September 2019: Holistic Health Care

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Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:8

The road to the village of Motara in East Timor is a virtual mud-bog during the rainy season. When we pull up at 9:00 AM for a mobile clinic dozens of patients have already gathered. Moms and young children make up the majority but there are elderly men and women too. Two Clinic Immanuel staff and a government doctor unload several boxes of medical supplies and start consulting. By the time the clinic is over more than 60 patients will have had the opportunity for health care they otherwise wouldn’t have had. This clinic is a collaborative effort between Clinic Immanuel and the Timorese Ministry of Health.

As a ministry of Global Ministries partner the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste, for the past 25 years Clinic Immanuel has been a steady presence in the town of Lospalos. Five women, all members of Immanuel Church, staff the clinic. Patients come from several hours away for a consultation. Most of our work is outpatient care in this traditional clinical setting.

In recent years we have been developing a more community-based approach to health care. Part of that involves outreach to remote communities where the government does not have health posts.

Like in the typical clinical setting, health care of this kind is holistic. It’s part consultation, part counseling, part education, and part social work. And quite often we end up providing ambulance service as well! We start and end each day in prayer, always giving thanks for the call and opportunity to be part of God’s mission in this part of the world.

Monica Liddle serves with the Protestant Church of East Timor (IPTL).

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