Identifying the Root
Download the April issue of Ghana Medical Missions.
Imagine this situation in the developing world: people are getting injured by falling off a mountain, and it’s a 3-hour drive to the hospital. As Americans, we think that they need an ambulance. Then they can transport the wounded to the hospital. Great idea—until the ambulance breaks down and nobody knows how to fix it. Then the people come back to the Americans and ask for help again. We fix the ambulance, and then in a few months it breaks down again. Ok, that isn’t working. Maybe we should build a clinic at the base of the mountain so we don’t have to transport the people to the hospital.
As outsiders, we have a tendency to treat the symptoms of the problem and not the actual problem. What was the actual problem? People were getting hurt by falling off the mountain. It would make more sense to build a fence that would keep the people from getting injured in the first place. However, as an outsider we thought they needed an ambulance and a clinic. Why? Because we solved it using an American way of thinking and didn’t ask the people what the root of the problem was. We need to stop and listen to the people and help them solve their own problems with what resources that are available. A fence is something that would prevent the people from getting injured and something that they could build and maintain over the years.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
I tell you this story because I’m excited about what I will be doing in Ghana. I will be doing Community Health Evangelism (CHE). CHE is a Christ-centered program that integrates evangelism and discipleship with community health and development. I will be building relationships among the people and helping the community to identify their own problems and mobilize resources to achieve positive, sustainable change. Lives and communities are being transformed as people come to Christ and work together to solve the communities’ problems. This is really an amazing program that is transforming communities all over Africa. It will take a lot of time to get it fully up and operational, but I’m excited that it will not just be me teaching, but everyone in the community will be a part of it.
We still lack about $30,000 for the clinic in Gurimbelle to be fully funded. The board and I have decided that I will go ahead with my plans to move to Ghana, regardless whether the money is fully raised at the time.
In talking with other organizations that have experience in Africa, we have discovered that 80% of medical clinics fail because the proper groundwork was not laid first. We want to make sure that the clinic that we will eventually build will be completely self-sustainable for many generations to come and that the people of Gurimbelle have a sense of ownership in the clinic. Continue praying that we make the right decisions and follow God’s guidance in regards to the clinic.
This year has just flown by, and in a few months I hope to be fully funded and on my way to Ghana! God has been with me every step of the way. This year I have been busy getting my house ready to sell, and on the weekends I have had the opportunity to speak at several churches across the Midwest. Right now, I’m currently at 67% of raising my support for my four-year term, and thankfully I will be closing on my house at the end of April. I have just so much to be thankful for with how God is working out all the details.
My plans are, in the beginning of July, to head to Ghana! During my first month I plan to work along with Pastor Sammy and his helpers as they minister in the villages. Then in August I hope to be able to go to the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana for a three-month internship. During this time, I will be able to build relationships with the doctors and nurses there, and they will be a great support to me as I’m in field. I will also have the opportunity to get more familiar with different African diseases.
I’m happy that each one of you will be a part of this awesome ministry that God is doing and look forward to the next time I’m able to share with you all that He has done!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.