More than 150 people were empowered to embody the healing ministry of Jesus during the North American Division Health Summit 2019 in Albuquerque New Mexico, on January 20-26. The summit was themed “Healing of the Nations,” which was based on Revelation 22:2 (KJV): “And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
Various avenues of healing were taught during professional development training courses, including Foundations of Faith Community Nursing; Emotional and Spiritual Care Provider; Cancer Prevention and Recovery; Wellness Training, Massage Therapy; Stress & Mental Health; and Urban Missions.
“I attended different courses throughout the week,” said the representative of Collegiate Advocates for Better Living (or CABL representative) at Burman University. “I encourage other youth and young adults to come. There was so much rich information that was here, and I was almost sad because I didn't get to go to all of the classes.”
The theme was also emphasized through devotional messages from different speakers every morning: Bonita J. Shields, director of NAD Stewardship Ministries; Prudence Pollard, assistant vice president for faculty development and research of Oakwood University; Ann Roda, vice president of mission integration and spiritual care of Adventist HealthCare; and Dr. Nerida McKibben, host of Hope Channel’s “Go Healthy for Good!” television program.
An emphasis was placed on healing for those who are administering health services as practitioners — whether as a health professional, pastor, administrators — in order to effectively serve the needs of other.
“We’re called to bring healing to the nations, but that healing must begin with us,” said Dr. Angeline B. David, director of NAD Health Ministries.
This was keenly felt when attendees were invited to receive anointing led by Derek Morris, president of Hope Channel International, who delivered the evening devotionals throughout the summit. Pastors and elders, part of the summit, volunteered to help facilitate the anointing service. Twelve pastors and elders divided into teams of two and accepted one person at a time to anoint with oil and receive special prayer.
“I'm just so thankful for you as leaders for saying, ‘Lord, whatever you need to do in me so that you can work freely through me, I'm open to that,’” said Morris at the conclusion of the anointing service. “God has blessed you. And as you see the way the blessing has come, you give glory to him.”
Health of the Pulpit
Two general sessions at the summit featured panel discussions on Strategic Planning and Partnerships; and Health and the Clergy, during which preliminary research findings of a study on the health of Adventist clergy were presented Gary Fraser, the principle investigator of the Adventist Health Study 2.
“We constantly hear that the health message is the right arm of the church. I've heard that forever,” said Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association, who served on the panel for the “Health and Clergy” discussion. “If it is the right arm of the gospel, that means we've been going around amputated. That simply means that we do need to raise the level of health ministry as an entering wedge into our communities.”
“Our goal is to help all of us come together. The ministry of health, the ministry of healing works best in togetherness,” said David.
Healing Through Fellowship
Daniel R. Jackson, president of the NAD, spoke for Friday evening vespers. His message was based on the first and only chapter in biblical book of 3 John. He referenced the passage of Paul’s letter to Gaith, a fellow believer, whom Paul was encouraging to sustain his faithfulness to God and maintain his hospitable spirit:
“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth” (3 John 1:5-8).
"John's statement to Gaith is a fascinating statement,” said Jackson. “And that really becomes the mission of the church; to represent our God as a gracious and loving God, whether it's in the church or in the community.
“Our task is to make the love of God real to those around us in spite of the inconveniences and difficulties that we face while doing it. We are God's ministers, his servants, all of us.”
Promoting Comprehensive Health
Sabbath morning's message was given by Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the denomination’s world headquarters, also known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
He shared details about an upcoming, regular meeting of the Church’s world leadership, and their spouses, but with an unprecedented focus. “It’s going to be unbelievable,” said Wilson.
The eight-day Global Leadership Summit will begin Feb. 3 in Jamaica to help the leaders “focus upon reaching the people of the cities and of course the rural areas as well; but the cities are where the people are now, using comprehensive health ministry hand every other aspect possible,” said Wilson.
The leaders will undergo biometric screenings at the beginning of the summit and will be extra mindful of their diet and physical activity to hopefully reflect positive changes not only at the end of the event, but in their lifestyles moving forward.
We want our world leaders to understand that if you are a promoter of comprehensive health ministry of medical missionary work, you yourself have to see the benefits personally. That will be the greatest testimony to make sure they promote it,” said Wilson.
He also empowered attendees to see themselves as leaders in their respective fields when it comes to sharing God’s health plan.
“All of you are leaders, whether or not you’re shy, feel inhibited, don’t have all the training, or perhaps the natural ability, God doesn’t necessarily depend on any of that. When you become part of the kingdom of God, you [become a missionary]. All of you are health missionaries,” said Wilson.
“Praise God for the North American Division and for [the] beautiful way, over many decades, it has provided God's blessings to the world,” said Wilson. “May that always continue.”