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Crippin family returns from a medical mission in Brazil

Monday, February 5, 2007

Need is great

Helping others is one of the things Dr. David Crippin does best. He has been practicing medicine for over 20 years and has seen many babies take their first breaths of life.

Doing ministry work is also high on his list.

He has traveled to Nicaragua the past three years with Baptist Medical/Dental Mission International to help those in need of medical care. Over the holidays, he and his wife Glee and sons Alex and Nick took the opportunity to travel to Brazil where they put their care and concern to work - and they continue to do so now that they are home in Storm Lake.

Family friends, Al and Nadine Piersbacher, have been missionaries in the area of Fortaleza, Brazil for 30 years. They spent almost a year in Newell on sabbatical nine years ago. Last summer, Nick Crippin was a part of a youth group from Bethel Baptist Church in Newell that traveled to Brazil.

They met up with the family and took part in helping construct a missionary's retreat facility. He was thrilled to be able to go back to the same location - with his family.

The family spent some of the time in Fortaleza, located on the east coast near the "horn" protrusion of the country and some time in the mountain village of Pacoti, reached after a two-hour drive in the mountains and rain forest.

The Crippins described the cities of Brazil as being modern and fast moving while the villages are poor and much less industrialized. It was in the poor area where Dr. Crippin took an interest in the medical facilities.

"The hospital of Pacoti was founded over 50 years ago but is now subsiding on minimal contributions by the government and local town people," he said. "The beds and all the equipment is ancient."

The Crippins had the opportunity to visit with the doctors, who take turns covering the hospital and the people that work and try to run a health care facility.

"It is a busy place that sees 50 outpatients daily, delivers many babies and does basic IV fluids, etc. They desperately need any equipment to function," Dr. Crippin added.

Glee said she was impressed with the doctors, one in particular expressing to them "a very genuine concern for the people."

The Crippins hoped to assist with supplying the desperately needed equipment, but at the the time, were not sure how to begin.

Sometimes the grace of God works in mysterious ways.

When the Crippins returned home, they learned about the Millennium Ministries of Fort Dodge, which provides a metal box (8'x 40') that the medical equipment the Crippins are starting to gather can be deposited in, to ship to Brazil. Though so close, the Crippins had not heard of the ministry nor that a fellow Tri-Mark physician was involved.

"It will cost up to $5,000 for me to send it and hopefully this will occur this July or August," Dr. Crippin said. "I hope to send 15 hospital beds and basic supplies. I am also collecting emergency room supplies, walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, surgical instruments, radios, etc. If anyone has any of these items laying around to donate, I would gladly take them to send in the container box."

Dollar donations are always appreciated, but with much of what is needed unavailable in brazil, sending medical equipment directly will help. "This way we will be providing things they said they need," Glee said.

Dr. Crippin is hoping that once the shipment is made that he, and hopefully members of his family or even youth from the church, can make another trip down to unload and set up equipment. "I hope to go back next winter and work with the local doctors and hospital and do some teaching and see some patients."

On the recent trip, the Crippins took along some tools and medicines. The doctor couldn't pass up the opportunity to do some health checks on people living in the village.

Though there was a language barrier, the Brazilians were able to recognize the interest of the Crippins.

Dr. Crippin had the opportunity to speak at the annual missionary conference, organized for all those people who are devoting their lives to helping the people in northeastern Brazil. He updated the missionaries on such medical concerns as bird flu and AIDS, two areas that could affect them. He also took time to speak with them individually about health care.

The entire Brazilian experience was rewarding in so many ways.

"Our family felt truly blessed by the opportunity to go and serve together," said Dr. Crippin. " It was clear that God directed our paths and provide for us in this ministry."

"This was very good for us to be able to do as a family," Glee adds, "to share our values and to see that the world is a bigger place than we imagine."

Anyone wishing to help in this cause can contact the Crippins.



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