CCHF | Solutions


Beacon of Hope: A CCHF-Project MedSend Story

My husband David and I are both internal medicine/pediatrics physicians, and we work together at Beacon Christian Community Health Center, a ministry we helped launch in the pan of New York City called Staten Island. Beacon is the first faith-based, state-sanctioned health center in New York City and the entire state of New York. David has been the chief executive officer/medical director for Beacon since its inception in 2004. I joined Beacon as a staff physician in December 2006, after completing my residency at Staten Island University Hospital. I also assist in Beacon’s operations and administration.

David grew up in New York City and has had many experiences with the city’s poor. But it wasn’t until he started medical school in one of the poorest parts of Brooklyn, and subsequently trained at that medical school’s public city hospital, that it became clear to him that God was calling him to use his medical training to serve the underserved. I always knew I wanted to work in underserved areas, but I had always thought that I would go overseas. It wasn't until I moved to New York City to attend medical school that I began to consider working state-side in medically underserved areas. I felt God’s calling for me to work in the city while completing my Master’s in Public Health, which has been invaluable for my work at Beacon.

CCHF was critical to the start-up process of Beacon. We received much technical assistance, as well as start-up funding, through CCHF’s Compassion Capital Program Collaborative with the Jericho Road Foundation (JRF). CCHF was also a constant prayer partner with us as we tackled the thorny political issues that surrounded starting a faith-based health center in New York. To this date, CCHF staff, board, and organizational members continue to be our prayer partners and a source of support for us as a newly established health center. Although Beacon is young, its dynamic growth and current achievements are a testimony to the grace and power of God, manifested in large part by the support and prayers we have received from CCHF, JRF, and now Project MedSend.

MedSend is a Christian organization that assumes the repayment of educational loans for qualified applicants that serve as Christian medial missionaries to the underserved. Through CCHF’s partnership with MedSend as their domestic missionary agency, providers like us are made aware of MedSend funding, and qualified domestic Christian health care ministries are designated as approved work sites. Because of Beacon’s organizational membership in CCHF, David and I were both eligible to apply for MedSend's support.

Both David and I had incurred educational loan debt while attending medical school, and our debt was a barrier for us to continue in medical ministry. When Beacon first began, our family had a reasonable income stream because I was still in residency. But once my residency was completed, we were not sure whether Beacon would be able to financially employ both of us. The main concern was whether I would be able to work with Beacon because my educational debts are tremendous. I’m sure you can imagine the great financial strain that we were feeling—wanting to continue in our work at Beacon and also looking at the reality of our debt that threatened our abilities to continue in our ministry. The fact that we are a young couple trying to raise two young girls in New York City, with its high cost of living and external influences, only added to the stress.

Among MedSend’s requirements, they wanted to see recipients working in a health-care ministry that focuses on providing medical care along with sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ. At Beacon, our goal is to share the message of Christ through both word and deed, while providing medical care to a community that has had little access to healthcare services. Our goals as a health center and as providers fit with MedSend's Criteria, so we applied for funding.

To our amazement, we soon found out that we were to be MedSend recipients! Receiving MedSend support is such a confirmation to us that God has called us to work at Beacon. Without MedSend’s funding for us, we know we would not be working at Beacon today because we would have been forced to take other work, in order to help meet the financial burdens of our loan debt. Moreover, Beacon’s early development would have been seriously hampered.

MedSend is a provision from God at this time in our ministry’s history, and knowing we are busing supported by MedSend has been sorely needed for us. We believe we will look back at this moment and see how critical this provision was for us, both as physicians caring for our patients at Beacon and for us as a family. We praise God for what he has done and will continue to do here at Beacon Christian Community Health Center.

by Janet Kim, MD, MPH, MA, Beacon Christian Community Health Center, Staten Island, NY