Rockswold dedicates time to servicePublished 11:00am Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Many of us wish to help our fellow man, whether it be across an ocean or in our backyard. Some help at homeless shelters, other participate in an awareness event, donate their money to charity, but often people feel a lack of connective relationship to the people they are trying to help.
For Henning native, Dr. Gordon Rockswold, his desire includes going, making friends, creating partnerships and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, which is free and for all.
A graduate of Henning High School, Dr. Rockswold went to St. Olaf College for his undergraduate degree and then recieved a medical degree from the University of Minnesota, he specialized in Emergency Medicine from Hennepin County Medical Center. His interest in tropical medicine and medical missions began as a junior medical student during a summer in Madagascar. He has also received a degree in Islamic Studies from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. His last 18 years of his career, working and teaching at HCMC in Minneapolis in their Emergency Medical Department.
Now in retirement, Dr. Rockswold is able to dedicate more time to his adventures abroad. Working as the Medical Director for the Isaiah Connection, a non-profit Christian organization that helps the underprivileged in places such as Nigeria and Kenya, he has helped to provide medical aid and education to these parts of Africa.
Dr. Rockswold explained that more people die from the lack of food, water and sanitation than from all the other infections diseases combined including AIDS, TB, and malaria. “As a doctor, it’s kind of dumb to keep treating diarrheal illness in kids. Eventually you say ‘well why don’t you show me your water supply?’ and than hopefully find the root cause.”
In a recent trip to Nigeria, the Isaiah Connection with help of their partners in Grace Community Christian Development, drilled three wells for various communities in the Northeast quadrant of Nigeria, while also repairing some existing wells. The groups also focused on educating the community on medical practices and improving the mortality rate of children under five. All of this is done with the cooperation of Nigeria Ministry of Health.
Through these partnerships, they have been able to help these communities get much needed items including reading glasses, prenatal kits, hospice kits, toothbrushes and other donated medical supplies. The group also brings the word of Jesus Christ to the communities and offers to pray with the sick in their time of need.
Dr. Rockswold enjoys working with the Isaiah Connection because it allows Chrisitians, Muslims, and other groups to collaborate in helping communities in need. “It promotes racial harmony,” He commented.
Another one of Rockswold’s passions is helping educate youth. In the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, there is a gem of christian school for children. Gordon’s vision is to one day help St. Stephen’s to double its size to accomadate the over 600 students that crowd the existing structure.
Dr. Rockswold has developed many friendships with people of different races, religions and creeds and looks forward to going back to help the less fortunate. He encourages others to examine their calling and to get involved with this group or others that fit. “It isn’t just about money. We need people’s hearts and their long term desire to assist people in need.”
“I am supremely grateful for the support and help from the people of Otter Tail County.”
If you are interested in volunteering for the Isaiah Connection you can call 612-218-7676 or visit their website at www.isaiahconnection.org. “You do not have to be a Christian to join us, but you must not be hostile towards the Gospel.”