02 Jul Interview with Barry Ewy, CEO
Barry Ewy, PharmD, JD, MHA, came on as Blessings International’s CEO in 2013, immediately following founder and president Harold Harder, PhD. In the eight years of leadership, Barry’s background in pharmacology, law, and hospital administration have served Blessings and its partners in multiple ways.
In honor of Blessings’ anniversary, Barry shares with us some thoughts on leadership, Blessings’ ministry, and the next forty years.
What brought you to Blessings International?
I came to Blessings as the result of a job search that wasn’t working out for what I wanted. I came to the realization that my prayer wasn’t where God wanted me but where I wanted him to want me. When I changed my prayer to where he wanted me, the Blessings’ job opened. I was excited to see that my skill-set might be able to be used in a missional organization that was Christ-centered. And the rest is history (or at least history in the making).
What does Blessings International mean to you?
Blessings International provides mission organizations and teams the ability to obtain low-cost, high quality medicine so that they can then share the love of Jesus. We exist to serve these groups. Those who are going or serving need to be served and I want for us to help make their process easier.
What challenges have you faced in your time in leadership? How have they served to improve Blessings International?
The biggest challenges have been a reflection of the regulatory environment within which we operate. It’s our desire to assure that those we serve are protected from a regulatory perspective. As a result, we’ve grown over the past eight years to being licensed in forty-four states and the District of Columbia for wholesale medicine distribution, along with gaining exemption from the requirement of licensing in four other states. By having appropriate licensing and registration, we are protecting the licenses of the clinics and medical professionals to whom we ship.
Over the years, how have you seen Blessings change and/or grow into what it is today?
Blessings has grown from a ministry that focuses on serving short-term mission teams to a ministry that desires to serve in all capacities of missional medicine. We have worked to grow our relationships with US free and charitable clinics as well as with permanent international hospitals and clinics. We hope to see a more permanent infrastructure developed in developing nations’ health care systems and we are continuing to find ways to be a part of that sustainable future.
Involving medical missions, what is the most notable thing you have learned or observed or been a part of? What takeaway stays with you?
The most notable thing I’ve been a part of is the two mission trips that have involved multi-city clinics with thousands of missionaries working in a single country simultaneously. It was amazing to be a part of those outreaches and then to lead the pharmacy division and a clinic for one of those outreaches. That experience really stretched me when considering working through both rural and urban sites at the same time in a single country.
Overall, the takeaway that stays with me is that God’s provision is always sufficient. If we are willing to follow Him, we’ll be okay.
Where would you like to see Blessings forty years from now?
In 40 years, I’d like to see Blessings continuing to do what we do today. Our current work is why we were founded forty years ago. We were called into ministry to serve those who are working on the front lines of medical missions in whatever capacity that may be. But there’s also a lot of other opportunities to serve. I’d also like to see Blessings growing on the international front and working to provide medicine in a more direct manner at the local level, whatever that might ultimately look like.
What advice would you give other medical ministries who may be a long way off from their 40th anniversary?
I’d say don’t give up when hardships come your way. If you’re doing something that’s important, you’re inevitably going to face difficulties because the Enemy wants you to give up and not be effective. Challenges create opportunities for growth and for re-confirming your call.
I’d also say to be very careful to avoid missional drift. When those challenges or hardships come, or even the good, steady days come, remember why your organization came into existence in the first place. If you decide to intentionally go a different direction because you feel led to do so, great; go that direction. But protect from drifting and finding your organization heading down a path that was never intended by bringing it back too late from where it was originally supposed to be.
It’s truly a blessing to have the opportunity to serve the Lord each and every day through the work we do.
Forty years doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work, more so in the early days, but yet a lot of work today to make sure we continue to follow our calling. We have the opportunity day in and day out to work with the best people in the world, those who care enough to heal the hurting and share the message of Christ.