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Church transforms second-hand container into medical clinic
Medical clinic
Church members gather at the renovated container named “Hope for New Life Medical Clinic” to pray after it’s 11 a.m. dedication service. - photo by Photo submitted

By Nancy Gould

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD — With the temperature hovering above 90 degrees, 66 volunteers rolled up their sleeves June 8 for their first construction day at Springfield United Methodist Church. Their mission was to convert a shipping container into a women’s medical clinic.

Men, women and teens began the two-month project that comprised more than 625 man hours to transform a $3,900 second-hand container into a fully functional, four-room medical clinic to serve villagers of Ghana, West Africa.

Several business owners within the church donated materials valued at $7,910. Churches and individuals inside and outside the church also donated money. 

With free labor and a lot of sweat, the clinic’s final out-of-pocket cost at its completion was only $7,315.36.

Hope and Steve Shearouse, both SUMC members and retired “Mission on the Move” missionaries, led the project. They began by grouping volunteers, according to their skills and interests, into the areas of electrical work, construction, plumbing, insulation, solar installation, carpentry, flooring and painting.

Refreshment team volunteers were also present on the 15 designated work days, serving church members drinks and snacks under a large tarp erected most days to provide some welcome shade.

Donna Bannister, assistant project coordinator, helped the Shearouses in areas of need. Along with detailed notes from Hope, she catalogued the project’s day-to-day progress with photos that could be useful for future container renovations.

Bannister also took photos of approximately 20 women in the church who met in homes to make 470 receiving blankets for babies, 600 reusable hygiene pads for girls, 40 dresses, boys’ shorts and tote bags for the African community. Others collected baby clothes, shoes, books and soccer balls with pumps.

Amy Morgan, SUMC Children’s Ministry director, led children in a separate imitative to gather donations of baby diapers, children and women’s underwear, and school supplies from friends and family members.

Morgan said the overarching purpose of this project was to save the lives of babies who would literally not be saved without the clinic. He added, “God always places his workers in places where he wants them to serve.”

Hope said, “God’s people are blessed when they serve together with their time and resources.”

“One of the things I loved best was the chance to get to know the volunteers personally,” she added, noting that the project drew in members with talent and a desire to help — some with little involvement in church activities before.