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John Gray And Operation Renewed Hope Spread God’s Word
February 2, 2013
John Gray and the team taking
a break on Mechuque Island
By Jessica Rooot
Intern Reporter for the Tribune
John Gray, a chemistry teacher at LSW and a respiratory therapist at Saint Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza during the summer, recently returned home from doing mission work below the equator. This was his fourth mission trip with Operation Renewed Hope (ORH), an organization spearheaded by Jan Milton at Tri-City Baptist Church in Independence.
Gray went to Cambodia in 2007, the Amazon River in Peru in 2009, back to Cambodia in 2011 and, most recently, the southern part of Chile from January 12 to 20.
Gray and other members of ORH flew out of KCI to Santiago, Chile then to Puerto Montt. They boarded the Chile Navy ship, Micalvi, and took a six-hour trip to Butachaques Island. There, they set up a base at a school. The next day, the team woke early to set up and begin their clinic.
“We go to the most remote places in the world where there is very little medical or spiritual input,” Gray said. “We go with invitation of a missionary in the area and approval of the government. The Bible verse we use is Matthew 9:35.”
Matthew 9:35 says: “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
On the second day of their trip, the team took two boats, one the ambulance boat for the islands, to Tac Island where the natives have a clinic building but only a paramedic there.
ORH wants to meet both the spiritual and physical needs of the people. The clinic Gray was part of does medical, dental and eye care. His role involves getting the patients ready to see the doctor.
“I work in registration or triage, where we take vital signs and assess the severity of the medical problem,” Gray said. “I always enjoy seeing people who have very little medical or spiritual care getting their needs met.”
Gray had two translators and two English speakers he supervised at registration. He was the one with medical knowledge who made sure the translators got the information correctly.
The dentists mainly pull teeth, but they can also do fillings and general assessment. In eye care, patients are given glasses that have been donated to the Lions Club.
“Many of these people have never had glasses in their lives, and it’s always fun to see the expression on their faces when they get to see so well for the first time,” Gray said.
On the third day, the team went to Mechuque Island where there was a beautiful clinic building but no medical care. On their final day of the trip, the team packed up and began their long trek back to Kansas City
“If one wants to go on a trip like this you must be prepared to be tired, sleep deprived and inconvenienced but still maintain a sweet caring spirit,” Gray said. “There is a financial cost but you must ask yourself, ‘Does God want me to go on this trip?’ then trust Him and watch Him provide.”
For more information about ORH, visit www.teamorh.com and www.operationrenewedhope.org.
Sean Ahern, 42, races to the summit of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak during the Ascent race Saturday, Aug. 21