It is a blessing and an honor for me to be invited to speak to you today. I am humbled when I consider the audience to whom I am asked to speak. Among both my African and American brethren in this audience, there are many I know and love and respect greatly. Many of you have backgrounds and experiences that would well qualify you to address this wonderful group on the topic I've been assigned -- "Medical Missions and Evangelism: Coordinating with Different Medical Outreaches."
I have been praying that God would bless me to be able to present some ideas and insights to this group that will enable each of you to capture a vision of what God can do with your talents and those of the congregations you represent. Those who know me are aware that I have great confidence in the ability of Africans to lead in the task of evangelizing their countries and the African Continent and the world beyond. One of my goals today is to encourage each of you in understanding that as African nationals you can take the lead in both the "Evangelism and Medical Missions" aspects of the topic assigned to me. As I prepared this presentation, I had great confidence that one of the main thrusts of this Jabulani event would be the encouragement of you, our African brethren, in your own abilities and resources to be God's servants in leading the African church in all the areas of work and service that God can use in the Kingdom. This is true in the health care arena, as well as in evangelism and church growth and development.
"Health Care," though, has always provided some special challenges to God's people and the world in general. I feel it is very important for us to have a proper biblical basis for viewing any health care works in which we involve ourselves. In making this statement, I hesitate because "Health Care," in the sense that the world looks at it, is not specifically addressed in scripture. We certainly read throughout scripture of the struggles and travails of men in regard to their health or lack thereof. Job is probably one of the clearest examples of the struggle of a lover of God in understanding the failure of his health and of every other aspect of his life. We clearly see in the Gospels the tremendous draw of Jesus as the Healer. This drawing power is universal in scope and enduring in time. Throughout every age of man, men have sought to preserve their health and even their youth. These pursuits are natural and understandable. But they can be consuming and detrimental to our faith. A good example of this is Asa in II Chronicles 16:12, "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians." Our purposes are not to promote health care as a "cure all," but to direct sinners to "seek the LORD." So I want to begin by looking at some basic biblical concepts regarding our health. Later, we will look at the varied aspects and potentials of health care in our God-commissioned task to "make disciples of all the nations."
As believers, you and I have a view of the world and what lies beyond that non-believers do not share in common with us. I know this statement is obvious but I fear that, too often, we forget how different we are or at least how different we should be. This difference does not mean superiority. It does not shield us from the pain, turmoil and struggles that all of us as men share in common. God loves and "desires all men to be saved" (I Timothy 2:4a). There is another aspect to this verse that is extremely important and that is God's desire that all men "come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:4b). This "truth" is that which gives to us perspectives regarding the world around us and concerning our health that non-believers do not have.
As believers, we understand that "__God created man in his own image__" (Genesis 1:27). Please notice that God created "man" in His image. This image aspect of man is not limited to believers. Note again in Genesis 5:1 "In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God." Our world view is one which compels us to see every man as "made in the likeness of God." We may struggle with what this means in all its facets but, if nothing else, it means every man is very special and very different from all other creatures (or biological systems as the humanist would see them). Our bodies are not all there is to us. For any practitioner of the medical arts there is always a risk of becoming involved in the "complexities of biological systems" in such a way that we forget we are dealing with the frailties of the bodies of men who are "made in the likeness of God" but tarnished and made frail by the results of sin.
In essence, medicine always addresses this frailty aspect of man and his body. Understanding and remembering the source of this frailty is essential for any believer involved in health care. So what is the source of man's frailty? Believers understand that "In the beginning," when God completed His incredible creative handiwork, He stopped and reflected on it -- "And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). How "good" was it? How "good" was man made "In the beginning"? It was so "good" that for Adam and Eve, biological and spiritual life were anticipated "without death." We see this implied in the instructions God gave them in Genesis 2:17 - "but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." If they had not eaten they would not have died. As a result of eating, they were cast off to live in frailty in a world that was cursed and corrupted in ways that promoted aging and ensured death.
As a sidelight, I want you to think about the tremendous implications of the book of Genesis regarding the science of "biological systems." I have mentioned previously the danger I see in man's pursuit of youth. Throughout history we have seen man struggle against aging and death. This is natural but shows a great lack of understanding concerning God's desire that men "come to the knowledge of the truth." The "truth" is not that man once had the capacity to live eternally in the body God created in the Garden; nor is it the understanding that even after the fall man lived to incredible ages of almost 1,000 years. Genesis makes clear that as a "biological system" God created man with capacities for health and longevity only dreamed of today. This also helps us as believers to not be alarmed at scientist's development of understandings that lead to the prolongation of life. The "truth," though, is that in spite of the great biological capacity of God's creation for longevity (and even eternal life before the fall) "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God__" (Romans 3:23). My purpose here is to help us think about the awesomeness of God's creative powers and the great tragedy of man's sin.
Unfortunately, even if scientists and physicians discover newer and more reliable methods of restoring and prolonging health and life, all men will still die. This is such a fundamental truth that we must never forget it. Hebrews 9:27-28 says "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." This, then, speaks of the absolute need to never separate "Evangelism" from "Medical Missions." Jesus says in Mark 8:36-38, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
I point out these things which are obvious to each of you as believers in order to set the stage for discussing a caution concerning the church's involvement in health care as a tool for evangelism. This caution is that of man's expectations as he comes to look for health and healing. Jesus knew of man's great desire for healing. He used this desire as a tool in several different ways. He used healing to attract people to Him and to the message of the Gospel. He used it to display compassion toward those who were suffering. He also used it to demonstrate the power that established His Deity.
We all know there are many in the religious world today that claim that healing occurs today in the same manner as in New Testament times. How people come to believe this emphasizes some of the dangers in man's desire for healing. I do not want to go into a treatise on the cessation of the miraculous gifts; but I feel it is important for us to understand that people sometimes have expectations that are unreasonable. Our purpose is to direct people to the Savior so that they may enjoy salvation from sin.
To emphasize the physical aspects of health and neglect one's spiritual welfare is wrong. Hebrews 2:2-4 is instructive in this regard 2"For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." There is much that is instructive in these verses. We, through Jesus, enjoy a "great salvation" which must not be neglected. Notice also that this saving message "was confirmed" (Greek aorist -- completed action in the past) by those who heard. Also notice that God was "testifying with them both by signs and wonders and various miracles__." "Testifying" in this verse is a present participle whose action - according to Robertson's Greek text - is "coterminous" (happens at the same time) with the action of the main verb - which in this case - is the verb "was confirmed." This verse alone is very clear regarding God's use of the miraculous as a "confirmation" of the word, which was limited to the time of the New Testament. The Greek grammar indicates it was a completed action in the past at the time the book of Hebrews was written.
For those of us involved in ministries of care for man's body, we need to understand our limitations, especially in light of man's expectations. In spite of the wondrous advances of modern science and medicine, we will not see men reaching the capacity of "eternal life." Every man's body ministered to, or even "saved from the jaws of death" by modern medicine, will ultimately die. The only ultimate good we have to offer is through Jesus Christ. Read with me I Corinthians 15:54-57 54"But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Please bear with me and allow me one final diversion. The verses above speak of that marvelous victory over death through Jesus Christ. Verse 56 is an amazing verse to me - 56"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." I point out this verse because there seems to be a developing confusion in our brotherhood regarding what God accomplished for us through His Son and how we come to enjoy "victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Our problem began in the Garden. Earlier we discussed the fact that the problems we face physically are a result of our expulsion from the presence of God as a result of Adam and Eve's sin. That same expulsion makes clear our spiritual problem as well. It is the problem of sin. God has chosen to describe sin as a "legal" problem for us. Let's look at a few verses which speak of this "legal" problem. I John 3:4 says "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." Sin exists where there is law. God established "law" to instruct us regarding His righteousness and revulsion regarding our sin. We remember the words from Isaiah 59:1-2, 1"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. 2But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear." It is sin which separates us from God, as we read here in Isaiah and as we see so clearly in the Genesis account of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden because of one violation.
Paul in Galatians 3:10 says "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.'" So we see that God has chosen to describe our problem of sin in a legal sense. From the example in the Garden and from the Mosaical Law System as rehearsed above by Paul, we see that it takes only one violation to separate us from God and make us "cursed."
The question, which needs to be answered by all who place their trust in Jesus Christ, is: "How are we released from this curse?" Paul makes it clear in Galatians 3:13-14, 13"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us----for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'---- 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." We see here that through Jesus' death on the cross He "became a curse for us." In being "cursed" for us, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law." He paid the very price we owed. What was that price? It was to "hang on a tree." God's choosing to describe sin as a legal problem results in each of us deserving death by crucifixion. Notice how Paul views his faith relationship to Jesus Christ in Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Paul's "faith relationship" with Jesus Christ was based on Paul's being able to reflect to having been "crucified with Christ." Anyone claiming to have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ should be able to say as Paul did "I have been crucified with Christ." Remember that being crucified with Christ deals with the legal problem we had because of God's choosing to describe sin as a legal problem.
The more specific question now to be answered by all who place their trust in Jesus Christ is: "How am I crucified with Christ?" Whenever that occurs our faith relationship with Christ is established and our legal problem is satisfied. Look at Colossians 2:13-14, 13"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Please notice carefully the context of these verses. The context is a description of our release from the "certificate of debt" and "decrees against us" which was made possible through the death of Jesus on the cross. But how are we crucified with Christ? Please look at Romans 6:6-7, 6"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin." Here Paul makes it clear to the Roman believers that their "our old self was crucified with Him." When did this occur? Look at the whole passage in Romans 6:3-7 3"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin."
So, it is at the point of baptism that we are "crucified with Christ" and "freed from sin." Or as Paul says in Colossians 2:11-12, "and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." In this way God chooses to "cancel out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us." Thus we understand why Jesus' Great Commission is to 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
It is with this commission that we seek ways to incorporate "Medical Missions and Evangelism." In both instances it is our desire to do our best to provide "Good Medicine." This must be true in both the spiritual as well as the physical realm. Let us not waver in regard to the commission of Jesus. Let us not compromise with the religious world around us and provide the hope of a "faith relationship" to Jesus Christ on any other basis than the one which scripture establishes as solving our sin problem through being "crucified with Christ."
I do beg your indulgence for this diversion but I feel compelled to be clear about the message we should carry as we use Medical Missions as a tool for Evangelism. That being said, let's look at some of the ways in which Medical Missions can be a blessing to our brethren and the world around them. I remind you (and me) that our topic is "Medical Missions and Evangelism: Coordinating with Different Medical Outreaches."
My topic implies the fact that there are different means by which we can use the provision of health care to minister. This is very true and is a great blessing. As with every other ministry area in the Kingdom, each of us is blessed with different talents, educational backgrounds, professional abilities and economic capacities. Each of these should be considered when you and the churches you minister with consider using medicine in your ministry.
I want to be very clear at this point in my presentation. I have no bias toward any one method of using health care as a ministry tool. I am absolutely convinced that the many different methods of doing health care ministry can be used by God to accomplish His purposes (and ours) of demonstrating to people our compassion and concern as well as attracting them to us as ministers of God carrying a message of Good News that all need to hear. I do not feel there is any place for pride on the part of any Christian health care provider regarding his chosen "method" of ministry as being superior to that of another. God's only desire is for "all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." That should be our desire as well.
This common desire that each of us share together as ministers of the Good News of Jesus Christ should destroy any pride we might have concerning our personal abilities or chosen method of providing health care. We are each to be servants in our actions and not prideful and competitive. Look at Matthew 20:26-28, 26"It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." May God preserve us from the vain pride of competition with one another in our chosen ministry areas.
As we look at these "Different Medical Outreaches" and the partnerships that we sometimes form to implement them, let's remember that the most important factor in our success will be the character and love and commitment to God's purposes we bring into these ministries. You, my African brethren, have some wonderful things to offer in these areas. I have been blessed to see the kind of spirit that you all can bring into your ministries. Over the years I have spent time in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. In every instance, there have been national brethren who stand tall among any I have seen anywhere in the world concerning their servant spirits and devotion to God. You are the kind of people to be leading in these ministry areas.
I have seen this same spirit in Africans who I don't know to be members of the church. Let me share a story with you that demonstrates this. I think this story will be encouraging to you. This is a story of a stupid American and some very sacrificially giving Kenyans. The story is about me (the stupid American) and my family. While going to language school in Kenya, my family and I took a Saturday off to "go for a drive." My family has through the years grown to be reluctant when I ask if they want to go for a drive. I've given them reason for that reluctance. In this case we left Limuru (north of Nairobi) one morning and traveled north. I was thinking we would look at the Kinangop Plateau area just west of the Aberdare Mountains.
As my family has found, one thing with me often leads to another. Since we were there fairly early in the day I thought we might just go ahead and drive up the mountain into the west side of the Aberdare National Park. Upon arriving at the top it seemed to make sense to drive on through to the east and go down the other side of the mountain. As we were going down the other side of the mountain the vehicle we were driving (an old International Harvester Scout which we called "The Beast") had a "funny feel" in the rear end when we hit bumps or went around corners. Cautious man that I am, I stopped and jacked up both sides of the rear and checked the brakes and axles. I couldn't find anything wrong. So we proceeded down the mountain but I began going a little faster since by now it was becoming mid afternoon and I needed to pick up the pace to get back to Limuru before dark.
We made it down the mountain without further concern and were making good time on the tarmac past Nyeri. Soon after passing the turnoff to Muranga things got really bad, really fast with the Scout. We suddenly jerked to the right into the oncoming lane and there was the most awful screeching noise and smoke and sparks coming from the rear end, as the right rear of the vehicle dropped to the ground. We had lost the right rear axle going about 80km/h! God blessed us and there was no oncoming traffic. I was able to manhandle that smoking, sparking, screeching contraption off onto the left shoulder of the road. It was now about 90 minutes before sunset. I had almost no money in my pocket. We were told by the folks that lived along the road that we couldn't leave our car there because it would be stripped by morning. We were about 15 km from Muranga, the closest city. We were about 5 km from the nearest petrol station/telephone. I had gotten us into a mess!
So, what to do? We needed to call for help. I insisted on keeping the family together. I "arranged" to have some local guys, I had no idea whether I could trust, to watch the car until we "got back" -- not having a clue when that would be. We walked to the petrol station about 5 km away. There I called a brother in Nairobi and explained our plight -- to which he replied, "Pole sana, Bwana -- I don't drive after dark on these roads. I'll be there in the morning. Oh, by the way, where are you going to be staying?" While I was on the phone, my son Bill, who was then about 10 years old, tugged on my shirt and said, "Dad, I'm hungry!" I replied, "I don't have enough money for food." I didn't know what we would do. After spending several minutes on the phone, I hung up and conferred with my family; at which time the gas station attendant, who was obviously just an attendant and very poor, presented us with a large plate of "chips" (French fries) and several sodas. He had walked next door and bought these with his own limited funds because of overhearing my son and my response to him. I explained to him that I couldn't pay for it. He said, "Hakuna matata" ["No problem"]. I tried to make arrangements to pay him later. He said he did not want to be paid; he just wanted to help.
About this time another fellow who had just come in to pay after filling up with gas overheard me on the phone. He said, "Oh, is that your car by the road down the way?" I said, "Yes", to which he replied, "You can't leave it there. It will be stripped by morning!" I explained that I had no money to arrange for towing or really anything else. He replied, "Hakuna matata. I have a friend with a tow truck in Muranga and another who owns a hotel." "But," I said, "I can't pay until someone comes from Nairobi in the morning." He said, "I don't want to be paid even in the morning." I was stunned and very humbled. There was no "catch" with either of these men. Both gave sacrificially to me and my family -- just to help. They knew I was an American and could arrange to pay them back. Neither one of them wanted anything back from me. They just wanted to help. And indeed they did. All turned out well with both us and the vehicle. And I learned a great lesson from some Kenyans who expected nothing in return.
This is the kind of spirit which each of us needs to bring to missions in general and health care missions in particular. On both the American and African sides of our "partnerships," when they exist, we must give of ourselves and our means expecting nothing in return -- except to bring glory to God through our service. Notice that I say concerning partnerships "when they exist." I do so for a purpose. I want to strongly encourage you, our African brethren to think, dream and implement health care missions projects which are wholly African. Some of the "Different Medical Outreaches" can be started and sustained by the African church without American assistance. This needs to be done. You need to determine to launch out on your own. You should not be "held back" with the sense that you need American expertise and assistance.
I said earlier that I have no bias toward any one method of using health care as a ministry tool. This is true. I do, though, have a bias toward Africans being the initiators and sustainers of any "methods" chosen. This probably means you will start with the types of health care ministries that can be implemented with little capital investment. This means you will use local, existing resources for training Christians in health care fields. In many countries there are many national resources for training and even assistance when health care projects are properly planned. I don't know all the resources in each of the countries represented here. But you can find them.
When I conclude my "presentation" I want us to spend some time talking about works with which you are acquainted, resources of which you are aware, and your own dreams for doing "health care missions" in your own countries. There are works that you all can do on your own. I also have some handouts with bibliographies and book lists that may be helpful to you. Also, I have copies of my presentation available for those who would like one.
Having encouraged you to "launch out on your own," I feel some responsibility to give you some direction as you "launch out." As we consider the specifics of health care methods in ministry, we need to consider health care as it is practiced in the world today. There are many models for health care provision in different countries and varied successes (and failures) with these systems. Each of them is different based on the particular environmental and socioeconomic conditions of the particular country or even regions within a country.
Many look to the U.S. as having a "great" health care system. We are indeed blessed in this country. But I want you to think about the "foundations" of health that we in the U.S. and many other "developed" nations enjoy. I am speaking specifically of things that most Westerners take for granted. That is clean water, proper sanitation/sewage treatment, freedom from major parasitic and disease transmission, etc. Without these as a foundation, we would have disease and mortality rates that would be much higher. If these basic services were to collapse and Westerners become exposed to the same struggles for water, sanitation, and against parasite/disease transmission, we would - I expect - be in worse shape than much of the third world. Our physicians and hospitals would be overwhelmed and largely incapable of dealing with the problems.
The foundation of health care is and always will be clean water and proper sanitation. When these are appropriately established, resources that were previously wasted, addressing all the health problems coming from a lack of clean water and sanitation, will then be available to address other health issues. But no nation has the capacity to provide the "latest and greatest" of high-tech care universally and without limit. It may seem that it is possible but I strongly sense that it will never be. Even if we get close to providing the absolute best that modern technology can deliver, we are still left with the fact that all men will still die. Think of the wealthiest men and women in the world. They all still die - even those with "unlimited resources." The provision of the "absolute latest, greatest" in health care through medical missions does not appear to me to be a reasonable pursuit.
So how do you start? As in any endeavor, with the basics. Clean water, good sanitation and basic health care principles that foster an environment that is most conducive to good health without "medical" intervention. Where do you start? The only place you can -- where you live. These concepts are simple and well promoted by the World Health Organization, National Ministries of Health, and numerous NGO's/charitable organizations. We don't need to reinvent the wheel in this area. Please do not downplay the importance of these basic measures. What needs to be done is for those among God's people who are blessed with an interest in and talent for serving in these areas to do so. Christian parents can encourage their Christian children to pursue education in these fields. They themselves, and others, can set the example by joining with their communities in "Primary Health Care" as promoted by National Ministries of Health. Church members can join together to sponsor the training of worthy young adults to prepare to serve in these areas. Churches can join together in similar but broader efforts to become involved in "Primary Health Care" and the provision of basic community services.
Some of you may be thinking, "We need money to do these things," or "We don't know how to do this." You and your people are talented and hard-working. What you do not "have" right now God can provide. His provision does not have to come through Americans. You are people of faith. God loves you directly and not through Americans. He will listen to your pleadings for help. Remember Jesus' story of the "Importunate Widow and the Judge" in Luke 18:3-8. 3"There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, Give me legal protection from my opponent.' 4For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.' 6And the Lord said, 'Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?'" The issue is not where the help comes from; it is whether or not "His elect __ cry to Him day and night." God will provide -- if you will ask.
So, the foundation of "Medical Missions" wherever it is implemented is provision of basic services and the principles of "Primary Health Care." What is "Primary Health Care"? Part of the answer is in some of the other ways it is described. Some will use the term "Community Health Care." It is often implemented by the training of "Primary Health Care Workers" or "Community Health Workers" or "Village Health Workers." These are your friends and neighbors wherever you live. They are folks who have care and concern for their friends and communities. They are folks who have taken the initiative to learn some basic health principles that can make a huge difference in the lives and welfare of their friends, neighbors and communities. They are people who have compassionate concern and work to serve.
Where do compassionate and concerned Christians go to learn these principles? It depends on where you live. I don't know all the answers. The handouts I'm providing will discuss resources where you can look. You will have to take the initiative to find resources in your countries and communities.
What about going beyond "Primary Health Care"? What about "Clinics," "Health Centers" and "Hospitals"? It depends. It depends on your local situation and the opportunities you have. People are the most important factor. Are there Christians with the talents and abilities to be trained to serve in these areas? Are there Christians who are already trained that just need to be encouraged to "make things happen" for the church in their area?
I could take some time and "survey" the health care works with which I am acquainted on the African continent. But I'm confident that there are enough people here who have been involved in those works and know of works of which I am not aware. I think our time would be better spent "discussing" these works and how they've come to be. We should discuss their strengths and even their weaknesses. Above all, we should look to God for direction and guidance. We most certainly should be encouraging of one another in our discussions.
The works that I have some exposure to are all efforts of God-fearing Christians who have dreamed and utilized the opportunities and blessings God has provided. They have been blessings to their communities and to the church. The hospital works I have been a part of make efforts to be involved in "Primary Health Care" and assist communities with basic services. There are works specifically committed to the provision of clean water. Let's talk about all these different works and learn from them.
I have a specific handout that I would like you to pay special attention to as we prepare to discuss these things. This is a short one entitled "Discussion Questions and Points" that may help guide our discussions of medical works that have been done and are being done on the African Continent today. We'll take just a short break to stretch our legs and pass materials out at this time.
- What African health works are represented here today? Let's each list who is here from which work.
- Are there other works any of you know about that are not represented here today?
- Would someone from each work summarize the background of the work and its emphasis? (Are there any wholly African works represented here?)
- Would those involved in Basic Services works discuss the impact that these works have on the community and church in your area?
- Would those involved in Primary Health Care and/or Clinic works discuss the impact that these works have on the community and church in your area?
- Would those involved in Health Center or Hospital works discuss the impact that these works have on the community and church in your area?
- For general discussion, how do these differing works fit together?
- For general discussion, how can we make them fit together better?
- Are there African churches/leaders that plan to initiate health works without American assistance?
- What methods do you use/should you use to incorporate evangelism into health care provision?
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