I remember well the first time I volunteered at the Good Samaritan Health Center one chilly morning in March 2009. I encountered nearly 200 people in the parking lot who had been standing in line for hours, waiting for the doors to open and a chance to become a new patient at the Center. At that time new patients were accepted only on the first Thursday of each month, and not more than fifty people would be given the opportunity to make an appointment. As time passed on those Thursday mornings, invariably tears would begin to fall and desperate pleading would begin as it became evident to those remaining in line they would not be among the fortunate fifty. Little did I know back then what God had in mind for me and the Good Samaritan Health Center.
Now nearly four years later, much has changed at the Center. I am no longer a volunteer but serve as the ministry’s Executive Director. We accept new patients every day, work by appointment as well as on a walk-in basis, have doubled our capacity to provide healthcare to the poor and uninsured, and are raising up future medical missionaries through our work as a Christian training site for a number of local healthcare schools. We will end this week having provided more than 5000 appointments to the community, and expect to deliver another 800 before Christmas. So far this year we have mentored seventy-eight pharmacy, nursing and medical students, teaching them to be as aware of every individuals’ spiritual health as their medical concerns.
But yet some things have not changed. In spite of how much more we now do, tears still fall nearly every day at the Good Samaritan Health Center. On Saturday October 13th we, with the abundant support of Victory World Church, hosted a health fair in our parking lot; more than 150 people came for the free healthcare screenings. The first person in line, Maria, burst into tears when she was told she had hypertension and diabetes. Today, Maria, age 47, was seen in our Center for her first annual physical in her lifetime, an appointment that was fully paid for by a donor.
Our need for donor support also has not changed. Although our patients pay a portion of the true cost of their medical appointment, the Center must supplement every patient encounter. We cannot continue our ministry without the ongoing financial support of the community. Frankly, October has been a stressful month for us. Be it due to the uncertainty of the election or other economic pressures, we have witnessed a drastic falling off of donor support. Should donor support continue to be meager, we will be required to spend cash reserves that are needed to buy equity in our property so that we can refinance our building when the mortgage matures in February 2013.
Please prayerfully consider how you can support our ministry; we need your help today and no gift is too small. Whether you give $10 or $10,000, your contribution will support our efforts to remember and serve the poor in our surrounding communities. Your support will help us demonstrate that through Christ tears of suffering can indeed become tears of joy.
If you would like your donation to help pay for healthcare services, please write “Healthcare” on the memo line of your check. If you’d like to help us pay down our mortgage, write “Mortgage.”