An estimated 87 church members from 38 churches in the three conferences—Allegheny East, Greater New York, and Northeastern—graduated from the 10-day Medical Missionary Training Program held on July 22. The training program, which began on July 13, was spearheaded by the Northeastern Conference Health Ministries Department, under the leadership of Leroy Daley, the conference’s health and personal ministries director and NY13 health coordinator. The training program was designed to prepare members for NY13, a major evangelistic initiative planned for 2013 in the metro New York City area.
Participants met for eight hours a day at the North Bronx church in Bronx, New York. “This is the second largest group we have had in the New York metro area,” said Daley. “I envision scores of small groups of medical missionaries incorporating health into the gospel message, and giving hundreds of home, church, and office health seminars. They will build relationships and bridges with non-Adventists who will be invited to evangelistic programs.”
The wealth of knowledge imparted to the participants is almost unattainable elsewhere as the medical missionaries were schooled in such topics as the Bible and health, health evangelism, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, natural remedies, alternative medicine, weight management, massage, mental health, and the eight natural laws of health—nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest, and trust in divine power (NEWSTART).
The graduates were determined to rise to the challenge of the graduation theme, “Health and Happiness for 2013,” and each made commitments to make a literal NEW START. Among them was the youngest medical missionary, 13-year-old Joseph Nwankpa of the New Rochelle church, who testified of the indelible mark the program has left on him. “I am eager to improve my health and that of my family,” he said. “I want to tell the whole world about the health message.”
The eldest of the medical missionaries, 80-year-old Pearl Alleyne of the North Bronx congregation, who looked like a 40-year-old, showed obvious signs that practicing the eight laws of health can make one look and feel younger. Clarence Harris of the Pennsylvania church was overwhelmed with gratitude and testified that he has had a life-changing experience. “The experience and training added a kind of consciousness that adds meaning and relevance to the Christian walk. It was phenomenal!” he said.
In addressing the graduates, keynote speaker Donnieval Walker, senior pastor of the North Bronx church, said, “These 10 days helped me to understand the gospel a little better.” Walker, who also took part in the training program, said he was most thankful that it was hosted in the church he pastors and took the opportunity to welcome similar programs in the future. He commended the other four pastors who participated in the program and who have committed to supporting the health message in their congregations: Gerome Leacock, Willis Avenue church; Charles McNeil, Riverdale and Dimensions of Hope churches; Okezie Erondu, Co-op City church; and Neil Turner, North Bronx church. “Remember, the objective of medical missionaries is to point sin-sick souls to the Man of Calvary,” Walker said.
Leacock said, “The program will awaken a religious experience.” The culinary staff, headed by Sherolin Daley, was praised for the total plant-based vegetarian dishes that were prepared.
This program brings the total number of medical missionaries—including those in Jamaica and Uganda—to an estimated 672 since its launch in 2009. A number of individuals from all levels of the church and outside institutions were presenters for the program. The medical missionary staff will to continue to fervently and faithfully work toward the fulfillment of Ellen G. White’s prophecy: “We shall see the medical missionary work broadening and deepening at every point of its progress, because of the inflowing of hundreds and thousands of streams, until the whole earth is covered as the waters cover the sea”—Medical Ministry, p. 317.
—Melody Walker-Brown, member, Peekskill-Cortlandt church