Health, Hope, And Healing Inspire New Members in the Gorge
They flocked into the Columbia River Gorge last fall like a host of angels—the MEET (Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training) ministry team from Huntingdon, Tenn., directed by Thomas and Laverne Jackson. Numbering nearly a dozen, the team had a mission: to bring health, hope, and healing to the communities served by the Hood River, Ore., and White Salmon, Wash., churches.
Team members joined Hood River pastor Pat Milligan, his wife Tami, Bible worker Rod Denney, and others in conducting door-to-door health surveys throughout the gorge. “I was overwhelmed by enthusiastic responses,” Milligan said. “People wanted to know all about the upcoming Health, Hope, and Healing seminar.”
Many people also signed up for a vegetarian banquet sponsored by Chris and Margaret Ohlson, owners of Mother’s Marketplace, a health-food store in Bingen, Wash. “The banquet list kept growing,” said Milligan, “till we had to find a larger meal site.” People from both churches met to chop, stir, and bake food for the event. On Sept. 18, more than 350 people arrived at the Hood River Armory to enjoy the banquet and to hear seminar speaker Thomas Jackson.
The following Saturday evening, the Hood River Adult Center filled with 250 people to hear Thomas Jackson speak about “The Greatest Medical Book Ever Written.” During a slide presentation he drew health principles from the Bible, based on his acronym GOD’S PLAN. Later he linked those principles to spiritual doctrines.
Jackson, a two-time college basketball All-American, also shared his own testimony—how arthritis brought his plans for a professional sports career to a halt, and how GOD’S PLAN helped him overcome the crippling condition without the use of drugs. Jackson continued his talks four evenings each week. Night after night, people returned from all areas of the gorge.
During that time, MEET team members visited and ministered in homes. They also taught weekday classes in White Salmon for prospective medical missionaries. In addition, team members Thomas Jackson, Brad Neeley, and Christopher Pfeifer preached at Sabbath services.
Seminar participants testified how their lifestyle changes were reaping positive results. One such story came from land-use planner, Steve Anderson. A diabetic, admittedly skeptical at first, he decided to give GOD’S PLAN a try. Anderson was amazed at how rapidly his blood-sugar problems were controlled with such simple, natural remedies.
On the seminar’s final weekend there was double cause for rejoicing. Kristen Lewis and Jeff Hannum were baptized as members of the Hood River church on Sabbath and married on Sunday, with Jackson and Milligan officiating.
Another seminar attendee, Corrie Slusher, had already studied the Bible with Rod Denney, Elaina Mathisen, and Katherine Eastham. “But these messages greatly enhanced my learning,” she reported. “I attended every Health, Hope, and Healing meeting—and received such a spiritual lift!” Slusher was baptized on Nov. 2, 2002, joining the White Salmon congregation.
Several of the seminar participants continue to meet weekly with Milligan, studying the Discover Jesus series. Both churches also plan to use videos of the meetings to spread the Health, Hope, and Healing messages further into their communities. •