“I want to caution anyone from thinking...‘well, isn’t that cute what those ladies do’, because I want to tell you it’s one of the most important things that the world needs right now,” said Vicki Penwell, a Certified Professional Midwife, healthcare educator, and co-founder of Mercy In Action ministries in the Philippines.
Recently, Penwell spoke to 25 doulas, midwives, childbirth educators and volunteers at G.O.D. Int’l for 2 days of seminars on “Midwifery Volunteerism in Developing Countries”, hosted by the NOVA birth program. Attendees learned important emergency procedure skills, grew in their understanding and compassion for serving women in developing countries, and learned more about the political, economic and social issues surrounding maternal and newborn care.
Penwell encouraged the women to “just bump it up a notch.”
“Everybody needs to become certified and be trained to the highest degree to save lives...that’s where the carnage is happening.”
Penwell also spoke during a community gathering on November 18th:
“If I have anything that I can share in a short time it would be a few visual pictures, a few of the main scriptures that have influenced our lives and work, and some of the main heroes of the faith that have influenced my life.”
Complete with stories of hope, love, family and endurance of faith, Penwell highlighted the following topics: maternal survival issues, complications of hemorrhage and infection, as well as specific models for prenatal and postpartum care in developing countries.
For over 30 years, the Penwell family has dedicated themselves to caring for the poorest of the poor. Following the example of the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable in Luke 10, Mercy in Action has focused their efforts on the most vulnerable of society: maternal and newborn health, and primary healthcare for children under 5-years-old. Over 12,000 babies have been born, free of charge, at Mercy in Action birth centers throughout the Philippines.
All visitors and participants were moved by Penwell’s experience, wisdom, endurance and stories of a dedicated servant who answered Jesus’ call to serve the least of these. For a community of people seeking to bring liberation through education and service to mothers and children throughout the world, Penwell’s presence was a blessing, and at the very least, an inspiration.
By Leafa Vagatai