By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Twitter: @DinwiddieMonitr
Posted: February 28, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
VIRGINIA – Vessels of Mercy International was founded in 1995 by Bev Gibson, Richmond, Virginia, and Bev remains as VOMI’s Chief Executive Officer today. Headquartered in Richmond, VOMI serves the underserved, under-resourced, and least-known people in some of the world’s poorest countries. Since its founding, VOMI has partnered with numerous individuals from here in Central Virginia, across the Commonwealth, and organizations on the ground in the countries it serves, in order to best reach people at their point of need. VOMI focuses on investing in relationships and sustainable development in order to maximize outcomes and to empower those it serves to reach their full potential.
VOMI is just as passionate about reaching those in need right in its own backyard, as it is about reaching those in need around the world. While it provides medical care around the globe, agricultural development in countries such as Kenya, Cambodia and beyond, its volunteers also offer hope to inner-city children living in poverty right here in Richmond and Central Virginia. VOMI also sends disaster relief teams to assist victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods all over the United States.
Bev Gibson Holds and Comforts an Orphaned Baby of the Samburu Tribe. (VOMI)
“For 25 years, VOMI has championed the causes of the poor and oppressed, by putting hands and feet to the belief that Hope Changes Everything,” said Bev Gibson, Founder, and CEO, VOMI. “Hope is found in Jesus. Vessels of Mercy International is a worldwide charitable relief and development organization that alleviates poverty and human suffering by providing practical assistance and offering hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We serve in the U.S. and 13 other countries, providing disaster relief; medical, dental, and vision care; and agricultural development programs which alleviate human suffering and empower those in poverty to rise above their circumstances.”
Charya of Cambodia was born with a rare heart condition that would have killed her before her 8th birthday. While visiting VOMI’s medical and dental clinic in her village, Charya’s Mother pleaded with Vessels of Mercy International’s founding missionary to take her four-year-old daughter to the US to save her life. While many medical and dental issues can be resolved in these villages, profoundly serious cases sometimes require VOMI’s coordination for a trip to the states for complex procedures. After battling an infection that almost resulted in death, Charya finally arrived in Richmond 16-months later. Thanks to the efforts of VOMI to raise the funds for her travel and coordinating the donation of medical care, Charya received the heart surgery that saved and transformed her young life, her community, and her future. Because of her healing, Charya’s Cambodian village came to know Christ, and she is expected to live a normal life. Nine months after surgery, she was able to return to Cambodia as a healthy six-year-old, and Charya is now an entrepreneur. She is married and has two children of her own. Healing (H) brings hope.
Mirela of Romania arrived at VOMI’s partnering Deborah House, as a young teen. She was bringing her little sister with her to escape horrible abuse at home. At Deborah House, she found stability, family, a relationship with Christ, and education. During a teaching session presented by a VOMI missionary on one of many visits to the Deborah House, Mirela responded to a call to, “be the one,” to make a difference in the world. Inspired by the message and the model of VOMI missionaries, she decided that day that she would become a doctor, and serve others as a medical missionary. VOMI’s financial support of the Deborah House means that girls can continue their education beyond high school. Because of these opportunities, Mirela has less than one-year left of medical school. Her dream is becoming a reality. Opportunity (O) brings hope.
Bev Gibson with a Widow of the Samburu Tribe, Kenya. (VOMI)
In the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, VOMI missionaries providing disaster relief met Pastor John. While many Pastors were asking for help, Pastor John asked, “What can I do to help you?” This man was different than so many others, and soon a partnership was born. Pastor John’s vision is to raise up a nation of young people who will Bless and lead their country. He is working to teach, train, and empower those who are abused, abandoned, and afflicted. partnership with VOMI means that children whose parents were killed in that earthquake have a home and a family because Pastor John was able to open an orphanage. The children call John, “Daddy.” Partnership with VOMI means that he has the tools and supplies in his hands to reach outlying communities, and he mentors rural Haitian Pastors. VOMI sends medical teams to Haiti every year to serve in areas of dire need. Partnership (P) means hope.
Natala of Kenya watched her older sisters drop out of school one-by-one, all within a year or two of beginning their menstrual cycles. Poverty in rural Kenya means girls do not have access to feminine hygiene products and must resort to staying home from school, and sitting on mounds of dirt while they endure their cycles. Missing three-months of school in a year leaves these girls so far behind their male peers that they drop out, which makes them candidates for early marriage as young teens. Natala’s story is different. Next year, Natala will graduate high school. She is the first girl in her large family that ever had this tremendous opportunity. Natala was empowered thanks to a sustainable feminine hygiene kit given to her by Vessels of Mercy International’s missionaries. Empowerment came in the form of a hygiene kit that has lasted four years. That’s four years of education she would have otherwise missed. Natala has dreams of going to college and returning to her community to advocate for the rights of girls and women. Empowerment (E) brings hope.
Vessels of Mercy International—an organization that truly personifies hope, and the best of human beings. Medical, dental, and eye care for thousands that have never seen a medical professional. Human beings in excruciating pain from dire dental infections, with swollen and distorted faces that illustrate their pain. Human beings with agonizing and life-threatening medical conditions that can often be cured with a course of antibiotics. Basic needs for life—sustainable food and water—that so many of us take for granted. Clothing, toiletries, education–these and so many other critical and basic needs are provided by VOMI; not to their glory, but to His glory. “When you do for the least of these, you do for me.”
VOMI is always in need of additional MDs of all specialties, Dentists, Hygienists, and support personnel. Medical equipment, supplies, and monetary donations are also needed. Learn more about how you can help, or to volunteer, at www.vesselsofmercy.org. Vessels of Mercy International is located at 12081 Gayton Road, Henrico, Virginia 23238, USA. They can be reached by telephone at 804-740-4575. Someone once said, “Our lives are a gift from God. What we do with our lives is our gift back.”
Vessels of Mercy International is a calling for its Founder and CEO, Bev Gibson. She likes to explain this calling by quoting Charles Spurgeon, who said, “If God calls you to be a Missionary, don’t stoop to be a King.” When asked why she continues this calling and this work day-after-day and year-after-year, she smiled and said that she could best answer that with another quote; this time by Jim Elliot, who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”