The Soura Church Looks at the Health of its Leaders
God used health care before to raise a core of Christian faith among the Soura people. When the Gospel first came to the Soura, people looked to witch doctors for help. Disease and maternal care needs opened doors to demonstrate the love of Christ and the power of God over life itself.
Establishing basic health care, “Was an expression of the missionaries’ faith that every life mattered to God.”(Blair Clark – CBM)
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, regions like the Soura homeland suffer under already limited resources and nutrition. Specifically, leaders of the Soura churches have experienced serious physical issues compounded by COVID-19. Two key leaders and three pastors have lost their lives, leaving their people feeling shocked and scared at the sudden loss of their shepherds. If every life matters to God, the health of every life should matter.
Walking through steps of assessment and planning, the Soura leadership took a careful look at the wellness of their leaders. They’ve found, “They are so busy in their ministry that they don’t have time for exercise, routine checkups, etc.” With much food donated as they travel and serve, nutrition is an issue. Congregations are concerned about the wellbeing of their leaders. They recognized patterns of Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart/kidney disease.
“The health conditions of pastors, lay leaders, and deacons are not good.”- Pastor E.M.
There are 130 total pastors/deacons/lay leaders. Circumstances during COVID-19 have increased some of hard conditions for already stretched leaders who regularly travel on foot or motorbike to dozens of church fellowships under their care.
A Health Initiative
With this in mind, the church has proposed a health initiative:
- An awareness program to teach leaders about godly health habits
- Intentional teaching about how health is important to ministry
- One-time check-ups for leaders to identify health needs
- Local church commitments to provide for doctor recommendations
- Future congregation assistance for nutrition and prescribed care
An idol priest once came to pray to idols and make animal sacrifices to heal a sick Soura woman. Nothing worked, until a man came to share about the true God who does not live in idols, but lives inside of men. This truth gives each life value and makes the health of every one matter. Once again, God is using the physical frailty of people to grow the faith and fellowships of the Soura people.
How to pray with the Soura believers
- Ask God to protect the leaders and their congregations
- Pray for strength as leaders travel widely with much exposure
- Pray for understanding for leaders and embrace of godly habits
- Ask God to display His glory through the health of Soura Christians