Medical Preparation for Humanitarian Missions

Going on a mission trip or a humanitarian event to a developing country? Prepare yourself by doing this.

“Doctor, this will be a very long war if for every division I have facing the enemy, I must count on a second division in hospital with malaria and a third division convalescing from this debilitating disease.” General Douglas MacArthur to Colonel Paul F. Russell, US Army malaria consultant, May 1943.

Just like soldiers going to war, people on humanitarian missions anywhere in the world can fail to accomplish their mission due to illness or injury. Whether missionaries seeking to advance the gospel of Christ, secular humanitarians trying to dig a well and build a school in a rural African village, or a combination of both, medical problems can inactivate the best intentioned and most capable teams. This article is intended to help people medically prepare themselves to go overseas on humanitarian missions. You can also watch the video.

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The Year in Adventure, Leisure, Sports and Travel History

14 Jan – Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen on a British expedition under Edward Fitzgerald made the first recorded ascent of Aconcagua, at 22,837 ft the highest mountain in South America, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere (1897).

18 Jan – American pilot Eugene B. Ely landed his Curtiss Pusher on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylania in San Francisco Bay, the first time that an aircraft landed on a ship (1911).

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Useful Quotations on Aviation and Space

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

“There’s a historical milestone in the fact that our Apollo 11 landing on the moon took place a mere 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight.” Buzz Aldrin

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skills.” Frank Borman – Apollo 8

“I’m going to fly this thing, then I’m going to set it afire and never have another thing to do with aeroplanes.” Clyde Cessna, after an unsuccessful 1911 attempt at flight

“The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly.” G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci

“If you’re faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible” Bob Hoover, former test pilot and airshow performer

“Always keep an ‘out’ in your hip pocket.” Beverly “Bevo” Howard, aerobatic pilot and entrepreneur.

“Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee.” William Kershner, test pilot, flight instructor and author.

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” Simon Newcomb (March 12, 1835 – July 11, 1909), Canadian-American astronomer and mathematician.

“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” Eddie Rickenbacker

“A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the study of so vast a subject. A time will come when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them.” Seneca, Roman philosopher, 1st century AD

“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives”. Socrates

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” Henry David Thoreau

Reflections on the Martial Arts

Martial arts are good for fitness and self-defense, but they are better for building character. 

My hands ached and my forearms were a little bloody as I gave the final bow to the master of our dojang in my test for the black belt. An odyssey that began as a second grader in karate class to deal with bullies was complete.  My childhood karate ended when the money ran out, so I tried again with tang soo do and kenpo in college and tae kwon do in medical school. In both cases my training was cut short. During my first tour in Germany, I started tae kwon do once more, but stopped after only a few months. I had tried four times to learn an Asian martial art, made it as far as blue belt, quit, and started over again.

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Tae Kwon Do Poomse

Tae Kwon Do is great for the body; providing exercise, increasing flexibility, and improving body control. Tae Kwon Do is also great for the mind; teaching discipline, enhancing concentration, and focusing goals. Because it is important to practice the forms outside of class, information on the forms are below:

Tae Kwon Do – Tae Geuk Forms 1-8

Tae Kwon Do Poomse-Forms

Gettysburg Sesquicentennial 2013

Photographs of the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War, Sesquicentennial June


Living History at Gettysburg on the Sesquicentennial

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to revisit one of the most important battles in American history. 

Some families enjoy history. Mine has reconnoitered the fields at Saratoga, examined the batteries at Fort McHenry, walked the decks of the USS Wisconsin, and explored the beaches at Normandy.  On Independence Day weekend my oldest son David, my oldest daughter Anna, and I enjoyed another famous battlefield, Gettysburg.

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Surfing the Nations

In Wahiawa, one of the poorest areas on the island of Oahu, a group of Christian surfers is transforming their part of the community. Working through a nonprofit called Surfing the Nations, they have replaced a porn shop, liquor store and brothel with a coffee bar, antique shop and meeting room, home of the Surfer’s Church. Neighboring apartment buildings have also been renovated. 

Surfing the Nations (StN), founded by long time surfer and associate minister Tom Bauer in 1997, is a non-religious non-profit organization with the motto “Surfers giving back”. Sensitive to the fact that surfers are commonly associated with “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” rather than social good, Bauer wanted a group that would help change that image at home and abroad. To this end, in addition to the work that StN is doing at home, it is active in many countries worldwide, “anywhere with a surf” as Bauer chuckles. 

Volunteers from all over the world work with StN in periods ranging from a few days to two years. The youth choir from our church, the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, Virginia, volunteered in late June, 2013. Jens, a furniture carpenter and wood shop teacher from Sweden, brought his family for one month for their family vacation. California was well represented among volunteers, and our east coast kids’ vocabulary soon included “gnarly” and “stoked”. No one at StN, not even Tom Bauer and his wife Cindy, is paid. Everyone pays their own way, receives their support from home churches, or gets income from StN’s weekly visits to the local swap meet. 

StN volunteers renovate buildings, clean trash, landscape, teach Bible truths, host kids carnivals, and serve their community in many other ways. Every Thursday a team goes to the First Samoan Assembly of God under the H1 highway in Honolulu to feed malnourished locals. When our team was there, 650 persons received free and healthy foods, including fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables. It is the largest regular food distribution on Oahu.

All is not work, however. StN volunteers teach surfing if they know it and learn surfing if they do not. Then they become teachers for new volunteers and for those they encounter on StNs mission trips abroad.  Puena Point near Haleiwa is an outstanding bay for teaching aspiring surfers. From our group young and old, skilled and not so skilled took to the surf and had a great time.

Surfing the Nations is a non religious non-profit run by Christians for the betterment for Hawaii, and for all those they touch. It combines adventure and service, and is a sterling example of “surfers giving back”. Visit them at  

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