GRANITE BAY, CA (February 19, 2017) — Paul Carlson Partnership “crossed the finish line” in getting sponsorship commitments for all 103 health clinics and five hospitals operated by the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM), executive director Meritt Sawyer announced Thursday at Bayside Church of Granite Bay, an ECC congregation.
The project was launched in 2014, which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of ECC medical missionary Paul Carlson’s martyrdom. “It was an opportunity I could not resist, but once the project was launched I was petrified. Scared silly,” Sawyer said.
She also admitted that she doubted whether the goal could be achieved. “But God showed up as God always does.” She added, “We are in awe of what God has done.”
Sawyer said the Congo Clinic Initiative garnered 151 sponsors that consisted of 113 churches, seven foundations, 31 families, and one hospital. “Nineteen of the sponsors we call Clinic Clusters where multiple churches and families came together to make a clinic sponsorship possible. These clusters range from two to 10 churches or churches and families coming together to support a clinic.”
Sponsors committed to provide $10,000 a year for five years for a particular clinic or hospital. A $100,000 matching grant from two anonymous donors was an essential impetus for smaller churches to become involved, Sawyer said.
Over the five years of the initiative, funds will provide solar electricity and clean water to the clinics for the first time in history. Medicines, medical supplies, training, and operational support also will be provided.
One out of five children dies before the age of five in the Congo, with most of those deaths occurring from preventable causes. Improving the clinics and strengthening the coordinated system can reduce the number of deaths dramatically, Sawyer said.
She emphasized that the project was not just about supporting the clinics but also for people “to develop a knowledgeable heart for Congo.”