CLAYTON — He has taken part in nearly a dozen mission trips, but the experience continues to leave Dr. Gary Bowman inspired as he witnesses lives being changed.
The Clayton resident was part of a 15-member medical/evangelism team that traveled to Ecuador on Sept. 23-Oct. 4 and attended to 1,264 people during its stay in the capital city of Quito and an area of the Amazon basin, providing medical, physical therapy, pharmaceutical and ophthalmology services.
Bowman, 58, who attends Salem Church of God in Clayton, is an outpatient physical therapist at Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg and works in rehabilitation medicine at Kettering Medical Center. He has participated in previous mission trips to Ecuador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
“I have been able to use my vocation to provide services for persons in need with musculoskeletal or neurological conditions,” said Bowman, who has developed a website to assist professionals who are preparing for similar short-term medical mission trips, with information provided in English and Spanish.
Caring Partners International, headquartered in Franklin, OH, sponsored the trip to Ecuador and previously has partnered with Salem Church of God in similar efforts, most recently in Guatemala. Bowman and the other Americans were joined by four Ecuadoran physicians, local interpreters and Jon and Karen Lamber, Church of God missionaries living in Ecuador.
“Each patient goes to the ‘Clinic of the Soul’ after receiving medical services,” Bowman said. “There, local church pastors and leaders personally share the gospel. We had 380 people pray a profession of faith to receive Christ.”
For Bowman, this trip – as did others he has been part of – held special moments.
“We were able to help one young man named Freddy, who could not walk and was in a wheelchair for eight years due to brain surgery,” Bowman said. “We showed him exercises and worked with his walking to the point of him being able to push his mother in a wheelchair. We were able to share the love of Christ and pray with his family.”
The team also attended to a young expectant mother who had been in a traffic accident and thought she had lost her baby.
“After doing about a half hour of ultrasound – and with prayer – life was detected in the baby,” Bowman said. “The mother was in joyful tears, as well as the team.”
Caring Partners International’s mission stems from estimates that 80 percent of the world’s population is in need of basic health care services, which opens the door to spiritual outreach, as well. Caring Partners International seeks to be a bridge in both regards.
“The local church continues that work through personal discipleship,” Bowman said. “God was and truly is amazing in the Amazon.”
For more information regarding Caring Partners International, please visit www.caringpartners.org.
Salem Church of God is located at 6500 Southway Road, Clayton, OH 45315. Phone (937) 836-6500.