By: Loyd Jenkins
“… the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
No doubt that at various times in our lives we have considered the light of Jesus we hold within our hearts and whether we are affecting the world around us as a witness and testimony for Him. What are we doing to be a light of Jesus in this dark world in which we live? Do we have to tell people that we’re Christians? Or can they quickly see it by what we do and how we behave?
I was recently inspired by one of our partners in Liberia, an unassuming medical clinic that lies in the village of Bo next to the Mano river on the border near Sierra Leon. There had been a disastrous flood that hit the clinic in the fall of 2015. A historic rainfall hit the area hard and fast that quickly raised the river. “The water came so fast and looked like it actually came right out of the ground,” said Bendu Fully, the medical clinic’s Officer in Charge. The water rose over four feet. If you’re average height and stood and lifted your arms shoulder-high, the water would be lapping at your arms. I saw the evidence of its height stained on the wooden doors while touring the clinic. Those that were at the facility at the time of the flood, did all they could to save the medical equipment, supplies, pharmaceuticals and patient records.
Jim Loeffler, Director of Medical Equipment Services, and I traveled there recently to assess the damage. Jim did all he could to salvage some of the equipment and inventoried items most needed for replacement so that the clinic could carry on its mission with needed diagnostic equipment. There was a loss of a digital x-ray the clinic had just received prior to the flood, 2 portable ultrasounds and other equipment. The damage was extensive but the clinic does, indeed, continue with its mission to serve the health needs of the 7,000 area-wide patients. They press on for the sake of the people they serve and for the glory of God.
What we learned was a wonderful testimony of the clinic as a light for Christ. The medical clinic is surrounded by an enclave of Muslim villages, and serves those communities peacefully with love and kindness. “We want Bo, and the other communities around us, to see our faith in our actions,” said James Emmanuel Roberts, Executive Director of Providence Baptist Foundation who sees to the clinic’s operations. “We want to work and live peacefully with those around us so that their desire for Jesus comes from a natural desire within to want the salvation we have.”
Jim and I saw the proof of this peace firsthand when they visited with Bo community leaders. The leaders said openly that they knew that the clinic was a Christian clinic and didn’t have any problem with it because they—the clinic staff—were providing healthcare treatments to the people all around, despite their religious beliefs. “We thank God for the clinic,” one of the leaders said, which was significant because they did not use the name of their own god but was acknowledging the One and True God.
What seems to be thought-provoking is: How will the world know we are followers of Jesus Christ if we don’t have any outward signs that signify that we are? How do we let our light shine in this darkened world…. like our partner in Liberia?
It could be that they will know we are Christians by our love.