Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Pope and I

Love, peace, charity. 

Caring for the disenfranchised, the poor and the weak among us is the message Pope Francis shared with the world entire on his historic visit to the U.S.  This is the message Francis has lived and shared with people throughout his life.

The United States is the most generous and giving country in the world; a country whose citizens donate more time, energy and dollars to those in need than anyone else.

Pope Francis has seen what America stands for.  That we, as a nation, comprised of many races, religions, and ethnicities are united in a spirit of generosity and compassion, working together to care for our fellow man, improve the human condition, elevate all people, defend freedom and act to improve the lives of people throughout the world.

This is not the experience he had living in Argentina I’m sure.

Pope Francis has challenged Catholics in previous writings to become involved in the mission of serving.  He said that we should go out to where the people are and come back tired, dirty and smelling like sheep.

I realize not everyone is ready or willing to smell like sheep, but there are those of us who derive some strange pleasure from getting dirty and smelly, travelling long distances to remote areas, overworking, sleeping little and in uncomfortable places, fighting mosquitos, enduring harsh weather,…(pouring rain, heat, humidity, or cold) horrible bathroom and bathing facilities, eating differently, becoming sick, and more… to serve those who need medical attention.

I am one of those people and associate with quite a few who feel the same.  We have been living Pope Francis’ challenges for many years.  Our team’s members represent Catholics and many other religions, as well as a few non-believers.  They, too, have wonderfully generous hearts open to helping their fellow man.  Two thousand fifteen marks my 20th year participating with medical missions; about forty to date.  Obviously, the number isn’t significant, just interesting to reflect on because it calls to mind that our doctors and support personnel have touched and impacted an extraordinary amount of lives.  Based on the number of patients per trip, I estimate we have treated approximately 60,000 people!  That’s staggering to contemplate.  Our teams have travelled to Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Next week, our team (St. Francis Medical Mission) will be travelling once again to Guatemala.  This will be my fourth trip there, but I eagerly anticipate this mission as we will serve the indigenous of a different region.  It involves a four to five hour bus ride and another hour or so boat trip up the Rio Dulce.

I know many of you have valid concerns about our safety, but honestly, the only thing I worry about are the “dang” mosquitos carrying malaria, dengue and chikungunya.  Mosquitos, unfortunately, love me.
As always, I appreciate all prayers.  It is not reciprocal, but as Pope Francis said, if you are a non-believer, just wish me well. 

I thank you all in advance for the love, support, prayers and financial donations.  You have always been there for the team and me.

Dr. Rick Barrett

P.S.  Mary has been working on upgrading our mission website.  Please check it out.  Any suggestions are welcome.
Also, if you care to donate, please:
-send me a check
-use the donation box at the office
-go directly to the website
-or, if you want me to personally find families or individuals with specific needs while in the country of Guatemala, send me a check or use the donation box in the office and I will gladly see that your donation is used appropriately.

Lastly, I have a few items in my office to use as silent auction items for donations.  Please come by, take a look and bid on them.

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