Throughout the past fifteen years, doctors and nurses from the Washington Sanitarium have visited, over week ends, many of our churches in the large cities throughout the Columbia Union Conference. The meetings were announced in advance, and the people were always eager to hear the practical instruction given on the medical work.
In one church, the doctor and nurses visited the assembly on the Sabbath. Three years later a member of that church told me that the medical talk given by the doctor that day had caused quite a number to adopt a balanced diet in their homes, and had influenced them to eliminate many hurtful articles of food. It had also resulted in their excluding flesh foods. The brother who told me of this experience seemed much encouraged and gratified over the progress which the members had made in spiritual lines and in healthful living. He dated the new life which had come into the church from the Sabbath on which that medical group had visited it.
Each year, as a result of the promotion of health principles, great good comes to our people in the camp meetings throughout the union. From the first meeting in the camp, inquiry is made by many concerning the doctors and nurses who will be present to give instruction and help. This ministry for the sick at our camp meetings has brought great relief to those suffering from physical ailments, and spiritual encouragement to our people.
For years, health classes and schools of cookery have also been conducted, which have paid large dividends to the work in this field. Several hundred have completed the work given in home-nursing classes. Only in eternity will be realized the good that has been accomplished by these self-supporting workers as a result of their going into the homes of neighbors and friends and ministering to them during their illnesses.
Truly the medical work is the entering wedge of evangelism into our cities, and the "right arm of the body." Not alone has this phase of the work been carried on for adults, but the children have had presented before them a practical program of health which grips their hearts and aids in the development of character. Sound bodies for our children mean future workers and missionaries for this cause who will be physically able to carry the heavy responsibilities that will come to them. And if the children are rightly trained in health principles, it will help to correct the wrong habits of the parents in the church.
I well recall the attitude of one church visited by a doctor and his wife and a group of nurses. The members of this church had become quite careless in the use of foods not in accordance with the principles of our message. I felt very anxious, while the doctor was speaking, as to the result of the meeting. As he brought out clearly and tactfully to the congregation that their mode of living and the use of certain foods was detrimental to their health, the Spirit of the Lord came into that service and touched their hearts in a wonderful way. At the close of the meeting they expressed gratitude for the message and promised to try to live up to the principles of healthful living. Some months later I made inquiry concerning them and learned that they had been true to their pledge.
The need for a sane, intelligent, balanced health program, to be followed by our people, cannot be emphasized too strongly. Generally speaking, in this country as well as in many others, our people are living under favorable conditions which make it no hardship to put these principles into practice. Extremes are to be avoided, but surely there is need for reformation in the mode of living of many professed Seventh-day Adventists. Right doing makes for happiness and brings heaven's blessings in its train. Peace and joy are the ultimate aims in following the principles of right living.