| Jun 14, 2013
Day Two -- Renton to Federal Way, WA
18 miles walked today
187 miles to go
Today, I walked 3 miles out of my way up a really big hill to Melissa’s house. And, it was worth every extra step.
About 3 years ago, on my most difficult day as president of Medical Teams International, I learned that Melissa’s husband, Matt, had died from a heart-related condition while serving as a nurse on one of our volunteer medical teams responding to the Haiti earthquake disaster.
Melissa’s life is not easy. A single parent, she juggles a full-time nursing job, caring for two growing boys, running a household, and helping her parents who have health concerns of their own. And Sunday is Father’s Day, with all of its reminders of Matt’s absence.
In a small park across the street from Melissa’s house, her friends in the neighborhood planted a special maple tree to honor Matt. The tree is beginning to flourish. So is Melissa.
On a bench in the park, the neighbors placed a plaque with Matt’s name and his motto: “Continue to be a part of something big by doing something small."
Matt was one of more than 8,000 volunteers who served on almost 2,000 teams sent out during my 15 years as president of Medical Teams International. Each volunteer on these teams was precious. Each was a vessel of God’s healing grace and power. And, each volunteer left a family, a job and the comforts of home to travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate places of the world to care for those who are suffering.
I have been with many of these volunteers in the field. I have seen them at work. I am so proud of who they are and what they do.
I’ll always remember Matt, who gave his life for the people of Haiti.
And, I’ll be forever grateful to people like Melissa, who entrust their family members to us and send them out to show the love of Christ in a broken world.