Friday, February 5, 2010

Health Ministries Catching On

by Irene Mparutsa
In 2009, Pho Linn, a woman from the Phum Meas rural area, had come to a clinic sponsored by CHAD and a volunteer health team from the United States. She was weak with ovarian cancer. We laid hands on her and prayed, referring her to the Russian Hospital in Phnom Penh. The doctor there could do nothing for her except confirm the cancer. A Methodist pastor stopped by and prayed with her every day.

About a year later, I was accompanying a United Methodist Volunteer-in-Mission team from Virginia when I saw her again. She looked well! She was experiencing some pain, so I asked her to return to the Phnom Penh hospital for review. The doctor confirmed that she had no more cancer! She had continued to pray to Jesus; and, in her Buddhist village, the word has gotten around. She went home with a Bible, and her brother-in-law is now asking about building a church.

Access to Care
After a meeting in Kratie with the Provincial Health Director to talk about the problem of goiters (enlargements of the thyroid gland), we decided to work together on a campaign to prevent the problem. Being able to work with high-level government officials on health issues is an exciting part of the Cambodia Mission Initiative's health ministry. We will begin with a house-to-house survey to learn more about the disease and what has already been done for it. While in Kratie, we visited some village health centers to continue building relationships and bridges between local health services, the church, and the community.

Another goal of our visit to Kratie was to continue nurturing the newly established congregation there.

Last week, the office door opened and Yei (Granny) Oeun and her pastor walked in. At first I thought she was Ming Phalla, another yei from her church who also has a beguiling smile and only one tooth. Yei Oeun and her pastor had a good laugh over my confusion and then she began to tell me her story. She wanted a referral letter for free treatment at a clinic. I admired the wisdom of her appeal to CHAD for help. One translation of Proverbs 1:2 speaks of the "discipline of wise thoughtfulness." She had heard of the CHAD ministry from her friend, Ming Phalla. Using the wisdom God had given her, she had thought it through and come to ask for help.

A great part of the health ministry continues to be helping people access health care here in Phnom Penh. Church members and their families and neighbors from the 147 Methodist Mission in Cambodia congregations - which are located all over the country - call on their pastors, who, in turn, contact CHAD. As the word gets out about CHAD, the number of people asking for help is growing. In January, members of the Social Concerns Committee participated in a training to build their skills in advocating for affordable treatments.

This story also appeared in July/August 2010 edition of New World Outlook.

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