In 2008, Evan Fujimoto was asked to join a medical mission trip with other members of his church, New Hope Christian Fellowship. Fujimoto, president of construction company Graham Builders, jumped at the chance. He soon found himself on a plane to Nepal, where the team provided basic treatment including diagnoses, wound care, prescribing medicine and dental care and helped nearly 500 patients in three days.
“It was such an eye-opening experience,”
Fujimoto says. “We have poverty here, but it’s nothing like poverty you will see in countries like this. These people have virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs.”
Following that trip, Fujimoto wanted to continue volunteer work. “I kind of felt this calling in my life to get involved with these short-term missions,” he says.
He returned to Nepal two years later for a second medical mission trip. Earlier this year, he visited an orphanage in Myanmar to look into the possibility of future collaboration.
Next week, Fujimoto embarks on another trip – this time to Indonesia – to work in two villages, Makassar and Lepan. Fujimoto, along with a small team, will visit an orphanage and a training center that serve children and young adults who are either orphans or were put in the facilities by parents who didn’t have the resources to care for them.
“A lot of them come from remote villages where there are very few opportunities,” Fujimoto says, adding that for some parents, the orphanage represents a potentially better future for their children.
“We want to support them and bring them things they need – food, clothing, medicine,” he says.
One aspect that Fujimoto is particularly passionate about is preventing human trafficking – an issue that he recently learned is a growing problem in Indonesia, especially among young children. He explains that many children from Indonesia have been kidnapped and enslaved. He hopes to establish programs to address this and other issues in the area.
“This is a fact-finding trip for me to really get a sense of what is happening there and to see if a longer-term initiative would work,” he says.
In the future, Fujimoto hopes to develop programs for children and young adults that increase educational opportunities, provide a place to live and offer employment training. He also plans to continue to spread the word about these issues, along with the issue of human trafficking, in an effort to garner support from his church and other individuals.
When asked what inspires him, Fujimoto replies modestly: “We’re all born with some kind of desire in our hearts to do different things, and you don’t really know where these motivations come from … We all have a different calling, I guess. My thing has always been, well if it’s not me, then who’s going to do it? Might as well be me.”