Literature ministry group offers Christian reading material to patients
The literature ministry outreach committee of Loma Linda University Church recently launched a new project at the Faculty Medical Offices (FMO) of Loma Linda University Health.
According to Mike Mahoney, vice president for clinic operations at Loma Linda University Health Care, the project involves the offer of free Christian literature in racks throughout the FMO.
“A new component in the delivery of Christ-centered care has been inaugurated at the FMO building,” Mahoney noted. “Books and literature are being offered to our patients free of charge from the literature ministry group at Loma Linda University Church, and placed in the physician waiting areas as well as other common areas. It is encouraging to see patients reading about God’s love while waiting to see their physicians.”
The project represents a labor of love for many individuals, but the two men spearheading the work at FMO are Karmy Mina and Paul Damazo. Mina is retired from a career as a computer scientist at Eastman Kodak and Damazo, a long-time supporter of Loma Linda University Health, is widely known for launching a number of successful companies throughout his career. Together, Mina and Damazo serve as enthusiastic leaders of the project.
How large an impact is the literature ministry having? Damazo says that in its first two months, the amount of literature being taken from the racks exceeded all expectations by a very wide margin. He shares what happened after he installed a literature rack in the lobby.
“I put it in,” Damazo says, “and the next morning, I went back and found that a lot of the literature was already taken. Would you believe, over 300 pieces were taken the first day! It’s averaged that much for two months.”
While there are now literature racks offering Christian literature in doctors’ offices at the FMO, the flagship rack is strategically placed in the waiting area next to the elevators on the first floor. Damazo says the location was selected because of the high volume of people who wait in that area for their elevators to arrive every day.
“When you give a piece of literature to somebody in a parking lot, they take it out of courtesy,” he notes. “But here, on their own volition, they pick it up and take it with them. We’ve seen people reading it as they head out the door.”
“Part of the reason it’s so successful,” Mina adds, “is that people know that in the elevators they cannot use their cell phones. We put books like ‘The Desire of Ages’ and ‘Steps to Christ’ there as well as magazines like Signs of the Times and other booklets and pamphlets. For us, it’s a matter of growing into it, learning how to do it.”
Mina shares the story of what happened one evening as he refilled the lobby rack.
“This guy comes up to me and says, ‘Really, you mean I can have these?’ He wanted ‘The Desire of Ages’ and he took it. Ten minutes later, he was back and asked for another copy. He had gone to see his brother and his brother didn’t want to give it back.”
While the main purpose of the project is to help patients learn more about the love of God as expressed in Christ during a stressful time in their lives, Mina reports that an unanticipated response is that people have been asking for Bible studies.
“The LLU Church has a database of people who want to give or receive Bible studies,” he says. “This guy literally grabbed me and said he wanted to have Bible studies. He and his wife want to be baptized. Another time, this woman and her husband came up to me and started talking. They want Bible studies, too.”
Damazo explains that all requests for Bible studies generated by the literature racks are fed to Loma Linda University Church by a simple QR bar code.
“God has blessed this in so many ways,” Damazo reports. “We thank Pacific Press for their quality products.”
Damazo adds that Reed Webster recently accepted the position of chair for the LLUC literature ministry committee. “We look forward to growing under his dynamic leadership,” he noted.
Both Damazo and Mina are equally appreciative for the support they have received from Mahoney and the senior leadership of Loma Linda University Health.
“Mike Mahoney has been an awesome person in helping us with this,” Mina reports. “He is a kindred spirit.”
“This thing started three years ago when they asked me to join the literature committee,” Damazo explains. “Mike Mahoney came into the meeting and said, ‘Damazo, we don’t need this meeting. The only thing I need is a yes or no from you. The other thing I need is approval from Dr. Hart.’ I asked him if he would be willing to go see Dr. Hart with me. Hart said he was 100 percent in favor of it.”
Mahoney responds by thanking Damazo and Mina for stocking the literature racks and keeping the areas around them clean and orderly. He concludes by noting, “It is such a pleasure to work together in the delivery of care to those we are privileged to serve.”