Missionary Contacts at Washington Sanitarium

NOTE.—Seventh-day Adventist health institutions have been raised up by divine instruction. Their purpose is to proclaim the message of God's saving grace while using the treatment of diseases as an "entering wedge." Health reform is the "right arm" of the message. We herewith publish a section of the chaplain's report presented at a recent biennial session. In a very practical way this report reveals the wonderful providences in the sanitariums' mission. God's challenge to all who work in these God-appointed health institutions is to meet His purpose for their existence.—EDITORS

K. S. Crofoot, Chaplain and Bess Ninaj, Assistant Chaplain

Our sanitariums have been presented to me as most efficient mediums for the promo­tion of the gospel message. . . . The conversion of souls is the one great object to be sought for in our medical institutions. It is for this that these institutions are established."—Evange­lism, pp. 536, 537. We are always made glad when these words are fulfilled as a result of the efforts of the staff of Washington Sanitarium.

Our business office keeps a file of letters of appreciation from former patients. Once in a while a letter of appreciation is shared with us in the chaplain's office. Here are excerpts from two or three:

"I have been in other hospitals but was never treated so well and with so much personal feel­ing as I was at the Washington Sanitarium. I'll never forget your kindness. God bless you all."

"In every detail of the management of your hospital I could see the guiding hand of a fine Christian administration. I would like to com­mend also the fine nurses so dedicated to their work. Especially helpful are your chaplains' services, and that of the nurses who join with you in prayer to seek divine blessing. This to me was the most comforting service of all. May the Lord bless your fine institution and every mem­ber connected therewith. Sincerely yours."

"While in the sanitarium I came closer to Jesus, and now I'm an Adventist. I praise God for it. I've never been so happy as I am now, since Jesus came into my heart. I can't help writing about it. Pray that my husband also will become an Adventist."

When the patients leave the sanitarium, how­ever, that is not the termination of our contacts with them, nor is that the end of our efforts on their behalf. We use a number of methods to follow up interested patients after they leave the institution. These include:

1. Personal visits in their homes.

2. Bible studies in their homes.

3. Bible studies by appointment at the sani­tarium.

4. Referring them to pastors and/or to the Bible instructor in the area where they live.

5. Correspondence courses.

6. Contact by correspondence or telephone.

7. Another active method of follow-up evan­gelism is by means of the literature which both the Sanitarium church and the sani­tarium so generously provide.

Many of our interested patients are sent sub­scriptions for Life and Health, These Times, Signs of the Times, Listen, or Liberty, depend­ing upon the degree and type of interest. At the end of the year another contact is made by sending them the Morning Watch Calendar. These are sent not only to interested patients but to those who have been baptized.

To illustrate what can be accomplished by these combined methods we mention these in­cidents:

A graduate nurse was a patient about ten years ago, and during the six weeks she was here she was given Bible studies. After she left she was sent the Signs of the Times and Life and Health. At the beginning of each year she was sent a Morning Watch Calendar. She was also visited a number of times, and she studied the Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence Course. Last November she was ill again and went to Lynchburg, Virginia, to stay with her family, hoping that she could regain her health. When she saw that she was making no improve­ment, she asked that she be brought to the Washington Sanitarium. While she was here she requested a review of the Bible studies she had previously received. Also she began watch­in-g the It Is Written telecast. She made a good recovery, has regained her health, and is now back at work. She was referred to the minister nearest her home. He visited her, and she is now attending his church.

Another unusual experience is that of a young non-Adventist nurse who worked here for just three weeks last September. She was born in the sanitarium and lived in Takoma Park until she went to Duke University to take the nurse's course. She tells us now that she was "shielded" from Adventists all her life. While she was in training she decided that she wanted to go overseas as a Baptist missionary nurse. After she graduated she came to Takoma Park for two reasons: (1) She felt that she had to break the news of her desire to be a mission­ary nurse gently to her parents; and (2) she wanted to test herself to see how she would fit into an environment of another religious faith.

One of the first contacts she had at the sani­tarium was with a patient who was then taking Bible studies (she has since been baptized). In their very first conversation this nurse told the patient that she was mistaken if she thought that Adventist teaching was right and that she would prove it to her from the Bible. She showed her Matthew 22:37-39, where Jesus said that the only two commandments were love to God and love to man. This type of conversation continued for several days until the nurse was contacted. Several lengthy Bible discussions en­sued. After each discussion this nurse stayed up for hours studying her Bible after coming off duty. Once she studied all night trying to prove from the Bible that her beliefs were correct.

The next day she came to see the patient with an armload of books and the two of them came to the office of the Bible instructor. There the nurse brought up every objection she could think of or had read from books. Each point was carefully discussed. Before she left for her home she was given a number of our books, the address of our local church, and an enrollment card for the Voice of Prophecy Bible Corre­spondence Course. She went to church, took the Bible course, diligently studied her Bible by herself, wrote freely to our Bible instructor about her studies, and continued her question­ing. As Bible answers were given to her ques­tions she readily accepted them.

She was accepted into church fellowship in our Durham, North Carolina, church.

The Lord is using her in behalf of other souls. She has had to cope with great opposition in her home, but in spite of this her younger sister and her boyfriend have become inter­ested and are regularly attending Missionary Volunteer meetings and Sabbath services.

These experiences illustrate some of the pos­sibilities in consistently following up the in­terests that are created by our staff of conse­crated doctors, nurses, and other workers.


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K. S. Crofoot, Chaplain and Bess Ninaj, Assistant Chaplain

January 1959

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