A Mission of Mercy in China
October 20, 2009 - On his final days in China, Franklin Graham dedicated the QI Jiang Anwen Township Medical Clinic and toured the city of Hanwang, utterly destroyed in last May’s powerful earthquake.
by Richard Greene
CHONGQING CITY, October 20, 2009 — Building upon his grandfather’s 25-year service as a missionary doctor in China, Franklin Graham, president of BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, took part in the historic dedication of the QI Jiang Anwen Township Medical Clinic.
Anwen is an agricultural and mining village of 20,000 people that is part of the sprawling Chongqing City in the interior of China. The village’s only medical facilities had to be replaced after the building cracked during a prolonged ice storm that ravaged southern Chongqing Province in February 2008.
Samaritan’s Purse contributed significantly toward the construction of a new three-story facility, which was begun in July 2008 and recently completed. The 38-bed clinic can provide multiple services and procedures, including surgery, obstetrics and gynecology. This marked the first time Samaritan’s Purse has partnered with a local community in China to help to build a rural medical clinic.
Hundreds of local villagers crowded tightly around the outdoor platform area where Tuesday’s ceremony was held, with dozens more hanging over walls to listen. Municipal government leaders voiced their appreciation.
“Thank you for Samaritan Purse’s assistance and support to the heath-care assistance of our city,” said Chen Jingqiu, vice president of the Chongqing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council (CPCCC). “This project will play an important role of serving the people,” he added.
Chen told Graham, “I especially want to extend my appreciation to your family. Your family has sent so much support to the nation of China and the Chinese people.”
During the dedication service, Franklin shared how his grandfather Dr. L. Nelson Bell came to China in 1916 and served 25 years as a medical doctor and surgeon. He also related how his mother Ruth Bell Graham was born in China in 1920 and lived there until her late teens, when the Bell family was forced to leave when Japan invaded China at the start of World War II.
Then Franklin told the crowd that he came as a Christian minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to dedicate this “beautiful, brand-new building” to the glory of God. “We pray that it will bring healing and comfort to the people of China,” he said.
Just as he has done throughout his trip to China, Franklin presented the Gospel message, quoting John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
“We know that God loves us, and He cares for us very much,” Franklin said. “God loves the Chinese people. May God bless you.”
Visiting an Earthquake Memorial
The Anwen Clinic dedication came the day after Franklin toured the city of Hanwang, utterly destroyed in last May’s powerful earthquake. He walked slowly through the ruins, which remain untouched as a memorial to the some 4,000 townspeople who died there, many of whom schoolchildren.
Franklin met with Chen Zinyou, major of the neighboring city of Deyang, who expressed his appreciation for how quickly Samaritan’s Purse responded to the earthquake victims. Samaritan’s Purse and the BGEA loaded 90 tons of emergency supplies onto a 747 jumbo jet that was the first privately chartered relief flight from the United States to land in the Sichuan province.
Franklin commended Mayor Chen for his commitment to rebuild the city of Hanwang nearby within the next two years.
As they talked, Chen said that he had never met a minister, so Graham asked if he could share what he believes as a Christian. He explained that God created and made all mankind, but that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and have broken His standards. Franklin pointed out that we could do nothing to bridge the gap between our sins and a Holy God.
Quoting John 3:16 again, Franklin told the mayor, “The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ took our sins and died on the cross and that God raised Him on the third day, and if we’re willing to confess our sins and repent and by faith trust to receive Christ, God will forgive our sins.”
Mayor Chen thanked Franklin for presenting his beliefs.
Franklin next visited the Sichuan Seminary and told the nearly 80 students that there is Holy Spirit-filled power when the Gospel is proclaimed.
“As you teach the Word of God, make sure you preach and present the Gospel every opportunity you have,” Franklin said. “You preach John 3:16 and you give an invitation, the Holy Spirit of God will take His Word and touch and pierce hearts. You do that, you will see fruit your entire ministry.”
Richard Greene is an assistant editor for Decision Magazine.