Faithful Healing
Podcast #24 — Aired April 17, 2014

Making it a better world, one child at a time. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk about a mission that’s healing children in need and changing lives in the developing world. Our guest this week is Dale Brantner, CEO of CURE International, a non-profit that has provided over 150,000 surgeries for children with orthopedic and neurological conditions in the developing world. Brantner will share stories of healing, compassion, and faith and let listeners know how they can get involved. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

Donate $5 to Support our Podcast!

 

 Prev Episode Next Episode

Sign Up for New Shows & Updates!

Dale Brantner
President & CEO, CURE International

Dale Brantner was appointed President & CEO of CURE International in 2012 after serving for many years as Senior Vice President, responsible for leading the organization’s spiritual ministry and development efforts. Dale has significant international professional and pastoral experience, including serving as department head of biblical studies, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and then president of Theological College of Zimbabwe from 1996 to 2002. Prior to coming to CURE, Dale was an associate pastor at West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg, PA. He also served as adjunct faculty member of biblical studies at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. Dale has a master’s degree from the Evangelical Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Messiah College. He has done both undergraduate and graduate work in Israel as well as Ph.D. work at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Dale Brantner, CEO of Cure International. Dale Brantner was appointed President of -- and CEO of CURE International in 2012 after serving many years as Senior Vice President responsible for leading the organization's spirit-- spiritual ministry and developmental efforts. Dale has significant international professional and pastoral experience including serving -- serving as department head of biblical studies, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and then president of Theological College of Zimbabwe from 1996 to 2002. Prior to coming to CURE, Dale was an associate pastor at West Shore -- at West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He also served as adjunct faculty member of biblical studies at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Dale -- Dale holds a master's degree from Evangelical Theological Seminary and a bachelor's degree from Messiah College. He has done both undergraduate and graduate work in Israel as well as Ph.D. work at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Dale, it's great to have you on BetterWorldians today. Thank you for joining us.

Dale Brantner
Oh, it's really great to be here.

Raymond Hansell
I -- I-- I'd like to begin, as -- as many of our listeners know, Joel Worrall from CURE was on BetterWorldians Radio some months back so some of our listeners may be familiar with the wonderful mission at CURE International. But I -- I-- I'd like to give them a little refresher. Can you tell us in your own words the mission at CURE International?

Dale Brantner
Yeah, the mission at CURE said mostly simply is we heal children and we tell them and their parents about Jesus. And that's probably the most simplest way to describe CURE International. And what that means physically on the ground is CURE International is in 29 countries with both our hospitals and our specialty programs and clubfoot and hydrocephalus. We are about to open our tenth hospital making it our 30th country later this year in the Philippines with the Tebow CURE Hospital that's based in Mindanao. And in those cer-- hospitals and through our specialty programs, we're healing children with curable disabilities because they are often in their countries the lowest priority in the national health care agenda.

Raymond Hansell
Mm-hmm. Tell us a little bit about the surgeries that you actually perform on the ground.

Dale Brantner
Well, we started out in Kijabe, Kenya because our founder, Scott Harrison, was just a brilliant orthopedic surgeon himself. He started the first hospital as fo-- as having his focus on pediatric orthopedics, so bones and -- and deformities. And that grew out of there to our second hospital that was started by Dr. Ben Warf who's up at Boston's Children's in Harvard and Ben is a neurosurgeon. So our second hospital focused on neurosurgical procedures like hydrocephalus and then spina bifida and such. Over the years, we've included reconstructive surgery that includes cleft palates, cleft lips, and also burn contractures and such. And then we have two hospitals, one in the United Arab Emirates and one in Afghanistan, where the needs historically have been even more basic to children and so they have focused on maternal and child health. Helping children actually coming into the world.

Raymond Hansell
Mm-hmm. Now is this work funded?

Dale Brantner
It's funded through a wide range of -- of means, but primarily the -- the majority of CURE's funding comes from individuals and families and family foundations here in the western countries, you know, United States, Canada, the United Kingdom. And so it ends up being not a lot of government funding or -- or things like that, but it ends up being generous people that want to do acts of goodness not just in their own communities, but also in communities that many and most will never visit ever. We also, as an organization, I remember our founder said, "I didn't know how to start a nonprofit, so I started CURE like a for profit business. I just knew I would function in sectors where there -- there would be no profit." But what ended up happening is we actually are in all of our hospital settings able to generate some revenue locally that helps to offset the -- the costs of running these hospitals.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, that's great. What -- I-- I'm curious. What drew you to CURE in the first place?

Dale Brantner
[LAUGHS] That's great, yeah, 'cause I'm a -- the -- the Old Testament Hebrew guy and now I end up leading this -- this amazing ministry. I remember in 1996, I had been a prayer partner and a pastor with Scott Harrison, the founder. His wife, Sally, and I served on the church staff together. And in 1996, as they were starting CURE, I knew Scott real well and I was a prayer partner of his and I actually heard CURE, the whole concept of CURE, really prayed into existence at his breakfast table over three years of being just with him a couple times a month at his breakfast table. And I remember as we left for Zimbabwe that year, I said to my wife, Diane, I said, "You know what Scott is starting is so absolutely amazing. This idea of CURE is just -- it's really got my attention. But, you know, I certainly don't have any skills that could be helpful ever to CURE International." And so I -- I -- I revisited that story recently just because, you know, that's 17 years ago that I ended up saying I have nothing I can contribute to this medical mission and -- and the irony's not lost on me that I know am the -- the CEO of that [LAUGHS] -- that ministry. So what drew me was not just that a friend of mine was starting this amazing ministry, but it's actually something much more deeper, something much more theological. When -- when we look into the Old Testament law, there are certain laws out of the 613 where God actually puts his name. He says, "I am Yahweh." And it's often those laws where he places his name inside of the actual law of protection. It's for those who don't have a champion and it's often the widow, the orphan, the alien. But there are some laws that pertain to the disabled. And it's in -- in a sense what God is saying is, "For those who this world assume does not have a champion, guess what? I am their champion." And so when I was given the opportunity to come to CURE and Scott came and asked if I would leave my old testament studies, if I would leave the church as a pastor, I felt like I was being promoted because I got to come and champion kids that very few people care about including their own communities and often their own parents because they see them as a curse. So to me I felt like I was joining in an even more intimate way of God wanting to do what he so often does which is lifting up what the world sees as the least of these.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, I -- I have to comment to our listeners. We visited with Scott and Sally some years back and -- and, you know, there's some people that you just get. They just really move you just by their presence. I mean very, very disarmingly humble people who've done amazing things and I don't think they'd be real comfortable us broadcasting the amazing things they've done. They're just very, very down to earth, but really rich people in terms of the -- the richest qualities. So I -- I -- I just have to say that because we were really struck by that when we first came to CURE's headquarters outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania some years back which we sort of began our relationship with CURE. I-- I'd like to also ask you in that you previous led the spiritual ministry. We talked a little bit about that the last few minutes, but how does that shift to CEO been in the last two years? What-- what's that transition been like?

Dale Brantner
Oh, it's been remarkable. I -- I remember the day that Scott came and in a sense recruited me to come to CURE. He -- he came in my office at the church and he said, "Look, for years I've wanted to have this conversation with you, but it was only this morning really in my prayer time that I felt God had given me the green light." And he came and said, "You know, Sally and I aren't getting any younger." It's from a -- they started this ministry when they were 60. This incredible worldwide ministry was founded by two people in their sixties and then led it for 15 marvelous years. And so remarkable story is the startup. And so when Scott came to me, he said, "We're not getting any younger. We're looking for the next generation of leadership and I would like you to come and take on the spiritual ministry aspect of CURE which is as important as the medical aspect of CURE." And he said, "I want you to transition with Sally and -- and I want you to make sure that you're the guy in the organization that every morning when you wake up, your feet hit the ground and you think it's CURE first and foremost about this spiritual ministry. And is that in balance with the medical." And he said, "I want you to hold the organization and even me as the CEO accountable to that." So when we transition then for me to become the CEO all these years later, seven, six-seven years later, I needed that in my life as well. And so I had the privilege in transitioning into Scott's role being able to recruit and bring along side of me a gentleman named Victor Nakah from Zimbabwe who is just a world class leader. And we had served together as President and Vice President of the Seminary years ago and so Victor now carries that torch for the organization which has freed me up then to do the work that I need to do as the CEO of CURE. So it ended up being a -- a -- a really good transition. The other thing that Dr. Harrison was so good at is he was really good at identifying talent. And so he had built up a -- a very capable senior management team around this organization so that when the day came for the transition, you know, it was -- it really ended up being a very easy transition for me stepping in as CEO.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, we've -- we've enjoyed working with a number of people at CURE, particular Joel Worrall who's, you know, he -- he stands out as -- as a really great user of technology.

Dale Brantner
Yeah, he is really is.

Raymond Hansell
And it -- it makes the organization so much more nimble and easier for us to work with than it would otherwise with say some of the larger organizations that are out there. What-- what's been the most rewarding part of being part of this organization for you?

Dale Brantner
Well, you know, I think, you know, for me the most rewarding part ends up being, you know, seeing these children that pretty much everyone has given up on in their culture and it's not due to bad parenting, it's just a difference in world view. These children are seen as a curse. Often the mothers are blamed within these cultures. It's, you know, to me one of the joys is -- is seeing the child healed physically but then having to change what we call the theological disability that actually people are growing up in thinking that this is some kind of curse from God as opposed to, you know, these things happen for, you know, this is not your -- the mother's fault. This is not the child's fault. Just seeing both that physical disability alleviated and suffering, but also the theological one where they -- they go home realizing -- I mean can you imagine you're mother in Africa and you actually -- you have a -- a child with a severe disability and then you have carried all these years that you're somehow the one who caused this. You sat funny when you were pregnant or, you know, a certain animal walked across the path and it was an ancestral spirit that cursed you and I mean there's just all kinds of belief systems. And for these mothers to realize that, you know, these same conditions are appearing in the United States, it's just that we're treating them at birth. It's just a huge relief and it changes their whole perception about themselves. So it's -- it's -- it's -- it's that physical disability and then it's that invisible belief system and counseling that, you know, through counseling that we have to correct. I really feel like in many ways, the mothers and the children are -- are both captive. The children are captive to the limitations they have in their physical bodies and the mothers and -- and fathers so often are held captive to a belief system that puts the blame on them. And so when both of those are alleviated, that probably is the thing that gives me the most fulfillment.

Raymond Hansell
I can see that. We saw that ourselves up close and personal at that conference a few weeks back which we'll be talking about in just a few minutes. We're -- we're gonna take a break right now, but -- but we'll be back very shortly to talk more with Dale Brantner about his wonderful -- no, the wonderful mission at CURE International. And in the meantime, I'd like to offer this challenge to our listeners. If you know someone who's acts no matter how small are making a difference in the lives of other people, we'd love to hear about them. Send us an email at radio@betterworldians.com. We'll be right back. [MUSIC] >> The internet's number one talk station. Number one talk station. Voiceamerica.com. [MUSIC] >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then it will spread from then on. >> I should do more. >> I could do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. It's called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information, visit Facebook.com\A Better World. [MUSIC] >> This is BetterWorldians Radio. With a family team of Ray, MarySue, and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. That's, 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to radio@betterworldians.com. Now, back to BetterWorldians Radio. [MUSIC]

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Dale.

Dale Brantner
Hey, how's it going?

MarySue Hansell
Great, great. You know, Ray and I really enjoyed attending CURE's conference in Florida last month where we heard these really incredible stories of healing. I thought you might be able to share some of those with our listeners. One particular one was the guest appearance of Joyce. Can you tell a little bit about that?

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. I'm glad you enjoyed Joyce. She was certainly a surprise and as you saw there, I started to tell you the story of Joyce and then surprised everybody by actually having her come join me on stage. And she really was a gift to the entire conference that we were holding there. People just -- just really enjoyed being able to without going to a CURE Hospital which is by far the best way to experience CURE, was bringing a child who had just recently been cured in Kenya to the conference so that people could interact with her and be able to ask her many more questions than I could tease out on stage. But Joyce is in her late teens and she was living a -- a -- a very typical Kenyan life, going to school, and -- and doing well in school and thriving. And right around age 13, her body started to change in that her knees started to grow in -- in directions they shouldn't and she got the condition that we call knocked knees. And over the next couple years as her condition grew worse and worse, she started walking very differently, became very apparent to her school mates and so often they would follow her back to the dormitory at her boarding school and she didn't -- they didn't think they could -- she could hear them. But she could hear them and she would hear them make statements about her -- about, you know, how awful it was and -- and -- and who's fault is it and is she cursed and -- and all this. And so she just held all that pain in and -- and, you know, it really looked like a hopeless situation for her. She wondered if her life was over. If she'd ever get married, be able to have children, you know, what is -- is this condition something that's gonna kill me, you know, lead to death. And eventually she hears about -- her family hears about the CURE International Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya and she comes to that hospital and it's a condition that we can treat surgically. And so just about four to six weeks before she came out on stage, she had her final casts removed and she has just been really preparing for this trip 'cause she's never been out of Kenya let alone coming to the United States and especially to -- to -- to Florida. You know, for her she was doing a lot of physical therapy because she just wanted to walk perfectly in the weekend and show off, in a sense in a good way, the quality of the surgeries. And so that was her story. So she wasn't one of these children that we typically see born with a disability. Hers developed as a teenager right at those crucial years of, you know, 13 and -- and beyond where, you know, girls are -- are -- are even more focused on identity and -- and appearance. She went through a really rough spell, but now she wants to, as you heard there, just really choked me up on stage. I knew the answer and I still -- it was just so emotional for me. That she wants to dedicate her life now to becoming a co-- counselor for children with disabilities and their parents so that she can help counsel children and parents and communities to not treat children with disabilities, whether they're curable or incurable, with the same stigma that she was treated with.

Raymond Hansell
Wow.

MarySue Hansell
I know. That was such a beauty story. There -- there really wasn't a dry eye in the place. I know myself was really using all those tissues you provided there. What -- what was her visit like in the U.S. and how long did she stay?

Dale Brantner
We had her come in -- we had her come in about four days before the event so that she would be able to get used to the culture. That's hardly time to get used to the culture, but --

MarySue Hansell
Right, right.

Dale Brantner
-- I mean she-- she's coming from, you know, Nairobi, Kenya and she's coming into Naples, Florida and so the culture was gonna be radically different. So we wanted her to come and get used to things. It was a plus that it was a warm environment. You know, I've -- I've had experienced --

MarySue Hansell
She-- she's used to that, huh?

Dale Brantner
-- bringing folks out of Africa up here to Pennsylvania in the -- in the winter and that's brutal. But she really was prepared well, I think, by Fiona, our CURE Kids Coordinator in Kenya on what to expect. And so she didn't seem shocked by anything. So it was her first time, I believe, at the ocean.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, that must have been great.

Dale Brantner
Yeah, you know, I think first time on a plane.

MarySue Hansell
Well, I remember her saying that, that it was a first -- I think what was it, three different plane trips she had?

Dale Brantner
Yeah, they flew to Johannesburg which is a long flight, then over to Atlanta, and then down to Naples. So she got a lot of experience there. But it was the first time for almost everything she experienced and the thing that she really was looking forward to the most, you know, I know, you know, she got to do a little shopping. She got to get out and see some -- some neat things. But the thing she really was focused on is, you know, it was really -- she wanted to be able to be an ambassador from Kenya and really all of Africa of children that have been healed because of the generosity of people that are trying to make this a better world. And she just felt like I'm an ambassador and I wanna just express gratitude to people that are doing these acts of kindness to better the world.

MarySue Hansell
She was -- she was very, very sweet, too.

Dale Brantner
Yeah, she really was.

MarySue Hansell
Also, you showed a very, very moving video about a little girl who suffered from severe burns. I believe she had caught fire while her mother was cooking.

Dale Brantner
Yeah.

MarySue Hansell
And she then became disabled. Can you share that story?

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. It's Jemela [ph]. She lives in the country of Niger. Some coun-- some Americans call it Niger, but it's in West Africa. And it's not uncommon in the developing world because most people are cooking over open cook fires for children to either -- babies to roll into the fire, children to fall and knock over a -- a -- a, you know, cast iron pot of hot water or in this case, getting too close and her acrylic dress -- her polyester acrylic dress catches fire and then that just becomes a searing, you know, you know, burn on -- on her leg. And it -- it happened on her left leg and so often, again in the developing world, they don't have access to just primary health care. And so things that would have been done for her is just taking river water and contaminated water and just putting it on the burn. And when you don't treat a burn right, you develop a burn contracture to where she couldn't straighten out -- straighten out her leg. Her -- her -- her leg was bent at a 90 degree angle. And so through a very -- surgically through a simple procedure of releasing a burn contracture and doing some -- some skin grafts at our hospital, we were able to take a girl that after the burn happened and the leg was distorted, her mother thought the only thing that Jemela will ever do in her life is beg and the only way she can be mobile is if I work hard enough to buy her a cart to drag herself around in the streets.

Raymond Hansell
Mmm.

MarySue Hansell
Jeez.

Dale Brantner
And, you know, through a simple surgery to release that burn contracture and a bit of a skin graft, she now no longer has her ceiling in life being a beggar in the street and her mom trying to figure out her only form of mobility is a cart. She now can run and you saw her running and skipping in the video. She goes to school. She can get married. She can children of her own and we've educated another segment of -- of the population on the importance of getting burns treated immediately. So that was really how one surgery completely changed the direction of this girl's life.

MarySue Hansell
That was such a transformation. Is that video available or will it be on your website because I think if the listeners saw that, they would really wanna donate a lot because just a small amount of money can do such big things there.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. And, you know, I -- I -- I believe it was actually our videos went up either yesterday or today --

MarySue Hansell
Oh, really. Oh, great.

Dale Brantner
-- so that'll be there. But I'll have Joel just send you guys the link if you wanna call that one out in particular. And --

MarySue Hansell
I -- I -- I think that one was very moving. There --

Raymond Hansell
-- get around, too.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, perfect, perfect.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely.

MarySue Hansell
Yeah.

Dale Brantner
And what's remarkable is like, you know, with CURE we highlight a couple stories every year, but we're doing 20,000 of these surgeries a year. Twenty thousand of these surgeries and every one of these stories is a stories -- story like, you know, like Joyce's and like Jemela's and over the next five years, CURE is aggressively going forward. We just did our strategic plan and we wanna be sitting here five years from now saying we're doing 50,000 surgeries a year, not 20. So we're not content with 20. We feel we can heal a lot more kids in our current facilities and programs.

MarySue Hansell
I'm sure the listeners would love to hear another one if you have another good story like that.

Dale Brantner
Yeah, I -- there are just so many stories of kids that I -- that I meet. You know, I was just in -- in Zambia a few weeks ago and I was looking at this hospital and at -- at the same time I was hosting a local church of some folks that were looking to partner with us. And -- and I went and I -- I went to the ward and I looked at three different areas. I looked at the orthopedic ward and -- and I -- and I looked at the kids that were -- had been recovering from surgery for -- for severe bone disorders. And then I went to the neurosurgical ward where kids who literally were marked for death because of hydrocephalus, water on the brain, were able to actually intervene and save their lives. And then I went to the third part of the ward which was empty just due to resource. The resources needed to -- to -- to fill those beds. I was just like, "Man, there -- there are more kids out there and there's beds here and we've got the -- the technology." Well, I went off then later that afternoon to do something that I always love to do when I'm at hospitals which is get out and visit what I call cured kids -- children two, three years maybe after their surgery and seeing what life is like for them. And I went to visit a -- a little girl named Amanda and she was five years old. And I went to her house in a high density suburb of Lusaka, Zambia. And I took this group of people with me and we -- we went in and here Amanda had been born -- soon after she was born her head started to grow. She had water on the brain, hydrocephalus, and she happened to come to our hospital and her life was saved and a permanent cure was provided for her. And now, here I was in her house five years later. She's a first grader and she's on the floor and she's showing me -- me her school book and the lessons that she's doing and the good grades that she's getting. And I, you know, you -- you know, I -- I can talk anecdotally to these surgeries, end up giving these kids a chance at life, then when I get to go spend say an hour, hour and a half with a family in their home and I get to see it for myself, it's just so powerful. Well, when I went back to the hospital, you know, the group I was with, everyone was excited. For many of them, it was their first time in a home like that. But for me, I walked over to the ward and I looked at the empty beds and thought, "You know, if just given more resource, more partners, you know, those beds that are empty to me represented in a sense a grave instead of a bed of healing." And so that's why I-- I'm really focused in on us going from 20,000 surgeries a year to 50,000 surgeries. There's more kids out there we can -- we can really change their life and -- and really, really create a -- a better world for them.

MarySue Hansell
Now how can our listeners help? How can they donate?

Dale Brantner
The-- there's many, many ways that they can do that, but one of the easiest ones is to go online to cure.org and to choose a child or to choose an amount that they wanna give and to engage with us online through our Cure Kids program or just to make gifts online. All of them are tax deductible and it's just a very easy system. As you called out Joel, he and his team have built an amazing online experience. Another way is to get in touch with us directly. If they'd like to talk to someone and -- and -- and about opportunities to give. Another one is to go visit a CURE Hospital. And so there's many ways to engage with CURE. And always, I -- I -- one of the things I-- I'll just call out is we're always looking for folks and so keep -- keep an eye on our H.R. needs. Right now we're actually looking for a medical director for the Tebow CURE Hospital in the Philippines. So this is a full time position. You get to serve with CURE International in a hospital in the Philippines that we're building to take care of children in the Philippines and we're building that with Tim Tebow.

MarySue Hansell
Well, that sounds wonderful. Anybody out there that wants that job, please contact Dale.

Dale Brantner
As soon as possible.

MarySue Hansell
As soon as possible.

Dale Brantner
We wanna open that hospital. We know that there is a-- an orthopedic surgeon somewhere out there where he or her -- they're gonna get a hold of us and they're gonna be that right person to be part of what's gonna be a very exciting orthopedic -- pediatric orthopedic hospital in Mindanao, Philippines. It's a great place to live.

MarySue Hansell
And Dale, you've been -- we've been talking a lot about how the-- these surgeries change the children's lives physically. But also you hinted about and I thought it'd be good to talk a little bit more about what happens to the children beyond the physical cure? You know, what -- what changes them inside? What -- what happens to their self-esteem and self-image?

Dale Brantner
Well, it -- it -- it totally transform them 'cause as I -- I said earlier, they come in seeing their -- they -- they are seen as and they feel like a curse, a burden, and someone that very few people will touch. Often if you see a child with a disability in the developing world, people will literally cross the other side of the street or say, "Get that thing away from me." And so often these children aren't even given names. They aren't even given names.

MarySue Hansell
Really, no names.

Dale Brantner
Or they're given names like wicked or hatred.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, my.

Dale Brantner
It's unbelievable. So when a child receives a surgery at a CURE hospital and we're able to counsel the parents and say to them, "Your child is not cursed. Your child's a blessing. Your child was created in God's image and God loves your child and has a plan for your child." This is something the mothers have never heard of in their life. And they walk in a CURE hospital often it's the receptionist that greets them and says, "Oh, what a beautiful baby. Can I hold your baby?" No one has ever done that for them before. Their -- their own family members will often just say, "Keep that -- that cursed thing away from me." So they come in and everyone makes a fuss over their baby. That just immediately starts to tell the mothers, I'm in a different place and this is the first anyone has ever celebrated whatever has said is a curse in my life. I was in Zambia, as I said, just a couple weeks ago and there was a little girl named Wicked. They actually named her Wicked because she was disabled. She had a bone illness and what happened was after her surgery, the parents renamed her Beautiful. And it's like --

MarySue Hansell
Isn't that --

Dale Brantner
-- your whole identity changes and I know it's hard for us in the west to get that, but it's because we don't link illness with -- with someone's spiritual state. And so it-- it's just amazing to watch children that have no name be named because they've received love and surgery at a CURE Hospital. I mean think about that. Your name is changed because of a simple surgery. You now go from being Wicked to Beautiful.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, I got all goose bumps when you said that. That's beautiful. Now I know that faith is such a big part of what you all do there at CURE International. Can you tell us what role that plays when you're working with the children there?

Dale Brantner
I-- I'm sorry. I missed the first part of that.

MarySue Hansell
About faith.

Dale Brantner
Oh, faith, yes.

MarySue Hansell
You said faith is a very big part of what you all do.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely.

MarySue Hansell
If you could elaborate on that a bit.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. That is what actually really drives the organization. I mean we treat everyone regardless of -- of race or creed, you know, everyone is welcome at a CURE hospital. No one has to -- to cure a certain, you know, presentation before we'll treat their child. We treat everyone regardless of -- of any -- any condition, any state, any ethnicity. And so, but we are a Christian mission and we're founded that way because our founders, you know, here's Scott Harrison. He's a -- he's a orthopedic surgeon, Sally's a nurse, and they look into scripture and a part from Jesus -- the majority of what he does is in those three years that we see his public ministry, he talks about the Kingdom of God. He proclaims the Kingdom of God. The second thing he does is he heals the sick. And so in Luke Chapter 9, Verse 2 when Jesus sends out his disciples, he -- it says he sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and he healed the sick. So Scott and Sally didn't sit around saying what did Jesus do, or what would Jesus do. They actually say what did Jesus do and he healed the sick and he proclaimed the Kingdom of God. So they thought well we are healers, you know, in being a surgeon and a nurse and that's why they started CURE. It's so many times when they went to mission hospitals, they were so focused just on the physical condition and not the spiritual. And as I just told you in the story of changing a child's name from Wicked to Beautiful, the -- the counseling and the spiritual part is a big part of that. Helping people realize that God isn't judging them, but he loves them and he's created their ch-- children in his image. And so the spiritual part is just really important to CURE because we're not content just alleviating temporal suffering now, we want to alleviate eternal suffering and another way I talk about that is we're not just interested in -- in really restoring the broken bodies of children. We are interested in that, but we're also important in restoring the broken relationship between God and mankind. And so we just find so many times families that come to us distraught and thinking that they're judged by God. They end up leaving, knowing him better, and seeing that he actually had a purpose and he has purpose for their lives and for their children.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah. We-- we've seen that in action as well, Dale. I have to just chime in here. This is Ray, again. And we visited with you folks out in your corporate offices which is -- is not a big brass and glass over the top. It's very, very efficient, very beautiful, very solid, but there's space. Space right there for a prayer room in that office and you guys walk that walk. I mean you -- you see it, I saw it at the conference, I saw it in your offices, we hear it in your voice. It's genuine. It is real. We're gonna take another break right now. When we come back, we'll talk more with Dale Brantner, CEO of CURE International. We'll be right back. [MUSIC] >> Stimulating talk. Gets those snaps in the brain spiraling really fast. >> All the time. >> The number one internet talk station where your opinion counts. Voiceamerica.com. [MUSIC] >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then we'll spread from then on. >> I should do more. >> I can do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now, you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. It's called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information, visit Facebook.com\A Better World. [MUSIC] >> This is BetterWorldians Radio with a family team of Ray, MarySue, and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. That's 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to radio@betterworldians.com. Now, back to BetterWorldians Radio. [MUSIC]

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Dale, this is Greg.

Dale Brantner
Hi, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
I wanted to talk a little bit about the CURE experience worldwide. I know you have -- I know that CURE is all over the world, the Middle East, Africa, South America and the Caribbean, just to name a few. Tell our listeners, you know, how you decide where to work and to direct your attention.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. You know, when we first got started, Scott and Sally chose Kijabe, Kenya as our first location and then decided after that they would go to a neighboring country of Tanzania and things started there, but it didn't really work out. So they looked for another neighboring country which was Uganda. And so, as I said earlier in this segment, they -- the first hospital was orthopedic, the second hospital was neurosurgical and that's how we started to roll out. After that, I think, you know, those first two hospitals, they -- they joined with a few others to start them, but a lot of that was really Scott and Sally making the major contributions and they decided, you know what? Let's go from two hospitals to building a worldwide network. And that was a real turning point for the organization. And so I think over the next several years, Scott went in the direction of just being opportunistic where -- where he started hearing people that wanted to say, put a hospital someplace like the Dominican Republic or in Honduras. Different places that he would hear people say, "Well, you know, I really have a heart for this part of the world." Maybe Niger or -- or the Philippines and -- and -- and just kinda like matching up people that were -- cultures of people that were interested in the region and then CURE could bring the expertise. Where we're at now as an organization is that we actually are a bit more strategic in -- in how we're going to roll out future hospitals and in fact, we're in a season right now of wanting to just maximize the impact of the current facilities that we have because as I talked earlier about Zambia having some empty beds, our focus is actually filling the -- the -- the hospitals that we currently have as a platform then to be more strategic in -- in where CURE goes in the future.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, well, actually let's concentrate then on the -- the current experience. I know you mentioned, I think, that with the Tebow hospital and I'll get to that in a moment, but with the Tebow hospital, they'll be 10 -- 10 hospitals in 30 countries. But tell us what that -- what those hospitals are really like on the ground.

Dale Brantner
A -- a -- a CURE hospital or a -- a Philippine hospital in particular?

Gregory Hansell
Let's start with the CURE hospitals generally and then I actually wanna focus on the Tebow hospital after that.

Dale Brantner
Yeah. So a -- a -- a CURE hospital -- when CURE goes into a country, we never go in to meet all the needs of a country. That's the responsibility of the Ministers of Health and also charitable folks within -- within each country. And so CURE never would take on say we're gonna alleviate this condition in this country. We're gonna -- what we do is we go in and we say our contribution to this country is we're gonna go in and we're gonna create a model hospital with a reasonable amount of beds and we're gonna keep that hospital strategically focused on not becoming on -- on what we -- what we do. So if it's pediatric orthopedics or neurosurgery or reconstructive or maternal and child health, we keep the hospital focused on those conditions because if we became a general hospital, all of our resources would be eaten up completely. And so our -- our goal here is to have a physical and spiritual impact, but also there's a third area and that's training. And so we want a model hospital and that's what ends up happening. A CURE hospital in a developing world becomes a model hospital so that the Ministers of Health can say that the other government hospitals and private hospitals, that's the standard we're all aiming for. And so what we do is we wanna get first world results without having to build a first world hospital with all the bells and whistles that we -- we -- we assume we need here in the west. And so it's getting this first world results, getting -- using first world best practices in business, holding everything accountable, having integrity at the center of -- of our business practices is -- is paramount to a CURE hospital. So that's -- that's really the foundation is we wanna create a te-- a model teaching hospital that heals a bunch of kids, tells them and their families about Jesus, but then starts to raise the bar for everyone else in the country. And one of the ways they do that is they see people trying to come to a CURE Hospital saying I want treatment there and that brings everybody's game up. And so we've seen that as we remain in a country a decade or more. People do flatter us by trying to imitate us and we love seeing that 'cause it's better for everyone concerned. The actual workings of a hospital when you come into a CURE hospital is you've got everyone pulling in the same direction. Everyone's working with the same ethos, with the same core values really at the center of who they are. If you don't hold CURE's core values, you don't stay at CURE very long. And so everyone does everything with -- with -- with utmost excellence allowing our core values to really push out through our services on who we are. And so I would say probably one of the -- the most remarkable things for people that walk into a CURE hospital that strike them is how they're treated. And I mentioned earlier about, you know, how even the -- the -- our receptionist, you know, makes a great first impression. But our doctors and our nurses will spend time with the patients and their families answering all their questions. And that's -- that does not happen outside of western medicine. Often doctors carry themselves in the developing world as better than others and they don't give information out and they rarely will stop and spend time with their patients. And so when they come to our hospital and realize that they are giving -- like they're center stage and we fully answer everything that they're concerned about whether it's the condition of the child or maybe it's other things about life outside of just this disability. We take the time and they just are blown away by that.

Gregory Hansell
Mm-hmm. Well, you mentioned that there's a focus on -- on teaching and training.

Dale Brantner
Yes.

Gregory Hansell
And -- and so I wanted to ask you, are the doctors at the different hospitals local to those areas?

Dale Brantner
Most of them are. So what we do is we only bring in western expatriate doctors and nurses, medical professionals or even hospital administrators when we can't find that locally. So for instance, when we started the first hospital in Kenya, you know, we had a -- a western surgeon --

Gregory Hansell
Mm-hmm.

Dale Brantner
-- and an executive director. The rest of the staff were Kenyan. Now today, 17 years later, that hospital is 100 percent Kenyan. There's not a -- a single western expat. We're not opposed to sending a foreign doctor and again, if there's a specialty that we wanna start there that we can't find in the country. But that's one of the reasons why a joint CURE was, you know, at the time I joined CURE, you know, it was well over 90 percent national staff and it-- it's even better than that today. There's about 1600 of us employed by CURE International worldwide.

Gregory Hansell
Wow.

Dale Brantner
And about a hundred of us are from the United States and Europe.

Gregory Hansell
That's incredible. So it really is --

Dale Brantner
It is.

Gregory Hansell
-- the international organization.

Dale Brantner
Absolutely it is. Yeah.

Gregory Hansell
Let me ask you about those few people then, that may be from the United States of Europe although they may be perhaps from some of the other CURE hospitals that come in to train the doctors locally. What do you think motivates that crew?

Dale Brantner
You know, we -- actually what they do -- we -- we do have some like you -- you described that come short term into maybe train on -- on a course.

Gregory Hansell
Right.

Dale Brantner
You know, they're just wanting to give back. They-- they've -- they've been objects or recipients of -- of good training here in the west and they wanna give back. But most of our training actually takes place by full time staff in the hospital. And so and what's exciting is, in the first decade of CURE, it was always westerners who moved there for two to five years, some even longer, and they invest years training local African staff and -- and now what we have is as CURE is approaching really the second half of its second decade, it's our African surgeons that are training African surgeons.

Gregory Hansell
Mm-hmm.

Dale Brantner
And so we're really seeing this thing truly transfer over to where it's really completely indigenous. But the motivation for most -- for most people that are coming with CURE, a -- a vast majority of them are motivated by their faith. They see that Jesus was a healer and that Jesus took time to stop and heal people and they wanna go and walk as Jesus did. But at the very basic of anyone who comes and serves with CURE is, you know, by this simple act of -- of goodness, I make this a better world and I wanna go do this because there's often with people that come with CURE sense that we've been really blessed here in the states and so I wanna take some time and give back.

Gregory Hansell
Well, you talked a lot earlier about the Tebow CURE Hospital that's being opened in the -- in the Philippines.

Dale Brantner
Yes.

Gregory Hansell
I know you mentioned or allude that there's some interesting things about that that's -- that's known for -- for CURE. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Dale Brantner
Yeah, this is a really exciting one because this represents really our first hospital in -- in the eastern part of Asia. We've been doing some -- some treatments and club foot treatment in the region, Cambodia, and -- and but really for CURE when you look at a -- a global map, Afghanistan was really hospital wise our -- our furthest hospital going east. And so for us I'm really excited that we get to go to the island of Mindanao which is the second largest island in the Philippines. It's actually known for being the area where often it's more the hot spot in regards to kidnappings and those kinds of things. Probably not the best thing to mention when I also shouted out to recruit someone. But where we're at, Davao City, is -- is actually completely safe and it's just a beautiful part of the world. And we got involved with the Philippines primarily because a family out of California just has a real love for the Philippines and particularly that island and that particularly city of Davao City. And so over years of conversation, we -- we -- we came up with the idea of let's put a -- a CURE hospital in the Philippines and as we have worked on this over the years to secure funding from the family and from others, all of a sudden enter onto the stage is -- is Tim Tebow.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Dale Brantner
And, you know, Tim's core values at the core of who he is so match CURE. I mean he works tirelessly. He works with excellence. He is about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he loves sick kids. And that really is CURE. And so it became a -- a no brainer for Tim and for us for the Tim Tebow Foundation and for CURE International to say, you know what? Let's partner in this and just really make this a special hospital seeing that this was the island where Tim's parents had been missionaries and where Tim had -- the country in which Tim was born in. That's how we ended with the Tebow CURE Hospital op-- opening later this year.

Gregory Hansell
That's incredible. And how much farther east is that then -- then where you had it before.

Dale Brantner
Well, I mean when you look -- I mean this is the Far East. We -- we talk about the Middle East and then the Central Asia and then the Far East. And so Philippines is almost as far east as we can go here. [LAUGHS] I guess maybe we can pop down to Papua, New Guinea or something, but that's -- that's about it. So --

Gregory Hansell
We -- one question I ask every guest every week is how the work that they're doing helps to make it a better world. Now it's clear that CURE's mission is having a huge impact on the kids and the families and the cultures even that receive your services. But I kinda wanna put a spin on the question and ask you, do you think that the work you're doing is making a difference in the lives of your supporters?

Dale Brantner
Absolutely. Absolutely. I -- I -- I hear this over and over and over again. You know, I think of my Board chair, Jerry Tubergen. He's just a first rate man. Every time I talk with Jerry and I'm actually gonna be on with him in a few minutes. He -- he just -- when I thank him for the way he supports this organization both with his time, with his treasure, and his talent, as -- as he comes alongside -- and this is true. My -- all my board members and the major donors of CURE and a-- all the donors of CURE is when I ask people like Jerry or -- or just say thank you, I often get someone who's choked up and just starts to tear up and say, "You -- I should be thanking you. It's such a blessing to be part of a ministry like this, to be part of a -- a -- a quality outfit like CURE International. It's a privilege to us and our family." And I just heard over and over again people telling me when I say thank you for then contributing to the organization, they say you have no idea what this did for my family, what this did for my children, what this did for our marriage, what this did for our faith. To step out and get involved in this way. And so in people taking action to make this a better world for the children that -- that we're trying to reach that don't have a voice and don't have resources, what we're seeing is people are actually creating a better world for themselves in that they're receiving back a blessing from these children. And the simple act of acting, not thinking of the better world, but actually making a better world, that's -- that's what makes really the difference there.

Raymond Hansell
I -- I-- I'd just like to add once again as we're about to close that -- that it has made the -- the relationship with CURE has made a big difference in our lives here at A Better World and BetterWorldians Radio. It's -- it's very impactful. We really appreciated the participation and seeing you guys at work in Florida at the conference. And we're looking forward to this month being a month in which we are gonna help to make a difference in the lives of children through our partnership in A Better World during the month of April. For our listeners, you can find out more about CURE International by going to cure.org. Dale, thanks very much for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio.

Dale Brantner
It was my pleasure. It was great to be with you guys again.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you, Dale.

MarySue Hansell
Thanks, Dale.

Raymond Hansell
Terrific -- terrific as well. For our listeners, please join us next week on BetterWorldians Radio when we'll be talking to Allen Fox, the author of People -- People Tools, about his tips for success in relationships and in life. We have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks. And if you know an unsung BetterWorldian who would make a great guest on our show, you can send us an email at radio@betterworldians.com. We'd like to thank everyone today for listening. You can join the BetterWorldian community at betterworldians.com and until next time, as I always sign off, please be a BetterWorldian. [MUSIC] >> Thank you again for helping make the world just a little bit better this week. Please join your hosts, Ray, MarySue, and Gregory Hansell next Thursday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, 8:00 a.m. Pacific on the Voice America Variety Channel. We hope we've inspired you to do one small thing to help make a big difference. Join us at betterworldians.com to tell us what you've done to change the world. [MUSIC]