Available to God

April 01, 2004 | Christy Reich

Viewing the mountain scenery and listening to the stillness, one would never guess the nature and scope of the business up the narrow country road. From her home in northern Washington, Risë Rafferty shares her love for the Lord and all He promises. Married to James Rafferty, co-founder of Light Bearers Ministry, her life is naturally filled with ministry. She is the author of “Health Nuggets” health articles published in Light Bearers’ newsletter, a Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) presenter, and a home-school mother to her son Jeiel, 11, and her daughter Kierra, 6.

After reading Risë’s story you will understand more fully her faith in God and her belief in the following: “God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us.…There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God” (Testimonies, vol. 8, p.19).

Risë Cadilla grew up in Loma Linda, California. Her father is a doctor, her mother a nurse. Yet it wasn’t until she went to Newbold College in England that her interest in medical work was spurred. It was there that she became acquainted with the concept of medical ministry work, through the book Healthy, Happy and Holy. Always having had an interest in nutrition and health, she fell in love with God’s plan and caught a glimpse of the direction God was leading her. Looking back, she shares, “God calls people into a work that fits their aptitudes, likes and interests.” Her understanding of God’s plan to use the gospel and health together to reach the world began to grow.

Returning to the states, Risë began nursing studies at Pacific Union College, believing this to be the way to accomplish God’s plan for her. Not long into her studies, James Rafferty came into her life with a vision for sharing the gospel. They came to believe that God wants couples to unite, to do a double work in proclaiming the gospel and importance of health. Finding in each other similar intensity and fun-loving companionship, they began their life of ministry together. Risë left nursing and moved to the mountains of northern Washington, just a few miles south of the Canadian border.

James has always been an encouragement for Risë. In the beginning, he convinced her to give short talks on health to open his meetings. Unsure of herself and with a quivering voice, she shared God’s plan for complete health. To ease her nervousness she claimed God’s promises as her own. “Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly upon the merits of the Savior” (Ministry of Healing, p. 182).

As they continued in their ministry together, Risë began to focus more on the people she was blessing and the blessing she was, in turn, receiving, and her nervousness began to pass.

Writing, too, has been a growth process of Risë’s ministry. She confesses that the first paper she wrote at Newbold College earned less than a passing grade. But perseverance and a desire to serve in every capacity have developed an ability to bless others through her “Health Nuggets.” She brings a beautiful and needed balance to the health message, carefully using scientific facts combined with the Spirit of Prophecy. She has just finished her first tract designed to reach a worldwide audience, “Making the Most of Every Bite.” She wants to be able to bring the health message to an audience outside of the American culture. With all the cultural and lifestyle differences, this is no small task.

While watching her husband James, and Ty Gibson present for 3ABN, the thought kept recurring that maybe she should offer to do some health talks. Not sure if this was God’s plan, she put out a fleece. “I’ll make the offer to do health talks, enclose the 'Health Nuggets' tracts, and if it is accepted, Lord, I’ll know it is Your plan.”

Months passed and after receiving no response from her letter, she accepted God’s answer as a “no.” However, a year later the call came, beginning her work with 3ABN.

Venturing still further, Risë has begun production of her own video series on health. Her dreams of producing on-site videos came about in God’s own way. Deciding to sell their home and buy a different one was a difficult decision for Risë. She and James had built their home together. A lot of blood, sweat and tears were spilled in the construction. She didn’t want just anyone to live in her home. “Maybe a nice retired couple,” she thought.

That is just who the Lord sent. Not only that, but they were experienced in video production and were looking for an opportunity to use their talents in the Lord’s work. Together they have just finished producing Risë’s third health video, Getting Pumped. Those attending the ASI Northwest Spring Fellowship in Sun Valley, Idaho, April 29–May 2, will have a chance to hear Risë present a talk on exercise.

In speaking with Risë, you will enjoy her warmth and smile. She will make sure that you understand that faithfulness begins with the little things of life. Believing Jeiel and Kierra to be her first mission field and top priority, she thoroughly enjoys her time watching them grow and learn.

ASI has been an inspiration for Risë, as it has for many of us. In her first years of attendance she listened to all the stories of lives changed through the committed service of lay-workers and wrestled with personal dissatisfaction. She sensed that she was not serving God to her fullest capacity, especially in her community. Rather than trying to find an opportunity to “witness” to those around, her quest today, is to simply show love and be genuine. In this way she seeks to reveal herself as a disciple of Christ.

Her greatest joy and satisfaction comes from a sense of partnership with God, whether behind the sink with dirty dishes, teaching her children or active in the cause she loves, uniting the health and the gospel.