It’s a family affair at the Akhouryan Mother & Child Birthing Center in Gyumri, Armenia, and for two weeks in October for the last five years, the Thomas family of Fresno has played a big role.
OBGYN Dr. Jeff Thomas and his wife Heidi spend their mission visit volunteering at this 20-year-old hospital– Dr. Thomas performing surgeries and delivering babies and Heidi assisting and helping the new moms in recovery.
This year, there are two more Thomas additions: their daughters 17-year-old Kate and 20-year-old Mattie. “It’s been quite a journey being here and seeing first hand what they do here and how grateful people are for the help they’re receiving,” says Mattie Thomas.
The Thomas girls are contemplating medical careers. They’ve heard their parent’s mission trips stories year after year, and this year, they’re a part of the story themselves. “Coming here the first day we jumped right into it and it was surreal. I wasn’t sure it was real, I kept pinching myself to see if it was a dream,” says Kate Thomas. According to Dr. Jeff Thomas, “I think it’s an opportunity for them to see what I’ve invested my life into. And hopeful have a greater appreciation for what that investment has been.”
Team Thomas’s investment goes beyond these two weeks. “We came this year with 14 suitcases. We’ve already given out probably 30 infant packets to new moms,” says Heidi Thomas.
Months before the mission, the Thomas family makes a baby registry and collects donated items– delivering unexpected gifts from the Thomas family to these new families in Armenia. “I never imagined that we would have this as a family. It’s definitely better than any other vacation that we’ve ever taken,” says Heidi Thomas.
A family of volunteers. Helping to deliver new life.. And save lives. A family affair. That’s truly an affair of the heart.