In a long ago blog post (More About Brett, July 12, 2007), I wrote about one of the giants amongst today's Presbyterian missionaries, Brett McMichael. Brett would be the last to use such language to describe himself, but as far as having Christ's heart to serve and a keen capacity for effectiveness in how he serves, few will ever surpass this amazing man.
In the past couple of years, Brett was forced to leave his work with children and hospitals in Croatia. Years of kidney disease and other ailments were finally becoming too much to overcome, and he returned to the United States. He was blessed to have finally received a new kidney last year, which has released him from the confines of the dialysis machine and given him new physical resources he hasn't had in years. So, what does Brett do with his new found energy and freedom? He heads straight back to Croatia to work with and participate in one of his favorite projects he developed during his years as a missionary there: camps for children dealing with various diseases. The most recent was a camp for children dealing with cancer, and the post below is just a miniscule glimpse of the joy this man has brought to children and their families over years and years of unsung and unselfish labor in Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and other such places.
I met Brett amost 10 years ago while I was serving in Croatia, and my wife and I were privileged to have been there to see the birth of these remarkable camps. His vision and drive for not only these camps, but much of his incredible ministry in transforming how hospitals in Croatia and Bosnia treat children and their families, comes from his own woundedness in how he was mistreated and maligned by medical institutions while growing up in the eastern USA. His life was gleaned through the intervention of compassionate adults who could see past the slapped-on diagnoses that could have easily destined Brett to a life of dismissive institutionalization. Instead their providential intervention gave him a full and meaningful life. What could have been a life relegated to loss and bitterness is now one resounding with love and bring hope to many throughout the world. Through his blessing many more are blessed.
Yes, sometimes giants can walk among us, and yet we don't see them. Brett is one such giant. He is a servant to others, so he does not seek the glory for himself, nor does he point to himself. Nevertheless, when you notice him, and get to know more about him, it becomes clear that here is one of the most extraordiary people alive in the world today, and here is a life whose story is most worth the telling. So, let me point out to you Brett McMichael, a giant among us.
Fuzine Camp at ROM