More than 1,700 medical and non-medical volunteers participated in this year’s Your Best Pathway to Health medical mission in San Antonio, Texas, from April 8 to 10. These hardy volunteers not only set up and broke down the makeshift hospital at the Alamodome, but they woke up before dawn so the clinic could open its doors to a grateful public at 7 AM each morning. At the end of three days, approximately 6,200 San Antonio residents visited the clinic and received holistic care that ministered to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.
I had the privilege of joining the diverse team at this event. Volunteers traveled from all over North America. I even met someone from the United Kingdom! Participants were of different ethnic and occupational backgrounds. Some were young and some were old, but everyone came to serve in whatever capacity required to keep the event running efficiently.
Greeters offered welcoming smiles and navigated attendees through the medical labyrinth while nurses triaged and provided initial assessments and immunizations. Physicians and nurse practitioners delivered primary care, women’s health, and medical specialist consultations. Dentists offered comprehensive dental care including cleaning, restorative care, and oral surgery. Residents could receive vision exams and be fitted for free glasses. Pharmacists, phlebomists, and medical technologists performed ancillary services. Therapists gave stress-reducing massages and taught attendees the basics of proper body mechanics. Chaplains, musicians, and aestheticians prayed, sang, and coiffed hundreds of appreciative heads. And let us not forget the army of caretakers who looked after young children and cooked and served meals to the volunteers and attendees for the entire three days of this unique health bonanza.
The camaraderie and unity I observed as we served others reminded me of Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 12:5-27:
There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person. … As you know, the human body is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. … God’s purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness. You are Christ’s body and each of you is an individual part of it. (GOD’S WORD translation)
Salt for San Antonio
As members of the body of Christ, we are commanded by God to be like salt, a multipurpose mineral. We have no savor unless Christ flavors us. In our troubled, sick world, we are called to penetrate and transform it in the same manner salt permeates and seasons the food we eat.
Thirst Generator: We are called to this great work by, first, causing the people to thirst. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with our ministers and members of the chaplaincy. God created openings to pray and introduce our neighbors in San Antonio to Christ, the true Thirst Quencher. In the end, one individual adamantly insisted that he be baptized.
Flavor: To be salt is to bring flavor into people’s lives by relating to them as Christ did, then injecting the hope He transmits through us to help them meet their difficulty with “blessed assurance.” For some people, hope came through the hands of specialized clinicians, but for one gentleman, this clinic supplied him with a pastor, a church family, and a suit for his upcoming wedding.
Ice Melter: When salt comes into contact with ice, surface temperature rises, and the ice begins to melt. The love of Jesus allows Christians to draw close to people, our neighbors, warming their hearts with unselfish acts and practical service. Driven by the power of the Holy Spirit, this will often lead to spiritual inquiry on the part of the recipient and new and amazing opportunities for us to season people’s souls with the salt of gospel truth that will eventually bring many of them to the scarred feet of our Master.
We witnessed this “wonder-working power” with our very own eyes in San Antonio when a man came to the clinic with every intention to murder his own brother that day. After receiving exceptional care and a word of prayer and encouragement, the would-be murderer repented, surrendered his weapon to staff members, and vowed to bring no harm to his brother. Praise God!
The great work Your Best Pathway to Health kicked off this April will continue with follow-up health seminars at various churches in the San Antonio area. In July, when the 60th General Conference Session convenes in “Alamo City,” it is my hope that its residents and attendees will remember the unity and love displayed at the Alamodome.
Top photo by Mary McGrew.