By Ben Lawson
When she was first approached about taking part in an overseas mission trip years ago, Connie Holbert wasn’t sure she could do it. Fast forward seven trips later and she’s still at it.
Holbert, who has worked in the marketing department at Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge for 15 years, left on May 25 for Nairobi, Kenya to take part in a missionary-run medical clinic. She’s no stranger to these trips, having been to Honduras, twice to Romania, to Rio de Janeiro and to the Dominican Republic.
“If you go on one mission trip, you’re hooked,” she said. “It’s in your blood.”
Experience will help her while in Africa, where she’ll be in one of the most impoverished locations she’s ever traveled to. That still won’t mean it’s easy, however, as her group will be working with the Mossai tribe, which lives in small villages deep in the bush. Medical vaccines covering ailments like yellow fever and malaria are required, there will be no traveling at night, and a liter of water must be consumed each day to stay hydrated. But in the end, Holbert knows the hard work will be worth it.
“It’s so amazing to see people come for days and wait patiently for their turn at the clinic,” she said.
The trip was organized by Kay Collier-Pittman, who’s made four other medical trips to Kenya, and will include a certified medical doctor. Once in Kenya, the group of six will work alongside missionaries Don and Paula Nichols, who operate The Healing Evangelism Ministry to bring medical care and Christianity to Kenya.
At the clinic, patients will first begin with triage to learn what care they are in need of, followed by a visit with the doctor for a prescription. Translators assist in all of these functions, aiding in the explanation of the medicine and dosage instructions. During this process, the missionaries will take time to speak with the patients about God. A clinic will normally average 1,000 patients and hand out 5,000 prescriptions.
In addition, toys, snacks, and money for shoes were collected for the children they will be helping, with donations made by Long John Silvers, Burger King, Charter Foods and local churches.
“It’s amazing to see their faces light up,” Holbert said. “They’re so appreciative of whatever we can give them.”
Even with a full life at home, including recently being named Woman of the Year by the Sevierville American Businesswomen’s Association, Holbert continues to feel the need to help others. She was in a serious car accident last year that she was lucky to survive.
“I could’ve died in an instant,” she said. “I said whatever God wants me to do, I’ll do it.”
Seventh Time’s a Charm for Local Missionary
By Ben Lawson