I’m often asked how someone like myself – with family in Florida and Southern California – ended up in Northern Idaho. It’s hard to explain in a few words. But when I have the time I end up talking about Dale.
Dale was a middle-aged man with type 1 diabetes on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease. He had been taken off the kidney transplant list because he failed to lose 13 pounds.
He came to the office feeling down. Due to his dialysis he was constantly tired, hungry and thirsty. But his physician had an idea. It was risky and nothing was guaranteed, but Dale went for it.
I remember the day before Dale would undergo the treatment plan. The entire office staff gathered in the office room and we prayed over Dale. God needed to give Dale the power to overcome his appetite.
For the next three days Dale would go on a water-only fast. As a type 1 diabetic on insulin, Dale had never done this before. The increased risk of low blood sugar and electrolyte shifts was potentially dangerous. But if he lived through it all, his blood sugars would normalize.
I visited Dale in the middle of the three-day fast. Early that morning he had woken up in night sweats due to low blood sugar. After adjusting his insulin I opened up scripture to encourage Dale and prayed with him.
Dale survived the three-day fast and would later go on a vegetable only diet for the next several weeks. In about 1 month he had lost 35 pounds. He went back to his doctors in Seattle. However, they didn’t put him back on the kidney transplant list because they didn’t think he could keep the weight off. It would be over 1 year later, that Dale could finally get his kidney. Today, he’s training for a marathon to run as a patient advocate.
The Thing That Moved Me
It’s a transformative story. But the most powerful aspect of that story to me is this: When Dale went on a three-day water-only fast, his physician did the same thing, too. In a demonstration of love toward his patient, he went without food. The level of sacrifice and solidarity with Dale moved me. It’s why I’m up here in Northern Idaho.
In the summer of 2014, a group of 6 young people mirrored that same commitment. These young people were going to help my partner put on a faith-based lifestyle program for 2 months. Weeks before the program, John called them up and broke the bad news to them. I’m going to have to cancel the program. I thought we were going to be able to raise the funds to pay you all for this project but I haven’t been able to do so.
Debbie, the leader of the group, talked it over with the team. After praying about it they responded, Even if we don’t get paid, we want to do this program.
For two months, these young people acted as health coaches. They met in the patient homes every day helping them with lifestyle change, meeting their needs, and becoming their friends.
Before long, several expressed interest in going to church with these people and even keeping Sabbath.
One patient was particularly moved. One day after church service, she turned around said to my partner, Doc, I want to be baptized into this church.
My partner was surprised. But you don’t even know the doctrine of this church? He replied.
Her response was telling, The way you all love me it has to be true. I will learn about my new church and then I will be baptized.
What’s Next For Us?
If this is the response we get from doing 2-month program with 6 people, what would happen if we did a program for 2 years with 20 people?
Most people ask who would give up two years of their lives like that? Yet we’ve found 8 people. And we believe God may still be calling more.
Do you know anyone who would be interested in joining a unique project like this? Would you be interested in something like this?
Send me an email.