By now you may be getting a sense of what the people of Rufty Homes do when we're not working. In this installment of our "Rufty Philanthropy" series, we're taking you on another mission with our CFO Kelly Nicholson.
Kelly just returned from a medical mission, this time to Panama. Once again, it was an opportunity to share her spiritual journey and help those with vision challenges experience a caring heart and the new possibilities of sight! From experience, we’ve learned that Kelly's trips are both unique and inspiring, so we hung on to every word. Let's get started.
This time Kelly was joined by her husband, Jamie, and eight others. It wasn’t just a North Carolina crowd on this mission. Hometowns spanned from Ohio, Maine and Kansas. The group with Truth for Today Medical Missions made themselves available to an estimated population of 145,000 people in Panama.
With her experiences from past mission trips, Kelly has gathered a lot of knowledge about fitting eyeglasses and helping to decode vision-prescription challenges. She and the team were in Panama to serve the people of David, the capital of the province of Chiriqui. In addition, the medical mission group held clinics in San Lorenza, San Juan and Camaron, all of which are located within 50 miles.
Holding vision clinics was no easy feat. It required a slow and rough drive that could only be done in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The group traversed large boulders, trudged through heavy red mud, drove through rivers, and journeyed up and down hills, on a road that was 20 miles off the main drag.
The ride through the countryside was certainly rough enough to turn a few stomachs. Though, Kelly found the area of David to be somewhat similar to the U.S. “It has a downtown area of business and lots of fast food restaurants, hotels, a casino, and other industry,” said Kelly.
She noted that the locals cherish their native culture. “The women wear bright colored dresses with embroidered adornments, and men wear straw hats and tall boots,” she said.
Even more, the local tribes still use their native language, and many do not speak Spanish. Because of this, the Truth for Today Medical Missions group needed help from two translators. One to translate English to Spanish and another to translate from Spanish to the native language.
Kelly says her passion for working with Truth for Today Medical Missions opens new hearts and keeps bringing her back.
"We travel the world to help people physically and partner with a local church or missionary that has gathered people at the clinics. Every patient has the opportunity to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” she said.
"Helping those who may never have experienced clear vision is such a gift," she continued. "It's a tremendous blessing to bring sight to those who can finally experience the vibrant color and details of such a beautiful people."
We’re proud to have Kelly's passion for service as a guiding light for the Rufty Homes team. We'll be sure to bring our friends and family along for the journey each time Kelly and our other team members embark on another mission.
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