One Size Fits All: Weimar’s HEALTH Program

Arthur’s* blood sugar level had come down from about 400mg/dL but had plateaued at 200mg/dL for the longest time despite medication. He could not bring it down any further. Upon hearing about the Diabetes Undone program held at the Weimar Institute, he was interested to see about reversing his diabetes naturally.

Mary Snead giving a health lecture at one of the community cooking schools. (Photo: Teresa Costello)

Upon arriving at the program Arthur was very skeptical. The treatment seemed simple, too simple to work. But when a community member shared how they had overcome their diabetes naturally through the same means, Arthur, though hesitant, decided to give it a try. On Monday he went on a totally plant-based diet and started walking more.

On Thursday, just three days later, Arthur was shocked when he checked his glucose levels. He thought his glucose machine was broken. Arthur’s glucose levels had come down from about 200mg/dL to 140mg/dL! By the end of the program, his blood sugar level was barely above 100mg/dL.

Arthur is overjoyed and will be continuing health coaching and coming to the cooking school on campus. Through community-based programs organized by the Health Evangelism and Training for Him (HEALTH) program, people are learning that these diseases are largely preventable through lifestyle interventions.

The HEALTH program is a four-month certificate program held in the fall at Weimar Institute. Classes are taught by a unique blend of physicians, outreach co-ordinators, pastors, nurses and guest speakers. The program’s goal is to train students how to implement practical lifestyle interventions within the context of the gospel.

Community programs are diverse and include: Diabetes Undone seminars, Depression and Recovery community classes, plant-based cooking and stop smoking classes, health coaching, hydrotherapy, and health expo training among others. Upon graduating from the program, students are equipped to not only facilitate but also run the same programs in their communities.

After completing HEALTH, students have multiple options. They can continue with the Medical Assistant Program (MAP) or join the college. Weimar College offers bachelors degrees in Business Administration, Natural Sciences, Education, and Psychology and an associate’s degree in Nursing. Or, as a number of students do, they can return home to implement the same health programs in their communities.

As the number of students is increasing, so is the variety. Ages range from 17 to 70, and students come from as far away as New Zealand to as close as the San Francisco Bay area. Let’s take a look at a handful of the 17 students who are currently in the HEALTH program.

 

Elisabeth Vincent

Elisabeth Vincent (Photo: Joletta Redd)

Fresh out of high school, Elisabeth Vincent comes to the HEALTH program from New Zealand. She first heard of the HEALTH program when her boarding school, Fountainview Academy, was touring from Canada and visited Weimar. Before heading off to college, Elisabeth decided to take the program. Her reasons: it is short, incredibly practical and it resonated with her desire to help people achieve optimal health.

So has it met her expectations? Elisabeth says, “It’s so practical…. I can use it for either helping friends, [or] helping other people, I can see the benefits it will be wherever I end up. [Whether that is] the local church family, in the mission field, as a teacher, as a mother, everything is just so practical.”

Elisabeth appreciates the material she is learning and the opportunity she has to put the lessons she is learning into practice. She is still contemplating what path to take after finishing the HEALTH program, but she knows wherever she goes, she will be able to use what she has learned.

 

Joshua Stephens

Joshua comes to the HEALTH program from Virginia. After having gone through the Depression and Recovery Outpatient program on the Weimar campus, he sees HEALTH as a way to reach others as he completes his own health journey. He says, “I figure this is God’s way of prompting me to redeem the time, to come here and to acquire more skills so I can head toward the mission field.”

Joshua Stephens (Photo: Joletta Redd)

One thing that has opened his eyes through the lectures is seeing “how compatible science and the Bible are.” He finds that “science is a large part of the Bible, and vice versa.”

Joshua has a heart to serve in unreached areas of the world and says,“ I would really like to take these skills and see what doors God opens to somehow minister to the people [there]…I’m sure God will lead me into the right areas of ministry.”

As for immediate plans after the program, Joshua is planning on heading back home to finish up his degree in economics at the University of Virginia as well as considering teaching math in Vermont.

 

Mrs. Margaret Bam ‘Gogo’

Originally from Lesotho but currently living in the San Francisco Bay area with her two twin granddaughters, Margaret Bam’s journey to Weimar began while attending the NEWSTART lifestyle program in 2016. She says: “I had seen such excellent results going through the NEWSTART program in reversing my [poor] health that I desired to learn more in order to help others.” After talking with a few of the  HEALTH students at the time, she joined the program this past fall semester.

Margaret Bam (Photo: Joletta Redd)

Mrs. Bam, or ‘Gogo’ Bam as she is called in southern Africa, recounts how the HEALTH program is also an extension of her own health journey. During the course of one of the community health programs, Mrs. Bam realized: “I was only concentrating on [one aspect of my health], the tip of the iceberg…not realizing that the bigger problem was below the water…A lot of silent damage has actually been taking place and would still be taking place if I had not come here [for the HEALTH program].”

Mrs. Bam’s goal in the future is to use the information to generate some form of income and take the health lessons learned here as a 70-year-old to places such as senior centers and elderly care homes. She hopes to help them to get a better quality of life, by sharing her testimony and sharing with them the facts that she’s learned to God’s glory.

 

Mrs. Snead

Mrs. Mary Snead is the head co-ordinator of community outreach in the HEALTH program ( for the past two years). She previously, she went through the program and used it as a way of ministering in local churches alongside her husband who is a pastor.

She says: “I’m hoping that the students will gain more of an understanding of who Christ was in this program, of how He reached out to people in His medical missionary work.…I hope they gain a love for this health ministry that will inspire them to use it. Secondly, I’m hoping that they will…not just know it and understand it for themselves, but put it into practice to train other people back home from where they are to do the same thing.”

With a program so diverse, it is no wonder why it cannot fail to attract so many wonderful and diverse students from varied backgrounds and experience. The HEALTH program demonstrates how one program can truly fit all.

For more information about the HEALTH program, you can contact Mary Snead at [email protected] or call 530-422-7911.

 

 

* name changed to protect privacy