In May 2018 we were walking a financial tightrope. Our viability was at stake.
As we celebrated 70 years of God’s faithfulness, the future was not looking bright.
The year following saw a decline in the number of volunteers travelling due to new and restrictive regulations for volunteers in areas where most of our work resided.
Then the pandemic lockdown and its impact on international travel shut down almost all our operations.
Looking back over these last five years we are amazed and overjoyed that we survived.
We survived with sufficient funds to sustain administration and to support active teams through in-house grants from our “where needed most” fund; and we had new openings to expand our services.
We survived because of donors and volunteers who believe we are a safe vehicle for their investments in the gospel of Jesus to the nations through healthcare; many stayed with us, prayed, gave, and waited patiently for the lockdowns to be lifted.
We took steps to reduce expenses, and the Canadian government provided limited support for charities and businesses during the pandemic.
We celebrated our 75th anniversary this past April.
EMAS Canada is once again serving overseas with some of the old forms, such as the surgical teams, teaching teams, and dental teams, but we are also exploring new partnerships for long-term engagement through healthcare infrastructure development and medical education.
Our clinic in Gambade built with Canadian donor funds through EMAS Canada is teaching us how to be partners with hosting communities for a holistic ministry based on healthcare. Staffed by Haitians and funded by Canadians, we are seeing how local healthcare workers, once empowered, are taking responsibility for providing service. Our Haitian staff are promoting self-reliance by encouraging their clients to participate in re-stocking the pharmacy with local funds to reduce dependence on Canadian support.
We see what is happening in Gambade as an opportunity to learn lessons that we will contextualize for Burkina Faso where were Sisters of Holy Cross are building a hospital.
Recent experience with teaching using video conferencing is allowing us to reach far more learners than we’ve ever reached and at minimal cost. The teaching tools for remote learning have been used by our teams to serve both Buddhist and Christian healthcare providers in remote communities unreachable at this time due to ongoing civil strife.
The place of education is becoming more prominent in our work after the pandemic, smaller highly skilled teams are building relationships with teaching hospitals in southeast Asia to serve as adjunct faculty, while in Zimbabwe we are learning to draw on local experts to provide essential skills training by collaborating with one church-owned hospital. Graduates from our Democratic Republic of Congo Scholarship Fund are taking on teaching and leadership positions in hospitals where EMAS contributed to infrastructure and equipment in 1949.
Many years ago, God told His people to learn from their ancestors’ lessons on how He worked through one family to bless it and increase for Himself many from the few.
In celebrating our 75th anniversary we will be inviting some of our leaders to tell their stories and give us a historical perspective, lessons to embolden us for the future.
Keep an eye out for these special posts to come.
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All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
Feature image: Vincent and Sonia Wang with Robert Stephens and Silver.