EMQ » September–December 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 4
By Heather Pubols
Luke – the physician and gospel writer – records a conversation Jesus had with an expert in the law in chapter 10 of his gospel. After an exchange about loving God and loving your neighbor, the expert asks, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with a story we all know well comparing the neighborly actions (or inactions!) of a priest, Levite, and a Samaritan when they encounter a naked and beaten man on the side of the road.
The expert rightly identifies the Samaritan as the true neighbor because he stops and shows mercy. He tends to the beaten man’s wounds and takes him to a safe place to stay until he recovers. This is a picture of how God works.
He compassionately cares for us in our brokenness and tends to our wounds as we move toward a recovery of the true image of God in us. As the writer of Psalm 147 writes, “[God] renews our hopes and heals our bodies” (v. 3, CEV). Jesus show us what this looks like as he restores sight to the blind, speech to the mute, mobility to the lame, and dignity to the outcasts.
Healthcare missionaries around the world, today, follow this example. They continue to demonstrate God’s love by relieving the suffering of many. And when their tangible acts of mercy happen in tandem with various forms of gospel proclamation, a powerful and holistic gospel is preached in word and deed to each person’s mind, body, and spirit.
For this edition of EMQ, we invited contributors to share their experiences in healthcare missions. The opening article looks at the unique ways healthcare provides access to people and places where the gospel is not known. Next you can explore the origins, present day realities, future, and theology of this important work.
This is followed by several articles which feature current challenges and opportunities across the healthcare spectrum from hospitals, veterinary care, training, as well as community and mental health. The last article in our thematic collection candidly considers how healthcare missions must shift to ensure it really makes a difference.
Our extras section features three articles. The authors of the first contend for the creation of redemptive communities. The next article expounds on the importance of self-awareness. And our final selection gives perspective on reporting problems in church planting movements.
EMQ, Volume 59, Issue 4. Copyright © 2023 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: EMQ@MissioNexus.org.