SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- A choir of roosters welcomes the rising sun as patients roll up their mosquito nets and blankets to get ready for their follow-up appointments. Slowly, new patients trickle in, and doctors, nurses and other staff finish their breakfasts of noodle soup or saucy meat and rice.
Patients come to the clinic from all over their Southeast Asian country. The poorest of the poor, most of them can't afford to go to the nationally run hospitals. But within minutes, patients can see that this clinic is different. While the physicians and staff work to provide a polite, respectful atmosphere, what really makes the clinic stand out is its mission to share the Gospel of Christ with each patient that comes through the doors. It's a trait that leads the locals to call it the "Jesus clinic."
"If you look at the New Testament, Jesus' ministry was about preaching and healing," IMB missionary and clinic board member William Bailey,* said. "Medicine is a way to demonstrate compassion and meet real needs [while being] a platform for evangelism and church planting."
The Jesus clinic, a multi-national, multi-organizational medical center comprised of Southeast Asian believers, IMB missionaries and missionaries from other organizations around the world, is not just concerned with providing medical care.
"We see 100-200 people per year come to Christ," Bailey said. "By giving compassionate care to the poor, they open up to the Gospel."
To date, the clinic is involved in 13 church plants, either leading or assisting and training villagers. One employee estimated that about four people make a decision to follow Jesus each week.
"Great medical care is a great witness," Margaret Bricker,* International Mission Board missionary and public health specialist, said. "People come to us without hope and we use healthcare to share the hope of Jesus."
Margaret and her husband Joseph,* IMB missionary and medical doctor, serve on the clinic staff together. Many times they are able to consult with each other in treating patients.Saturated with the Gospel
Throughout the day, a team of believers who work on the clinic's spiritual impact team has the unique role of sharing the Gospel with patients as they wait to see a doctor. They begin the day offering health advice -- good hygiene, proper diet and exercise. But each health lesson leads to an aspect of the Gospel, giving the team the opportunity to talk to patients about Jesus.
Local believers share their testimonies and show Christian films to patients. The testimony of local believers seems to have a greater impact. "The ultimate church planter is their own people," Joseph said. "They come from the same context and their opinions hold more weight." Read More