HCM Conducts Emergency Response and Preparedness Seminar for Colombian Police Force

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By Carrie Stewart

HealthCare Ministries sent a specialty team to Bogotá, Colombia Oct. 4-13, 2013 to hold health education classes for over 150 law enforcement officers. The team of three worked with Assemblies of God missionaries Paul and Kristi Robinson to hold classes on first aid and medical issues faced by police officers. They also held classes addressing the psychosocial issues of the job, including coping with the loss of a fellow officer and PTSD.

The team’s host missionary, Paul, who was a former law enforcement officer, ministers to the Colombian national police through a program he started called Heroes of Justice. Under that ministry, he and his wife Kristi provide free police training, and teach conversational English, which allows them to form relationships with the officers and earn trust. After hearing about how HCM partners with missionaries to bring medical evangelism teams abroad that are tailored to the needs of the missionaries’ area of ministry, Paul pursued the idea of doing a health education outreach for the police he knew through Heroes of Justice.

The Bogotá police leadership gave the team full authority to openly minister the Gospel to the officers while they conducted the health education classes. The team’s translator, who was passionate about evangelism, presented the Gospel and the plan of salvation a few times during each class. The team gave each officer a Spanish Bible at the end of the training seminar along with their course completion diploma. They also remained after class each day to talk one-on-one with any officer who had questions or concerns. The officers responded positively to the presentation of the Gospel, and nearly 100% of them prayed to receive Jesus as their savior.Dave Smith, an HCM team member, demonstrates splinting a broken leg while teaching first aid at the health teaching outreach for the Bogotá Police Force in Colombia.

“The response of the officers was phenomenal,” Paul said. “Out of a group of 152 police officers, 144 of them received Jesus Christ into their lives during this medical training event.”

The level of experience the team had in the law enforcement field added to the outreach by giving the team members credence with the Bogota police force. Dave Smith, one of the HCM team members and a former paramedic law enforcement officer with the California Highway Patrol, said his background benefitted the outreach because he was able to relate well with the Bogotá police officers as he taught. He said his line of work as a paramedic in the police force showed him every disservice, injustice, and betrayal mankind can render to mankind.

“It was from this background that I could talk to the officers and they knew that I had faced many of the issues of life and law enforcement that they were facing,” Dave said.

As the missionary host for the team, Paul was also appreciative of the team’s law enforcement background.

“This familiarization and knowledge opened the doors of acceptance and trust from the officers,” Paul said. “And six training days later, 144 officers were set free.”

Over 150 police officers attended the health teaching outreach Bogotá, Colombia.Since the outreach, Paul has received positive feedback from the police force about the professionalism of the team and the relevance of their training. He said the Colombian National Police wanted more health-related training events in the future. Their spiritual response was also encouraging. Many of the officers commented that it was a life-changing event for them.

“Numerous officers have contacted us about their new life in Jesus Christ, wanting to know where to attend church, and just having questions about spiritual things,” Paul said.

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