Throughout history, the Seventh-day Adventist health message has been an entering wedge into the hearts and homes of many who would otherwise not have gone into any church facility. That has not stopped over the years. The Adventist health message has spread throughout the world. We operate advanced healthcare systems through AdventHealth, mainly in the East, and Adventist Health, mainly on the West Coast and in Hawaii. They are modern, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge healthcare services. Our hospitals, among them Loma Linda, are renowned for doing some groundbreaking operations.
At the same time, as a church, we continue to promote natural, healthy living through preventive medicine and natural remedies. Several of the six conferences in the Atlantic Union have ongoing medical missionary training. Adventist medical missionaries are trained and encouraged to apply natural remedies to prevent sicknesses and improve health in their communities. They educate church members and their communities on ways to improve health by practicing the eight natural laws of health.
Among the programs designed to promote the health message are Creation Life (formerly Creation Health) and NEWSTART. The acronym CREATION stands for Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust in God, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook, and Nutrition. The NEWSTART Lifestyle Program is an acronym for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust.
COVID-19 has not stopped these two aspects of Adventist witnessing. The pandemic has instead provided more opportunities for many to share God’s love in their communities by caring for patients on the one hand and showing how to boost the immune system naturally on the other hand. The immune system can be strengthened by implementing the natural health laws, thus enabling the body to fight COVID-19.
One of our church members in New York has made it her mission to reach out to anyone who tested positive for coronavirus in her community. She prepares natural remedies that may boost their immune system and shares ways to increase their Vitamin D level to help fight the deadly virus. In addition, God continues to use both our army of physicians and other medical professionals from the medical institutions, and our medical missionaries to create change in their communities.
Adventist health institutions have cared for countless COVID-19 patients. On December 18, 2020, the Adventist Church officially released a statement that encourages members to consider responsible immunization while recognizing that the decision is personal, and should be made in consultation with one’s physician.
In John 10:10, 11, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (NIV). To have life “to the full” is to live an abundant life—a healthy life as God intends for His children, a life of peace, joy, and happiness. Seventh-day Adventists continue to promote this whole and abundant life, even in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of these days this pandemic will be over. But our need to be witnesses for God will remain, and health ministry will continue to be one of the proven witnessing tools at our disposal. Christ, our Good Shepherd, will continue to lead His people to share this message with those, not in the fold.