While in school, Dr. Rick Barrett had an interest in medical mission work. “I always thought that was a wonderful thing to do.” Within his first year of practice, he read of a fellow chiropractor in Texas who went on missions. To lay the groundwork for a possible trip in the future, he phoned his colleague. She told him that a group of doctors and other health care providers would be leaving for Mexico in six months and they would love to have him on board. Initially he hesitated. He told her, “I don’t really think I am ready right now, but keep me in mind. When it’s right, I’ll go.”
Obstacles popped up in his mind. Was it wise to leave his new practice so soon? Could he afford the trip? But the idea kept speaking to his heart. He prayed about it and says he heard an internal voice telling him not to worry, to just step out there. It would be okay. A week later, he phoned her back and said, “I’ll make this happen. I’m not sure how, but I want to go.”
That first trip to Mexico was in 1995, and Dr. Barrett says he loved every minute of it. In the years that followed, he has participated in nearly 30 medical missions with teams of medical doctors, nurse practitioners, therapists and others, seeing as many as 3,000 patients on each week-long trip. Dr. Barrett says, “It has become a part of me. It’s part of my passion and purpose in life.”
The medical teams he travels with go to Mexico and Honduras, seeing some of the same patients from year to year. He is often asked, “How can you make a difference when you go only once a year?” But in his experience, he’ll have patients return to him year after year and say, “You’ve changed my life. I can’t believe how much better I feel.”
Dr. Barrett explains, “I don’t believe that seeing patients in my office or on a mission is that much different. I ask God to walk with me every day. I truly believe I am sent the patients I can help and I can handle.”
On a recent mission to Tamasopo, Mexico, Dr. Barrett brought with him a wheelchair which had been given to him by the Second Mile Mission Center in Texas. When his team arrived in Tamasopo, Dr. Barrett was told of a young man, 26 years old, who had no use of his legs and very little use of his arms. Daily this young man’s parents would carry him from his bed to a chair inside the home. He very rarely went outside. When Dr. Barrett put him in the wheelchair and took him outside, he says, “You should have seen the smile on his face and the laughter. The whole family was elated and so appreciative. It was a life-changing event for this young man and his parents. It was lovely.”
Dr. Barrett’s message is that giving is more than making financial contributions. He says the missing component is becoming personally involved: “A lot of people have been taught to give financially, but I feel it is the serving aspect of giving that people need to look into more deeply.
“Whether that’s internationally or in your community, when you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, you experience more of life. That’s what will change our individual lives and the world as we know it.
“God will always shower blessings and abundance down upon us. The more focus we put on someone else, the more our lives will be fulfilled.”
Note: This article was written by Laura Harvey, Editor of Daily Word.