Impact Your Health Portland – 2017
By Dick Duerksen

“Healthcare for the poor and suffering is still a cornerstone of Seventh-day Adventist ministry,” says Jenny Jin, coordinator for the second annual free clinic held at Portland Adventist Academy last weekend.

If you were there, you would have seen hundreds of volunteers – of every age and from multiple social and spiritual backgrounds – coming together as one to serve whoever walked through the entrance doors.

“It’s always a challenge to prepare adequately for “everyone,” while not bringing in too many dentists or not enough vision clinicians,” says another of the clinic leaders.

This year everyone stayed busy serving the 739 patients who came to the free clinic.  The dentists saw 404 patients and made 50 crowns on site! The vision clinic served 310 patients and, with the help of volunteers from Dr. Gayle Daniels’ Texas organization, Better Vision Better Hope, prepared 90 pairs of single-lens glasses for same or next-day delivery at the clinic. The more complex lens prescription glasses will be delivered to, and picked up from the Adventist churches closest to where each patient lives.

One of the patients said, “I didn’t even dare to dream that I could see a physician, have new glasses, AND a crown on a molar on the same weekend!”

“Even though dental, vision, and medical care were the primary services offered by the clinic,” said one visitor, “I was amazed to find a professional photographer, professional massage therapists, and professional beauticians also on duty!”

And, don’t forget the 250 backpacks plus lunch boxes and other school supplies given to kids, just in time for school to start.

“My favorite free clinic activity,” said volunteer Bob, “is washing and massaging feet. Each year I stand in the hallway talking to the patients as they come by, inviting them to take the weight off their feet, sit down, and let me wash their feet and pray for them. A few decline, but this year more than 130 agreed to a massage, a prayer, and a new pair of socks. As I reach for their feet, I feel a bit of what Jesus must have felt when he washed the feet of the disciples. And when I pray for them, we always share tears of joy.”

This year our free clinic included a professional photographer, Ben Dalusong, who took more than 120 portraits, many for people who had never had a photograph taken of themselves on other than a cell phone.

Why do we hold these clinics? Because Jesus was very clear when He told us that we were to care for the poor and needy. And because we do it WITH Him, it is overwhelmingly fun!

See photos of the weekend on our Flickr page!

Watch this Impact Your Health Portland video!

And look for more in the October issue of the Gleaner!