Wholistic Care Makes a Difference

Date posted: Tuesday 24 April 2018

Spring Garden Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls recently returned from their 4th trip down to Guatemala. There, we served alongside the ILAG staff, specializing in the health ministry ILAG promotes throughout their communities. This year was our 2nd trip in which our health professionals not only hosted a 2-day retreat where 17 community health promoters came to learn, we also traveled out to a rural community to host a medical clinic.
The dedication of the health promoters is incredible and full of passion. The 17 health promoters, all men, were "yearning to be knowledgeable about topics such as Family Planning and Women's Health so that they can help the midwives and women in their villages," delegation member Nikki Gensmer reflected. One health promoter, Julio Cesar, traveled four hours by foot, two hours by boat, and four hours by bus, in order to be with us during the 2-day retreat.
Our team is very conscious of the concepts of healing vs. curing and we handle with care and consideration any medical attention given to each patient. Providing medications and alternative preventive options is only a small piece of the clinic. The major piece is about caring and listening to the patients - which community members and the pastoral team do, too.
For us American companions, it's about learning and understanding their culture, resources, daily lives, so that we can continue to walk alongside the ILAG and assist in a bettering the lives of the whole ILAG family through mind, body, and spiritual health. 
As Nikki said, "The healing is not just physical in nature. Neither is it solely medical. Sometimes healing comes just from being with another human being in the capacity of care and community."
A couple of ways that delegations can assist in this healing ministry is to complete this survey with the leader/health promoter when you visit your companions and utilize the supplies list to help replenish the health supplies for the health promoter to use for community members in need.
Megan Nerison
Spring Garden  Lutheran, Cannon Falls

Photo by Nikki. Find more at her blog.