As you read this edition of the RECORD, I am in Papua New Guinea participating in a series of three health summits that will bring together all of our teachers and ministers across the country—more than 1000 people. This is historic. We have not done anything like this before. We are praying, eating, laughing and learning together.
But we are in the midst of a crisis in the Pacific. There are epidemics sweeping the countries and the communities. Not epidemics of measles, mumps and whooping cough, but lifestyle disease epidemics: diabetes, heart and vascular disease. And it’s happening in our Church! The same diseases that have made their impact on countries like Australia and New Zealand are ravaging our churches. Surely we must stand at the forefront of the community in confronting these enemies, which are taking years from the lives of our people and life from their years.
. . . when it comes to reaching out to the community, health is still our 'right arm'.
At these summits Adventist health professionals are training our local and district church leaders and educators to live more healthfully and teaching our members to better value their health. Seventh-day Adventists still regard good health as a vital principle of spirituality. And when it comes to reaching out to the community, health is still our “right arm”.
Dr Barry Oliver is president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.