MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – It’s a mission of mercy. Last week, we told you about theamazing work of Memphis’ Mission of Mercy, a team of medical professionals andvolunteers providing medical services to under-served areas in thePhilippines. Now, meet the family behind the organization. As Local24 News Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin tells us, their mission is local goodnews.
“When it comes to folks without means, the thing you have thatis a definite is a wait, a long wait. You have to wait for everything:food, you know, rice, healthcare,” said Memphis Mission of MercyChairwoman Nia Zalamea Ducklo.
Doctor Nia Zalamea Ducklo’s grandfather passedwhile waiting in line for healthcare in the Philippines. From thatexperience, her father Renato and mother Norma Zalamea, who both immigratedfrom the Philippines to Memphis as nurses in 1973 and ’74, decided to give backto their home country. Renato organized his first mission trip to thePhilippines back in 2000 with eleven (11) people and with one goal in mind.
“Even if we just do one operation, it’s worth it,” saidDucklo.
Now, they go to the Philippines every year. They run 5 operationrooms. Each room has a surgeon and his or her team. And her parentsare to this day still on each of those mission trips. Their love ofhelping people shaped Nia’s life.
“I took some time to consider what my purpose is inlife,” said Ducklo. “What motivates me is that the Lord has given allof us resources to do something with, and the do something with, is notourselves.”
Their next mission trip is this September where the family willonce again join forces with doctors and volunteers to help those a continentaway.
“With the work in the Philippines, it makes the most sense tome. We talk about living faith, that’s the most natural and logical way to livemy faith is to do this work,” said Ducklo.
Nia belives this work would make her grandfather proud.
The Zalamea’s plan on building a surgical hospital in thePhilippines. Their hope is by cultivating an environment of mutualinternational service, they will be able to serve the needs of those withchallenges, and pass their love of serving to the next generation of caregiverswhen they are no longer needed.