Community Health Evangelism (CHE)
On Thursday, I had the wonderful privilege of going to one of the villages (Kaduaso-Kope) in which the community health evangelism (CHE) program has been started. Many of you have been praying faithfully for our CHE outreach. This particular village is about one hour from the hospital and is several miles off the main road. The village is actually a collection of local farms with the “village center” being four thatch-roofed school buildings (a brick school is under construction). There is no market in the village; no dispensary; no pharmacy. People walk on a dirt road for about five miles for any type of health care – and for buying anything other than what they can grow themselves.
Normally, my white skin serves as a disadvantage when a CHE program is being initiated. My presence indicates “American”, “money”, “financial help for the village”. Not at all what we are trying to accomplish in helping communities identify and find solutions for their own problems and to create change that is sustainable (not change that disappears as soon as a missionary leaves). Consequently, our CHE teams (all Togolese) are the ones involved in the village work. However, on Thursday, the mobile clinic team from the hospital also went to this village as part of their hypertensive screening outreach. For the mobile clinics, a missionary physician, nurse practitioner, or PA goes to the village, in addition to a team of Togolese nurses, nurse aides, and a chaplain.
What a joy to see our mobile clinic team in action: Pastor Lalabia (our chaplain) sharing the gospel with all of the villagers who came for the clinic; Gnoyi (one of our nurses) teaching on hypertension; nurses and nurse aides “manning” tables as they talked with each person individually about their need of a Savior and the peace and joy that only Jesus Christ can give! And taking blood pressures on approximately 230 individuals.
What a thrill to also work alongside the CHE team as we took the opportunity to evaluate children’s height, weight, and arm circumference. The CHE team set up under a huge tree (I am including a composite of photos taken of the CHE ministry by Judy Bowen, missionary colleague and incredible photographer!). Our innovative team members attached a tape measure to a long pole which was set upright against a tree for measuring height, and found a flat board on which to place the scales. The pastor talked with the kids about how Jesus called the little children to Him. He then had them line up – and the weighing/measuring began! 288 children later, the measuring was completed! We will do some analysis of weight-for-age and weight-for-height – and results will be reported to the village leaders with recommendations related to nutrition and other aspects of health.
What an experience for me as I had the privilege of being involved in both ministries: helping to set children on a contraption they had never seen before (the scales!), which was quite a scary experience for some! Looking into the faces of moms who were so excited about having their children weighed and measured. Estimating ages for children (probably only 10% of the children knew their ages; the rest had no idea how old they were)! Applying a band of cut-up x-ray film, marked with green/yellow/red, around the upper arms of children – in order to evaluate nutritional status. And also being involved as a nurse practitioner in treating hypertensive patients. I found that, in addition to hypertensive patients, there were a number who were normotensive but had frequent headaches and dizziness. If there were no obvious signs of anemia, I recommended that these people increase their fluid intake since dehydration is a likely cause. Numerous times I told people that they should drink more – not ever thinking, of course, that I might want to consider specifying what they should drink!! I did not realize until mid-afternoon that some of the villagers had a tchouk bar set up outside the school building where the mobile clinic was meeting. Some enterprising villagers were taking the opportunity, as long as a crowd was gathered, to sell this locally-made alcoholic beverage! I started smelling it on people as they came for treatment; saw some evidences in behavior as the day wore on! Wouldn’t you know it: the missionary nurse practitioner telling people to drink lots – 2 to 3 liters per day! But not telling them what to drink (or what not to drink!). I can imagine numerous villagers, downing the tchouk, while saying that the white missionary sent them! Way to go, white missionary!!
We ended the day by visiting the
chief of the village. As we
entered his compound, we saw a stick set up with the bones and feathers of two
old, dry, dead chickens stuck on it. It is a fetish that is used to ward
off evil spirits from his compound. How sad to realize that this chief –
and probably close to 100% of these villagers – believe in such fetishes as the
way to ensure protection and health! Our prayer, our longing – is that
God would show these people the wonderful love that He has for them, the fact
that Jesus Christ died for them, and that they would realize the futility of
trusting in a fetish – and would place their trust in the living God! Pray, please, that Satan – who now controls these
people – would be completely defeated and that God would build His church in
Please consider how you can help in this ministry. Here is the most recent needs:
CHE outreach (reimbursement for work time for CHE team members; vehicle expenses – gas, driver; meals for CHE team members during day in village. Estimate approximately $600/month needed; currently receiving approximately $275/month). Account #: 076352 (Community Health Evangelism)
Have you given any thought to how you can help the CHE
ministry? Here is how, this ministry is
in need of another vehicle to replace the one currently being used (see
photo). This, of course for many of you
know is an old Land Rover. This ministry
needs to purchase a new one and needs to raise $40,000. Here is how you can help! Please click on Let me help and we’ll provide
you with the information of where the funds should be sent. This is a real and urgent need! Please be in prayer that the Lord will
provide these funds. There is more information on the vehicle that you can see here.