Catalyst Project

Catalyst Project

Facilitating wheelchair services through faith-based hospitals in low-resource countries.

Like many fathers, my dad had favorite short sayings that he used regularly when trying to guide or discipline his sons. 

Dad would often assign us tasks or chores that had varying levels of complexity.   Blueprint ​When we seemed a little confused about how to get started or understand the exact nature of what he wanted from us he would inevitably say, with a hint of irritation, “do I need to draw you a blueprint?"

I used to think that it would be a good thing if we came equipped with our own personal blueprint to guide us through life starting at “A” progressing to “B” fulfilling the things that we were supposed to be doing here on earth.  It would make a lot of stuff easier.  Questions like who to marry, what we should pursue as a vocation, whether or not to have children and a host of other things would become straight forward; just follow the blueprint.

Drug users often describe the feeling they get from recreational drug use as a “rush”.  I had a rush this week when Karen forwarded me the note below. 

Solomon is a Physio-Therapist from Kenya that Karen has interacted with.  Though I have yet to meet him I have listened to him and recognize his passion to help disabled children.  In fact, from what I have been told he has taken the parable found in Luke 14:15-24 literally, particularly verse 21.  Solomon actively seeks out children with disabilities and helps them as best he can with the resources he has. 

Karen connected Tenwek Hospital with Free Wheelchair Mission and the first container has arrived. The words below are Solomon’s.

“First free mission wheelchair, pilot distribution on 13 yr old girl” 

2018 was a big year for us.  We can look back on about a half a year’s work full time on the AT Catalyst project.  It started with taking a big leap, leaving our jobs at LeTourneau and selling our house. Then there was a long trip to present the project to great people in Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and finally Alberta.  That loop included interactions with Samaritan’s Purse and being part of a great conference with IDEAS.  In September and October, we set up our new home base in Alberta. We were back on the road in November to the Global Missions Health Conference and meetings with the Christian Medical and Dental Association.   Then in November, Karen was off to Egypt leading a group to interact with two faith-based hospitals there.  On the way home, in the UK she was able to meet with researchers at the Global Disability Innovation Hub.  God is doing amazing things.  Many thanks to all of you who made this possible!!  Stay posted for more great doors opening in 2019.

For many of us, Christmas is a time of family and good food. There’s a story about a celebration meal in Luke 14. In verse 21 we read ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ Until Karen began working with disabled children in Kenya, I hadn't given much thought as to how difficult it might be to do this.

There is a saying that you may have heard, it goes “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: “One bite at a time”. This helps to describe the huge need for safe and affordable healthcare that is absent for a very large proportion of the world’s population.

Karen and I spent most of last week at a conference that brought thousands of healthcare providers together most of whom work in the developing world working hard to alleviate that problem. Every type of medicine was represented, from neurosurgery to physical therapy, ophthalmology to assistive technology, dentistry to plastic surgery. These folks either work full time in a culture that is not their own or they donate weeks of their time every year to go somewhere in the world and help.

It’s been a little while since I was able to sit down and write about the new journey Karen and I are on. It’s been quite a summer with close to 5000 miles driven. We made two trips between Longview Texas and Didsbury Alberta Canada.

On the first trip we traveled around the US meeting with people who had partnered with us and we had the chance to present the opportunity to others to join the AT Catalyst team. The second trip involved a one-way flight from Calgary to Longview Texas then a long drive piloting a U-Haul truck with a car hauler on behind between Longview and Didsbury. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of many people who support us.

Serendipity and loving-kindness

There’s a wonderful Hebrew word, "hesed," that is used to describe our Father God. It’s often translated loving-kindness, or steadfast love, but there is really no word like it in English. It’s the serendipitous details that gleam with loving-kindness when life is complicated or discouraging.

Webster’s dictionary defines serendipity as, “valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”

This has been an interesting few weeks. 

I came home from Kenya to no home . . . or rather to realize that my home is where my hubby is.

We sold our house just before I left (praise God!), and the closing date was while I was gone. We were packing the house while I was packing for Kenya. Phil nobly finished packing and moving out with the help of the great people at our church.

Many thanks to Terri and Charley and all the rest at Kilgore Bible Church!!  And to Harriet Clark who opened the door for us to stay in her guest house and swim in her pool.