Tom Logan grew up in a family where social justice was an integral part of the Christian faith. His father, a Presbyterian minister, opened their home to refugees from Korea, Hungary, Cuba, Palestine, and Japan. After high school in the 1960s Tom traveled through Africa, working with Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Cameroon, encountering apartheid in South Africa, and witnessing starvation in Ethiopia. Those experiences, combined with years of activism registering voters in the Civil Rights movement under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., instilled a desire to help those who could not help themselves in him and his wife Jocelyn. They have spent their lives together working in partnership with marginalized people and meeting their needs without harming their dignity.
This background led to the formation of Marion Medical Mission (MMM) in 1985. The Logans had learned that many organizations spent part of their donations on overhead cost. They wanted to create something that would make an impact AND use 100% of donations to accomplish its mission. They wanted to support an organization that met a physical need while remaining Christ-centered. MMM remains true to this vision today, sending all designated funds to their purposes and all undesignated funds to the mission field in Africa in obedience to Christ’s command to “love your neighbor.”
Curative Medicine to Preventative Medicine:
Originally, MMM was founded to support surgical training in remote African mission hospitals. In 1985, a team of five volunteers went to three rural mission hospitals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where MMM had a connection with Dr. Kenneth McGill, a missionary doctor for the Presbyterian Church (USA). In 1987, four volunteers traveled to three mission hospitals in Ghana. During these trips, the surgeons would do more than 60 major operations in three weeks. Sometimes, Tom would have to hold flashlights as they did emergency operations in a facility with no electricity. “I couldn’t think of a more effective way to share Christ’s love and impact the lives of a lot of people.”
Several things impressed Tom in those early years:
- The generosity and hospitality of the Africans and missionaries working with them.
- The ability of the local people to accomplish tasks (like building a clinic) in a timely manner and under budget.
When Dr. McGill moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the country of Malawi in 1990, MMM’s volunteer team headed there too. While in Malawi, the Logans became aware of the great need for safe drinking water. Tom was with Dr. John Knowles, a missionary doctor at Ekwendeni hospital, when they came across a Well that had never been installed.
Dr. Knowles was upset that the government wasn’t following through on their promises of clean water for the people. Tom turned to him and said, “Why don’t you do it?” Dr. Knowles pointed the question back, saying “Why don’t YOU?” The Logans were convicted, realizing that a lack of clean, safe drinking water was the root cause of many of the medical problems their volunteers were treating. As a result, MMM shifted its focus from curative medicine to preventative medicine through the provision of functional wells.
Expanding the Program:
While in Malawi in 1990, MMM installed 13 Wells. When Tom and Jocelyn returned from Africa in November of that year, MMM was incorporated as a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. They began fundraising and building an infrastructure in partnership with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia in Northern Malawi. Each year MMM’s goals increased. Each year they reached their goal and served more people with protected water. In 1995, local subsistence farmers trained by MMM began manufacturing the Mark V pumps in Malawi. In 2003, the program expanded into Zambia with the CCAP Synod of Zambia. That same year, MMM partnered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) and began building wells. A fourth program was established in Central Malawi with the CCAP Synod of Nkhoma in 2005.
As MMM has grown, everything from the structure of the organization to the production of pump parts, to the number of wells installed every year, has become more efficient. In the first year, we built 13 wells but now we build more than 2,500 wells every year. This efficiency is possible because of the team we have collected in Africa – four Coordinators, twenty Field Officers, eighty seven Installation Supervisors, and over one thousand builders who work together with the communities to ensure that wells are properly built and maintained. MMM has a reputation in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania for following through on promises and putting the community first.
Achieving the Impossible:
In 2015, MMM celebrates 30 years in obedience to God’s call to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We are blessed over and over again as we step out in faith to do the impossible. God meets us and helps us accomplish things that have never been done before. As we grow and move forward, we promise to:
- Continue to step out in faith, going beyond what we can do for ourselves.
- Maintain our donation system where 100% goes where it’s designated and 100% of all undesignated funds go to the field in Africa.
- Do everything we can with what we have where we have it.
- Use everything that God has given us while leaving room for God to work.
- Remember that we are doing our work WITH God’s people, not FOR them.
- Reach across the ocean, connecting people on both sides and being a “light that shines” leading them in the right direction.
- Achieve the impossible with God’s blessing and provision.