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Whole Person Care Newsletter

February 2017

Pass this newsletter on to pastors and Free Methodist Healthcare professionals and invite them to go to our website to sign up for our email!
Frank Ogden introducing Rev. Blake Wood.

Miracles and Cultural Sensitivity: Pastor Blake Wood Shares his thoughts at our FMHF Retreat this Past September

Pastor Blake Wood, shared his experiences as a missionary in the Middle East plus as a pastor who has outreach through soccer and other ministries to Muslims in Seattle. We got all we had asked for and much more. He shared his work when he was in Jordan and Egypt. This including helping nationals start a Free Methodist Church in Baghdad, and mentoring other Arabs, including one from Iran who started Free Methodist churches there.  Many of these are house churches, and he showed how these churches, with spirit-led leaders, began to multiply. I think that most of us have no idea how many thousands and even hundreds of thousands of house churches exist in the world. My reaction to his talk was, our American Megachurchs are not the biggest thing that God has going in this world. His church in Seattle has outreach through soccer and many one-on-one relationships.

Successful relationship requires understanding how people view the world. Honor and shame are important themes among those in the Middle East. This relates to being in the Middle East more than to being Christian or Muslim. Saturday night was spent looking at examples from the Bible about the code of honor and shame which is still present in the Middle East today. When ministering to those from the Middle East who live in the States we need to be sensitive to these non-spoken or written codes. 

Doing something wrong does not in itself bring about shame as much as people knowing about it, whereas in postmodern America there is little that is right or wrong. In the Mideast to have things made public brings about shame and that is wrong. To do something secretly is not nearly as big a problem and does not necessarily bring shame. In our sessions, we began to realize that Jesus was addressing this social and ethical concept. What is secret may be more serious than that which is known.

Cultural beliefs affect how our patients see things. We had table discussions where we looked at potentially difficult patients (e.g. the addict, the angry teenager, the person who refuses to have their child immunized and wants a written excuse). The patients do not always understand the doctor and are often filled with fear. In turn, we as health care professionals did not understand the patient and we had our own fears and misgivings when they come to see us. Although next year’s theme may be different, these same issues will come up again and again because they come up in our offices, or neighborhoods and our churches. Let us pray that we as health care professionals can hear things with the ears of Jesus and see things with the eyes of Jesus. Let us try to do this before we open our mouth.

Arriving at the conference center.

2016 Retreat in Puget Sound

FMHF goes West for our Annual Retreat, but we will return to Essenhause on September 29 - October 1, 2017. Our speaker will be Wabash Superintendent, Dr. John Lane. His topic will be Soul Care. More information will follow, but please mark those dates. We also hope to get some new people: doctors dentists, PAs, NPs, RNs and students. Introduce people you know to your website and have them sign up for our newsletter. Then ask them later to consider going. 

Our Fellowship had a very successful retreat on Puget Sound this September. As expected, not all of our regulars from the East were able to come, but we had more new people attend than we can remember. Total attendance was around 45, including doctors, dentists, and nurses from the North West. T.J. Breshears is a new Free Methodist Pastor from Santa Barbara, California. He was an EMT while at Seminary at Duke plus spent time on the Chaplain Service at Duke Hospital. He has a strong interest in health care, plus he has agreed to format our newsletter, maintain our Email lists and our website. Samuel Svenssen is a Swedish student at Biola. He came to explore the possibility of being part of our Ministry in Congo. That may sound strange since he is a Swedish Pentecostal, but the Swedish Pentecostals and Free Methodists work closely together in Eastern Congo. This includes working together in a Christian Medical School in Bukavu. He became acquainted with the Free Methodists when he met a young Free Methodist while spending a semester in Africa. He came to our meeting on a student scholarship and there he had a chance to meet Glen, Linda Striker, the Kratzers, Mathewsons and Hadducks. Let's pray for God to Guide this young man. 

The board approved returning to Essenhause in Indiana in 2017 but we are considering returning to the West in 2018. There are many Free Methodist health care professionals who live on the West Coast. If we want to be a real national Free Methodist Organization. and not just a local midwest fellowship, we should try to include these. In January our board met by conference call and agreed to have the 2018 retreat back in Washington State.

Table discussion.

FMHF News Bits

Dr. Marx is on the faculty of Hope Africa University.  He has been working on improving the care of premature infants at the Van Norman Clinic. He was invited to present his work at an international conference in Chicago in October. 

Dr. Norman Wetterau represented both the American Society and International Society of Addiction Medicine at the special session of the United National General Assembly of the World’s Drug problem. This three-day event in April 2016 was held at the UN headquarters in New York. Only official delegates, heads of states or their representatives could speak at the sessions but he was able to make comments at a preliminary session in February, submit written testimony and talk with some of the delegates during breaks and in the hallways. For more information what was passed go to or google UN general assembly special sessions. 

PLEASE SUBMIT DUES IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OR WISH TO BE OF THE FREE METHODIST HEALTHCARE FELLOWSHIP. MAIL YOUR FIFTY DOLLAR DUES TO: David Leffler, 12005 Ridgewood Drive, Fort Ashby WV 26719.  Please include your address and, if you wish, your telephone number or go to our website and pay dues using a credit card.

IF YOU HAVE ANY NEWS YOU WANT TO BE PUT IN THE SPRING NEWSLETTER, EMAIL THE NEWS TO This could include mission trips, medical presentations or special things your church is doing to reach out to those who are ill or disabled.

Our missionaries who shared about their ministries.

Ministering to the Sick and Disabled is Not an Option for Christians or Churches

Our ministry is evangelism. Our growth will come from the youth. Our staff has limited time and resources. We need to use our limited resources to expand the kingdom. God understands why we do not visit hospitals or nursing homes: “It is not our calling”.

We minister through small groups and our leaders are uncomfortable visiting group members who are unable to come out due to illness.Their ministry is to lead the small group and try to bring new people into the church. If we spend our time ministering to the dying, we might end up a dying church

We know that the Adams were active leaders in our church for 50 years but now they are in a nursing home and their time here is over. I am sure that they would like to see young families come to our church more than for our current church leadership to visit them or write them a letter. If they want to know what is going on, they can go to the church’s website. 

Hopefully, these statements are exaggerations. in many cases there is no ministry to the sick and disabled because people are too busy, did not think about it, or are uncomfortable doing so. It is true that the pastor cannot do everything and lay leaders need training. Other fellowships are so disorganized that no one knows if someone is ill.

Ministry to those who are ill is not an option. It was intrinsic to the ministry of Jesus. Much of his ministry was spent healing those who were ill and he sent his disciples to do the same. If we do not visit and pray for those who are ill, then there is no opportunity for healing. James 5 calls on the elders of the church to, visit and pray with the sick. The calling is not to send in a donation and touch the radio but to be touched by the elders of the church and prayed over. 

Yet visiting the sick is not simply to pray for physical healing. The scripture calls us to stand beside them.The strongest statement on this subject is in Mathew 25:. “I was sick and you visited me”. In ministering to the sick we are ministering to Christ himself.
The passage goes on to say that people were excluded from the kingdom of heaven because they did not visit the sick. I will leave it to the biblical scholars to determine
all the aspects of this somewhat troubling scripture text. Will you go to hell if you do not visit the sick?  There may be more to the passage than a legalistic call to action, but the passage is pretty clear: visiting the sick is not an optional activity of the church. I worry that the pastor who has no time for the sick because he believes that evangelism and church growth are the main mission of the church may see others saved but lose his own soul. 

The Free Methodist Healthcare Fellowship is not simply a fellowship. We are a resource to our denomination and our churches. In churches that visit the sick, we need to be available for teaching and advice. This is especially true when we have church members on hospice care or who have incurable illnesses. As part of this effort, we plan to address some of these issues on our website and at our conferences. We want our website to be a resource for all of our churches.

If we are in a church that does not visit the sick, we need to speak out. As health professionals, we need to connect our patients with pastors, with the permission of the patient. Finally, we need to visit the sick ourselves. As a family doctor, it was sometimes difficult to visit a patient who was hopelessly ill. If felt so helpless, yet when I visited, I often received a blessing. We need to remember than when visiting the hopelessly sick person, we may be encountering Jesus himself. 

Sunday worship led by Bishop Emeritus Leslie Krober.

AMA News

At its 2016 Interim Meeting, in Orlando, Fla., the AMA House of Delegates adopted policies aimed at expanding access to spiritual care, mental health services, protecting newborns from harm, improving access to care for prisoners and ex-convicts, and supporting physicians’ efforts to highlight shortfalls in care.

Appreciating patients’ spiritual side
With research suggesting that patient satisfaction is lower and cost of care is higher in the absence of spiritual support from care teams, the AMA adopted a policy recognizing the importance of individual patient spirituality and its effect on health. Delegates also encouraged giving patients access to spiritual care services.

Comment from Norman Wetterau 
During the past 2 years, our FMHF has taken on a mission of helping our churches become better healing communities and to include visiting and ministering to the sick as a major function of our churches. The AMA has stated that people need access to spiritual care. Some of this is done by hospital chaplains and other by their own pastors and church members. Indeed chaplains work in hospitals and nursing homes, but when people are home and facing sickness, it is the local church pastors and members who minister to them. 

In a future newsletter, we can look at more specifics of the AMA’s proposal.
The concept of spiritual support can be very generic. Some Christians may complain, but people will only be referred to generic support when they have no connection to a church or the church they have a connection to is too busy with other things to offer spiritual support. When the government and others are maintaining silence or even opposition to anything that is spiritual, it is refreshing to see that medicine understands its importance and that proper spiritual support can actually lower health care costs.

Consultation participants.

Reliable Electricity and Water for Nundu Hospital

Imagine a hospital without regular electric power or running water.  This has been the situation at Deaconess Hospital of the Congo for many years. Electricity from a diesel powered generator is available, but, due to lack of funds for fuel, it is usually used only for surgeries. There had been water, but the river flow changed and the well and power house were destroyed.  The hospital has 100 beds and services an area of 180,000 people.

One might look at what the hospital lacks, but it also has much. It went through the civil war and functioned to some extent during the war. There are 3 physicians and a functioning nursing school. 

Now there are plans to put in solar electricity for the hospital.  An electric pump and filtration system will provide clean, running water. A few years ago this was a dream. Now the Butterfield Foundation is providing $60,000 and the Anderson Family Foundation another $30,000.  Individual gifts will make up the difference to cover what is estimated to be a $160,000 project.  Additional funds are needed to purchase state of the art LED surgery lights.  Information on this project is on the CAHO website:

I would encourage our members to visit this site and look not just at CONGO but other ministries.  Consider a gift but also share with others. There are many who might want to give a one-time gift for provide electricity and running water to a regional hospital in the Congo.

Champions for Congo group.

Need for Basic Science Teachers at Hope Africa

This week Gerald Bates sent me an Email which shared serious needs at Hope Africa.  These needs come in two categories: courses that can be taught short-term and needs for 'permanent' professors demanded by the Eat Africa Commission after their inspection.

In the first category are Dermatology (a course of 20-24 hours of lecture) and Anatomic Pathology (72 hours of lecture).

In the second category, the East Africa Commission is requiring the University to recruit permanent staff in the basic sciences.  'Permanent' is defined as at least one year.  (I suppose they could come to the US for a mid-year break if they have the resources).  The fields are Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology/Parasitology, and likely Pathology of some sort.  Half of these can be taught by qualified professors with Masters in the field and the remainder with MDs or PhDs.  The cost of recruiting these in Africa is prohibitive for the University.

I have taught medical psychology and addiction at Hope Africa for a month each winter through 2015. It was a very rewarding experience. Other members of our organization have also taught clinical subjects there.  In the past, the basic sciences have been taught by short-term visiting professors or African professors who would come one or two days a week, but also teach at other schools. This is very unsatisfactory. Recently, the accreditation board has told the school that they need to have professors on site year round in the areas mentioned above.   

I am not sure we have many members who can teach these subjects, but we can pray and also mention this need to friends, including to science teachers at our Free Methodist Colleges.
Some might feel called to missionary service for a year or even full time as Randy Bond has done in his commitment for faculty at Hope Africa. We need to think outside the box. First, half of these people can have just a masters degree.  Do we know someone who has a master's in physiology or anatomy and would feel called to teach? Maybe they are young and just finished their program, in a PhD program and wish to take a year out, or retired.  The other half have to have a PhD or MD with some special training. A retired surgeon might be able to teach anatomy or a retired specialist in internal medicine or anesthesia might be able to teach physiology. I am sure that we could find help from professional teachers in these areas to help design teaching modules.  Please spread this need and have people that may have an interest Email Dr. Wetterau through our website or directly Email Dr. Randy Bond at

Until next time Seattle...
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