Former US presidential Honor Guard, Dr Terry Johnsson, shared his inspirational story with senior staff at the Sydney Adventist Hospital last week as part of the hospital’s annual Focus Week sessions.
Dr Johnsson has faced a number of significant obstacles in his life, including the loss of his father and battling severe dyslexia as a young child. Despite this he graduated from high school and then earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. He served three presidents as part of the US Air Force Honor Guard, and has also worked as a hospital chaplain and youth pastor. He is now executive director for Mission Integration at the Adventist Medical Centre in Portland, Oregon.
Dr Johnsson said two things kept him going through the challenges. “The very first thing was having a supportive mother who really believed in me and used the power of prayer, and also, it seems that God has always provided teachers who were patient—faith-based teachers who really believed in me,” he told Adventist Record last Thursday.
“The principle that Mum taught me to believe is that all things are possible with God. I started being a believer of positive thinking very early on and that was a thing that really made a difference.
“The thing that I try to stress is, if you still have air in your lungs God’s not done with you yet. I don’t care if you’re 90 or if you are nine years old, if you are still here you are here for a reason and a purpose.”
“Connection”—the theme for this year’s Focus sessions—is a concept that Dr Johnsson relates to.
“Even my speaking style, I really have to connect with people and to look them in the eye,” he said.
“I just find connecting is also a part of community and it’s so much easier when we do things as a community and we connect and work with one another than if we try to do it by ourselves.”
"I don’t care if you’re 90 or if you are nine years old, if you are still here you are here for a reason and a purpose."
Dr Johnsson’s schedule also included a visit to Wahroonga Adventist School to talk to some of the class groups, taking morning worship at the South Pacific Division and sharing his story during the main service at Fox Valley church on Sabbath.
“I have just been blessed by the amount of people who have come up to me privately,” he said.
“It’s probably been more than I have had in the past in other places, people just wanting to have one-on-one conversations with me.”