“During the night of February 27, 1910, a representation was given me in which the unworked cities were presented before me as a living reality, and I was plainly instructed that there should be a decided change from past methods of working. For months the situation has been impressed on my mind, and I urged that companies be organized and diligently trained to labor in our important cities.” —Ellen G. White, A Call to Medical Evangelism, p. 13.
Your Best Pathway to Health in San Antonio was a pivotal experience in my life. Never have I seen so many lives personally touched with the love of Jesus in such a short time here in the United States.
Walking up to the Alamodome at 6 a.m. the first morning we started seeing patients, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears when I realized hundreds of people had camped out overnight in hope of availing themselves of the free services. I can’t describe the joy I felt knowing the difference this would make for so many.
Soon chaplains began moving among the crowd, praying with individuals. Choirs from our academies serenaded them with heavenly music as they waited. Some patients were already in a local hospital awaiting $25,000 surgeries by Seventh-day Adventist doctors, having gone through pre-op the day before while we set up in the Alamodome.
I had the privilege of being a greeter in Hospitality (one area where non-health professionals could serve), escorting people to triage as they came off the escalator after registering. I literally could not wipe the smile off my face the entire day. Our team tried to make each person feel welcome and at ease as they started the process for their care. Others from our team would guide each person as they left one area for the next throughout the day.
As we had time, we conversed with different individuals and heard their stories. Many were working people with no dental or vision insurance. Others told of needing all the services for months, even years. It was a pleasure to let them know they were welcome to come back each day of the event so they could receive multiple services.
One young man and his wife did just that. They saw me as they were exiting on the last day and ran over and hugged me tight. They were beyond delighted. The woman was so happy with her new haircut, and they had gotten all the services they needed.
We met a woman from Estonia who spoke no English. We had a great conversation with her son, who had taken the day off work to bring her for services. Even though she had misunderstood the day before and did not arrive in time for the desired ultrasound, they never quit smiling and were happy to stand in line for the lab services—one of the ways to bring people to our churches. Eyeglasses, lab results, and lifestyle classes required a trip to the “Health Info Center” (church) nearest their location.
Another woman waiting in the triage line asked, “What church do you go to? I’ve been looking for a church, and I want to go to this one!” I heard this story repeated multiple times. Many said it was so hard to believe that we were doing all this for free.
Adventists Make an Impact
The positive impression this event left cannot be measured. To see the impact it made in the media, check out the Your Best Pathway to Health Facebook page for news, articles, and videos. The mayor attended more than one day and sang our praises to the news outlets. We made the front page and the TV newscasts. The name “Seventh-day Adventist” is on the lips of many who had never heard it before, along with the impression that we are the hands and feet and heart of Jesus reaching out in love to help people in their need.
The Wednesday after the event, a dozen churches in the area started health seminars (Natural Lifestyle Cooking; Depression—the Way Out; Diabetes Undone; or Creation Health). I had the opportunity to share that information with our taxi driver on the way back to the airport. Although he had not been at the Alamodome, he was very excited about the prospect of attending a cooking class that would help improve his health issues.
I look forward to attending the 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio this summer. My hope is to recognize faces among the crowd that I became acquainted with at the Alamodome and see them experiencing a new life in Christ!
Evangelism at Its Best
Your Best Pathway to Health naturally lends itself to Jesus’ way of reaching out and loving people. It was a privilege to come close to people and get to know them. This is truly Christ’s method of reaching people—mingling with them, desiring their good, showing sympathy, ministering to their needs, winning their confidence. The outreach doesn’t end there. As soon as the health series are completed, there will be evangelistic reaping events with Pastors Ted Wilson, Mark Finley, Carlton Byrd, and Jim Gilley. It was a joy to bring Jesus’ love to the city of San Antonio in such a tangible way, and soon we will invite them to “follow Jesus.”
This is true evangelism. I can only imagine the impact it would have on our church members and those we can help if we bypassed some of the large events we hold and used those resources and time for outreach events of this scale that lead from health to Him! I envision a mass revival inside and outside of the church as our people experience the joy of serving those who need what we have to offer—not only in health services, but in helping them to realize that there is a Health-Giver who inspires us to reach out in love and service. Seeing that dawn on people was the true beauty of this event!
Your Best Pathway to Health is lighting the world with God’s glory (character)! Don’t hesitate to join this movement if you have the opportunity. I have already registered for the next event in Spokane, Washington. There are 533 cities in the world with populations of more than 1 million. 2 down. 531 to go! That is the goal, according to Dr. Lela Lewis, who coordinates these events. We are watching a prophetic movement of medical missionary work as it unfolds.
Everyone who has been a part of this movement has seen and heard miracle after miracle taking place from the beginning, far beyond what humans could accomplish. What has happened and is happening could only be wrought by our Almighty Savior as He endeavors to seek and save the lost.
“Workers—gospel medical missionaries—are needed now. You cannot afford to spend years in preparation. Soon doors now open to the truth will be forever closed. Carry the message now. Do not wait, allowing the enemy to take possession of the fields now open before you. Let little companies go forth to do the work to which Christ appointed His disciples. Let them labor as evangelists, scattering our publications and talking of the truth to those they meet. Let them pray for the sick, ministering to their necessities, not with drugs, but with nature’s remedies, and teaching them how to regain health and avoid disease.” —Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health, p. 397.