Cinci Cares Presents: Doctors on a Mission | Kevin Aukerman, M.D.
Mercy Health, Interventional Radiologist
LEAD Magazine: Tell me what you do.
Dr. Kevin Aukerman: I am an interventional radiologist with Paradigm Radiology in Cincinnati. We contract with Mercy Hospitals. I have been practicing medicine for 24 years in the Cincinnati area.
LEAD Magazine: What inspired you to do medical mission work?
Dr. Kevin Aukerman: Biblically, we are called to help the poorest of the poor and that includes serving all nations, not just our own. I have always had the desire to do this. I got to the point in my life that I had the time and the means and the calling to go. My first trip was in 2006. I went to South Africa on a mission trip with my church that resulted from an internal calling and my wife’s prodding. After that initial trip, we helped our church lead medical mission trips to South Africa for several years. I helped initiate it and grew it providing opportunities for other people to serve.
In 2007, I reconnected with a best friend from high school. John Bland had started an organization called Amigos for Christ in Nicaragua. The minute I saw the depths of which this organization was affecting the people of Nicaragua, I knew I was in. I saw that John Bland developed an infrastructure that built into all facets of the Nicaraguan life. Amigos for Christ was an organization that I wanted to be a part of and have traveled there on many mission trips.
My last trip was in January 2017 and I was there for 10 days. The momentum of this organization is amazing and it is growing exponentially. Each trip is different, more and more people get involved. The organization now employs more Nicaraguans than Americans and many long-term American missionaries that live in Nicaragua full-time. The physical part of the compound gets upgraded all the time in order to support those that come to serve. Their ability to effect the Nicaraguan lifestyle spans from providing clean water to healthcare and everything in between. What is unique to Amigos for Christ is its consistent on-the-ground presence starting with the Bland family living in Nicaragua full-time. Short-term mission stuff is great, but in order for it to succeed it needs to be sustainable. Amigos employs 30 to 40 Nicaraguans who are on staff and salaried. We come and serve alongside and strengthen these relationships. The organization is funded by donations.
LEAD Magazine: What have you learned by doing this work?
Dr. Kevin Aukerman: I go and see someone who is of similar age who is in a completely different world, who struggles every day just to provide enough fresh water for his family to keep them alive. I always said it is only by the grace of God that I was born in the United States and not in Nicaragua, and therefore I have a responsibility to help those less fortunate. A first-time mission tripper said, “I can’t believe these people live on the same planet as we live.”
LEAD Magazine: What message would you like to share about this work?
Dr. Kevin Aukerman: Mostly, I want people to know that there is a whole other world out there that is completely different from our own and most of us do not know it exists. Those of us who are fortunate enough in life have an obligation to at least expose ourselves to that other world. You don’t have to feel like I do, but be open-minded enough to allow yourself to reflect on it and then see what happens. My guess is that it will be a life-changing journey.