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In 2010, God woke up Dr. Mark Snyder in the middle of the night with an answer to his continued prayer to provide better care and eliminate complications from his patients undergoing total joint replacement surgeries. This proved to be a ground-breaking discovery that has led to the elimination of nearly all infections and complications in thousands of patients following this major surgery through an integrated clinical pathway known as “Zero in on Zero”, which seeks to target zero adverse events or problems. God also had been stirring in the hearts of his clinical team who have been and continue to be essential champions and implementors of these plans. God then awoke Dr. Snyder in the middle of the night in 2012 with a plan to take this medical discovery and apply this to Neglected Tropical Diseases plaguing over 1 billion people in the world. This was to be done in partnership with the local faith and medical leaders and key organizations already committed to the equipping of these leaders. Unbeknownst to Dr. Snyder, God had already been laying the groundwork in the hearts and minds of future organizational leaders like his son, David, as well as key partners like Dr. Jonathan Burnham. Three men in three different parts of the United States with the same God inspired dream.
After months of prayer, discussions with international leaders, and countless hours of research, Sustainable Medical Missions officially launched in January of 2013. Most of the first year was spent building relationships with key medical and church leaders as well as refining the plans and vision to best fit the needs of the communities and countries around the world. We wanted to know what would work and what would be valued. Collaboration and true partnership in which we learn from each other has been a key value for this ministry from the beginning. It has yielded incredible insights as we build this work together with these indigenous leaders. For example, we learned how even the best ideas will not endure if there is never local ownership and shared design from the very beginning. We also discovered that most of these leaders are left feeling powerless to initiate change due to well-intentioned organizations that attempt to solve their problems for them.
Investing deeply into the lives of these leaders trained through smaller conferences and continued support and resources has resulted in a ground swell of growth. We met in 2013 with 100 medical and faith leaders in Kenya and Uganda. By 2017, we observed in that year alone 2,676 leaders trained and 235,804 lives impacted in 19 different countries throughout Africa and Asia. We have seen this exponential growth through purposeful discipleship as well as incredible partners working with us that have invested decades into the lives of their contacts and communities. In the first 5 years, over 4,000 leaders have been trained and 500,000 lives changed through competent medical compassion that has not just provided care but seen the eradication of targeted diseases that had previously left children and families in a continuous cycle of poverty for decades or even centuries. Yet, it is the indigenous leaders in these nations who are the true superheroes making the impossible become possible through their sacrificial investment. Their impact has been undeniable, but we even began to quantify this local giving in 2017. We learned the local people at the various project sites across Africa and Asia gave nearly $10,000 on top of our seed grant funds to further enhance and expand their impact as well as over 40,000 volunteer hours.
2018 has seen a doubling of the number of project sites as well as increasing numbers of training events by those who have been previously educated. Many people may be impressed by the numbers, but the true measure of success is the one child who is now free from parasites that once weakened her. More importantly, she knows about her Heavenly Father who loves her extravagantly.