Volunteer in Vietnam: Good Samaritans Medical Dental Ministry (GSMDM)
11.22.09 – by Guest Blogger: Ben Khuc, a fourth year human biology major and premed at UCSD, is a GSMDM committee member whose passion is to serve the people of Vietnam.
Change lives, one at a time. This is the mantra and goal of the Good Samaritan Medical and Dental Ministry. This is why I joined the mission back in 2008, to be a part of this vision. During that Summer I would embark on not only the experience that would change my life, but also a trip that really taught me what true love is. Being a Vietnamese-American that was coming back to Vietnam–especially the North–was a bittersweet experience for me. I knew that a great deal of our older male patients were the same people that I lost a lot of my family members to. However, we had a job. Our team of medical professionals and volunteers would travel to the most remote towns and provinces to bring medical care to our patients. During this time, my eyes were open to such a vast medical need in this part of the country. Many people came with unusual ailments, such as massive goiters. These people reminded me so much of my own family members. This was when I came to a realization that we are all in the same boat.
Regardless of what happened in the past, we were now all united by a same country. My Que Huong, our Que Huong–this is our common bond. This epiphany really changed the way I cared for, and conversed with these patients. I recall one evening at the clinic, I was talking to an older male. He was showing off a certificate that he received during the war, when he was an officer of the CSVN army. He told me that those times were so tough on his family, and he lost many brothers. War hurts everyone, and at the end of the day, there is no winner or loser. Many lives were lost on both sides of the 17th parallel. After this mission, I really felt a sense of peace by forgiving what happened in the past.
I really learned how to love my patients in a divine way, and the patients see that too. They see that these group of people that came to help them comprised of people that used to hate and despise. Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, and Christians, came to their rescue when in the past, these groups were direct threats to them. I believe this paints the most beautiful picture–just like the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Because our team was able to step out of our comfort zone, to really love those which were hardest love, we really showed the same love Jesus Christ did when he came to the Earth. That is true love. I found that through this mission that not only were our patients lives changed one at a time, but my life was one that was changed too.
A touching video featuring GSMDM on HTV Vietnam:
There are many other wonderful philanthropy projects featured on VTP. Please check them out under Initiatives category.
About Good Samaritan Medical Dental Mission (http://gsmedicalministry.org)
The Good Samaritan Medical and Dental Ministry is a fully comprehensive mission that operates in the rural regions of Vietnam in efforts to spread God’s love through providing medical and dental care. GSMDM brings together dedicated physicians, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, and volunteers to provide extensive state-of-the-art and health services. Some of these services include blood chemistry analyzation, eye exams and eyewears, dental care through mobile dental units, mobile pharmacy, and full surgical capabilities.
The mission spans two weeks in during midsummer , and for 2010, it will be from July 22th to August 8th. For the summer of 2009, GSMDM saw over 3,500 patients and operated on 37 patients. GSMDM’s capabilities are extensive and opportunities are numerous.
For more stories, photos, and videos of GSMDM, please visit our blog at: http://blog.gsmdm.org/