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Medical Story: Partnerships

May 09, 2019

The Dirty Secret of Short Term Missions

“With rare exceptions, all of your most important achievements on this planet will come from working with others or, in a word, partnership.” Paul Farmer

In recent years, “short term missions” has become a dirty word. And it’s unfortunate because we’ve been led to believe that just because a someone visits a community for a short period of time, their impact while be short. While we do not believe this to be true, the positive impact of a short-term mission trips was never more evident then after our visit in April with Pastor Mindaye at his church, Meakanis Addis Kidan Baptist Church.

On the last day of the five week clinic, we sat down with this local pastor who opened up his church property to host Ethiopia ACT’s medical team from Knoxville, TN.

Our question to Pastor Mindaye was simple, “Why is it important we are here?” Immediately his face lit up and it was evident that the impact of this day’s medical clinic would be anything but short.

Pastor Mindaye talked about the growth and impact his church was having. He talked about how this church was becoming a place that was attractive to those of other faiths, specifically those who practice Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslim. Across the room, as construction crews finished up work on a new sanctuary, he talked about how he desired his church to be more than place where believers gathered on Sunday, but a place where those who had questions about God and who He is could come to find answers.

But for Pastor Mindaye, in order to be a place where the community comes to seek Christ, you need to offer a place of support. By hosting a medical clinic on their property, the church exemplifies just that. Meakanis Addis Kidan Baptist Church becomes more than a building for the healthy on Sunday, but a place where the sick – both physically and spiritually – can seek healing during the week. By hosting a clinic, the church is demonstrating that they care, love, and seek healing for everyone in the community. By reaching out to his community and offering this medical care, Pastor Mindaye is able to have both doors and hearts opened in a way that he would never have had before. With Pastor Mindaye and his spiritual team on-site during the clinic, patients seeking both healthcare and spiritual counseling found a place of safety. The clinic was a true example of partnership to heal both the physical and spiritual ailments of the community.

The medical clinic by itself creates a safe place where the people to feel good to come to the church. Currently, maybe people know about the church, but they just pass. But now, because of the clinic, they get in. Now they get treatment. They get the medicine completely free, no payment at all. So, now that starts a relationship with us, and it helps them to know the church is good, so that they may send their children here because they see something good.
Pastor Mindaye

If it were not for local church leaders like Pastor Mindaye opening up their doors, medical clinics with Ethiopia ACT would not be possible. It’s true partnership in action. And it also ensures the patients we see during clinic have been connected to a supportive church community in which they can find healing after the week of clinic is over. Partnerships with the local community, churches, and government are at the heart of our work. We are grateful that our day with Pastor Mindaye in his church was such a wonderful example of the unity that Christ calls us to in John in order to impact lives.

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
John 17:22-23