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Charlie Fraga Elected Overall Coordinator
September 10

Charlie Fraga Elected Overall Coordinator

Charlie Fraga (Vancouver-Portland) will be the next overall coordinator of the People of Praise. He was elected by the community’s board of governors during an assembly that took place September 9-10.

Ecumenical Effort Brings Health Care to Portland Neighbors

By Chris Meehan

Around 600 guests and volunteers came to Roosevelt High School for the Compassion North Portland Event on August 4.

The Vancouver/Portland branch joined with 25 churches and organizations on Saturday, August 4, in an ecumenical effort to provide free medical care to North Portland-area residents. Organizers estimate that more than 300 guests and 300 volunteers came to Roosevelt High School for the Compassion North Portland event. Some guests arrived at 3:30 a.m. to receive basic dental exams, tooth extractions, eye exams, routine physicals—and even haircuts.

“We joined this effort in order to get to know and love our neighbors in North Portland, but also to get to know other Christians in the area who have a mission to the neighborhood," says principal branch coordinator Charlie Fraga. Charlie described one of his personal highlights during the day. "I met a young man whose glasses were smashed in a mugging last April. He said he had very bad eyes but hadn’t been able to get glasses since the mugging. Later in the day I saw him with glasses on. ‘I’m so happy,’ he said. ‘I can’t tell you what you guys have done for me today!' He was practically dancing.”

Luke Glover (Vancouver/Portland), who led the parking and security team, said he found a line of people already waiting when he arrived at 5:45 a.m.  The temperature soared to 100 degrees during the day, but many waited patiently to set up appointments with dental, general medical or optical specialists and filled out paperwork during their waits to speed things along.

Before and after their individual appointments, guests could browse through 41 booths staffed by workers from social service agencies such as the American Diabetes Association, WorkForce Oregon and Catholic Charities. Linda Jo Devlaeminck (Vancouver/Portland), helped organize the booths. “I learned as I went along,” she says. “I had no clue what the job was going to look like when I started.” (She adds that she’d happily do it again.) Her team provided maps indicating where specific booths were located, and color-coded the tablecloths according to the type of service offered.  When the opportunity arose Linda Jo asked guests which booths were most helpful to them. One man, there with his family, said through an interpreter, “Every booth was helpful!”

Carole Richardson (left) served on the child care team. Photo: Betsy Lance.

Six vans organized by Fred Dang (Vancouver/Portland) transported guests to off-site dental appointments. (Other appointments were held at the school.) Mike Freeman (Vancouver/Portland) produced promotional materials for use before and after the event, and joined the prayer team, along with several members of his men’s group. They interceded for the event regularly beforehand, and sat in various public spots that day, praying with anyone who asked and praying for prayer requests that guests had submitted in writing.

Ann Martinez (Vancouver/Portland) recruited and organized 20 people to serve as translators, primarily for Hispanic guests. “I was struck by the humility of all the volunteers I met. They were willing to work hard and dove right in,” she said.

All told, more than 50 branch members helped plan, organize or execute the event, and branch volunteers led seven of the 15 planning committees. David Brewer, one of Compassion North Portland’s primary organizers, said he appreciated all the help from the People of Praise. “I have been deeply impressed with the commitment level of the folks in the People of Praise. That commitment showed in the financial investment, in leadership and volunteers. And the spirit of service and collaboration has been tremendous to experience.”

After their appointments, guests filled out forms and went through exit interviews. Organizers are collating the information and will be distributing names of willing guests to some of the churches and other groups for follow-up. Charlie asked for 15 names for the branch. “We’ll see whom the Lord brings to us,” he says.

Mark Ronayne (Vancouver/Portland, left) and Jerome Devlaeminck (Vancouver/Portland) enjoy their lunch break. Mark Ronayne (Vancouver/Portland, left) and Jerome Devlaeminck (Vancouver/Portland) enjoy their lunchtime break. Photo: Naomi Shreves

He adds that the event was a big success from an ecumenical point of view. “Christians from different denominations have gotten to know one another, and the key leaders all seem to share a natural desire to collaborate, to respect and support one another in spite of their wide range of Christian backgrounds.” Charlie says the leaders will be meeting soon to discuss possible next steps, if any. “I'm looking forward to being part of that conversation.”


  1. Robin says:

    Bring 'em in, Lord! The Lord is doing great (and new) things to build his Kingdom. Come Lord.

  2. Dan Lindeken says:

    Well done. Good and faithful servants.

  3. Julia Shek says:

    That is so exciting! Great work everyone. Praise God!

  4. Anne Brewer says:

    This is amazing! Praise God for all your love and hard work!

  5. Pat Walsh says:

    What a wonderful event. As I read I thought of how proud the Lord was of his people serving his creation and showing his love to all.

  6. Marge Connolly says:

    I'm so impressed that this was a holistic healing event that incorporated the best in human problem solving skills, organizational skills, medical skills, caring skills, and prayer skills. I think this is a model of how the Lord wants us to build the kingdom of God, using every available gift He has given us humans. I see you building a new "Portlandia", the truth rather than the TV, a city of compassion. Way to go, Vancover/Portland! We are proud of you.

  7. Tony says:

    Sounds like this event is the start of many new relationships in the Portland/Vancouver area. Very interested to see how the follow-up with both guests and other organizers will go in the months ahead. We should do this in NOVA.

  8. Pam Seale says:

    Praise God for love in action. Great job everyone in the Portland Branch. It is a joy to hear about it!

  9. Julie Walters says:

    I am so blessed by all the work you have done. Blessed be God. The People of Praise will be known by so many more in the area thanks to you all.

  10. Nanci Panos says:

    Wow!! This is something I would like to be a part of!! Thanks for raising the bar! Praise God and you all for a wonderful work! Hope to see more to come, and would love to hear back about the follow up. Blessing on you, Nanci

  11. Nancy Grams says:

    What a marvelously creative idea to serve God's people, network with other Christians and provide an oppportunity for so many Branch members to be apart of an outreach together! I hope this model for building the Kingdom is able to be used in more branches across the People of Praise.
    God bless all you brothers and sisters in Vancouver/Portland.

  12. Tom McNichol, Sr NoVa says:

    Just the way life in the Kingdom should be lived. Way to go POVA.

  13. CJ Newburn says:

    This sounds like quite the missional enterprise - Charlie's 3Ps in action! May God bless your remarkable efforts, serving as Christ.

  14. John Ostby says:

    God bless all you folks for sharing God's love and bringing His kingdom to your neighbors in such a concrete and visible way. You are an inspiration to us all.

  15. Jocelyn D'Eon says:

    Sounds like the Lord's work to me! Thank you for hearing God's word and acting on it. Your kindness, generosity and great efforts will bear fruit.

  16. Cynthia Hagens says:

    God is so good! Praise the Lord for the opportunity! May God produce much fruit for your generous work you've done!

  17. Teresa Newburn says:

    What a beautiful thing it is to see the way so many are acting as Jesus' hands and feet for his needy ones. May God bless you as you continue in his work.

  18. Jean Shaw says:

    What a wonderful outreach! Anxious to hear how the Lord continues to work through this.

  19. Francis Potts says:

    Wow, what a beautiful way to help build the Kingdom of God in the Portland-Vanvcouver area. Your steadfast work has planted seeds for what the the Lord will bring to the branch in His time. God bless each of you+

  20. Nadia Fraga says:

    YES! What an incredible banning together of neighbors, friends, christians, etc to be a witness to the city of Portland!! Rebuilding, renewing, and restoring the city and people's faith in each other!

  21. Kim Doffing says:

    You are amazing! Press on good and faithful servants!

  22. Mae says:

    Thanks to our brothers and sisters in Vancouver-Portland for representing the People of Praise so well through Compassion Connect!

  23. Judy Allgeyer says:

    Great way to serve the Lord's people. Is there some way you can send out the planning of this event so that others could go to churches and try to do the same in their city? This is what has been done for other poor countries - now it seems a good time to bring it home to our needy people here.

  24. Karen Heintzelman says:

    What a wonderful way to love God's people!

  25. Bruce Wansart says:

    The healing ministry has many parts to it.Health care to promote life and its' issues was on display here.Keep it up!
    Apparently, there is still hope for the blind.Especially, the spiritually blind in high places.

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