Therapists On A Mission:
Laura Thomas Cousar in Guatemala
While attending church at Sugar Land First United Methodist in 1998 Laura Thomas Cousar first heard about the Christian medical mission group, www.FaithInPractice.org.
"I felt God was calling me and when God calls, you must answer," explained Laura, a physical therapist with Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend.
Beginning in 1999 she made her first of nineteen trips to Antigua, Guatemala as a member of the surgical team serving the poorest of the poor in Guatemala.
Guatemala is a country racked with earthquakes and poverty. Faith In Practice focuses on improving the healthcare of the community by sending surgical and medical teams for one week rotations to work with the Guatemalan staff.
"I love this organization," continued Laura. "It is a life-changing mission for our patients as well as our team. It is a six-day work week and every day I walk to work and then put in ten to twelve hours."
"The people there are so genuine and appreciative. It is inspiring that even in the worst of circumstances, they have hope. What we do makes a huge impact and I have found that they teach me what is really important in life."
"We have several therapists that travel on missions annually," said Patti Kocich, President of Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend, Laura's employer. "They are very special people and we fully support them."
"We also feel that our patients benefit when they return from these inspiring international experiences."
For this mission, Laura will be working at the outpost hospital in Retalhuleu also known as Reu to the locals. She will be working on the wheelchair team and the goal is to fit patients with 100 wheelchairs designed and provided by www.FreeWheelchairMission.org. The wheelchairs, built with PVC pipe and bicycle wheels, are designed to be light, simple and resilient.
"Because these people are so very poor, their disability has forced them to live on the ground," explained Laura. "The only way they can move is if someone carries them, so they stay on the ground. My goal is to get people off the ground. I will be assessing the patients to ensure that they are appropriate for these wheelchairs."
"These wheelchairs will give them independence and mobility which means that they will have access to the world outside."
The excitement shone through as she said, "You see we are the hands and feet of God. He has called us to go to all corners of the earth."
"This is a mission from my heart and Guatemala is my corner of the earth."
Follow Laura on her mission on our Facebook page.