Transforming Lives Through Service | Village Adventist Church and AMEN Free Clinic
“When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart.” (CD 73.2)
Berrien Springs and its surrounding areas form a melting pot of students and residents from different corners of the globe. Within this rich tapestry many international students and residents are faced with financial constraints, residing on low or fixed incomes, often without adequate insurance, making the struggle for survival a daily reality.
Recognizing this challenge, the Village Seventh-Day Adventist Church, in collaboration with Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) Free Clinic and the Michigan Conference of Seventh Day Adventists rallied together to enact a gesture of goodwill, becoming the hands and feet that minister to our fellow brothers and sisters while sharing the boundless love Christ offers. A group of approximately 170 volunteers, members from the Village Church, neighboring congregations, Andrews University nursing students, and the broader community, participated in this initiative.
The Volunteer’s selfless contributions encompassed various roles, including setting up stations, providing orientations, managing lines, offering hospitality, leading in prayer, conducing patient checkins, extending warm greetings, coordinating food services, providing general assistance, and overseeing administrative duties.
The Village Church was transformed into a mobile clinic which overflowed with a symphony of compassion and a beacon of hope by providing free health services spanning dental care, medical assistance, vision screenings, health coaching, hydrotherapy, footcare, physical therapy, and hearing evaluations.
After weeks of looking and praying for volunteers in the Optometrist department, and only having one available from the AMEN team, the clinic's first day was marked by a moving moment as an Optometrist walked in, responding to that prayer. His arrival, spurred by word of mouth, illustrated divine orchestration. In our weakness, God showed His strength and that He was in charge.
Shirley, a guest who hadn’t even planned on being there that day, discovered unexpected relief for her constant leg pain through hydrotherapy. She said, “I’m just walking out of here rejoicing because I haven’t felt this good in a long time.”
The recipients of these services mirrored the community’s diversity, and each individual was touched by the tangible presence of Jesus throughout the event. An international student shared that getting to talk with the Pastors was a huge blessing because “we go through a lot; and it’s great to have someone to talk to for encouragement, both physically and spiritually, getting the entire health need met.”
Approximately 340 patients were attended to, each one expressing heartfelt gratitude, particularly those who had long awaited medical attention. Nancy came from Niles and was the first one at our doors on the first day. She expressed her gratitude with tears, "It’s a miracle that you guys have offered this. I haven’t had dental work in over 5 years, and I’ve needed it so bad. Thank you so much."
Dr. Hess, a pastor at the Village church and Director of health ministries, was thrilled when a patient remarked that “the church should be more involved in such endeavors.” Reflecting on the experience, Nichole Braxton, AMEN’s Clinical Director, shared, “For me, this is what it’s all about. Serving, meeting the immediate needs, and utilizing Christ’s methods to make a difference and change lives now and beyond.”
Melanie Quion, a member of the Medical triage team, shared about unexpected gifts volunteers received. She said, “this is the double blessing that comes with serving: when the Lord blesses, because you’ve had the opportunity to be His hands and feet.” Tears flowed, and praises were sung for the interactions with patients.
As the stories of Nancy, Shirley, and countless others unfold, a vital truth emerges: In the words of Aaron, an attendee “It takes a village to raise not only a child, but it takes a village to raise an entire community.” What a blessing to see hands and hearts joined together in service for the greater good of our friends and neighbors.
For a visual journey through this event, visit our YouTube channel for a short recap. May these stories inspire you to share your own experiences of community service and to join us in making a difference in the lives of those in need.