“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” Matthew 5:14
For 6 months this past spring and summer, I had the privilege of being a part of the Luke Project 52 Clinic’s ministry in Detroit every first and third Thursday of the month as a student intern.
If I had to summarize what happens at the clinic in a sentence, it would be this: The light of Christ shines into the darkness to save babies, change lives, and help churches.
Just a few weeks ago, the Director used the clinic’s new ambulance to take a pregnant woman to the emergency room because she had an incredibly high blood pressure. If the Luke Project 52 Clinic did not exist, chances that she would have sought medical care are slim, and her delivery may not have been as successful as it was.
In the city of Detroit, the infant mortality rate in 2015 was 13.1 per 1,000 live births. In the rest of the United States, it was 5.9 per 1,000 live births. One of the strongest reasons for this higher rate of infant mortality in Detroit is that women in poverty do not receive the prenatal care that they need. The Luke Project 52 Clinic is an organization that sets out to wage war on infant mortality, and it is working. The clinic is designed around the fact that these women do not receive the care that they need because they don’t want to go. The fact is that the bureaucracy of hospitals creates a hostile environment (especially toward people in poverty).
The Luke Project 52 Clinic does medical care differently. Volunteers provide quality medical care while loving patients with the love of Christ. The clinic staff approaches their patients with an unconditional love so that they will want to come back and get the care that they need to give birth to healthy babies and help those babies stay healthy through infancy.
Along with saving babies, the light of Christ is truly changing lives through the Luke Project 52 Clinic. When I started my internship, one of my first tasks was to pick up a young woman and her almost 1-year-old baby. She was one of the first patients of the clinic when she was 15 years old. In the car, it was always fun to watch her mood change as we got further from wherever she was staying and closer to the clinic. In her eyes, we were truly approaching a city on a hill, a light in the darkness. A few months ago I watched that light take a hold of her life as I had the privilege to attend her and her baby girl’s baptism. She is no longer a patient at the Luke Project 52 Clinic, but now she volunteers there as she works on getting her GED to fight the cycle of poverty.
Finally, the light of Christ is helping churches through the Luke Project 52 Clinic.
Family of God ministries has been an incredible help to the Luke Project 52 Clinic by giving it almost everything it needs, but the greatest assistance that they give is their own ministry. Every Thursday night there is a dinner and a women’s Bible study. I can no longer count the amount of people that I talk to at the clinic that are absolutely shocked that Family of God ministries serves a hot meal every week night. Simply by being located at Family of God ministries, the clinic has the opportunity to connect its women and their babies with a church family that can support them daily as they give birth and rear their children.
During my time at the Luke Project 52 Clinic I saw that, when the church met a need in their community with the light and love of Christ, amazing things happened: Mountains were moved, lives were changed, and the church existed in the world as the city on a hill that Christ intended. My experience at the Luke Project 52 Clinic has truly changed my life and my view of ministry forever.
This is not only how ministry ought to be done in urban settings, but this is how ministry ought to be done everywhere: with the church as a city on a hill, looking to meet the needs of their community with the love of Christ.
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS