b Cheri LeBlanc, MD: May 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Quick overview

My posts to this point have been scattered, few, and far between. I think I have now caught the vision to blogging. I am making a new commitment, but there are some things that need explaining. I have done this in a question and answer type format.

1. What is Healing Hands?

Healing Hands is a healthcare ministry of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Healing Hands is composed of a group of volunteer Christian health care professionals and other non-medical Christians with a heart to serve hurting people. This ministry began in 2002 with the idea to provide a Christian environment for a health fair where people with health services and health needs could meet. After organizing three of these health fairs, the Lord laid it on our heart to do an actual clinic. We began free services in February 2005 in a converted electrical closet. Currently, we are a free mobile medical clinic that is providing primary care for chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

2. What is the mission?

To provide compassionate medical care, health screenings and education to hurting people, by uniting the body of Christ who have been gifted for such a purpose.

3. Why is it important?

There are many people who are in a season in their life where health care is not an option. The rising cost of health care will place more people in this situation. The current figures show that there are 46 million uninsured in this country. According to the 2004 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 32.7% of adult Hispanics, 19.7% of adult blacks, 16.8% of Asian-Americans, an 11.3% of non-Hispanic whites are without medical insurance. Certain regions have much higher percentages. The government doesn’t have all the answers, but the church has the unlimited power and resources of Jesus Christ to draw from. If we, as the body of Christ, use our gifts, we can impact many souls. As we attend to their medical needs, we are granted the opportunity to address their spiritual needs as well.

4. What exactly do we do?

We go to these clinic sites on a rotating basis, therefore being able to provide continuing care for people without any form of either private or government sponsored health insurance. Because we’re at the sites only once a month, we’re not able to provide any type of emergency or urgent care. In most cases we are able to provide them with medications that they need as well as perform basic lab tests and EKG’s. Even more important than the medical care we provide, each patient is given the opportunity to pray with our prayer partners. At each clinic visit, a patient is able to interact with a receptionist, a greeter, a nurse or medical assistant, a provider, and a prayer partner. Each person that they encounter is able to show the love of Jesus.

5. Where do you do this?

We currently have three sites that we’re taking the mobile clinic to: Dream Center in Donaldsonville, Healing Place Church Spanish Campus in Gonzales, and the Airport 1 FEMA trailer park for hurricane evacuees. We will be adding St. Francisville clinic later this summer. Each clinic is approximately four hours long.

6. What is “Ele”?

Ele is a mobile medical clinic that was purchased by Healing Place Church with donations from Christian organizations and other churches from around the country. It is a 1995 used truck that contains two exam rooms, nursing area, refrigerator, restroom, microwave and generator. While we were awaiting the arrival of Ele, we prayed for a name to call her instead of “mobile medical clinic”. After much searching, we found the Greek word for “merciful” as used in Matthew 9:13 (NLT) “Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: `I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.' This word is “eleos”. The definition of “eleos” is to show kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted (the hurting) joined with the desire to help them. It is not enough to just express feelings of good will. We need to get out of our comfortable life and do something about it. This is exactly what we are doing with Ele.

7. What are the local and international things that Healing Hands does?

The local outreaches are currently the three clinic sites mentioned above, with plans to increase to five. Once we have an organized team of volunteers, we plan to do a medical mission trip in 2007.

8. How do I get involved?

The best way to learn more about what God is doing through this outreach is to attend our monthly life group meetings. These meetings are held at the Annex the first Sunday of each month at 4:00 PM. You can also reach us by e-mail at healinghands@healingplacechurch.org or you can reach us at our voicemail 225-408-3380 extension 347.

9. What needs to you have for equipment, medical professionals, supplies, etc.?

Our needs will change from the week to week depending on the blessings we receive. Our biggest need at this time is a covering for Ele and shore-power supply to keep her cool in the summer months. There will always be the need for finances to buy medications, and the gas and diesel to run Ele. We also need medical professionals of all disciplines. We have an occupational therapist that currently provides therapy during our clinics and we’ll soon have a dietitian to provide diet education for obesity, cholesterol, and diabetes. These patients that we serve have many dental and eye care needs as well. The scope of what we do is not limited by God. It is only limited by the level of sacrifice and commitment that we as the body of Christ are willing to provide.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

April Update 2006

Greetings to all! Thank you for all of your prayers for this outreach. The Lord continues to bless our efforts. I would like to give you a quick update.

April 2006
4 clinics
96 patients
62 volunteers

I wanted to share with you about one of our patients we started seeing in April that demonstrates so dramatically why God has called us to do this.

There is a 37 year old man who was trying to get a better paying job. He was cleared to be hired if he passed his work physical, but his blood pressure was 220/120! He had no idea that he had any medical problems. He was told that he couldn’t be hired until his blood pressure was treated and controlled. But he had no money to see a doctor or to get the medications. A friend told him about a free mobile clinic at a local church. He contacted the church and we saw him in early April. Not only are we treating him for his blood pressure and giving him his medications, but after meeting with our prayer partners he has starting coming to this same church!

So many lives are being touched. One young man came to another clinic because of a nosebleed who had never been to this church, but had heard about the clinic. He was so moved by the compassion of the men (the prayer partners) that after prayer he opened up to them and told them about bondage that he was in. They were able to talk with him, advise him, and pray for him. That same night in the church was a men’s bible study. (God’s timing!) One of the men brought him into the church and he stayed for his first EVER introduction to the Bible. I know that this story is just beginning; this was less than a week ago.

I could go on and on, but I want to share with you the miraculous day at one of the FEMA trailer communities for the Katrina evacuees that we had on Saturday May 6th. (This should be in the May update, but I just can’t wait to tell you.) After much prayer, we arrived expecting to make a difference in the name of Jesus. And we were not disappointed. We only saw 25 patients that morning, but many more than that came just to talk to us and pray with us!! We had one man who accepted salvation right there! One of the stories that had me crying in the clinic was a lady, Gloria, who lived at the other end of the trailer park from where we were parked. The government had closed the cafeteria down (where residents had been getting 3 meals a day) 2 days before. One young man had been waiting outside the cafeteria on Friday which was close to Gloria’s trailer. She saw him and went to remind him that there were no more meals coming. Gloria said that he was mentally challenged and didn’t seem to understand. So, she fixed him some breakfast. This was Friday. On Saturday morning she couldn’t get him off her mind, so she fixed him breakfast again with the little that she had and brought it to him. It was on her way to bring breakfast to him that she saw the mobile clinic (it’s hard to miss Ele) and one of our team started talking to her. She began crying as she told me this story because she was out of some of her medications and had no way to buy them. We were able to give her 2 months of her medications. If she had not gone out of her way to bless this young man, she would not have been able to be blessed herself. As we both wiped our eyes and walked out of the clinic, the truck with pantry food items from Healing Place Church had just arrived. So we were able to have Gloria show us exactly where this young man lived so we could bring him some food and was able to give her some as well. Not only did God replace the food she had given with much more than she gave out, but she was also supplied with her medications. God is so good!!

Well, I guess this wasn’t a quick update after all. But I wanted to share with you what your contributions and prayers are doing for us here in South Louisiana. May God bless and refresh each of you.