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The Right Prescription

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Six years ago, Dr. Robert Beasley says God gave him a prescription to reach out to the uninsured and he's been filling it ever since.

Beasley is a volunteer physician for Sheep Inc. Health Care Center, a faith-based, free health care clinic based at Monroeville Assembly of God in Pennsylvania.

The clinic falls under Sheep Ministries, established by Lead Pastor Lance Lecocq in 2007 as an outreach and benevolence ministry based on Matthew 25:35,36 and James 1:27.

The clinic is one of two dozen ministries that seeks to help eight categories of people mentioned in Scripture: the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, stranger, prisoner, orphans, and widows.

When Beasley, who has been a church member for 15 years and serves on the board, pitched the idea of offering a free clinic through the church, Lecocq says it was an easy fit.

"The health care center really touches a lot of people in those categories," he says. "We have found it to be a great outreach in our community and a way to bless people and get the name of the Lord out there."

Every Thursday, children's classrooms are transformed into waiting and exam rooms to meet the needs of around 25 people who come to the clinic each week.

Beasley and his wife Robin, who is a registered nurse, are among 80 volunteers including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, and non-medical personnel who staff the clinic.

A retired pastor and five other chaplains rotate on site as well to offer prayer and to meet the spiritual needs of the patients.

The clinic draws a number of foreigners on extended visits with family, but the majority of patients range in age from their late 20s to mid-50s. Many, Beasley says, work in low-paying jobs and can't afford insurance because they don't qualify for public assistance.

"It's one of those simple things in life that people should have," Beasley says. "I always felt that the church should take a more active role in providing things like that."

Future plans include expanding the clinic to surrounding areas in conjunction with Pittsburgh Dream Center, which partners with Monroeville Assembly of God. The organization's mission is to impact local neighborhoods by reaching the hurting and hopeless through various outreach opportunities.

Though the clinic registered as a separate nonprofit three years ago, it is still considered an outreach ministry of the church. Funding comes solely from individual, church, and business donations and fundraisers.

Beasley grew up in nearby Turtle Creek and says it had been a dream of his since high school to meet the medical needs of the people in his hometown.

"God commands us to give of our time and our talents," he says. "I want to be able to stand before the Lord knowing that I used what I had for His glory. I feel really blessed to be able to do what I do."

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