Third Annual Golf Tournament
*Golf Tournament Update!*
The Conflict in Iraq
Our Founder, Dr. John Thomas will be making his 15th trip to Erbil, Iraq, this coming Monday 08/18/14. Once again, he plans on training local doctors in new ways to treat patients as well as personally treating them himself. In addition to treating patients who sometimes travel 100+ miles by foot, Dr. Thomas will also be assisting local doctors with the "Tele-medicine" program setup during his previous visit to Iraq. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Northern Iraq and the surrounding areas. With the this new technology, nurses and even non-medical workers can help provide treatment for the sick in remote areas such as these refugee camps by connecting patients to doctors here in the US and around the world. It is a ground breaking technology to be sure, and was invented for situations just like the one currently happening in Iraq.
Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, took over much of the nation earlier this month, and has been responsible for killing hundreds of men, women and children, simply because they profess Christ as their Lord. "Under the ISIS control, Christians have very few options. They can convert, pay a fine or die. That is why most of them have decided to flee the country," said Dr. Thomas. "Anything that is contradicting them, they want to erase it. Where I am going we will mainly be taking care of Christians who have been there for two thousand years, living in the same place; now they are being rooted up from their homeland."
Although there is certainly a risk involved in traveling to the Iraq at this time, Dr. Thomas has committed that as long as the airports are open he will be there to help the people of the Middle East. "I think at the end of the day we are all God's children, and it is our job to do the right thing," Dr. Thomas said. "I'm not forced to go there, I am not coerced to go there. It's not a paid trip, but we go there because we believe that it is our duty to be the beacon of light."
In addition to the medical mission that Dr. Thomas always takes part in there in Iraq, he will be meeting with government and UN officials to help provide another perspective on the conflict and hopefully be an aid in developing some sort of plan to provide peaceful resolution.
Below is a short clip from a recent news interview that Dr. Thomas did with Meredith Hillgartner at KLBK Newschannel 13 here in Lubbock.
Please keep Dr. Thomas in your prayers as he makes this journey. We are confident that his work will be efficient and effective and that the love of Christ will be shown through his actions.
2014 Hoop Challenge
During the week of July 26 - August 2, Operation HOPE took a small team of 3 back to Amityville, NY to partner once again with Freedom Chapel International. Although the primary stated goal was to participate in a week-long, faith-based basketball camp, we went to accomplish more than to simply teach kids about basketball. We went to share the love of Christ to kids who had never experinced love. We went to minister to them, to introduce them to Christ, and to let them know that somebody cares about them.
Under the leadership of Pastor Barry Baugh, Hoop Challenge exists to teach kids the fundamentals of basketball while imparting into them the knowledge and love of Christ. Over the last 25 years, Coach Barry has developed a system that emphasizes the parallels between living a life for Christ and living a life of excellence on and off the court. By focussing on things such as discipline, obedience, committment, trust, & love, these kids are given the chance to see life in a new light.
After a full week of basketball camp, all 130+ kids were invited to a special event called "Rock the Block" where they not only received their trophies, but they were offered a much greater gift - the gift of salvation. Rock the Block wasn't just for the Hoop Challenge kids though. The entire community was invited to come out to hear great Christian music, win prizes, and of course, hear the Gospel Message.
We are honored to have been given the chance to work with Freedom Chapel again, and are humbled to be involved in such an effective outreach ministry. Thank you so much to each and every one of you who gave to Operation HOPE. Through your contributions, we have been able to share the love of Christ to kids who may not have otherwise heard.
For more information about Freedom Chapel and their outreach in Long Island, Head over to freedomchapelny.org.
Eighth Annual Banquet Recap
This Year, Operation HOPE had our biggest and most successful banquet so far!
Click the image above to see the entire photo album shot by Mark Umstot Photography!
The Eighth Annual Operation HOPE Banquet was held on March 29, 2014 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. We had our biggest turnout ever of over 650 people and welcomed Dr. Ben Carson as our keynote speaker. This year's event was a huge success bringing in over $110,000 of net profit so we can go out and reach the hurting of this world.
The banquet started with Dr. Benny Phillips giving the invocation. We were honored to have such a distinguished member of our community spend the evening with us, and were pleasantly surprised to hear that he had written a few prayers specifically for the event. Our founder, Dr. Thomas also shared a few encouraging words thanking everyone for their support.
For the second year in a row, we held a silent auction including two high powered rifles, sports memorabilia, a commissioned painting by Baron Batch, dinner with TTU Football Coach Kliff Kingsbury, and breakfast with Dr. Carson. In addition to the live auction items, banquet attendees had the opportunity to bid on a number of silent auctions as well. Between the two auctions alone, Operation HOPE was able to raise over $53,000.
As Keynote speaker, Dr. Carson shared with banquet attendees the story of his life from his days as a young boy in Detroit struggling in school to discovering that God had given him the ability to change lives if he would take the time to learn how. Dr. Carson is a fantastic example of what it means to persevere no matter how difficult and we are thankful that he came to share his story with us.
This year, we also welcomed Lauren Swart to share about Ash & Ember, one of our ministry partners dedicated to helping Haitian men and women work their way out of poverty by making handmade jewelry with magazine and craft-paper. Ash & Ember has done much to improve the lives of men and women in Haiti and we are glad to partner with them!
We are truly thankful for everyone who was able to come spend the evening with us and we look forward to next year's event!
Below you will find a list of Sponsors for the Seventh Annual Operation HOPE Banquet
Dr. Howard Beck | CBJ Farms | Steve & Brenda Johnson | My Liberty Homes | Dennis Quattlebaum | Dwain Woody | Tommy & Juliet Youngblood
We would like to say a HUGE thank you to all of our gracious sponsors for helping make Operation HOPE what it is today!
As many of our readers and supporters know, our founder Dr. John Thomas has been going to Iraq yearly for the past decade. What began as a small trip to show a handful of doctors how to perform basic laproscopic surgery has turned into an annual symposium or doctors from around the US dedicated to teaching Kurdish doctors how to care for their own people.
This year, in addition to the medical symposium and surgical training, Dr. Thomas will be working alongside tech-giant Milton Chen to help develop a remote medical technology which will allow American doctors and medical professionals to assist in diagnosis, treatment and possibly even surgery on patients in Kurdistan by utilizing a number of high speed internet utilities including some brand new, cutting edge technologies like Google Glass.
Dr. Chen has a long list of accolades currently including Senior Fellow, Executive Director Emeritus at Edutopia - The George Lucas Educational Foundation; Chairman, Board of Directors at Panasonic Foundation; National Advisory Board at National Park Service; & Advisory Board at Fred Rogers Center. He has degrees from Harvard and Stanford University and we are thrilled to be a part of this program with him.
While in Kurdistan, Dr. Thomas, Dr. Chen, and a group of doctors and computer programmers will look into setting up a pilot program for this new technology in a refugee camp on the Iraqi/Syrian border where 1.5 million refugees currently live. This pilot program will be fantastic opportunity to try out this remote medical technology while providing an immensely valuable service to the refugees there.
We are honored to once again be a part of Dr. Thomas' work in Iraq and we ask that you continue to pray for his safety and effectiveness while he's gone.