A little and very brief background on LiveBeyond- it's a Christ-centered medical mission ministry created after the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti. David and Laurie Vanderpool founded LiveBeyond when he sold his medical practice in Nashville and moved permanently to Haiti. They have built a housing compound to hold the volunteers that come each month. First and foremost their objective is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do this through medical help- which is so few and far between in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Y'all, this country is just a 2.5 hour flight from the US- and it is so so impoverished. Anthony described the living conditions as archaic- houses that are really just huts built from limbs and cloths with dirt floors. Holes for toilets and no clean water. The people are so hungry that they eat dirt to fill their tummies- which of course results in so many diseases. Voodoo is the religion of choice with about 80% of the population practicing. This country is so close, and needs so much help. LiveBeyond has come in and is making a huge impact. They are giving the people medication and help that they desperately need. They are employing and empowering the citizens so that they can continue to make a difference and teach others. With the help of Brad and Kimberly Paisley they have created wells to provide clean drinking water. Scott and Tracie Hamilton have also partnered with the Children of Hope orphanage and serve on the board of LiveBeyond. Basically- this is an incredible, and relatively new, organization that is making HUGE waves in Haiti.
Anthony's first ever mission trip impacted him so much in so many ways. In fact, so much that when he came home he immediately wanted to do more. More mission trips to Haiti, more prayers, and more money for the organization. For example, there was a group of 7 from our church that went on the trip this past year. They realized that the housing base was spending a lot of money monthly on regular electricity costs, and this could be reduced drastically by adding solar panels. So the 7 of them pooled together and raised $40,000 (just between themselves!) to have solar panels installed! Just like that! One week home from their trip and these guys had already given back to Live Beyond. That is how much the trip inspired all of them.
As the fire was lit in Anthony and the others, they knew they wanted to do even more. While there have been some benefits and fundraisers in Nashville and Dallas, there had never been one in Houston. Anthony knew that's where he wanted to direct his attention next. He came up with the idea of the fundraiser, and got the wheels in motion. With the help of a few others, they put together a wonderful benefit dinner at the beginning of April.
The benefit was amazing. They raised an incredible amount of money for LiveBeyond.
The guys really enjoyed sitting around listening to Gene Stallings' stories before it started!
I am still in shock that we got to sit around with Gene Stallings!
My family (minus a few) came to support Anthony! Everyone had a blast!
A few of Anthony's work guys (minus a few!) were there, too!
Anthony, his BFF Jake, Jake's dad and Gene Stallings
My fam with Coach! So awesome!
While this might not seem totally shocking, it really is if you know Anthony well. Anthony is a driven man. He takes his career very seriously and truly loves it. But all he's ever known is a work-life. So he invests most of his time and energy into his job. Many of his good friends and even his coworkers tease him about this- even if there is a day off, Anthony is working. He's not the guy at the office that walks around joking and laughing and fraternizing- Anthony is at his desk or in a conference room working. All day, every day.
So when Anthony decided to do this benefit, he sacrificed a lot of his work time and free time to plan this event. He was contacting catering companies and setting up meeting with potential donors. He was sending out save the dates and emails and invitations. This was not the Anthony that most people knew- this was an even better Anthony.
I can say with certainty that I don't think I have ever been more proud of my husband than these past five months. From the moment he first went to Haiti through the night of the Houston Benefit, I have seen a new man evolve before my eyes. His faith has grown, his outlook has changed, and his leadership qualities have become even more apparent. I have fallen so crazy in love with this guy all over again. I can't even begin to explain the pride I feel when I think about this recent transformation.
I am so very proud of Anthony and the way he is using his God given talents to spread the gospel. I am so impressed with his humble attitude and his changed heart. I am so thankful that God used him in this way. And I am so happy I get to stand alongside him through it all.
If you would like more information about LiveBeyond or feel compelled to donate, please let me know. They are currently raising money to build an operating hospital in Thomazeau, Haiti. This hospital would more than double the number of operating rooms in this region and provide critical medical care to the people of Haiti. You can donate here if you feel so inclined. Every single dime is truly appreciated!