Bringing God to China through physical therapy
By Allison Sebolt
January 24, 2006
LEBANON – What started as a desire and vision in the mind of Kevin Jones, a deacon at First Baptist Church, Lebanon, is one step closer to reality after a recent meeting with hospital administrators in China and the development of a non-profit organization.
Last August The Pathway reported that Jones was going to China that month to help develop a physical therapy program at a major university there – a university that has a partnership with Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. While there, Jones was told because the medical school is going through major changes it might not be the best time to immediately introduce a new program.
This did not dishearten Jones in any way as he knows this is going to be a long-term project. So Jones met with administrators at a hospital associated with the university and informed them about the potential benefits of a partnership to bring physical therapy to the hospital. Jones, who has been a physical therapist for more than 20 years, said Chinese hospitals do not have traditional physical therapy programs, and no one seems to have taken an active role in establishing programs there.
“We developed a relationship with the administrators at the hospital. I think that they trust us to do what we say we are going to do…they want us to work with them, they see the value in physical therapy and rehabilitation to their patients,” Jones said.
In fact, Jones said a hospital administrator there, when explaining who Baptists are, said the goal of the Baptist presence was simply to help people.
Jones has created a non-profit organization called Heathlink Consulting – an organization he hopes will graduate members of a physical therapy training program within10 years.
Healthlink Consulting, with the help of First Baptist, Lebanon, has already provided money to help purchase a heating system for a Chinese nursing home. Right now, Jones is developing a letter of intent for Healthlink Consulting to provide education, training and infrastructure for physical therapy services at the hospital.
“We have got to get somebody on the ground in China basically being there working in the hospital full-time,” Jones said.
Jones hopes to return to China in April to bring a specialized training workshop in orthopedic problems to the medical community there.
“The evangelistic vision is that you get Chinese believers that are the therapists on the ground in the medical schools and hospitals,” Jones said.
Jones is also establishing an advisory board to help oversee the development, writing and teaching of the curriculum. To this end, he has appointed Terry Cox, who is the director of rehabilitation at Doctors Hospital of Springfield, as the head. Cox said he accepted the position because he was looking for a way to combine his vocational skills with ministry.
“If you can take your vocation and turn it into some sort of ministry, then I think that’s what God wants you to do,” Cox said.
Cox said he sees himself making trips to China in coming years, and this project has given him a renewed commitment to his profession and taught him to wait on the Lord’s timing.
“What started as a vision in Kevin’s head has expanded to include at least two people…and I think the sky’s the limit,” Cox said.
Both men said they are praying for God to call like-minded physical therapists to join in their project and carry to completion the work God had already started in China.
“I think it’s very exciting what God will do if you listen to him,” Jones said.
If you are interested in joining or supporting Jones and Cox in this project, e-mail Jones at o firstname.lastname@example.org. (Allison Sebolt is a junior journalism major at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia.)