The old man’s body was contorted so badly that he could barely walk into the medical clinic that day. Wrecked by years of back-breaking work, and the difficult day-to-day life in the Ugandan village, he needed assistance just to move from place to place. He had waited in line for hours to be seen at one of our free village medical clinics. He waited patiently, eyes full of hope, praying that someone at the clinic would be able to relieve him of his chronic condition.
Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for him. This dear Mzee (respectful term for the elderly), was suffering from arthritis and the consequences of the difficult African life. We were able to give him some pain killers which would help alleviate his pain for awhile, but ultimately he walked out disappointed. The hope had drained from his eyes. As he left the clinic, he walked into our counseling station and sat down with me and my interpreter. He had heard that we were sharing “good news,” and decided to hear it for himself. What good news could there possibly be for him?
As I looked into his eyes, I knew that he had seen more hardships and pain in his lifetime than most of us will ever experience. I saw pain. I saw sorrow. I saw loss. I saw sadness. But as I shared with him about Jesus, I saw something else return once again: hope. The hope of forgiveness. The hope of salvation. The hope of a future without pain, suffering, and broken bodies. The hope that is Jesus. And in that moment, that Mzee reached out and took hold of that hope, placing his faith and trust in Jesus.
Honestly, this is why we do medical clinics. It isn’t about the medicine. Do people need treatment? Yes, of course they do. Can they afford it? No, most of them cannot. Are free medical clinics a valuable service to provide? Yes, they are. Are we able to treat everyone? No, there are just too many. Are we able to help everyone who gets seen at the clinic? No, so many conditions are beyond what we can do in our small clinics. Do some people take advantage of free clinics and medicine? Yes, they do. Is it easy to get discouraged, frustrated, and jaded? Yes, it is.
So, why do we do it? Because it was never about the medicine. It has always been and always will be about Jesus.
The medicine is a good thing. We believe that Jesus cares about the physical needs of these people. We treat Christians, Muslims, and pagans alike, because we believe Jesus loves them all, and we would love the chance to tell them about his love. The free medical clinics bring in hundreds and thousands of people to each site. We can’t meet all of their physical needs, but we can tell them about Jesus. Many people leave without the treatment they were hoping for. But many, many people leave with a healing that they didn’t know they needed. A healing that only Jesus can provide: healing for their heart and soul.
We still need $3500 for Uganda medicines and other ministry needs. Will you prayerfully consider an extra special gift this month?