“Henceforth medical missionary work is to be carried forward with an earnestness with which it has never yet been carried. This work is the door through which the truth is to find entrance to the large cities” (Testimonies for the Church vol. 9 p. 167).
From the time that we accepted the call to work in the city of Khon Kaen, I have had an interest in incorporating medical missionary work into our mission strategy. Not having a medical background or much experience in medical ministry, I felt limited in what I can do in this regard, but I have prayed and studied nonetheless. While home on furlough last year, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on medical missionary evangelism at the Generation of Youth for Christ Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The seminar was led by a physician-and-pastor team who shared a vision of what can be accomplished when pastors and physicians work together to reach out to the community. I came away inspired and eager to start implementing medical missionary work in Khon Kaen.
Toward the end of last year, I also received an invitation to attend an OCI (Outpost Centers International) retreat in Jakarta, Indonesia focusing on establishing centers of influence (COIs) in the city through medical missionary evangelism. Upon receiving the invitation, I knew I needed to attend and bring church members with me. The first people I thought of were Lin and Kanitsorn.
Lin, Kanitsorn and their other three siblings are all Adventist Christians who work very hard in their family business run by their non-Christian father. Lin is a physician currently working on setting up her own clinic in Khon Kaen, and Kanitsorn is a business manager and has an interest in health. Because both of them work so hard in the business, it has been difficult for them to be actively involved in church ministry. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when they declined my invitation to the retreat, saying they were too busy.
I then suggested to my teammates that we send Nok, our newly baptized member who is eager to share her newfound faith with friends and family. They all thought it was a good idea and also suggested that we send Nok’s husband Matz and her friend Kat who has been attending Bible studies and preparing for baptism. A few days after we registered these four people for the retreat, both Kat and Matz had to back out due to extenuating circumstances.
It seemed as though the devil was really working, so my teammates and I prayed and felt impressed to ask Lin and Kanitsorn again. I explained the situation to them and told them their registration cost would be covered. In church that Sabbath I had the opportunity to talk with Lin and explain more about the purpose of the retreat and the importance of medical missionary evangelism. I told her that since she is a physician, it would be helpful if she could attend. She seemed very interested and said she would give me a definite answer in a couple of hours. I got news later that evening that she would attend. I was ecstatic! Nok was also very excited to have someone to room with and help translate for her.
Through our travels to and from Jakarta and the inspiring testimonies we heard at the retreat, we sensed God’s guiding hand and blessing. On the last day of the retreat we were able to visit a center of influence in Jakarta called Club Sehot. Club Sehot is a local business run by Chinese Adventists in Jakarta that especially reaches out to the millions of Chinese who live in the city. Club Sehot is located in a four-story building. The first floor is a health-food store where many contacts are made with the community. The second and third floors serve as meeting rooms where health seminars and other programs are held during the week. The fourth floor is the prayer room. On the day we visited Club Sehot we attended a health seminar. It was standing room only! At the conclusion of the seminar, the guests eagerly went downstairs to purchase health products and mingle with the Club Sehot staff. As I witnessed so many people being touched by Club Sehot’s ministry, I began to dream about seeing a similar work in Khon Kaen and other cities in Thailand.
Club Sehot began when a bunch of Adventist lay people with a burden to reach their city came together to pray, study and plan. From their humble beginnings almost 10 years ago they now operate five Club Sehot centers in Jakarta and are branching out into other parts of Indonesia. Their work has grown and developed in many ways and includes a radio ministry, city evangelism training, health retreats and camps. They recently purchased property for a lifestyle center. I don’t know what the future holds for the work in Khon Kaen, Thailand, but I would like to believe that big things are possible by the grace of God. It is my prayer that church members like Lin and Nok will catch the vision and begin to pray, plan and study so that the kinds of things that are happening in Indonesia can happen in Thailand as well. Please pray with me toward that end.
“The work in the cities is the essential work for this time. When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed” (Medical Ministry p. 304).