CCHF | Solutions

Stories

Jericho Road Family Practice and Ministries

God has used CCHF from the very beginning to nurture and bless and encourage our work in Buffalo, New York.

Growing up in Belize as a child of Mennonite missionaries, I knew early on that what I wanted to be more than anything else in the world was a doctor and a missionary. Maybe it was seeing the great need in Belize for doctors, or riding with my father as he took people from our remote village to the city hospital when they needed a doctor—be it for a snake bite or a complication from a pregnancy or a machete cut received during a fight. My childhood exposure led me on a long journey, and along the way I began to forget why I had started the journey in the first place. Medical school is not easy. Working long hours, seeing incredible suffering, having role models who were cynical and long ago lost their way—all began to wear away at my heart. I was deeply disappointed at how the poor were treated by the health-care system that I was a part of. I became discouraged with my decision to become a doctor.

Then one day in medical school I was introduced to CCHF when someone gave me a copy of H&D to read. I was immediately encouraged as I read the personal accounts of how other medical students and physicians across the United States were working in sacrificial ways to make a difference in their communities. Those articles and people became a lamppost for me, encouraging me and guiding me and keeping me focused on what I knew God was asking of me. They reminded me of my original call to become a doctor.

In 1997, fresh out of residency, I returned to Buffalo with my wife, Joyce, to do something a little bit radical: start a private family practice dedicated to providing excellent medical care to the poor regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. We obtained a bank loan, renovated space provided to us by our church, and opened our doors. We were young, full of energy, and a little too principled and self-righteous. We were going to save this community. Little did we know that God would use this community to save us.

The first week in practice we had three patients (all from the same family). The first couple of years were a constant struggle to survive financially. It not easy doing private practice in a community where many people are uninsured or have Medicaid or are recent immigrants. At first I worked three other jobs to provide for the family. Then a year and a half after we started the practice, our church split apart after a bitter fight. This was devastating to us because we had moved back to Buffalo because of this wonderful church. In addition, we had just invested lots of money to renovate our office in the church building, and we had bought a home right around the corner. Most of our friends were a part of this church. On top of all that, a personal crisis almost split our marriage.

Suddenly, much of what we had taken for granted was taken away. In the midst of our ministry and all its potential, we were totally broken and totally dependent on God's mercy. In this moment of crisis, God intervened in a way that even now, almost nine years later, Joyce and I are still incredibly thankful for. Our lives have not been the same because we experienced God's incredible mercy.

It was during this time of need that I believe God again used CCHF to encourage and sustain us. Joyce and I decided to begin attending the CCHF conference on a regular basis. Attending the conference, worshiping with such a diverse group, being around other people who were honest about their own struggles and joys in ministry, and hearing some amazing speakers over the years—all were instrumental in helping us sustain our passion for the call in Buffalo, even though our lives in Buffalo were broken. I am convinced that the CCHF “cloud of witnesses” is what got us through those dark times in 1998 and 1999.

Since then, our work in Buffalo has grown in ways we would have never imagined. Now Jericho Road Family Practice has three family doctors and two nurse practitioners who work full-time at two sites and see over 22,000 patients per year. We serve an incredibly diverse community, with patients from over 60 nations. It seems like the world is coming to Buffalo as refugees are resettling here from countries that include Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and Burma, to name a few. We no longer feel alone in this work, as many good people have joined Jericho Road to serve in many different ways. It is exciting to be a part of what is happening now. God has been faithful to us.

In 2002 we started a sister organization called Jericho Road Ministries, which is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. This organization was born out of a desire to be able to obtain more to help us meet the nonmedical needs of the people we see every day in our office. We raise financial support to do mentoring programs for pregnant refugee women, a financial literacy program, and health literacy programs, as well as to provide basic food and clothing to people who come to us with a need.

Through Jericho Road Ministries We were able to obtain two different Compassion Capital Grants, which helped us do several things: start a second site in a different underserved part of Buffalo, help start a free clinic, and upgrade our computer system so that we now have a paperless electronic medical record at both our practice sites. Now Jericho Road Ministries is buying the hundred-year-old 22,000 square-foot building where our main practice site is located and renovating it into a modern facility with mostly volunteer labor and donated monies. This building will house our practice and ministry, a multicultural charismatic church, and a faith-based refugee resettlement program.

I am to God for his faithfulness and mercy to Joyce and me these past ten years. l am also for CCHF, which has personally motivated us, encouraged us, and helped to sustain us. It is my prayer that CCHF will remain a vital, relevant organization for many years to come in order to nurture the dreams of students, encourage and support people across this country who are living out the gospel through providing health care among the poor, and support organizations in communities across this country that are a voice for change and compassion in their communities.

May God bless CCHF and each person who has given and will give to this organization. You have made a difference in my life and in the lives of many people here in Buffalo.

by Myron Glick, MD, Founder and President of Jericho Road Family Practice, Buffalo, NY