We read a diet book in 2005 before our move to Bondoukou. Despite six to ten hours of weekly aerobic and weight-training exercise, excess pounds and inflammatory foot pain would not leave Verlin’s frame. That reading and subsequent research further refined our ideas on how to maintain good health. The focus shifted from watching calories and staying active to one of finding foods that did not cause inflammation and, or, limited it. Many dietary changes, such as adding turmeric with black pepper and other herbs, spices, or teas, followed because of our changed thinking. As a result, several warning signs of inflammation like fasciitis and joint pain for Verlin just disappeared. Cardiovascular and respiratory measures returned to what they were when he bicycled 40 miles a day in his twenties. However, the difficulty of weight loss did not lessen. A root inflammatory cause remained unidentified.
In 2015, a pediatric surgeon left his practice to pursue radical treatments based on what his research identified as a more significant cause of inflammatory stresses: leaky gut syndrome. He gave up one successful career to chase another that felt more rewarding. He began sharing the discovery that had changed his own life. As shared by Skype during today’s Christmas in July family time, we hope the theory will help our family live better. But the point is this: conviction united in heart and mind drives the choices to change outward behavior.
Similarly, a core principle of Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is that physical world experiences impact spiritual ones. Likewise, if one genuinely helps others adopt living obediently to Jesus, physical signs of obedience accompany any spiritual speaking or reported experience. The result is like the decision of the ‘leaky gut’ doctor, but with eternal consequences. People leave what others may deem ‘successful’ lifestyles and pursue a more rewarding one that shares the life-changing power of the Gospel. It’s a mark of being called. It is key to self-appropriate this understanding of self when sharing the good news.
This week we celebrate one of ten men called to make that decision since our move to Bondoukou. He gave his annual report to a meeting of regional CHE trainers and shared activity that has been funded by his self-sacrifice and/or participant contributions: 180 hospital workers trained in Discovery Bible Studies (DBS); 24 pastoral students in two different Bible institutes; 112 pastors trained in DBS of whom 52 were trained in CHE too; 54 youth leaders. A key CHE concept shared in any training is shalom, or learning to live in peace with God, self, others, and Creation. Already many of these share our conviction united in heart and mind that drive the choices to change the outward behaviors of both individuals and communities in Cote d’Ivoire.
Prayer and Praise
– Ask that we continue to find and multiply leaders living this correction of our Lord: Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean (Mt.23: 26-28).
– Verlin plans travel to southeastern coastal regions to encourage some at least three and maybe for villages implementing CHE due to shared University connections. Pray trainers, committees, and CHEs grow in their love of others. He also expects to meet with University trainers and some teachers.
– A young man who befriended our family while in Bouna in 2000 overcame a drug habit that trapped him in 2014. We fear he may be falling into the trap again as he deals with being unemployed without work that engages him for nine months. Pray the situation leads him to repentance.
Your partners in the Gospel,
Verlin and Debbie Anderson