The heart of a community is its people.
When the people are healthy and happy, the community thrives. The idea of community comes from a sense of responsibility and care for others. Matthew 18:20 tells us that when people gather together, the Holy Spirit is present. In Acts, chapter 2, we see a beautiful picture of community care in the fellowship of believers.
“42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of “bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Community Care is a key initiative at Medical Ambassadors International (MAI).
For over 40 years, MAI has built relationships with the world’s most vulnerable people and worked together with them to heal communities both physically and spiritually. A key component of MAI’s work is Community Health Evangelism (CHE). The purpose of CHE is not just to break the cycle of poverty or plant churches, though both of those things are accomplished. The real goal of our work is a transformation in lives and communities that is as deep as the human heart and as broad as the whole range of the human experience in the world God made. We want Jesus to be recognized as Lord over all creation and our development activities to reflect the depth and breadth of the kingdom of God.
What is Community Care?
The first thing that tends to come to mind when hearing “community care” is healthcare, such as setting up a clinic or hospital. Community care includes healthcare, but it is so much more. To truly meet the needs of a community, one must first understand what is needed. An organization should never assume that they know the needs of a community. Meeting with the people in the community is the most effective way to begin community care. Asking questions about economics, sanitation, education and spiritual influence are great places to begin in healing communities both physically and spiritually.
One Example of Community Care: A Community in Haiti Moves from Surviving to Thriving
Upon meeting with the people of the community, MAI learned that the people of the community needed guidance in managing their small businesses, along with decreasing malnutrition and risky pregnancies. In addition, there was a need for individuals in the community to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Using CHE trainings, such as Business Management, Business Choice, Profit Calculation and The Characteristics of Successful People, the courage and motivation were of those in small business were boosted. They began to understand that it does not take big money to start micro-enterprises, it takes knowledge and patience to grow day by day.
In addition to improving the economics of the area, MAI addressed sanitation and hygiene, particularly around prevention of COVID-19. CHE lessons taught the people the importance of simple preventative solutions, such as hand-washing and wearing masks to protect against illness. Due to increased awareness through CHE lessons, the community began to report testimonies of fewer cases of malnutrition in children and increased clinic visits from pregnant women, resulting in safer births.
Caring for others in Haiti has led to a large spiritual effect as well. Many community members participated in the International Day of Prayer, leading to initiatives towards regular community prayer. Fifteen new Bible study groups were started with a total of 80 participants!
Community Care Throughout The World
This Haiti community is just one example of how God is using MAI to bring care in communities throughout the world. In 2020, MAI added 31 communities, totaling 2,613 communities in 75 countries around the world, with impact on over 2.61 million people.
Caring for a community begins with a deep love for the people and using God-given strengths and gifts while giving all glory to God.
1 Peter 4:8-11
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
We pray that God continue work in us and through us to transform beliefs and change behavior so that His peace, justice, compassion, and righteousness are reflected in the life of the communities we serve.
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