On earth, Jesus was a man of action. He didn't say, "Sit at home and think about helping," but rather, "Go out into the world" and, to paraphrase, share the good news.
As manager of Wellness Services at Adventist Medical Center, Ed Hoover's professional concern is the health and vitality of patients and employee groups. As a Christian, his personal concern is to extend that vitality and Christ's love into his broader community.
Through Hoover's leadership, the team at AMC joined Compassion Connect to help improve the health of their local Portland communities. Compassion Connect works with churches and various Christian organizations to help people in need by providing access to health and human services. With an army of volunteers, the organization puts on "Compassion Clinics" in a growing number of Portland neighborhoods which provide free health and dental care, access to support services and a helping hand to the less fortunate.
After learning of the first clinic project, which debuted in 2006, Hoover remembers thinking, "This is the kind of thing Adventists have done for years, but usually overseas. We have significant needs in our own neighborhood to be passionate about, too."
"Compassion Connect contacts different churches and social service organizations to participate. They realize for a lot of folks, it's not just one day of help. A lot of people need to be plugged in to an appropriate follow up care," states Hoover, who also described a discharge process that visitors go through to make sure follow up care is scheduled.
"For the clinics' first year, we provided medical supplies and limited volunteers. It's even more substantial this year," states Hoover, whose team is participating in four Compassion events in 2009 with a booth about wellness and God's natural remedies.
"This year we decided to get more involved on Sabbath," says Hoover, who describes the volunteer activity as mission work. "At two of four events, we're also doing cholesterol and diabetes screenings. We promoted the events to our employees and challenged our local Adventist churches to get involved, too."
As a result, the hospital boasts more involvement with its booth than ever before, which includes Spanish and English versions of Steps to Christ.
"Our mission at AMC is to demonstrate the human expression of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ," says Tom Russell, president and CEO of the facility. "Our work with the Compassion Clinics are an excellent example of that mission in action. It really shows that our employees offer care you can have faith in."
"It's such a big blessing to be involved and serve," says Hoover. "I've been delighted to volunteer and it's neat to work with other staff at the hospital. The participants are extremely appreciative and it's wonderful to build bridges with other churches. Prayer is a big part of this, too."
One health screening at a time, Hoover and the team at AMC are working to improve the health of their community just as Jesus would — by going out and serving.