Unto the Least of His digs wells, builds clinics, meets needs
By Kara Witherow, Editor
In the United States, if someone wants a glass of water, all they have to do is walk a few feet to a faucet and turn it on. In much of Africa, people have to walk anywhere from one to five to seven miles or more to an often-contaminated water source.
But thanks to the work of Rev. Bobby Gale and his Unto the Least of His ministry, more than 50,000 people are able to drink fresh, clean water.
Always concerned with providing basic health and justice solutions, the ministry has recently branched out to build two health clinics in Kenya.
During a recent trip to northern Kenya’s Samburu East region, Rev. Gale visited friends and partners in the area and checked on the progress of a well and a new medical clinic in Osceola.
Named the Josena Medical Clinic in honor of former Hazlehurst United Methodist Church member and missions supporter Josena Smith, it serves a region of about 10,000 people who didn’t before have access to medical treatment, Rev. Gale said.
“We’ve seen the needs,” he said, of the importance of the clinic. “I’ve seen them have to travel eight or nine hours to get to a medical facility for something as simple as malaria or an infection.”
The clinic includes nurse’s quarters and an outhouse, and a small water well was installed about a mile away.
The first medical clinic built by Unto the Least of His ministry, it isn’t the last. A second clinic – the Emily Medical Clinic – is already under construction about 25 miles from the Josena Clinic.
Having traveled to Africa for more than 20 years, Rev. Gale has developed relationships and friendships and understands the needs of those living in the region. It was apparent, he said, that greater access to medical care was needed.
“When you have relationships with people you begin to understand and they’ll tell you what their biggest needs are,” he said. “We collaboratively work with them to make these works of mercy take place.”
One mother, who otherwise would have had to give birth in her mud hut or out in the open bush, was able to make it to the Josena Medical Clinic to deliver her child, the first baby delivered at the clinic. So happy to have had a safe, clean environment in which to give birth, she named her child Josena, Rev. Gale said.
“It’s a hard life,” Rev. Gale said of living in Kenya’s Samburu East region. “When you see the works of mercy taking place, you can’t help but say, ‘Thank you, God.’”
Rev. Jim Dominey has served extensively with Rev. Gale, including in Ghana, and has seen the impact of the ministry in South Georgia and abroad.
“It’s amazing to see the number of people that have been touched by Rev. Gale and this ministry, here in South Georgia and elsewhere,” he said.
He believes that serving others through mission work enhances the life of the local church and the work that’s being done locally.
“I can’t explain it, but God blesses that and multiplies it so you’re able to do even more at your local church because you stepped out in faith to do something in missions,” Rev. Dominey said. “That’s how I’ve seen Unto the Least of His work all around. In my churches, in my life, and in so many others’ lives. There’s life change that takes place. It’s incredible.”
In about three months, the second clinic, in Orchard’s Post, about 25 miles from Osceola, will be completed and open to serve the community.
Meeting people’s needs – whether for water, medicine, or for spiritual guidance – is the way to their hearts, Rev. Gale said.
“If you meet their basic needs in a small kind of way – it’s no different than here in Irwinton or Toomsboro or anywhere else in South Georgia – if you meet their needs, they will come and open their hearts and minds and souls to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Gale, who also serves as pastor of Hopewell and Crosby Chapel United Methodist Churches in Baxley. “Jesus said if you want to be great, you have to be a servant.”