Building confidence in church outreach
How a Baptist church in Ica, Peru ran a medical campaign and shared the good news about Jesus at the same time
A church wants to help the poor in its community. They want to run a medical campaign and share the good news about Jesus at the same time. But they don’t know how to put their ideas into action and whether they have the resources and personnel to do it.
That was the dilemma that a Baptist church in the desert city of Ica in Peru faced, so they called on BMS mission worker Regiane Clark and BMS partner, the Peruvian Baptist Convention, to help them. A month before the medical campaign was due to begin, Regiane and Pastor Homero, who heads up the social action department at the Convention, visited the church to give them advice and help them to hatch a plan.
Regiane was keen to encourage the church that they could do it.
'Here in Peru many churches wait for people from the UK or America to come over and bring personnel and medicines to do a campaign,' says Regiane. 'We told them that they could do it by themselves if they planned in advance and searched for the resources and people in their own church and community.'
Regiane and Pastor Homero helped them find local health professionals to take part in the campaign and showed them how they could organise an evangelistic event too. A plan started to take shape.
A month later the church was ready. They had gone door to door and invited local people to the campaign. They had found physiotherapists, nurses and dentists to take part and the evangelism event was all planned too. But would people show up?
When the day arrived, the attendance was great! More than 40 people came and many of their medical needs were met. Some children had never seen a dentist and didn’t have toothbrushes or toothpaste at home. Local dentists enlisted by the church were able to supply some and also treat those whose gums were diseased.
Elderly people suffering from arthritis who couldn’t walk properly received treatment from the physiotherapists that the church had found and left feeling much stronger. A three-year-old orphan with mobility problems, who lived with her aunty and had not started to walk yet was also at the event. A nurse who had been encouraged to take part as a result of Regiane and Homero’s work was able to advise her how to get help for the child.
The evangelism event was also a success with many being open to hearing more about Jesus.
The community were not the only ones impressed by the campaign. One of the dentists taking part, who is not a believer, was so moved by what the Christians were doing that she has now started to attend the church with her children. It was the first time she had seen a church organise such an event. 'I know that God touched her heart,' says Regiane.
The church leaders have been boosted by the campaign’s success. 'They were very happy,' Regiane says. 'And it was particularly good because they learned that they could do it themselves.'
This is only the beginning. Regiane and Pastor Homero are currently planning some training to help more Baptist churches in Peru discover the mission work God is calling them to do in their communities, and how they can make it a reality. Pray that more Peruvian Christians will be released to serve others and tell them about Jesus.
Has your church ever needed a helping hand like this? Why not make a donation now to BMS so that we can keep on doing sustainable, Christ-centred work like this around the world? Even better: become a 24:7 Partner and give more regularly to have a long-term impact.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.