February 27, 2019

One Act of Kindness Inspires Another

Putting herself before others comes naturally for Michigan resident, Janice Emanuel McLean.


The naturopathic doctor recalls the night a little over 10 years ago when she was jolted out of her sleep: “I heard God clearly say to me, ‘You need to do more.’” Although she has faithfully served in various church roles as Sabbath School superintendent, Communications director, teacher, and children’s ministries director, McLean said she took this as a mandate from God, and prayerfully sought to heed His request. “The best thing I know to do is serve others,” she says.


It didn’t take long for McLean to decide on a mission trip to her native Guyana. There she partnered with a local hospital and the Guyana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to conduct rounds with doctors, offer coaching when needed, as well as help train the hospital staff in customer service and patient flow.


That was 10 years ago but, this past June, McLean and a team consisting of a physician, two dentists and 14 dental students from Loma Linda University, journeyed to Ghana where they completed a two-week mission trip. Nkoranza, located deep in the countryside of Ghana, has very little access to medical care, and McLean vividly remembers their first morning there. With the time to see patients set for 10 a.m. (although she and her team arrived on site as early as 8:30), they were met by more than 800 people waiting for them.


Dental students did fillings, teeth cleanings and extractions, while the physicians distributed medicine, monitored blood pressure, treated chronic illnesses, conducted eye exams and handed out free glasses to those who needed them. Since the medical team did not want to encourage co-dependency on long-term medicine, those who attended learned preventative care for their bodies, such as exercise routines, stretching and dieting.


The team’s benevolence didn’t go unnoticed. When a small contingent from the team visited with the chief of Nkoranza, Nana Kyere Kuffour III, he was so grateful; as a gesture of support, he donated 20 acres of land for a clinic.


The medical team also worked in conjunction with Abokin, an organization which trains lay workers to give Bible studies and assist pastors to continue the work of God in Ghana. During their two weeks there, two evangelist series were held, leading to 61 baptisms and the formation of two new churches.


Now that she’s back in the States, McLean and her psychologist husband, Edward, are busy devoting much of their time treating patients at the Kalamazoo-based Uzima Lifestyle Center. “We follow the example of Jesus the Master Healer in assisting people to experience abundant health, utilizing God’s eight laws of health and strategies for health and wellness,” she said. They offer services such as classes in cooking, substance abuse counseling and weight management.

“I believe, above everything else, we’re God’s heart and His hands. If we’re not impacting people’s lives, we’re missing the mark.”


Elijah Horton is a Chicago-based freelance writer.