All three synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) record Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. The traditional interpretation of this scriptural jewel will be familiar to most readers. Recently, though, I came across a contrary one which opined that the gigantic tree into which the tiny seed grew presaged a corrupt Church and the birds who would inhabit its branches were leaders of an ecclesiastical institution in the service of Satan!
“Our partners have the necessary clinical knowledge to save the maximum number of lives. What they typically lack are the medicines essential to do this.”
The traditional read is certainly more edifying, and it lends itself to a multitude of examples, one of which today is an organization called Medicines for Humanity (www.medicinesforhumanity.org). As the mission statement of MFH states, it is dedicated to saving children’s lives in impoverished communities worldwide by helping local healthcare partners to implement effective health initiatives for children and to become self-sustaining organizations.
Founded by a concerned layman in Massachusetts in 1997, MFH now supports hundreds of thousands of women and children through in programs in Angola, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya and Peru. It recognizes as the key to its success the partnerships it forms with the people and organizations in these countries (typically religious groups) who have a long track record of service and who are dedicated to the impoverished people they serve.
“Our partners have the necessary clinical knowledge to save the maximum number of lives. What they typically lack are the medicines essential to do this.” This lack of basic medicines results in the deaths of thousands of kids every day from diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, malaria, measles and malnutrition.
Donations to MFH are in the form of pharmaceuticals and cash. The latter enables MFH to purchase bulk supplies of medicine internationally at greatly reduced prices. One donated dollar, for instance, will leverage ten dollars of medicine.
MFH’s projects are listed and described on their website. One that is particularly noteworthy is the work they are doing with their healthcare partner in Cameroon where they help the Tertiary Sister of St. Francis (TSSF) operate a general hospital in an area whose population is 385,000. The mortality rate is 155 per 1,000 live births. Beyond the provision of medicines, MFH helps with providing access to clean water and a basic understanding of proper sanitation.
Another program is with the Mill Hill Missionaries in Guayaquil, Ecuador in a shanty town called Isla Trinitaria (population 400,000) where there is a critical need of primary healthcare. Here as elsewhere MFH is the link between compassionate donors and desperate recipients.
Fifteen years ago one caring individual in New England planted and nourished a seed and now there is a thriving organization that “shelters” and nourishes hundreds of thousands of children each year. One wonders if those with the diabolical interpretation of our Lord’s parable would be so inclined.