Saturday, September 18, 2010

Urban Health Ministry Conference

Wow - a month since I have last blogged?! Weird.

Well, I am back (for now), and want to share a few things I learned at a conference I went to this past weekend. I went to the "Urban Health Ministry Conference", which was held at Fuller Seminary. I heard about the conference only a few days before it was happening, so I quickly registered, and anxiously awaited Friday. When I arrived Friday evening, I had no idea what to expect, but was welcomed by many wonderful people. Later I learned that the majority of these "wonderful people" were doctors, or med students... a little intimidating to say the least.

The first plenary session was taught by Dr. Rick Donlon, who is a mighty force in Urban Health Ministry. Honestly, before meeting Dr. Donlon, I didn't know that people like him existed. Dr. Donlon was one of the doctors who founded "Christ Community Health Services" (clinics) in Tennessee. After a few years of working there, he realized that he was leaving the "hood" every day to go home to the nice suburbs, where he hid from his neighbors. He had a desire to be IN the community he served. His wife later agreed, and they moved there with their SIX children (2 adopted from China, and his wife is now prego with the 7th).

Dr. Donlon told us heartwarming stories about how he has been able to be 100x more effective because he was not just working in an inner city, but was a part of one completely. Not only does Dr. Donlon run a clinic and live in his neighborhood, his family also hosts "house church", where the neighbors come to worship. They are truly living out a "Christian community", and it's a beautiful thing.

On Saturday the sessions were filled with just as inspiring people. Doctors, nurses, and lay people all had a special part. So I just want to share some random thoughts from the notes I took:
  • Remember the differences between "heath" and "health care"
  • Just as there is a huge fear of death in America, there is also a huge fear of losing health
  • "Life is not a necessity, it is a miracle.. life is to be graciously received"
  • "Many people pretend to look well, but they are not"
  • "Fetal prenatal care is a chance for a do-over in many people's minds.. one day it might be considered illegal to have a disabled child..."
  • "Idolatrous health for ourselves is leaving others without any care"
  • "We are no more healthy than our sickest neighbor"
  • 2.7 Million people are uninsured in Los Angeles - this is 28.9% of residents
  • God loves to heal (Jeremiah 33:6, Exodus 15:26, Proverbs 14:31)
  • "In the health care field, we oppress the poor"
  • gospel = holistic
  • "We tend to deny the reality of the impoverished person, assuming they are lazy"
I was so thankful for God providing me a way to attend this conference, as it has inspired me to continue in my endeavors of making some kind of difference within the world of "health" and "health care".

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