Forty years ago, Dr. Harold Harder, a professor at Oral Roberts University’s medical school, went on a mission trip that would change not only his life and career, but affect the lives of millions around the world.

 

In 1980, Dr. Harder volunteered for his church’s mission trip to Guatemala. He was the team’s appointed member to gather pharmaceuticals for the medical clinics they would host on their ten-day outreach.

 

Those ten days and the lead-up to them would herald a significant shift in Dr. Harder’s life and calling.

 

“My heart was greatly moved,” he said, “first, by a deep compassion for the great health needs of these people and second, by the difficulties medical missionaries face in securing adequate supplies of essential drugs on a minimal budget.”

The struggle Dr. Harder faced in supplying his team’s clinics opened his eyes to a vast need in the medical mission world. “The time required for me to solicit and obtain the drugs was six to seven times more than the hours spent during the clinic itself,” he reflected.

 

Simultaneously, Dr. Harder realized the scope of the need for medical aid in undeveloped nations. “During the trip, I saw with my own eyes just how greatly needed these medicines were and how the people responded to our care with much appreciation.

 

“As I returned to Tulsa [from Guatemala], I prayed that God would open doors with pharmaceutical companies so that I could help supply medicines to medical mission teams who were traveling abroad to developing nations.

“Before long,” he continued, “other churches began to seek my assistance in obtaining medicines, and it quickly became apparent that a non-profit organization needed to be created….”

 

And so, Blessings International began!

 

Within four years, Dr. Harder began working full-time with the ministry, using his home as the office and using donated warehouse space for the pharmaceuticals. By 1989, Blessings International had outgrown its previous space and Dr. Harder and staff began operations out of new facilities.

 

For the first fourteen years, all products were pharmaceutical donations. But as demand grew and needs expanded, Blessings began purchasing pharmaceuticals in 1995, beginning the path of becoming the wholesaler we are today.

 

By 2010, Blessings moved into a building designed specifically for its unique needs. A full warehouse, production area, and offices were built debt-free due to God’s blessing on the organization and Dr. Harder’s financial stewardship.

Thirty-two years after starting the ministry, Dr. Harder retired, ushering in a new CEO, Barry Ewy, PharmD, JD, MHA. Since then, Blessings has branched into new realms, from medication repackaging to the Haiti Orphanage Medical Support (HOMS) program, and now reaches an average of 7.5 million people in 101 nations each year!

 

Forty years on, we look back—from small beginnings to global impact—and celebrate how one man’s faithfulness to a calling has demonstrated God’s faithfulness to millions around the globe.

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