Discarded medical supplies benefit patients in Ghana and Kurdistan

Volunteers from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall work at the Texas Baptist Men Missions Equipping Center to unload and prepare donated medical supplies for shipment overseas. (Photo courtesy of Christine Hardin)

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DALLAS—Medical supplies from North Texas will benefit patients at a Baptist hospital in Ghana and refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan, thanks to two healthcare professionals from Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall and Texas Baptist Men.

Duyck 300Lyle Duyck, a surgical assistant and layman at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, collects medical supplies donated by Dallas-area hospitals and sends them to overseas ministries. More than 10 years ago, Lyle Duyck, a surgical assistant, began collecting donated medical equipment and supplies from Dallas-area hospitals and providing them to various ministries in developing nations.

Hated to see good supplies go to waste

“I noticed when a surgery was cancelled, anything that had been opened went in the trash,” said Duyck, a layman at Lake Pointe Church.

When he volunteered to manage triage for Hurricane Katrina evacuees to North Texas in 2005, Duyck realized how many of the opened-but-unused surgical items hospitals discarded could help people in need.

“I thought about all that waste, and I realized we could be giving it away for free,” he said.

Collecting donations from Dallas-area hospitals

barrels 300Clay Wade gave 55-gallon barrels to Lyle Duyck, who placed them in Dallas-area hospitals as collection points for donated supplies.A lifelong friend who worked as an executive with a chemical supplier gave 55-gallon blue drums to Duyck, who placed them near operating rooms in and around Dallas as collection points for donated supplies.

Another friend provided Duyck rent-free storage space in an aircraft hangar. Before long, he filled the hangar to the ceiling with medical supplies.

Jim Howard, a fellow member at Lake Pointe Church who commutes weekly to his emergency medicine practice in El Paso, built shelves in the hangar and helped Duyck organize the donated equipment and supplies.

Serving multiple overseas ministries

Over the past decade, the medical supplies have helped multiple ministry partners of Lake Pointe Church, as well as other Christian groups that have requested assistance.

Howard has participated in medical mission trips to Ghana about a dozen years with Lake Pointe, and Duyck has traveled to Africa at least six times.  

“It’s not unusual for us to see 400 to 600 patients a day in the medical clinic,” Howard said.

Duyck has lost track of how many shipments of medical supplies have been sent to Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, Mexico and other under-developed nations.

“I know we helped start a hospital in Belize,” he said.

Working with Texas Baptist Men ministry partners

Mary Kay and Fred Posey of Walking in Love Ministries in Eku, Nigeria, have benefited from previous shipments. TBM has supported the Poseys’ work by providing medical supplies and drilling water wells. 

Donations 350Volunteers organize donated medical equipment and supplies.Volunteers from Lake Pointe Church worked at the TBM Missions Equipping Center in Dallas to pack the latest container of supplies for Baptist Medical Centre in Ghana, which likely will be shipped in late November or early December.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Mission board—now International Mission Board—established the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana, in 1958 as a partnership with Baptists in the country. Two years ago, the IMB turned over the hospital—which serves about 10,000 overnight patients and 60,000 outpatients a year—to the Ghana Baptist Convention. 

Meeting needs in Iraqi Kurdistan

Another shipment of medical supplies will benefit a Christian worker in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq 350A doctor helps distribute medical supplies in Iraqi Kurdistan when a shipment arrived over the summer. Another shipment is due to be sent from Texas in February. “God put me in contact with her,” Howard said, recalling their meeting during a trip to Iraq two years ago.

TBM has a longtime relationship with the worker, whose name and precise location are withheld for security reasons. She works in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government, particularly—but not exclusively—in providing aid to refugees and internally displaced people.

Gary Smith, a layman at Brookhaven Church in McKinney and recently elected TBM president, has spearheaded collections of clothing, diapers and medical equipment—along with shoes collected through Buckner International’s Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign—that have been loaded and shipped to her. 

Iraq 250Donated medical supplies likely will be shipped from Texas to northern Iraq in February.He anticipates the latest containers—including medical supplies Howard and Duyck collected—likely will be shipped in February.

Get donated material ‘where it needs to go’

For his part, Duyck just wants to help people in Christ’s name by providing materials that otherwise would have been trashed.

“We put a lot of effort into collecting these supplies, so I’m pretty particular about where it goes. I don’t want it to end up hitting the black market somewhere,” he said.

“So, that’s why we always try to work with someone on the ground in the country who we trust. We want to know the material gets where it needs to go. But there comes a point where it’s really in the Lord’s hands.”

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