Healing Hands and a Healing Heart
"If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"
-James 2:15, 16 (NASB)
She was barely out of high school when she traveled through a nearly deserted village in Papua New Guinea to build a hospital. She learned that the villagers had almost been wiped out by a preventable disease--"That's when I decided to become a missionary doctor," says Josette (LeMoyne) Hunter, M.D. '92.
Josette and her husband, Doug '92, after medical school and residency, felt the Lord's call to missions and moved their two sons to Sierra Leone, West Africa, to serve with Mercy Ships, a Christian organization that has been operating floating hospitals internationally since 1978. A new land-based hospital--the Aberdeen Clinic and Fistula Center in Freetown--was being built. Doug operated as hospital administrator; Josette was an obstetrician, specializing in gynecology.
Josette helped women handicapped by complications during childbirth. In the case of extended labor--lasting four to eight days--the baby pushes against pelvic organs, causing reduced circulation. Tissue dies off as a result, leaving a hole called vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). Incontinence makes these women social outcasts; their husbands leave them and they often live alone. On one of Josette's first encounters in the African bush, she found a woman who had partially delivered a child who had died and was lodged in the birth canal. Josette intervened, saving the woman from death or permanent damage.
Because healing from VVF surgery takes two weeks or longer, Josette used that time to disciple her patients, worship and share her testimony. By the end of their recovery these women were dancing and praising the God who healed them. Josette and a team of physicians performed more than 500 fistula surgeries during her time there.
The Hunters served with Mercy Ships for almost two years and returned home spring of 2006 to Presque Isle, Maine. Now Doug works with funeral homes and Josette works at The Aroostook Medical Center. She still performs VVF surgeries on short-term trips. She's been back to Sierra Leone once and to Guatemala twice.
A Jacket that Gives Back
It was Darrell's Music Store in Nashua, New Hampshire--one of Mike Petrocelli's '91 customers--that highly recommended his work to Extreme Makeover Home Edition, an award-winning television show devoted to remodeling homes for people in need. The show took the recommendation seriously and asked Mike, president of sales and marketing, Petrocelli Marketing Group, if he would be a donor.
Donate they did--giving over 20 jackets to the show's PR team, 100 VIP fleece jackets, and an additional 30 jackets for the builders working on the January 27 show. The PR team said the embroidery on Mike's jackets was "the nicest they ever saw."
The show remodeled a home for a family from Manchester, New Hampshire, who lost everything in a flood. Mike and his team were honored to give back.
Boston Red Sox Ball Girl
Few will ever get to walk on the Fenway. Fewer will walk through Fenway Park with Boston champion legends Tedy Bruschi and Kevin Faulk of the Patriots, Bobby Orr and Ken Hodge of the Bruins, Bill Russell, Danny Ainge and Jo Jo White from the Celtics, and Brian Dauback and Dave McCarty of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox team.
As a Red Sox ambassador, Megan Benevides '06 happened to work on Opening Day, April 8, 2008, as the ball attendant, and she escorted these legends around for pregame ceremonies and the World Series ring presentation. "It was a unique opportunity that I will remember forever, being in the presence of such greatness as these Boston legends."
Megan graduated from Gordon with a double major in recreation and leisure studies and business administration, and is also associate director for Special Olympics Massachusetts.
A Work in Restoration
by Abigail Geer '08
"Power isn't about your title or position; it's about your ability to fulfill your calling," said Sarah Petrin '98 during a recent visit to campus. The meaning of power in the lives of the disenfranchised has been central to Petrin's work since her graduation as a French and international studies Pike Scholar.
After working in a senator's Washington office, Petrin worked for World Vision in Africa. The move was not unprecedented; she was born in western Kenya and spent a year studying in Senegal during her time at Gordon. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Petrin managed a United Nations project designed to protect displaced Afghanis. After working with a number of human rights groups, she served as director of government relations for the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, briefing members of Congress and Executive Branch officials on human rights emergencies. She advised FEMA on long-term options for dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and also served as outreach director for the Better World campaign.
When asked how her work advocating for refugees and displaced people fits into the bigger picture of God's work, she responds that she sees God "acting as a restorer, repairer and redeemer, taking things that have been abandoned, situations that are wrong, and making them right. Seeing people get out of places of oppression and seeing them rebuild their lives mirrors God's restoration." She also sees the movement in the gospel towards repair and restoration as important to restoring and repairing the brokenness she perceives in our nation's international relationships.
Her favorite memory of Gordon is of graduation day when she traveled down a "tunnel" formed by the professors who had pushed her to excel, as they cheered her and her fellow graduates on into the world. She says, "It felt like the saints rejoicing in heaven." She says that sense of benediction and praise was empowering--a significant impression in light of the fact that Petrin expends herself trying to empower people around the world.
Arnold L. Frank '55 wrote The Fear of God (Nordskog Publishing, July 2007), a book that uses Scripture to teach what the fear of God is and how it is to be expressed, reminding readers to regard God as holy and sovereign.
Dorothy Loyte Blackman x'56 wrote New York Patriots (North Country Books, January 2008), a collection of historical fiction adventure stories that tell the story of 15 men who fought in battles in New York State during the Revolutionary War.
John Currid '74B published Deuteronomy: An Evangelical Press Study Commentary (Evangelical Press, 2006). This is his sixth volume of commentaries on the Pentateuch. The final volume--on Numbers--will be published sometime this year.
Becky (Vail) Leblanc '93 wrote Thoughts on Blindness: One Spouse's Perspective on Losing Vision and Living Life (Carroll Center for the Blind, October 2004), a book that combines poetry, basic information about blindness, and humor to describe her husband's journey into blindness and their faith that God will carry them through any difficulty they may face.
Contact the Authors
Arnold | ajlfrank1juno.com
Dorothy | Peethook1yahoo.com
John | jcurridrts.edu
Becky | joe.beckyverizon.net
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