Medical Missions, Healing in Jesus’ Name

April 2012 - Cover Story
by Cecile S. Holmes

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April 2012 - Cover Story

For almost four decades Dr. Hal H. Crosswell Jr. has journeyed to Haiti to use his ophthalmological skill to serve poverty-stricken people in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Crosswell, 77, who has practiced with the Columbia Eye Clinic for 45 years, goes as part of a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission South Carolina (UMVIMSC) team. Yet his service feeds into a mighty stream of short-term medical missionary volunteers from all sorts of Christian denominations. These medical missionaries often use vacation time – and sometimes their own funds – to provide medical services such as dental care and cataract surgery to the poorest of the poor.

Crosswell, whose work has been recognized with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, first became involved in 1968 at the request of another doctor who asked him to consider doing some work in the Caribbean. His first trip took him to Anguilla in the Leeward Islands to perform eye surgery.
“Then in 1972, at the request of the Methodist Church of Haiti, we were asked to look at a remote area of Haiti — Jeremie, about 120 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince and then report back to the S.C. United Methodist Conference,” Crosswell says.

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