Interview with Dr. David Vanderpool – 1/29/2019
In this first episode of the LiveBeyond podcast, Jacklyn Vanderpool Barnett is talking with LiveBeyond’s CEO & Founder Dr. David Vanderpool about what LiveBeyond is and what it does. LiveBeyond is a Christian organization that chooses to LiveBeyond…ourselves, our culture, our borders, and this life so that the poor may live the abundant life of Jesus Christ.
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[00:00] JVB: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the very first ever LiveBeyond podcast. I’m Jacklyn Vanderpool Barnett. We are so excited to use this platform to share what’s going on in Haiti, stories that have deeply impacted us, interviews with missionaries, and teachings right from the field. We pray that this will impact people to take the step, to join us in Haiti on mission trips, give generously, and challenge everyone to live beyond themselves. So, let’s jump right into our very first interview.
[00:32] JVB: Hello! I am here with Dr. David Vanderpool, who is not only the CEO and founder of LiveBeyond but also my dad. So, for our very first ever LiveBeyond podcast, I’m excited to introduce and welcome Dr. David Vanderpool.
[00:50] DMV: Thank you so much for having me. It’s real honor.
[00:53] JVB: Well, Dad, I would love to just talk to you about what LiveBeyond is and where LiveBeyond has come from, how it started, and what our plans are for the future. So, could you give all of us a little bit of a background of how LiveBeyond started?
[01:09] DMV: Absolutely. You know, we did mission work as a family for many years, without forming a nonprofit organization. So, it was self-funded, and we would go to areas in need. We have a skill set of delivering medical care in the name of Jesus. And so, we’re able to come in, help people medically, and then minister of the Gospel to them as well. And so, as a family, we did this for many years. Then Katrina hit, the hurricane that hit back in 2005, and we saw a need that we had not anticipated. So, we went down. We worked in Southern Mississippi and the Biloxi Gulf port area, and we saw a need to start and formalize a nonprofit organization so that we could then do more – we could collect goods that are donated, we could collect money that was donated, and that we could do a whole lot more than we could on our own. So, that was really the birth of LiveBeyond. We started out as Mobile Medical Disaster Relief. And so, that was the organization that I came up with. My wife Laurie decided that it was not inspiring at all.
[02:32] JVB: Hey, but it was practical.
[02:34] DMV: It was very practical. People knew exactly what we did. We were Mobile Medical Disaster Relief, and she came up with the idea of LiveBeyond. It’s a wonderful, inspirational type name for our organization.
[02:49] JVB: Absolutely.
[02:50] DMV: So, LiveBeyond was born, and we’ve worked in many countries throughout Africa, throughout Central America, and most recently, in Haiti.
[03:00] JVB: Perfect. So, it was back in January of 2010 that you went down to Haiti for the very first time and tell me a little bit about how you made that transition from looking at a global scale to then narrowing it down to just a one-country focus.
[03:19] DMV: You know, that’s a great question. You know, we had been to many other countries. Basically, we would partner with another organization that was indigenous there, and we would provide medical care. Generally, that’s a difficult challenge for most organizations, and since I’m a doctor, that’s a little easier for us. And so, that part, those partnerships were fantastic. We love those partnerships. We have great relationships with those folks. And then in Haiti, we came down two days after the earthquake and set up a large hospital on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti which share the island, and we recruited physicians and nurses. At our peak, we had one hundred and eighty physicians and about five hundred nurses, and we were working to provide surgical and medical care to the people involved in the earthquake. You know, I really felt like the Lord called us then to Haiti, not to give up on the rest of the world, but, He specifically said, I want you to, to drill down some roots in this area. So, we closed my practice every month for a week and we would lead medical teams down to Haiti. We did that for about three-and-a-half years. And at the end of that time, we felt like the Lord was calling us to sell our possessions, sell our house, our vehicle, and move to Haiti full-time. And that’s what we did. So, now we live full-time in Haiti, just east of Port-au-Prince, and we have a wonderful base of operations that ministers of the gospel to thousands of people a month, as well as takes care of their physical needs.
[05:11] JVB: That’s all wonderful. And I want to go back just a little bit because I remember what our conversation was like when you told me that you’re moving down to Haiti. So, when I was a freshman in college in September, you and Mom had said, “Hey, Jacklyn, why don’t you come home to Nashville?” And I remember y’all sat me down in the living room and you said, “Okay, Jacklyn, we have important news that we want to tell you. We’re moving the Haiti. I was kind of like, “Yes, you are!” You know, but it was something that we’d always talked about. You know, y’all had always said that when I went off to college, being the youngest, that you were going to move somewhere, whether that was Africa or somewhere else. And so for me, it was kind of, of course, and a no-brainer, like, “Yes, you’re leaving. That’s good.” But what did those conversations look like for you, especially when you and mom were talking about in these first stages? Or when you were talking to your parents about it? Just what, what were those conversations like to really get the ball moving to get down there?
[06:13] DMV: Well, that’s a great question. And you know, it was so interesting because we had talked about moving overseas for years and years and years. And so, we really thought it would be Africa. Since we’ve worked in Africa, in various countries, we love the African people. We love going to Africa. We really felt like it would be there. And The Lord really changed our plans and said he wanted us to go to Haiti. It was so interesting because as the time approached for us to go to Haiti, we found it was a whole lot easier to talk about going to Haiti than to actually go to Haiti. So, those conversations that were previously those twenty-five-thousand foot conversations – all of a sudden it was, you know, very, very practical, pragmatic things, and we really hadn’t thought through very well. So, the conversations for years were, you know, lighthearted and fun, and it’s exciting. It’s an adventure. And then it drills down to we’re going to sell everything that we have, which is a lot easier to talk about than it is to do, and move to a country without electricity, running water, or sewage control. So, the practicality of that really then became pretty difficult conversations. So how am I going to provide for my family? How am I going to provide security? What are we gonna do without electricity? How are we going to get clean water? All those things, all of the sudden became the forefront and transition from this, “Oh, we’re going to go off in missionaries in a foreign country!” to, you know, “What are we gonna drink?” And so, it was a pretty abrupt kind of change.
[07:57] JVB: Absolutely. Well tell me a little bit about what LiveBeyond is doing now. So, we’ve seen how y’all started, where the dream came from. How it kind of started off as, you know, not a family hobby, but something that we did together as a family and has now moved into a full-blown mission that has team members come down every year – about eight hundred team members. So, tell me a little bit about what LiveBeyond is doing now.
[08:23] DMV: Well, you know, we really take the scripture of John 10:10 to heart. And this is a well-known scripture. The second part of John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give life and give life abundantly. And so, we take that to heart. And if this is something that Jesus wanted to do, then we feel like this is something the Christians need to do. We also realized that preaching to people who were hungry or sick was not effective. That people were hungry, their stomachs growling, and they’re not listening. So, we started to realize that what Jesus did is he came into a situation, He provided meals, five thousand meals one time, four thousand meals another time. And then he preached to the people. So their bellies are full, their physical needs are met. And then they want to know how they could get their spiritually needs met. And so that has been our approach to mission work. So, for instance, we see about twelve thousand people a year in our hospital. Every one of these people come in with a physical ailment, some medical problem they have. But while they’re there, not only do they get that that medical problem taken care of, they’re also ministered to with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so now they’ve gotten everything they need for life first and then abundant life secondly. And so, we feel like since Jesus put those two things together that it’s a good idea for us to do that as well. So here at LiveBeyond, obviously, we provide medical care. We have a lot of starving children in our area. So, right now we’re feeding quite a few children, around twelve hundred children a day who otherwise would not be able to have food. We have a large Maternal Health program, so giving birth in Haiti is a, is a, just a terrible challenge for most ladies. Most ladies give birth completely alone, all by themselves. They deliver their own baby, essentially. And so, we provide education, food, vitamins, all the health care that they need as well as birthing equipment as well. So, they’re taken care of. We have a great evangelism program that, Jacklyn, you know very well about. That Jacklyn started going out into the communities with big bowls of beans and rice and attracting people that way and preaching the Gospel to them. It’s a lot like a potluck supper back in the United States. And it’s extremely effective because these people are hungry and they see that you care. And when they know that you care, they really want to know what you have to say. And so, this is a great thing. We also have other things as well. We have a wonderful school, and we have a demonstration farm, things like that are helping the people as well.
[11:42] JVB: That’s so wonderful. That is really, really incredible. And, I know for me, getting to be a part of that, and, you know, again, I saw it from day one, and to see it now and just to see the way the Lord has blessed it, you know that we started off with a legacy. So, for example, you know, Johnny, my Uncle John, John Mark Stallings, who had Down syndrome, and the legacy that Gigi and Pops had in the United States and getting to bring that to Haiti and now have our Johnny’s Kids program and having so many children who were seen as outcasts. And now they are seen as loved and prized and valued, and they have worth. And getting to see them go from not walking to walking! And from not talking to talking! And just to see that the incredible effect that these programs have had in Haiti and just to see the way that the Lord has blessed them. So, what are some of the things that you really feel like The Lord is putting on your heart for the future. Where would you like to see LiveBeyond grow to? And not only in Haiti, but around the world.
[12:55] DMV: Well, you know, we have about two-hundred thousand people in our area. And so, one of the things that we want to do is minister the Gospel to them in a much more effective way. A lot of these people live, 10, 15 miles away. So, we’re not able – they’re not able to come to our base. And so, we are wanting to start a program in 2019 that we will go to them. And so, this is a community health care worker program. We will segment out this entire area. We have about 150 square miles that we minister . We’ll segment this area, and we’ll visit each of these villages within this area, and we’ll be able to, not only take care of the medically, be a lot more proactive with their health care, but also minister the gospel to them. So this will allow us to take, better take care of people with extreme hypertension. We’ll be able to pick up any medical problems with pregnancies much earlier, able to vaccinate children that kind of thing that will really make our area a lot better. But at the same time, they’ll be learning about Jesus as well. So, this is one of the programs that we’re very excited about this will allow us to really reach all two hundred thousand people as we go. We also want to go to other parts of the world. I think we have a great model here like you mentioned. We bring about eight hundred Americans down, not just Americans, but people worldwide to our base a year. We want to expand that to other areas, and there are many areas that I think would benefit from the skill sets that the Lord has given us. So, we’re very excited about that opportunity.
[14:46] JVB: Dad, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you and to hear you tell the story about how LiveBeyond started and the amazing things that the Lord is doing in and through you. I do ask that everybody who’s listening today – please pray for us. We covet your prayers. We’re excited about what the Lord is doing in Haiti. And we would love to have you come alongside of us and serve in Thomazeau. If you are interested, please go to LiveBeyond.org, and you can register for a mission trip. And also, if you feel it on your heart, please consider donating where you can also go to LiveBeyond.org and push the donate button. Thank you so much to everybody who is listening, and please go out and LiveBeyond.
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