Miami Baptists Reach Out with Spiritual and Physical Healing

( [email protected] ) Mar 10, 2004 08:29 AM EST

MIAMI —In lieu of the Week of Prayer for North American Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist Press, the SBC’s news room, began releasing “present profiles on the featured missionaries.” The first emphasis was placed on the Miami Baptist Association, which not only reaches out to the community with physical support, but also with spiritual blessings.

The March 9 feature was placed on Michael and Ana Daily, who are among the nearly 5,200 missionaries in the United States and Canada supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Michael Daily of the Miami Baptist Association has helped nearly 300 SBC churches in the city to provide thousands of people each year to receive basic necessities such as food, clothing shelter and healthcare. These ministers not only help rebuild lives after devastating hurricanes, but they also feed and clothe the homeless and refugees who pour into the city from Central America, Europe and Africa and empower communities paralyzed by poverty through healthcare, education and job training.

“To do ministry here in Miami you have to be patient,” Daily said. “It’s not a nine-to-five job at all. Every day is different and every week is different. ... It’s multicultural yet the cultures retain their distinct cultural identities. It’s not a melting pot; it’s a true mosaic.”

According to Michael, there are tens of thousands of residents who survive on incomes well below the national poverty level.

“The average wage among migrant farm workers is somewhere around $7,500 a year, maybe up to $12,000,” he said. “And in most cases, these people are supporting families of four and more persons on an income like that.”

Therefore, to help these workers receive the basic healthcare they need, Daily began a free medical center in 1996, called the Good News Care Center.

“The purpose of the clinic is not only to serve the body, but by servicing the body we’re going to service the soul,” said Ana, a native of Brazil who has served as the clinic’s administrator since 1999. “We’ve had some beautiful people accept Christ after coming here because they were sick. And by serving their need we show them the way to the Lord.”

While the clinic’s 3,500 patients are treated to maintain their physical health, they also receive spiritual guidance as the clinic distributes new testaments and shows the “Jesus” film in the waiting room.

Daily said all aspects of his work have proved repeatedly that, regardless of ethnicity or culture, people respond to the message of Christ when met at their point of need.

“It produces an intimacy that allows us to speak the truth, and consequently it’s heard as the truth,” he said.

Describing his ministry as one that acts “behind the scenes,” he said that the hospital would not succeed without the prayer and financial support of Southern Baptists across the country.

“The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering is the life-blood for the work that we’re involved in,” he said. “Giving just a little bit together makes me think of Jesus and the loaves and the fishes. He takes what we give and just keeps blessing it.”

Michael is hopeful that through such prayers and funding, his ministry will grow.

“I can’t wait to see what God will do next,” Daily said. “Jesus said that we would do even greater things than we saw Him do. That’s because He does it through us.”