The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that! ever did. Could this he the Christ?” John 4:28-29
One of my favorite Bible stories has been the dialogue between Jesus and the unnamed Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. I guess it is a cherished story to me because I identify with this nameless woman in various ways. I have audaciously given her the name Samara (pronounced Sah-MARE-ah), which is of Hebrew origin and means “guarded by God; ruled by God; mountain; outlook; seedling.”
Working in ministry, trying to live simply in a world of materialism, and raising kids to follow Jesus can bring us face to face with conflict, stress and despair. In Psalm 42, the psalmist cries out to God in despair,and sadness: "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” But then the psalmist remembers God’s faithfulness in the past and responds with, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him.” This psalm itself has been a comfort to me during difficult times. But even more, the model of remembering the truths of the past has provided a framework for me to work through difficulties.
I grew up memorizing the Heidelberg Catechism.
Question and Answer 1:
Q 1. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”
A. 1. “That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death - to my faithful Savior jesus Christ...
For the past nine years I’ve served as a family physician at a mission hospital in the Amazon basin of Ecuador. One of the difficult aspects of the work here is the amount of suffering I see on a daily basis. Gray, limp babies that are barely breathing arrive in the ER with advanced cases of meningitis, malaria and pneumonia. Adults are carried into the hospital, severely malnourished due to untreated tuberculosis. Then there are the pregnant mothers who have labored for days in some remote village, their baby having died long before the women arrive at our hospital.
In 1983, my husband and I opened Inner City Health Center in one of the poorest . neighborhoods of Denver, Colorado. The birth of this clinic was the result of a three year journey seeking God’s direction of how He wanted us, as a couple, to best use our talents to serve Him. During this process, we attended the very first CCHF conference which was held in Washington DC. in 1982. This was a a life-changing experience for us as we met other health care providers with similar hearts. Meeting H.P. Specs, Dr. Janelle Goetcheus and John Perkins challenged us to put into practice the three R’s that John Perkins has taught for many years: Redistribution, Relocation and Reconciliation. We came back to Denver with a clearer image of how God wanted to use us, and in December of 1983 opened a private, nonprofit, Christian-based clinic in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. My husband, Dr. Bob Williams, and Dr. Duane Claassen provided the medical care and I provided the counseling for patients, as that was my previous profession and training. Bob and Duane each donated 20 hours weekly at ICHC and then worked 20 hours weekly at a private suburban practice where they earned an income.
You know you are entering a different stage of life when you get asked to respond to the question, “What has kept you going in“ over the decades?” I wish in retrospect I had kept a diary that recorded yearly responses to that question. The answer would have changed markedly over the years. I helped start Lawndale Christian Health Center as soon as I finished my cardiology fellowship in 1984 and have never had a desire to move on. hat is not to say that I have not struggled and been discouraged over the years, but I have always ruff"? sensed a clear call to the work on Chicago’s west side.
My husband and I have lived in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago for nine years. We moved here for his job, but it was definitely a calling that we both felt. I have spent most of these nine years as a stay-at-home mom, but just a year ago I returned to work part-time. No matter where any of us lives or works, we have to ask ourselves what keeps us going. What motivates us, gives purpose to what we are doing? As I think about what keeps me going, there are two main things that come to mind. The first is to remember my calling to come here and the second is a saying that our pastor, Wayne Gordon, has used: “Keep on keeping on.”