04 Apr Southside Church of Christ Medical Brigade Part of a ‘Bigger Picture’
by Caleb Gossett
The balance between evangelism and humanitarian work has been debated by Christians for years. There are those who believe the Church should be solely focused on evangelizing the lost. On the other hand, there are those who believe our principal focus should be meeting the physical needs of people, and leaving the rest to God.
In scripture, we see countless times Jesus’ view of humanitarian work. Jesus states in Matthew 25, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in … Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.
In talking about the final judgement of man, Jesus brings up humanitarian work as a foundational aspect of a Christian’s walk. Helping those in need isn’t simply about giving them relief from their circumstance, but rather, it is an expression of seeing value in their life. Here at Mission UpReach we care about people, and we are dedicated to meeting people’s needs, both physical and spiritual. Feeding the hungry is temporary, unless they recognize Christ as Lord. One of the core aspects of our work here in Western Honduras is planting churches. We believe that spiritual healing occurs through dedication to Christ and participation in a body of believers, focused on reaching out to the lost. However, we are also concerned with the physical wellbeing of those we encounter. A look at the different works Mission UpReach does makes that evident: Medical Brigades, Surgical Brigades, Spiritual development, Agriculture training, not to mention providing countless jobs to the local community. But what if evangelism and humanitarian work aren’t separate, but rather, both part of being a follower of Christ.
In the month of March this integration of humanitarian relief and evangelism was clearly at work. The Southside Church of Christ came down to do a medical brigade, and serve the people of El Porvenir, a community thirty minutes outside of Santa Rosa. Over the course of the week the group offered medical attention, tooth extractions, and eye exams to the community, and attended to nearly 800 people. The medical attention they rendered is a great accomplishment and noble work on its own.
However, as mentioned above, Mission UpReach holds a deeply holistic view of missions. Consequently, Southside’s medical brigade represents a part of a larger work. Before the arrival of Southside, members of our Church Planting team visited the community and passed out tickets for the clinic. Now, after a great week of meeting the physical needs of the people of El Porvenir, the church planting team has an opportunity to find more open doors, ready to hear about the spiritual healing Christ offers.
However, the complete impact of the medical brigade doesn’t end there. The clinic occurred each day in the local public school. Southside attended to the physical needs of the community in the very same classrooms where our DESEO team enters each week and provides Bible-based, values education.
We are grateful for the hard work Southside did during their medical brigade, not simply because of the medical healing they provided, but also because of the way their efforts fit into our continued efforts to bring about real transformation in Western Honduras.