Thursday, March 23, 2017
   
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Community Health

Community Health

In spite of astounding advances in medical technology, these advances are available only a privileged percentage of the world’s population.  There are still countless places on earth where even simple vaccinations or normal hygiene are available. 

At Reach Beyond, bringing comfort, healing and hope to the unreached people of the world is central to our mission.  Our Manifesto states, “We refuse to watch people for whom Christ dies duffer in pain and poverty when we can help restore them in His name”

Sharing the gospel with people is not just about teaching them His truth—it’s about touching them with His love. 

Reach Beyond works in some of the remotest regions of the world to provide healthcare for those in desperate needs.  From birthing centers in Nepal, to counselling centres in Sierra Leone to healthcare clinics in Ghana, Reach Beyond is determined to serve as the “hands of Jesus” in helping the poor.

Consider a man named Emmanuel:

Emmanuel (God with us) used to go by another name. His name today reflects a change that has come about in his life. But he did not always believe that God was with him.

Emmanuel lives in a small village in remote Ghana. He was afflicted with a disease in which parasites inject small "worms” into the body. These microscopic worms migrate through the body, and can cause a condition known as “elephantiasis” characterized by massive swelling of the arms, legs or trunk.

Emmanuel had been suffering with elephantiasis for years. His leg was swollen and the skin had broken down causing a huge open wound over the bottom third of his leg. Emmanuel believed that it was caused by evil spirits.

When I saw Emmanuel for the first time, he was waiting with all the other patients under the hot sun to be seen by a doctor. I saw that his lower leg was covered with filthy rags so I decided to go ahead and clean it up to make it easier for the doctors to see what the problem was.

As I took the rags away, my heart sank at the sight of what looked to be a huge open sore on Emmanuel's leg and foot. “Necrosis” usually needs to be surgically removed and I was fearful that Emmanuel would lose his foot. However, as I gently cleanedmedical caravan the wound, I realized that the black appearance had to do with local remedies and leaves that had been applied. There was a huge sore there, but maybe this leg could be saved.

Abandoned by family and friends because of this horrendous condition, he had nobody to take him to the hospital and nobody to help pay his bills.

Two local missionaries consulted and decided they would accompany Emmanuel to a hospital to see what could be done. He left with a clean dressing on his leg, and perhaps some hope in his heart.

After that first hospital visit, we learned that Emmanuel would need to attend the hospital many times each week for an extended period of time. Who would take him? Who could pay for his dressings?

We praise God that at Reach Beyond have donors who care about people like Emmanuel and so we agreed to pay for his dressing changes. The local Ghanaian church agreed to pay Emmanuel's bus fare to the hospital each week!

When Reach Beyond missionaries Drs. Marcos and Laurie Nelson went to do a follow-up visit to that community four months later, they were astonished to see a man radiant and praising God. It was Emmanuel. 

His leg was healed and through receiving love and kindness from the local church he listened to the Word of God and had committed his life to Christ. He was transformed!

Now no longer in fear of the spirits who he thought had attacked his life, he changed his name to  Emmanuel, God with him—all the time!

Was it worth it?  All that expense to take a team to Ghana? All that time and energy?

Ask Emmanuel.......

 

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