Africa (MNN) — Millions of people around the world have no health care whatsoever. Many are desperate and hopeless. Many who live in the African continent have a life expectancy of about 50 years old. Christians, however, are reaching out and addressing these needs, and many are benefiting physically and spiritually.
Africa Inland Mission (AIM) is providing medical professionals to a hospital run by a church in Kenya. Doctor Harry Kraus is working with AIM there and says medicine is a platform. "Very often you need a platform in order to go places to carry the Gospel. And one of the most powerful tools we have for the Gospel is medicine."
According to Kraus, love is shown as they reach out to those in need. "People even in closed country environments can see tangibly the love of Christ being demonstrated. It's huge in terms of their ability of to receive the important message that we're carrying."
He says medicine is that bridge of love that's strong enough to carry that "love" message.
Kraus believes Christians have a responsibility to reach out. "Illness is one of the things that God seems to use in people's lives to bring them to a point of crisis so that they're finally asking the right questions about eternity."
These important questions create a receptivity to the Gospel. He says Medicine linked with the Gospel is essential.
Kraus says the focus is medicine. "Our job isn't to convert them. Our job is to love them, and in the process it moves them close to the point where they can make an important decision to follow Christ."
Closed countries are allowing AIM in, says Kraus. "In one closed country, we have open invitations to come and teach in a medical school. We see solid relationships formed in an environment where people who are 20, 30, 40 years old have never met Christians."
Kraus says the good news is that they're able to exercise their faith by praying with them and then answering questions about their faith.
HIV/AIDS is the number one killer in many of these nations. However, other needs abound. "Professionals are needed both short and long term," says Kraus.