On June 2, 150 community members experienced further evidence of what God can do through ordinary people who step out in faith, when the Maranatha church hosted an innovative, multi-faceted community health fair: Maranatha 4 Health & Well-Being. This event was inspired in large part by God’s call to Maranatha church members to become change agents in the community. Through God’s providence, a substantial portion of the cost for the fair was covered by a California Mental Health Services Authority grant. Although the grant writers at the church lacked extensive experience, God provided the grant quickly.
Ira Barksdale Jr., senior pastor of the Miramonte and Maranatha churches, recalled God’s favor in securing the grant and marketing the event. “However, God showed His greatest favor in how the members of the Maranatha and Miramonte church district came together as a team to work on this project,” he said.
The primary objective of the event was to promote total health and well-being—mentally, physically, and spiritually. The fair was designed to provide attendees with opportunities to receive comprehensive health assessments, learn about optimal health, and take action toward achieving better health.
A team of mental health professionals shared presentations on depression and healing. A medical ministry team conducted blood pressure and diabetes checks, and 60 attendees were medically screened. Spiritual health, diet, vegan cooking, and lifestyle education sessions were also offered.
“At this community event, I was able to attend the session on how to cook vegetarian meals, which was very educational,” said attendee Ethel Newton-Bascomb.
The community health fair brought together a diverse cross-section of the larger community, with a multiplicity of community service providers, including: The National Association on Mental Illness, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Service Areas 6 and 8, Los Promotores Salud de Mental, DiDi Hirsch, Curtis Tucker Health Clinic, Los Angeles Police Department-S.M.A.R.T. Unit, Kaiser Foundation Hospital, L.A. Trust, and Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Mu Chi Chapter. Many attendees also signed up to participate in free workshops offered in affiliation with Kaiser Foundation Hospital, under the chronic disease self-management program (an evidence-based program of Stanford University).
“I believe you all did an excellent job putting on your event this past Saturday,” said provider Kisha Thompson. “Your presentations and vendors reflected what I believe was the mission: to provide a holistic approach to wellness (mind, body, and spirit). I am very happy it was a success.”
Committed volunteers made this event possible as they leaned on God to provide and lead every step of the way. The impact of this event extends much further than what happened in just one day. “Maranatha and Miramonte are now poised to impact their local communities using health as an ‘entering wedge’ to attract people to their services,” Barksdale said.