Following the 1998 Atlantic hurricane that killed nearly 11,000 and left 2.7 million homeless, Larry Lallo organized a team of fellow missionaries to help rebuild in Nicaragua. Lallo’s previous professional and charitable work experience taught him the value of sustainable service – putting something into place that can continue after missionaries move on. The missionary team labored with faith in the devastated villages of Nicaragua building houses for the survivors. But their impact didn’t stop there.
Selecting a core group of five men from each village, the team taught villagers how to build and design homes themselves. The groups passed their new skills and knowledge on to others, who then passed it on to more villagers. The impact and results were so successful that seed money was provided to the villagers to start their own business making cement blocks. Out of one mission trip, refugees in Nicaragua gained much more than newly erected houses for their community. They were given skills, resources, sense of purpose and dignity that provided new hope for the future to rebuild their lives.
As a result of this trip of mercy, Lallo’s team of expert businessmen and followers of Christ began to realize the need for this kind of transformative help throughout the world. Upon the model of empowering people with opportunity, productivity, and dignity, the Mercy Economic Development International Corporation (MEDIC) was created in 2001 by Lallo, David Daniels, a general contractor from East Canton, Ohio and Daniel Nallathamby, a Sri Lankan refugee living in Canada.
MEDIC soon raised $20,000 to launch its first enterprise development effort in the west African country of Benin. Soon after, the uniquely designed program was duplicated in nearby Ghana. Today, MEDIC is made up of people of faith from around the world that place Christ-center principals at the center of their service to our human family.