When COVID-19 hit, most of the world was sent into lockdown, but we began ramping up. One opportunity we were excited to jump towards was taking our urgent care services closer to the most vulnerable populations in our city. Since May, those that might not be able to make it to our clinics, or live in an especially resource deprived area have been served by our team through what we’ve been calling “Pop-Up Clinics” held at a variety of ministry partners around the city.
Every morning our team loads and unloads a van with tents, tables, chairs, and bins of medical and ministry supplies to set shop for the day and see patients. So far the Pop-Up Clinic has been used to serve at Our Calling (a ministry to our city’s chronically homeless), the YMCA at Park South, alongside food distribution in South Dallas, and at the offices of a group of essential workers. Collectively, the Pop-Up clinic has seen over 300 patients since May.
“Our heart is that everyone we interact with would feel loved, valued, and encouraged. We get to sit with these friends, look them in the eye, ask them their story, encourage their hearts in the love of Jesus, and pray with them. We care for our patients because they are already cared for by God who created them in His image. It is a joy to remind this new patient population of how much God loves them and desires a relationship with them, while we care for their physical needs.” – Amy Merrit, NP
At Our Calling specifically, our Pop-Up team has had meaningful interactions with the homeless men and women in our city. “We are serving a vulnerable population that is often forgotten and treated as ‘lepers’ in our culture.” shared Amy. She recounts one story that reminded her of God’s providence:
“Thankfully we have a God of comfort. Second Corinthians 1:3-4 says that God is “the source of all of our comfort, He comforts us, so that we can comfort others”. One day, we had a woman walk up who had been raped just hours before. This scripture reminded me that it was no accident that she was there that day. As we addressed any medical concerns and next steps, we also grieved together. I validated her pain and anger, reminder her that God saw her and did not want this to happen. Through the brokenness, I shared my similar story with her but also the hope that I now have. Because of my relationship with Christ, I was able to trust God with my deep hurt and anger. Sharing this truth and encouragement with her was only possible because my strength comes from Jesus, not myself. Getting to be there in that very real moment with this patient was possible because we went to her.”
Kimo Thorpe, Plano Clinic Director also shared that serving alongside Our Calling has been impactful.
“Our medicine in this setting is not complex, but we are adding immense value to the ministry of our partners. We always seek to be “eye to eye” with our patients, but the Pop-Up clinic has provided an even more “level place” to gather. I am confident that seeing Jesus do ministry would look a little like this if He was here in the flesh today.”
One tangible example of this came from an interaction with a woman who complained of a stomach ache. During the medical visit our team helped her discover that she was actually pregnant. She shared that this was not the first time she had been pregnant and homeless, and confessed a lot of fear and doubt. The Pop Up clinic team and Our Calling staff were able to meet this woman in the middle of her need and encourage her. They helped connect her to resources and a support system that would walk through the pregnancy with her.
Stories like these happen at our clinics every day, and Pop Up Clinic is only an extension of what we've done through urgent care at both Plano and Skillman these past seven years. In this season, we've been able to make healthcare even more accessible. Partnering with ministries across DFW allows our team one more opportunity each day to care for an image bearer, share the love of Christ with them, and remind them how deeply they are loved.
“The nature of Pop Up Clinic makes it messy and a little chaotic.” Kimo shares. “Everyday there is something new we need to figure out or be flexible with. It’s both hard and healthy because it forces us to focus on doing one thing really well and then trust the Lord for the rest. We regularly say to ourselves “if it rains or shines, if one patient comes or twenty one come, if we have the supplies we need or not...our job is to love well.”
Our team is loving well through urgent care every chance we get. You can help us to continue making healthcare accessible to those in need by investing in the New Needs, including helping us replace an x-ray machine that has seen its final days.