Global Health Ministries continues the healing ministry of Jesus by enhancing health care programs of Lutheran Churches in other countries.
Cell phones don't work in the Nigerian village of Dingai, but despite being "off the grid," the word had spread that something good was about to happen, and so they came to see. After a two-hour back-snapping trek along a rutted trail that may someday be a road, the Global Health Ministries and Nigerian church delegation took places of honor in a circle on plastic chairs along with the local pastor, the Muslim cleric, and the village health committee members. The rest of the village brought colored woven mats and sat upon the freshly swept ground.
After greetings from the village mayor and chief, the secretary of the Dingai Health Committee stood up and thanked Besty and Kumso, the nurse and development agent sent by the church to live and learn with them over the past year what was needed to enhance the health and well-being of the village, and then make plans to get it done. "We have done so much already," the secretary said with pride, "See how clean the village looks," waving his hand in a circle, "and today all of us put away our garbage properly because of what Besty has taught us, and we use bed nets now and fewer of our children have malaria. We built a school room," he continued, "and we practice hand-washing. But now we need a well for clean water, and a bridge over the stream down there so we can bring our harvest to market. We can do our part with labor and some funds for those projects, but we need your help ... will you help us?" he asked, looking at the church delegation. "Yes," responded Mr. Kekene, the church's Health Coordinator, "we must work together on these things," and the village applauded.
For twenty-five years Global Health Ministries has been committed to providing access to quality health care for the poor by enhancing health care programs of Lutheran churches in other countries. GHM continues to gather and ship urgently-needed medical equipment and supplies overseas and make grants to strengthen the services of our partner hospitals and programs of the Lutheran Churches in the developing world. But we have also seen the energy released in listening to the hopes of the people we are called to serve, empowering them to take charge of their own health, and rolling up our sleeves to work with them to build a better life. We have seen that the impact on improved community health through this approach is every bit as effective as building a new hospital, and sustainable because the community has the knowledge, skills and will to continue as long as they know someone will stand with them.
There are so many ways to stand with them through Global Health Ministries. Supporters donate needed items, volunteers sort, refurbish and pack donated medical supplies and equipment, and load containers for shipment to health care partners overseas. GHM recruits health care personnel for short term projects and longer term mentoring relationships, collaborating with overseas partners in health care development. GHM works by invitation from leaders of overseas health systems and our Lutheran church partners in the countries we serve. Today our work takes us to Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Liberia, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, Guatemala and more.