Unfailing Love Clinic makes moves to 11th Street, open house Saturday

Staff Writer

Decatur Daily Democrat

    Opening in August 2015 on Madison Street in downtown Decatur, the Unfailing Love Clinic will now be moving to a bigger place — 1040 S. 11th St. To celebrate its move, the clinic will host an open house from 3-6 p.m. Saturday for the community to come and see the new facility. There will be activities for children, including a bounce house, snow cone machine and a local youth group will host a carnival with prizes. There will also be food and donations are appreciated.
    There will also be information regarding services provided and how people can partner with the clinic. The clinic’s leadership team will be available to answer questions.
    Unfailing Love is a free/discounted (donation based) medical clinic available to individuals without insurance or who have high deductibles and are living around 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  
    “The clinic is an integration of the ministry of Jesus Christ and medicine to promote health and healing of one’s body, mind and spirit. We offer more than medical services. For those who want it, prayer teams are available to pray, talk and listen,” said Kara Mankey, founder of Unfailing Love Clinic and a nurse practitioner.
    The clinic is run entirely on donations and collaborates with other medical facilities in Adams County such as the Hope Clinic — which offers free STD testing — and Francine’s Friends, which offers free or deeply discounted mammograms in a mobile facility. This way agencies do not overlap services and there is more to offer as a community instead of one clinic spreading itself thin with the supplies and funds. They have also partnered with the local health department for educational outreaches.
    It wasn’t exactly planned. Mankey said, “We weren’t looking to move. Over the course of three or four months, we started to receive an abundance of medical supplies. Our ministry room was filled and taking up our seating space. Then, we had four different people approach me or call me asking if we were interested in new building space. I began to ask the Lord what was going on because no one (except volunteers) knew of our increase in supplies. Honestly, my head was spinning because we were only open minimal hours and didn’t have the finances to buy a new building. I told the Lord, ‘Here’s the offers, you need to open and close doors. Until you do, we’re staying put. We don’t have to move or expand hours and actually, I’m comfortable in our current space!’
    “Over the next three months, doors slowly began to shut except one. There were many questions and unknown details about the move, but the Lord told me, ‘Just keep walking.’ Our team agreed and we slowly continued to move our feet forward.”
    But a move was in the books and unexpected circumstances occurred when the pastor of Damascus Road Church, Kevin Mahlan, stood up and offered more than just his help. He offered his church’s building as well. It was something he felt the need to do because of his desire to see God’s will be done.
    During the time of this transition, Mankey said Mahlan was diagnosed with an untreatable brain tumor. This did not stop his will to do God’s work, however. When Mankey saw him soon after, his first words to her were, “This doesn’t change anything,” leaving her speechless because here Mahlan was gearing up to fight the battle of his life, and his desire was to see God’s plan fulfilled.
    Mahlan handed the pastoral position over to Rocky Evans and now Mankey and he are merging the ministry with the clinic to create a worship and training center to operate alongside the clinic.
    The Unfailing Love Clinic has come a long way from its humble beginnings — a vision several years ago. At the time, Mankey was a nurse and knew there was something more she could do for her community. There was something more she was meant to do and she had known that for quite some time. She just was not sure what that something was. It was, according to her, a feeling she had that simply would not go away.
    She first thought the feeling was to be mission work. Mankey knew she was supposed to go around the world and do mission work after a mission trip to Costa Rica.
    At the time, God did not, according to Mankey, quite agree with her. That was not her purpose. It was something she enjoyed, it was even something she would get to do on occasion. It was not, however, her main purpose in life.
    “I knew there was more. I kept asking, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’” Mankey recalled.
    For years she continued to ask God that question.
    And then one day it came to her as a picture in her head — a picture, she said, was from God; a picture of a sign saying “Unfailing Love Clinic” and “1 John 4:19.” Everything she needed to know was in that picture.
     She had to look up the verse at the time because she did not know what it said. When she did, things started to fall into place: “We love because He loved us first.”
     Because of that verse, the idea and mission of the clinic came into fruition. Kara wrote it out, to the best of her abilities, on a Post-It note and put it on the side of her refrigerator. A reminder of her goal. A reminder she would need through trials to come.
     It did not happen over night. On the contrary, it took years before the actual clinic opened. Mankey went back to school to get her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. During that time, only Mankey and her husband knew the full extent of her plans ... and even then she had no idea how she would do it. She needed to go back to school. She needed the funds to do so. She needed a place for the clinic. She needed help and volunteers. She needed a lot of patience, something Kara will tell you quickly she does not always have.  
    So, she prayed to God. And everything just seemed to start paving a path for her. It was in no way an easy journey, but it was one she felt God put her on. One she sometimes fought against, or would ask “Why?”
    Two years after the clinic, however, Mankey has no words, she says, to accurately describe how far the clinic has come, “… My gratitude to the Lord for seeing me as worthy and capable to do His work. Honestly, I feel very unqualified and inadequate, yet honored and blessed to have seen the Lord show up in my life and move what appeared to be immovable mountains. My mind spins at the thought that He chose a girl — me — who didn’t like to be up front, feared public speaking and didn’t have the money or resources to start a clinic.  But He did it, all glory goes to Him.  He’s led every step and our team walked obediently one foot in front of the other. It’s been the wildest ride of my life and I’m excited — yet a little nervous — because I know the best is yet to come.”
    The journey Mankey has been through has, according to her, been terrifying at times. It has been a walk of faith, one she had to put a lot of her trust in God.
    “After saying yes to moving we waited for 4 months before doing any work on the building. As I began to think about expansion, the Lord laid on my heart to have two dental rooms. I thought that sounded like a great idea, but had no idea how to begin that process. One of our faith steps was to begin remodeling the building. The clinic had to financially invest in God’s house. So we did. The first day of investment, I received a call from a friend asking if we were interested in receiving two dental chairs. I instantly said, ‘Yes.’ Then I was told they had to be picked up in a few days, so as I always do, I volunteered my husband to pick them up.
    “Here’s how God works. When my husband arrived to the new building with the dental chairs, he had also received four assistant chairs and two track lights. I was astonished. That’s how faith works. When you just slide your big toe out a little, God does more than we can speak or imagine. I didn’t have to do anything, except say yea.”
    While not officially moved into the new building, Mankey already has her sight set in the future. Within the next year, she plans to set up two dental exam rooms to assist those who need dental care, but cannot afford it. The clinic is also in the beginning stages of planning to lead mission teams to Africa.
    But, the focus currently is on the new building. With more room, the clinic will be able to better create a place of refuge for people who need physical, emotional and spiritual support.
    How can the community help? There are many ways:
    • Prayer — Mankey said the desire for as many people praying for the ministry, team, clients and families is great.  They desire unity for the body of Christ;
    • Volunteers — For those who have a heart for service, there are many different volunteer opportunities available at the clinic — medical, front desk, ministry, outreaches or events;
    • Donations — The clinic is a 501c3 so all donations are tax deductible. The clinic relies solely on individual donations, monthly donors and local community grants. All clients give a donation for services when they are able, but this clinic is mainly funded by the generosity of the community;
    • Ministry partners — The very heart of the clinic and those who work in it is to work with other businesses and organizations in the community to be the body of Christ. Each business, church or organization has a purpose and resources to perform their part well. There’s no need to duplicate services, but work together so many different needs are met at an affordable cost for individuals in our community. Mankey said, “Our goal is to help people get on their feet and be successful. Long-term we desire no clients in Adams county need our services, but that we’ve created a training center to begin to move out beyond the borders of our county. Let our county be known as a community who loves and serves others.”
    For more information about the open house set for Aug. 12, or about the Unfailing Love Clinic, call 724-2911 or email office@unfailingloveclinic.org.