More than 19,000 people received free medical treatment during a two-week evangelistic series in Kenya as local Seventh-day Adventists embraced Christ’s method of meeting people’s physical and spiritual needs simultaneously.
A team of about 200 physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers treated 19,248 people at 59 sites during the evangelistic meetings from March 3-18, said Fesaha Tsegaye, health ministries director for the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division, whose territory includes Kenya. At least 419 people were baptized in western Kenya as a direct result of the free clinics.
“Those people told local health directors that they came to the evangelistic campaigns because of the free medical services that they had received,” Tsegaye said. “We praise God for that!”
In all,73,188 peoplewere baptized as 4,000 evangelistic meetings wrapped up across Kenya on March 18, church leaders said. A second wave of evangelistic meetings kicked off last week, and additional meetings are scheduled to be held every quarter.
At the same time, church members have embraced Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiatives — sharing Jesus through free clinics, health seminars, Bible studies, and many other ways — as they pray for 400,000 baptisms in 2017, a figure that would boost Kenya’s church membership by 45 percent to 1.2 million.
“What they are trying here is unprecedented in the history of the church. It’s exciting,” said Ramon Canals, a TMI coordinator for the Adventist world church, who participated in the March meetings.
The free medical clinics in Kenya are also part of Comprehensive Health Ministry, a world church program aimed at meeting people’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. Free clinics were held alongside major evangelistic endeavors in Rwanda in 2016 and in Zimbabwe and the U.S. state of Texas in 2015.
Church leaders have emphasized the importance of following “Christ’s method alone” as outlined by church cofounder Ellen G. White in her book “Ministry of Healing,” page 143, which says, “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”
Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson praised the East-Central Africa Division for following Christ’s method by organizing free clinics in both Kenya and Rwanda.
“Praise God for what the East-Central Africa Division is doing to bring the three angels’ messages to the hearts of people using Christ’s method alone,” he said.
Peter N. Landless, health ministries director for the Adventist world church, said he was heartened to see the division take Comprehensive Health Ministry to new heights.
“East-Central Africa Division leadership readily and enthusiastically embraced Comprehensive Health Ministry … from its inception and has steadily been working and extending the borders,” he said. “Thank you so much for being willing instruments.”
At the Kenyan clinics, Adventist volunteers distributed free medicine, offered medical checkups, and provided cancer screenings and laboratory tests, Tsegaye said. Some of the clinics were held in collaboration with the country’s Health Ministry.
Kendu Adventist Hospital alone organized medical services at six sites and treated 1,064 people. In some places, pastors sat in tents and registered people for Voice of Prophecy Bible lessons.
“We give glory and honor to God for this successful TMI and Comprehensive Health Ministry in Kenya,” Tsegaye said. “We pray that we have learned and accumulated enough experiences to build effective bridges to move people from the physical to spiritual dimension. We need a divine wisdom to follow Christ’s method.”