MAI to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

A Christian health organization that has employed a strategy called Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is celebrating its 25th year anniversary in 2005. The Christian health ministry promotes physical and spiritual wellbeing through the Gospel.

Dr. Raymond Benson and his wife LouVisa founded the group while establishing and serving on a medical team with Overseas Crusade in Vietnam. When this proved successful, the couple took the OC branch in a new direction and launched a whole new separate operation. MAI was incorporated in 1980.

In 1988 Dr. Benson chose Paul Calhoun, M.D., a successful dermatologist in Modesto, to take up the reigns of leadership. The new appointment proved a success when Dr. Calhoun met Stan Rowland in Africa, who had developed a health strategy called Community Health Evangelism (CHE). The strategy helped people identify and cure their own household diseases.

According to the MAI website, a distinctive characteristic of CHE is how it integrates physical and spiritual ministries and allows for “community ownership.” This means that “People in the community take responsibility for all that takes place in their village,” according to the site.

The site also describes Community Health Evangelists (CHEs) as workers who “bring people to Christ.”

It states, “When people come to Christ they are followed up, discipled, and organized into small groups. These groups then come together to form a church.”

The 25th anniversary announcement says that "Dr. Paul knew this strategy was exactly what he had been looking for to solve the major problem with which MAI was struggling; namely, people returning to the clinics week after week with the same kind of problems."

"CHE dealt with the problems by teaching indigenous people to discover and then solve their own health and community problems."

The strategy is now used by MAI in 65 countries and 1212 villages.