Pastor's Pastor

A curse turned into a blessing

We perceived that salvation really came to our home only after my mother enrolled in a vegetarian cooking school.

Marcos Bomfim serves as director of health ministries, South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Brasilia, Brazil.

I was born into a ministerial home as the oldest of three. By the time I was three years old, I had already undergone three major surgeries, resulting in removal of much of my intestines. This seemed to be a curse. But even though my life was preserved by a miracle, my relatives would say, “With your poor health you will not be able to be a physician as is your Grandpa.”

And he really could not help me because he died shortly after I was born. My mother often recalled how she would find him eating a kind of a highly sweet condensed milk—even after he had been diagnosed with diabetes.

I cannot stop thinking about what could have led that intelligent, highly competent doctor to consume that kind of product, even though he knew that it could eventually kill him! When wrestling with my own personal battles against self, I do not like to face the truth that what prevented him from seeing all his other grandchildren was probably not the diabetes but the lack of self-control. Would I commit the same missteps? My parents were born in an extremely well-developed part of the country where food was very accessible, but the diet is heavily based on meat consumption. While preparing and eating meat, people strengthen identity and socialization, and if someone tries to change his or her personal diet, they will probably lose some of their relationships. That is no doubt why my parents never thought seriously about changing their lifestyle before.

But after some years, my father was called to be the administrator of a Seventh-day Adventist hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. Feeling himself unable to face that challenge, he began searching the inspired counsels God gave Ellen G. White about health. One evening, he arrived home with a small gray book and announced: “From now on, we will read from this book every evening for family worship.” That book was Counsels on Diet and Foods.

So, every night, after the story, usually told by my mother, my father would read a very small portion of that book before saying a prayer and sending us to bed. After reading, they usually made some interesting comments or simply looked thoughtfully at each other, as if saying, “We didn’t know this before! We need to do something about that!”

And they did! Step by step, they started making changes even when it meant facing some discomfort in family gatherings. They understood that while giving up this part of their culture, they were now looking for a new one—another citizenship. We perceived that salvation really came to our home only after my mother enrolled in a vegetarian cooking school.

My father emphasized that there are spiritual implications associated with every choice we make. He also said that our physical habits, such as diet and exercise, not only really matter for success or failure in this life but also affect our spiritual perceptions and make us more or less prone to make sound moral and spiritual choices.

I think that knowing those truths helped us to accept all the changes at home—not as a stubborn idiosyncrasy of our parents but as a natural submission to the will of God who wants the best for us. While looking at their struggle to obey (it was not easy), we learned that we need to seek the Lord’s guidance for every aspect of our lives. When our heart and preferences are not on the right side, we must seek God for a miracle, saying like David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).

Those lessons were probably the best heritage we received while we were still living at home with our parents, and I am trying to apply them, not only to my personal life but also to my family life. And, by the way, my health is doing very well. My original weakness—which felt like a curse that the enemy intended to be my downfall—is now the very proof of the goodness and graciousness of our God!


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Marcos Bomfim serves as director of health ministries, South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Brasilia, Brazil.

September 2015

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 14: Is the interpretation still valid?

Many Christians still use Isaiah 14:12–14 to explain the origin of evil and the notion that Satan was called Lucifer before his fall. But can this interpretation be sustained by the biblical text?

The salvation of non-Christians in Africa: An Adventist perspective

What will be the ultimate end of those who do not profess Christ as their Savior?

“Lord, fully revive my sight”

Devotional thoughts from our Revival and reformation series.

Old Testament principles relevant to mutually consensual homoerotic activity—Part 1 of 3

Read principles in the Old Testament relevant to the relationship between God’s community of faith and individuals who engage in some forms of sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage.

Mission: Restoring the link with God

Become inspired by the author’s personal journey as he wrestles with what constitutes evangelism, and what it means to communicate the gospel.

The church, Scripture, and adaptations: Resolute in essentials, considerate in peripherals—Part 2 of 2

Can adapting ritual and organizational instructions for mission and human needs be supported by Scripture?

A revival ministry made of postal boxes

More devotional thoughts from the Revival and Reformation series.

Adventist mission: From awareness to engagement— Part 2 of 2

Consider how these ten trends can more effectively bring people to Jesus.

Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture

Most of the topics in the book address the complicated fallout of sexual distortion in society.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600