My husband and I were involved with Compassion Connect when they did the first Rockwood Compassion Connect event. I love the way Compassion Connect pulls people together from different churches to be the Church of Jesus Christ. Compassion Connect has the heart of the Father for the less fortunate and tries to meet any need as best they can with what they have been given. They try to connect the community by seeing a need, brainstorming on how to meet that need, and empowering people in their communities to help meet that need.
The Gresham mini-clinic started in 2009 when Zarapheth’s Kitchen (a local ministry that serves low-income and homeless families and individuals in the East County area) expressed a need for medical care for their guests more frequently than at the big Compassion Clinic events. In response, a group from various churches in the area gathered to see how we could meet the medical needs of the homeless population in Gresham. Our goal was to show the love of Christ to them by trying to meet their physical needs, so we decided to pilot a three month trial clinic during the winter months. The Good News Community Health Center agreed to be our covering and help us in any way they could. We recruited volunteers by word of mouth at our churches, Compassion Connect provided a petty cash fund for supplies and prescriptions, and we began with one doctor, two nurses, and a footcare nurse.
This ministry has evolved from the beginning by the grace of God. We gave him what little we had, and he multiplied it to bless others! In 2010 we had supplies donated to us, attempted dental work, gave free flu shots, and started free haircuts. In 2011 the clothing closet opened, a dental student did a project educating about proper brushing and giving out free dental hygiene items, and we added over the counter medications for free. In 2012 we added nail care and hospitality and were given a small room for the clothes closet. In 2013 we received a grant from Gresham Bible Church for supplies and prescriptions. We purchased new privacy screens, supplies, and three foot care stations. We have since gotten a huge room for the clothes closet and two additional hair stylists!
One of my favorite stories from the clinic that so impressed me is about a man named Marv, who was homeless and very sick when he came to us. Dr. Bob saw him and gave him medications and he followed up at the Good News Community Health Center the following week. He was also able to stay with a local couple who take in first offenders, help them get off drugs and alcohol, and train them in the construction business. Marv went to Reach to Recovery, got a job, and was able to save for a truck and now has his own apartment. He goes to Bible study and attends church weekly. Marv has helped so many other homeless men get off the streets and change their lives because he knows how much Jesus has done for him! And to think it all started with the Gresham mini clinic. We are blessed to be a part of Marv’s success story!
Another story I love involves a Hispanic woman and her daughter (who was her interpreter) who came to the clinic with back pain. When Rosa was done seeing Dr. Bob, she was asked if she wanted prayer for her back and she said yes. Some people prayed for her and she was instantly healed! She began jumping up and down and yelling and praising God in a foreign language. Then her sons and daughter also got excited and were praising God! Rosa went to everyone near her and touched them and began to pray over them. This went on for about 30-45 minutes. When they left, some more conservative church members asked: “What was that all about?” I didn’t know what to say except: “the Kingdom of God just came to our mini clinic!”
I personally think my faith has grown so much since facilitating the Gresham mini clinic. I send out an email about two weeks before the clinic to see who is available to help. Some people respond, some don’t, so I never know who will be there and what stations need to be filled. I continually have to remember it is not my mini clinic—it is the Lord’s. I have to trust him to bring the right people and provide the right atmosphere so we can just love, listen and help those he brings us.
My granddaughter, Josie, is a senior in high school and wanted to serve at the mini clinic. She went last month for the first time and did nail care. She loved talking to the people and hearing their stories. I think it is such a great opportunity to expose the younger generation to those in need in our culture. I also love the teamwork from everyone who volunteers at the mini clinic. We all work together to help each other, to meet the needs of our guests and have a fun time too.
I am blessed to have been able to work with such great people from many different backgrounds and churches toward the common goal of making Jesus seen, felt and heard at our little mini clinic in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church one Sunday a month for two hours. May God receive all the glory and honor!
--Connie Fort, Gresham mini-clinic volunteer coordinator