About two years ago, Ana had been bed ridden for a month due to a fracture of her mid femur. She’d also had a hip replacement on the same limb with the prosthesis very close to the fracture. Local surgeons were unable to help her. Operation Esperanza, an EMAS team from Edmonton was on site with the resources and expertise Ana needed. They operated on her and two days later she was on her feet again using a walking frame. Her son was overjoyed to see her regain mobility, and took an interest in why EMAS teams do the work they do.
This kind of compassion is not unique to EMAS teams. In another setting the witness of Christ followers spoke clearly inspiring curiosity about Jesus and His teaching:
Several years ago in Kenya, Amina needed an urgent caesarian delivery, but she had no money to pay for the fees of a private obstetrician. The nearest public hospital lacked the necessities for a safe delivery of her first child. A Christian surgeon in the area had access to everything she needed. Working with a friendly anaesthetist and scrub nurse, they delivered Amina’s son safely. The family were unable to raise the fees and the full bill was written off by the operating team. In the post-operative days, Amina’s husband asked questions about the surgical team that had saved his son. Learning that they were Christ followers, he begun to read the New Testament to learn about the Christian faith. He and his wife were strict Muslims.
The tangible outcomes of the earliest apostolic activity were communities of believers scattered throughout the Middle East and parts of Europe. The Good news in those days included relief of suffering and healing of diseases. (Acts 3:1-11; 14:8-10.) They organized to respond to material needs, making the gospel so practical that it included the fair distribution of food.
God has always been interested in the health and dignity of people. He expects those entrusted with leadership over His people to be compassionate and to take action that brings the restoration of health. In a sharp rebuke to the leaders of Israel we see God’s a clear concern for the welfare of people:
“You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” (Ezekiel 34:4)
Today, EMAS teams work alongside local leaders who spearhead church planting initiatives. Our role as partners in proclaiming God’s love is often focused on providing needed healthcare.
We are inspired by the example of Jesus (Mark 1: 29-34), whose proclamation of the Kingdom of God was invariably accompanied by the healing of all kinds of diseases and deliverance from demonic oppression. His instructions were “heal the sick……. freely give”
The use of the scientific method as expressed through modern western medicine is affirmed by Jesus’ willingness to make Himself the subject of Thomas’ forensic approach to the resurrection.
Ralph D. Winter, American missiologist said:
“Medical missions are not primarily a “bait” to attract people to Christianity but a concrete means of portraying more accurately the true nature of a loving God”
We find this statement consistent with Jesus’ methods. He sometimes healed without an invitation to join His company.
Our Mission is:
to heal, teach and serve those in need in a Christ-like manner
Our mission dictates how we produce tangible outcomes based on our Vision:
Christ-centred healthcare teams proclaiming God’s love to all the world through healing and teaching
God’s attributes, such as compassion, are the reason we aspire to Christ-likeness. Jesus Christ is our best example of what God is like.
God’s compassion is revealed by people caring for people; healing is a powerful tool for demonstrating that compassion. EMAS teams are eager to use this tool everywhere there is a need. It is the practical experience of God’s attributes through those who know Him that makes the gospel tangible and attractive.
On every EMAS team, we are keenly aware of God’s love for us, it becomes the compelling force that drives us to heal, teach and serve those in need in a Christ-like manner.
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.