Sometimes the best way to impact a community is to take what is already working there and let God grow it into something even bigger. Members of the Adventist church in Dublin, Ga., realized this recently when they took inventory of their community outreach successes. At the top of their list, they immediately put the health screenings conducted annually at their local St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
With help from Adventist Community Services – South Georgia (ACSSGA), the Dublin Church has successfully delivered screenings free of charge for the past 12 years. They have checked each participant’s blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels plus provided computerized health-age, coronary-risk, and stress profiles. The results from previous festivals identified several individuals with elevated glucose levels, which indicates a risk of diabetes.
Recognizing a ripe field for ministry, the church decided to provide community classes using the Grundy County Reversing Diabetes Seminar materials. Next, they invited individuals they’d met at the community festivals and advertised in the local newspaper. The first event, which began in September of 2016, had a full class! Eight of the initial 24 participants came as a direct result of contact with ACSSGA. One evening a week for six weeks, guests learned how a healthy lifestyle can reverse Type 2 diabetes. They also took advantage of healthy food samples, weekly coaching to meet their health goals, and encouragement to exercise.
Some of the participants seemed skeptical at first, but after making the recommended changes in their dietary and exercise habits, they saw the results for which they were longing. As they celebrated weight loss, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar levels, the guests also recognized that the church members cared about them and their health.
One participant said he wanted to be their “poster boy.” When this gentleman started the program, his blood sugar level was 400 and his doctor had suggested that he get an insulin pump. During the last six months, this man lost 50 pounds and his blood sugar levels dropped to 128. His doctor and his new friends at the seminar are all very pleased with his progress, but he is the happiest of all!
Since the first Reversing Diabetes Seminar, the church in Dublin has offered two follow-up sessions with the group and has made additional plans for the future.
We are grateful that God opened the doors for this ministry to blossom here, thanks to support provided by ACSSGA and the reversing diabetes program. We encourage anyone looking for ways to help their local community to pray about how they can expand what God is already blessing.
by Gail Jones, event coordinator