Published on 07/01/2023 |
If you would have met me at my medical school graduation and told me what I would be doing now, eighteen years later, I never would have believed you. At that time, I was transitioning into an Emergency Medicine residency program, with hopes of subsequently spending six years in the mission field as a Deferred Mission Appointee (a program of educational debt amortization offered by Loma Linda University and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), and then returning to the States to continue in and retire from a career in Emergency Medicine. But something happened. God happened. And nothing has been the same since.
During my residency training, I faced the crisis of my life and finally surrendered my life wholly to God. At that point, everything began to change. I had been contemplating staying in the States and earning lots of money, but God convinced me that He needed me, not my money. So, I next went to the island of Trinidad, where I served as the director of Emergency Medicine and Family Practice at our hospital there.
While I was in Trinidad, I was given the responsibility of putting health programming together for a local radio station, which forced me to read and learn about health (something I didn’t know much about). That—along with reading Medical Ministry, Ministry of Healing, and a few other health-related works by Ellen G. White—led to a change in the focus of my practice. I began to teach people how to improve their health and reverse their disease processes with lifestyle changes and the use of simple, natural remedies. I traveled from community to community teaching people how to be healthy. And I formed an organization (HEALTH by the Book) to continue that work in Trinidad and Tobago.
It soon became clear that the Lord was calling me to make an entire change in my career path, leaving Emergency Medicine behind and exploring lifestyle and natural remedies. I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff in the complete darkness with my toes hanging over the edge, and God was saying, “Jump!” I was terrified to make this transition, but I knew I could only have success where God wanted me to be, so I jumped.
I landed at Uchee Pines Institute in Seale, Alabama, where I first worked as a physician in their lifestyle center under Dr. Agatha Thrash. After a few years, I was elected president of the Institute and became the medical director of the lifestyle center. At the same time, the Gulf States Conference made me their Health Ministries Director.
While I was at Uchee Pines, I had the luxury of time. In a 17-day lifestyle session, I could spend at least four hours, if not more, with each patient that I cared for. This allowed me the opportunity to start asking the “why” questions. “Why do you eat this way?” “Why don’t you exercise?” “Why do you feel so bad about yourself?” And so on. And as I asked the “why” questions, I began to understand that my patients’ diseases were tied to their lifestyles, and their lifestyles were dependent upon their beliefs. And if I was going to make a difference in their lives, I had to influence their beliefs.
As I would meet with a patient, I would pray fervently in my mind. “God, I don’t know what this person’s problem is, but I know that you do. Please reveal it to me, and then help me to help them resolve it.” I can’t tell you how many times I would be speaking with a patient, and I would say something, hear what I just said, and think, “Wow! I never thought of that before!” It was as if God would put the words in my mouth, and it was just what that patient needed. Each time that happened, I had another tool in my “mental health tool kit” that I could use with someone else in the future. In this way, my ability to understand peoples’ underlying problems and how to help them to freedom increased with each patient.
Then Dr. Horst Müller came to Uchee Pines Institute from Germany and presented 20 presentations on the topic, The Law of Life. His presentations took my whole world and threw it on its head. The concepts he was presenting were so different from everything I had known. I was skeptical, but as I listened, I couldn’t take any one thing he said and controvert it. As I went over the recordings from those meetings several times, the conviction grew that I needed to share these concepts with our patients at our lifestyle center. So, I put together one presentation on The Law of Life and its emphasis on the mind-body connection.
Over time, one presentation turned into two, then three, then six, then twenty-four. My notes for the presentations turned into the Law of Life book. And the messages and concepts were so transformative for those who heard them, that I started getting requests to share in many different locations. As my understanding and presentation of these concepts grew and improved, I saw many remarkable transformations happening in my patients and audiences. People’s personal spiritual lives were transformed. When applied, relationships were mended. People who had no self-control started to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
As time progressed, God began to place a new vision in my mind of what He wanted me to do. So, in 2021, our family made another big transition. We formed a new organization, New Paradigm Ministries, and without money of our own, purchased and moved into a 22.5-acre property in Cabool, Missouri where we currently operate.
I was reluctant to make this move. I was comfortable where I was at. I loved the people at Uchee Pines. I loved the opportunity of teaching, clinical care, speaking, administration (except for that disciplinary stuff that goes along with admin), etc. But it was clear that God was calling me to focus on developing resources that will help many people find freedom. As God and I would have our talk times together, He began to lay out a plan of operation for our new ministry. I knew I needed to learn to trust in Him more as we approach the end of this world’s history, so I decided to set up the ministry on a value-based model.
I would offer biblical counseling and natural health consultations for free (via Zoom), and each person would be given an opportunity to donate to the ministry so we could provide free services to others. I would work for God, not money or people. And God would have to figure out how to make it work financially. If God decided that He no longer needed us to help His children in this way, He could let the finances dry up, and that would be our sign to move on. I knew that God is a faithful employer, but I had never done anything like this before, so there were moments of worry along the way. I knew that with this model, if things weren’t going “well,” my response would not be to work more, but to pray more. It would require me to trust in God as my provider.
So, on November 1, 2021, we moved to Cabool, Missouri and started New Paradigm Ministries. As expected, it was a slow start. But God has been gracious. We have never run completely out of money. God has provided for our needs. And we have been able to help many people find freedom in Christ. Currently, my virtual appointments are booked solid four months in advance and my earliest availability for speaking appointments is 15 months out. This is no credit to me. It is a testament of God’s faithfulness.
I am currently writing a book that will serve as the backbone of our ministry’s mission. This book will take people from where they are, show them how they function, present to them their needs and how those needs are met, introduce them to the Source (God) that will fulfill their needs, clearly portray the practical gospel that saves them from their problems, and show them how they can find freedom in a cooperative relationship with God. This will be followed by a workbook to help each one apply the principles to their own lives.
Then we will develop an app that will take the same approach, but through short videos and digitized workbook activities will help walk individuals, in the privacy of their own homes, from their crisis to freedom in Christ. The app will also survey users at certain intervals to collect anonymous data on how well the app improves depression scores, anxiety scores, work satisfaction, and other standardized measures. And it will also provide HIPAA-compliant security for gathering personal health information as well as a history of traumas, losses, and emotional distresses in life, correlated into a timeline, to see if we can find associations between psychological traumas and physical disease processes.
After the app is developed, we will develop a training program to teach this same biblical counseling approach to others, so that we can have a network of trained LIFE Coaches (LIFE stands for Living Free, Improving Relationships, Finding Purpose, and Experiencing Health). We will also develop weekly, facilitator-led LIFE Restoration Programs which can be run through local churches or community organizations.
Finally, we will develop long-term (9-18 months), residential treatment programs to assist those who are affected by trauma, addictions, and mental health challenges. These programs will emphasize the practical gospel that sets people free from their past and restores them in cooperation with God. They will receive life skills training, work training, and spiritual mentorship, while being able to eat a healthy diet and keep the Sabbath.
This is the vision that God has given to us, and we are excited to be at the beginning of this pathway. We don’t know how much time we have before the final events surprise us. But we will occupy till He comes. This may not be the vision that the Lord has called you to, but He is calling you to something. Maybe you have been afraid of following His leading, wondering how it could ever work out. Don’t worry about that. God will work that out. Simply do what God is asking you to do.
Trust that He will work it out. Be faithful, earnest, conscientious, and wise, and go forward with a heart full of love for God and your fellow men. It is time to step out in faith, following where the Lord leads. It may seem like you are standing on the edge of the cliff in the dark and God is saying, “Jump!” Don’t worry. God is there waiting to catch you and place your feet on higher ground. He is waiting to do something for you that you can’t imagine yet.
It will not be without challenges, but at the end of the road, you won’t ever regret that jump.
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