We recently asked some of LEAP’s 2017 Medical Team Leaders, who offer guidance and support to our surgical teams while on mission, to share their hopes and advice for LEAP in the coming year.
- Dianne Altuna is a Speech Pathologist who co-led our final trip to Haiti this year with LEAP Missions Coordinator Donna Matthews. She has served on 5 surgical missions with LEAP, the first being to Haiti in April 2015. She also volunteers in our office and warehouse.
- Dr. Evan Beale is a Plastic Surgeon who served as a Team Lead on our final trip to Haiti this year and has served on 6 surgical missions with LEAP, starting with our 2012 mission to Zimbabwe.
- Dr. Eric Payne is a Plastic Surgeon who has served as a Team Lead two years in a row on the Zimbabwe mission. He has traveled with LEAP on 8 total surgical missions—4 to India, 3 to Zimbabwe, and 1 to Haiti.
- Dr. Elizabeth Richards is an Anesthesiologist from Australia who served as an Anesthesia Lead for LEAP on the Zimbabwe mission this year. She has served on 5 surgical missions with LEAP, the first being to Zimbabwe in 2012
As a LEAP Team Leader, what do you hope 2018 has in store for LEAP?
Dianne Altuna: That LEAP is able to continue to provide blessings to individuals and their families who have a facial difference in many countries where these types of services are not readily available. And that these blessings for those LEAP works with become blessings for each volunteer on the trip.
Dr. Evan Beale: I hope we continue to grow the number of surgeries we do, increase the volunteers we enlist, continue to expand our donor base, and to touch as many lives around the globe as possible.
Dr. Eric Payne: I hope 2018 brings LEAP new opportunities to help change more children’s lives than ever before, so we can show the love and hope of Christ.
Dr. Elizabeth Richards: I would like 2017, the year of Jubilee, to welcome 2018, a brand-new year of excitement, hope and mercy for all peoples of the nations. The world is experiencing a turn of tide, and this is affecting the innocent in not only their well-being, but their hope, their freedoms and their opportunities to face the world and fulfill their destinies. I would love to see LEAP increase the repertoire of people they serve through medical care and ministry.
What advice/insight would you give to next year’s volunteer leaders?
Dianne Altuna: Be flexible! And, if you are a Team Leader, work with the other Team Leaders to help solve challenges. Sometimes, another Lead may have new ideas and a new way to help a challenge become a win-win for everyone. There is not one person on any trip that is more important than another; each person brings to the trip a set of skills, these skills may be different but may, in the long run, help the entire team.
Dr. Evan Beale: Get to know your team as well as you can.
Dr. Eric Payne: Stay positive in the face of adversity because you are doing good in the world, and it will be a struggle with many unexpected problems to face. You must encourage everyone to keep working hard and they will rise to the occasion to solve every problem.
Dr. Elizabeth Richards: Most of all, enjoy the experience and the joy that comes with serving ‘the least of one of these’. Fulfillment is an end product of giving your services without expecting anything in return. And don’t forget the blessings you’ll get from the All Mighty God! There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain!