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Making disciples among the unreached
     

Medical Ministry

Christian Medical Clinic in Alaska
Tags: Alaska, SEND North, Story

Having served in Alaska for nearly 80 years, we’ve been privileged to see God do some amazing things!  One such story is Cross Road Medical Center in Glennallen, Alaska.  They will be celebrating 60 years of Health and Hope this June.  I want to share their story with you.  It is a story of how God took the prayers and faithful service of one man and built a thriving ministry.

Cross Road Medical Center began as Faith Hospital in 1956, a medical ministry of Central Alaskan Mission (CAM), now known as SEND North. CAM's first missionaries, Rev. Vincent Joy and his wife Becky, arrived in the Copper River Basin in 1937 to begin the mission's church planting work. 

In the early years of his work in the Copper River Basin, Rev. Joy was regularly called upon to give medical care to those in the Copper River Basin, since the nearest doctor was 120 miles away over a rugged mountain trail. Lacking equipment and training, Rev. Joy urged his supporting friends and churches to join him in prayer for a doctor to assist in this ministry. In 1950, these prayers were answered as the first doctor, Dr. Chet Schneider, arrived. Dr. Schneider started his practice working out of Becky Joy’s kitchen.  In 1951, Dr. Schneider used a trailer for his office and in 1952, he moved his practice into a small framed shack.  A small cabin was finally used as the last office space before the hospital was completed.  A second doctor, Dr. Jim Pinneo, joined the medical team in 1954 and Faith Hospital in Glennallen was dedicated in 1956, a modest but adequate hospital building.

The doctors often made home visits, sometimes traveling over rough roads in frigid temperatures to help patients.  Nurses also helped with patients.  Nurses Lillian Scott (who came with the Joys and moved away before Faith Hospital opened), Mary Schultz, Ruth Ott, Beverly Grubb, and Mary Coryell were the earliest nurses. 

In the 1980's Faith Hospital was voluntarily deregulated as a hospital due to the pressure of increasingly costly regulatory requirements. On July 1, 1988 the organization was incorporated as a not-for-profit Christian corporation governed under the direction of its own Board of Directors, apart from SEND, and renamed Cross Road Medical Center.

Cross Road Medical Center opened North Country Clinic in 2002 on the shores of Grizzly Lake to serve the needs of patients living on the Tok Cut-off.  On March 1, 2014 The Interior Alaska Medical Clinic was officially opened.  They provide services to the City of Delta Junction, approximately 150 miles north of Glennallen.  CRMC hopes to add desired pharmacy services there in the future as funds become available.

Faith Hospital/Cross Road Medical Center has seen many changes over the years.  It has expanded from a prayer to a viable organization of health services covering a service area about the size of the state of Illinois. Rural Alaska is still quite remote compared to most parts of the country, and has roughly 10,000 residents.  Rural medicine continues to pose extra challenges for those trying to meet needs. Yet, in spite of sometimes seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and still coveting the prayers of many, Cross Road has been blessed to be able to continue to impact lives in the South Central Interior of Alaska, bringing health and hope.

To learn more about CRMC go to their website;  www.crossroadmc.org