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Health Conference in Prague

Health Conference in Prague

Viriato Ferreira, EUD Health Dep. Director

Bern, Switzerland [CD-EUDNews]. The First European Health Conference, held in Prague from April 29 to May 4, is already over. There were about 600 people coming from 40 different countries, mainly in Europe. The coordinators were satisfied to have reache

May 08, 2013 | CD EUDNews;

Bern, Switzerland [CD-EUDNews]. The First European Health Conference, held in Prague from April 29 to May 4, is already over. There were about 600 people coming from 40 different countries, mainly in Europe. The coordinators were satisfied to have reached the expectation of those present. “It was very helpful to be here” declared most of the participants among doctors, physicians, university representatives, nurses, pastors, medical personnel, etc.

Even though most of the participants were middle aged, there were also a good number of youth present, giving their active contribution. The program was set up to offer opportunities to receive answers and meet the people’s expectations. More than 50 different topics were presented, among plenary sessions and workshops.

Truly, "Healing" was the best title for this conference, but it focused on much more than just health! As Dr. Allan Handysides, Adventist General Conference Health Ministry director explained, “There is a major difference between curing a disease and healing the sick, because curing means removing what causes the impediment for the body and start the healing process. Healing however, means that the body is restored to its healthy state, and this takes time. It does not only involve the physical aspect of the patient but also his/her mental, emotional and spiritual state, and the fact that these do not consistently all go together.”

It became clear that healing, shown by caring and repairing relationships, is the prevailing mission entrusted by Jesus to his disciples. Instead of pulling apart, we must get together and make communities. Our most meaningful expression of faith is to accept human frailty and strive and devote ourselves to service.

“The Adventist church has always benefited by adopting our legacy of healthy lifestyle but it cannot become an umbrella under which we find a shelter for selfishly thinking to avoid the ravages of disease and death” said a participant, adding “It seems obvious that health reform has not been taught to make us sectarian extremists, but to help us live better lives, given to us by God, and to rejoice and suffer together with others, leaving judgment and salvation up to God’s grace.”

“I came here to get an answer to my present-day question: how to be a Christian physician?” said a young doctor. “The conference was exceptional in all areas: scientific, relational, spiritual and personal. I came to learn about the subject of healing for professional purposes, to be a better doctor for my patients. But I learned that I was the first who needed healing” concluded the young doctor.

Pastor Ted Wilson, Adventist World President, was among the many speakers. He emphasized the work the church has to do, especially in the big cities of the world. The way we should work together as church members, pastors, physicians and health specialist, united with one purpose, all ready to tell the world that Jesus is coming very soon.

Wilson explained how the Health ministry is the right arm of the Gospel and is not the Gospel by itself. As the right arm it is an important part of the body. He strongly emphasized that all members of the church are part of the Health ministry, not just the workers of the institutions.

“Our President called us to be wise, not fanatics,” said a participant, “we must be balanced, we need to search God, we must remember that all Heaven is Health, the whole plan of salvation is about healing.”

The Lord made a call this week through Pastor Wilson: Do you want to commit your souls to this great objective, to this blended ministry, of reaching people in their hearts and in their bodies?

The Sabbath was the highlight of the whole Conference. A reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan showed how Jesus entrusts Christians with the care of injured people for healing, as He did with the Good Samaritan.

Following is the sermon of Daniel Duda, Trans-European Region Education Director, telling the story of the blind man who received sight.

Based on the story in John 9, Duda explained that several groups needed spiritual healing, torn in different directions or misguided for different reasons: First the disciples, next the neighbours, then the parents of the person born blind and finally the Pharisees. “If we look at this story honestly, each of us must admit that we also need healing of our spiritual perception,” said a pastor, “because none of us perceives as God does. The blind was socially integrated again, and that for us is far more important than to eat healthy – or as Duda made his point: "Better a Kitkat with friends, than some broccoli alone!"

Duda’s message was well received by the participants, and it stimulated discussions afterwards. “In reality, all the characters presented in the story were in need of healing, in different aspects of their lives, and Jesus took care of them all. He wants to do this with all of us as well” said a young participant. The real fact is that we also, as a church, need a real healing. We have been infected by ‘division’, a virus which God did not intend to be in us. When preparing for departure from this earth and before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for God to keep his disciples united, as He and His Father were One.

“We, as Adventist believers, have become divided. Divided in liberals and conservatives, in vegetarian and vegans and meat-eaters”, said a youth and concluded: “One of the key messages of this Convention, which was good news to me, was that the brokenness that we are supposed to restore is not only the brokenness that exists in our own hearts and in the hearts of unbelievers, but we are to play a part in restoring the brokenness that exists in the heart of the church itself, working as a healer from within. A restored body of Christ working together as a whole with no more divisions and factions among us, and with the same goal, healed to heal.”

“Despite the number of interesting topics,” said a medical participant, “there was little time for discussion and exchange of experiences, especially at the panel discussion.” Because the lectures and talks were all in English, and most of the participants came from non English-speaking countries, it was a challenge for many. “Sometimes translations were very difficult because of fast speakers. This is a challenge that we have to consider for next time.”

The Conference ended with a rendezvous, the next convention to be in Geneva, on July 7-12, 2014. You may be part of it, as a healer, or as someone in need of healing. “The Ministry of Healing is more that just curing the sick,” said a participant, “it is to restore God's perfect plan of Salvation through Jesus in all of us! May we not only receive the healing we need, but may we also contribute in some way, through God's power, to the healing of our friends, families and our church.”

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