without wasting the skills of a medical professional on coordination.
This was Tom’s first trip and Leigh Ann’s second; she went on a trip with Bless Back Worldwide in January.
Each person pays or raises approximately $2,000 to go on the trip — something Tom struggled with at first.
“That would go a long way,” said Tom. “That would buy a lot of food for those kids.”
After prayer and struggling with the decision — it would cost $6,000 for his family to go, a lot of money for those in Haiti, more than many there will ever see — the family decided to go.
“Once you go over there, you realize they can feed them and they can clothe them, but it’s when the mission teams go over there they can feel God’s touch,” said Tom. “They don’t get that love. The mission teams that go over there give that to them. We’re God’s arms and hands reaching around them and telling them they are awesome.
“It was hard to come back,” he added. He plans to return to Haiti within the next year.
Tom likened the struggles the people of Haiti go through to the book of Daniel, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were delivered by God unscathed from the fiery furnace.
“Even though these children have nothing, they had smiles on their faces and a peace about them,” Tom said. “It’s almost like that (supernatural protection of the young Jews) with these children.
“It’s so amazing to look at these little faces with nothing,” Tom added. “Despite that, we know that God loves each and every one of them just like he loves our own children. He gives them a protection of joy that is just mind-boggling.”
While in Haiti, the group created medical records and performed physicals on all the children at Cassa Major, an orphanage; painted the inside of the dining facility in Cambry; completed an inventory of medical supplies and the pharmacy; organized the medical supply storage, as well as pharmacy, including discarding old, unusable medicines; and saw 390 medical patients, 181 dental patients and extracted 120 teeth.
In addition, they attended church services, prayed with the Haitians and “loved on a bunch of children.”
While he struggled with the cost at first, Tom said it won’t make him hesitate in the future.
“We have a responsibility,” he said. “We’ve been given so much.
“I have just fully realized how much we truly have,” he added. “It changed my whole perspective on life as to what truly is important and what you can live — and what other people do live — without.”
To participate in mission trips, Tom recommends starting at home — talk to your church pastor and pray about the decision. If you are unable to go on a trip, consider donating for others to go.
“Whether they give $10 or $100 or more, they are making a huge difference in a child’s life over there,” he said. “(They are) sending somebody that’s going to take care of them.”
Learn more about Bless Back Worldwide by visiting www.blessbackworldwide.org
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-797-4248 or news@salisburypost.com.
 
 

Comments

Comments closed.

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT

Nation/World

D-Day survivor, WWII torch bearer Ray Lambert dies at 100

Nation/World

Prince Philip was always defined by role as husband of British queen

BREAKING NEWS

One dead, several injured after head-on collision in China Grove

Crime

Man, woman charged for selling drugs to undercover deputies

Crime

Blotter: Rowan County man charged with indecent liberties with children

Local

Spencer town board gets look at Park Plaza progress

Business

‘Applicant market’: Unemployment rate improving as businesses hire more workers

Local

National, local business leaders praise Salisbury’s initiative to support Black-owned operations

Nation/World

Tillis has prostate cancer surgery

Coronavirus

Adverse reactions surface from Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nation/World

Expert: Lack of oxygen killed George Floyd, not drugs

Local

Quotes of the week

Nation/World

Biden seeks crackdown on homemade firearms

Nation/World

Victim of former NFL player’s rampage wrote of faith, life’s fragility

News

Wrongly imprisoned man gets $750,000

High School

West falls to Statesville, finishes second in NPC

Education

Middle, high school students head back to classes full time