To your Health
Your Best Pathway To Health
The medical care planning started fourteen months in advance—by email and teleconference. Your Best Pathway to Health, a service of ASI, collaborated with leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventist Health System, Loma Linda University, and many other entities to provide a free mega-clinic event in San Antonio at the Alamodome April 8-10, 2015. Pathway board members and department heads met with city officials, and God opened doors and answered prayers. The medical advisory board, as it would come to be called, met again and again to put protocols in place for evaluation, treatment, and follow-up. Obstacles came up and God moved them out of the way. Three times the Alamodome was promised for free use during the event, only to have it taken away twice. Pastors and church leaders—representatives from the General Conference, the North American Division, the Southwestern Union Conference, the Southwest Regional Conference, and the Texas Conference— met with Pathway leaders to plan the follow-up. The entire experience was an exercise in faith, as played out through the group’s motto: Trust, pray and obey!
Come April, dentists shut down their busy practices, some even paying to bring their office staff to come and participate. Physicians arranged for colleagues to cover their patients. Eye doctors gave of their time that others might see clearly. In all, 1.700 BY CHRIS LEWIS, MD PATHWAY TO HEALTH TO YOUR HEALTH YOUR BEST Seventh-day Adventist volunteers traveled from around the country and around the world, using vacation time that might have been used for leisure and relaxation to get up early and stay late. Many were medical professionals, but many were not. Businessmen and women, computer programmers, administrators, store clerks, administrative assistants, and many others volunteered to become medical missionaries for three days in San Antonio in the very building where, in a few short weeks, between 40,000 and 70,000 Seventh-day Adventist delegates and others from around the world would come to participate in the 2015 quinquennial General Conference Session.
In early 2014, Pathway leaders set a goal to see 5,000 patients over three days. In the end, volunteers were able to serve 6,192 patients in just two-and-ahalf days, including performing about 344 surgical procedures, more than 1,400 eye exams for free pairs of glasses, about 1,100 dental treatments, countless primary care and specialty examinations, about 450 haircuts, hundreds of massages, and many other services, including all patients receiving one-on-one lifestyle counseling on the eight laws of health and being offered prayer and literature in chaplaincy services. Patients so appreciated having their physical, mental, and social needs met that they voluntarily took more than 23,000 pieces of literature. Just looking at www.asiministries.org | 9 the numbers, I believe that God blessed mightily as His people from all walks of life pressed together to serve Christ by serving “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). However, I believe that the two most exciting results are more difficult to measure: the impact on the patients and residents from San Antonio and the impact on the volunteers themselves.
Countless patients said, “Thank-you,” to volunteers. One patient, after undergoing a surgical procedure on her shoulder, was overheard talking excitedly to her daughter on the telephone. “Los Adventistas! Los Adventistas!” she exclaimed, and then continued enthusiastically about how much she appreciated her care. Altogether, she said, “Los Adventistas!” seven times and told her daughter how thankful she was. Another patient, after driving for four-and-a-half hours to receive care, took all of the literature she could carry, then stayed, along with her mother, for the evening meeting where they sang hymns of praise, heard miracle stories, and listened as the Bread of Life was broken. The name “Seventh-day Adventist” was on the lips of thousands, from patients to television newscasters, from bus drivers to city officials. God’s name was lifted up in San Antonio.
Personally, I was expecting all of that. After all, I had already participated in Pathway San Francisco. What I was not expecting was the number of volunteers who talked about how their lives had been changed by Pathway San Antonio. One volunteer in hospitality services, a director of a department at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said after the event was over, “I’m going home a different person. I will never be the same again!” Another said, “This event has changed me!” Someone else said, “Thankyou for allowing us to do this!” Administration at Central Texas Medical Center, the site where free surgeries were performed during the event, decided to hold an annual “free surgery day” going forward. A dentist who volunteered her skills said, “I’ve been practicing for 35 years, and I have never prayed with a patient. Now I’m going home to make up for lost time.” A highly educated nutritionist, in practice for many years, became convicted during the event that she had been teaching the health message apart from the saving love of Jesus Christ. She asked for prayer as she embarked on a new direction in life. Ultimately, 1,700 people went home from San Antonio on fire to share Jesus through service to others. I think that is Your Best Pathway to Health