Margaret receiving her certificate during the 2018 HEALTH graduation (Photo: Rodolfo Ramirez)


What’s the most valuable advice you have ever received?

Getting off her chair, she walks over to the edge of the room and picks up a magazine. Settling back in her chair, she points to the title and I read the words: Saved to Serve

“If you keep that as your purpose, it’s going to give you a good reason for living. Every day you wake up and say, ‘Lord what am I supposed to do today?’ I would say this is it. Saved to serve.” She laughs softly to herself.

I want to understand what those words mean, and soon it becomes apparent as I listen to the story of Margaret Bam.


Margaret’s story begins in the heart of Lesotho. 70 years ago, village midwives gathered round to Mrs. Bam to deliver Margaret in the rural village of Nukong. She became the fifth girl in a family of eight children.

Margaret grew up surrounded by the towering Maluti mountains in northern Lesotho. She describes her earliest memories in detail.

At age five she would follow her mother around as she did her chores of “collecting water from a natural spring, gathering firewood in a nearby forest, or washing clothes in the nearby clear water spring.” She vividly remembers swimming in rock pools, running errands for her mother a few miles away, going to bed with the setting of the sun, family prayers, and rising at the crowing of the roosters to repeat the cycle again.


A young Margaret (Photo courtesy of Margaret Bam)

By the time the last baby was born, Margaret, along with her four older sisters, had been sent to a boarding school in South African. Margaret grew up during the apartheid era, and because her father was Caucasian, and her mother was a Lesotho native, she had to attend a “Colored School.” This made for an interesting childhood. Margaret’s mother had only been had an education of 3 years. By the time her mother was 15,  she was married and had already had her first child. But regardless, Margaret describes her mother as a “true Proverbs 31 woman.” Margaret’s father was the manager of a local store called the Trading Post. It supplied many villagers with the basic necessities and was a place where items such as grain and hide skins could be traded in for money. Margaret says: “Because of [my father] we were financially better off than most. He also taught Mama to cook, her food was the most delicious…Dad was the guide to better education, career choices, [and] money management. Mom loved him very much and was thankful for a better life.”

Margaret graduated from high school in 1965 with distinction and was offered a scholarship to continue her education at university. However, she turned the offer down after seeing how much her family had struggled to provide school fees and clothes for her siblings. Instead, she decided to help with the home management.

Though Christianity had been a large part of early family life, as Margaret grew older, she did not find any satisfaction in her current religious experience. She says: “Even though I did all the requirements of the Catholicity when I was on my own…I had stopped going [to church] because I just got bored.” During this period of life, Margaret got married and had a daughter. But despite the joy of having a family, there was still a persisting “emptiness inside.” Margaret soon came in contact with a church couple that introduced her to an interdenominational church. And from that time her personal experience with God grew. She experienced “His supply of love, power, and direction” and began to share her new-found faith with family. She continues, “I never looked back, even though I would get discouraged at times and changed churches a lot.”

Mrs. Margaret with her two grand-daughters before coming to NEWSTART. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Bam)

Tragedy struck with her husband’s death at the mere age of 51. She attributes her ability to live through this trying experience due to her new-found hope in Christ.

Four years later, in 2004, Margaret moved to the US to help raise her daughter’s two twin daughters. She comments: “It was exactly the new life I needed to heal from my husband ‘s passing and I gave my whole being to this.”

Before coming to the US, Margaret had always been surrounded by a large community of people, but with the new move, she found herself incredibly isolated. The loneliness she experienced caused her to spiral into a depression, but her obligation to her children prevented her from returning permanently to South Africa. In her own words, she became a “couch potato and neglected [her] health for about a year.”

Margaret during the 2016 NEWSTART graduation. (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Bam)

A few months later, Margaret returned to South Africa, with severe sciatica pain, making walking even hard. While in Southern Africa, her close Seventh-Day Adventist friend took her to a local clinic where she first encountered the NEWSTART health principles. She remarks: “It made perfect sense to me and [my friend] also taught me about the Sabbath. It was all very clear to me, so in October 2015, I chose to be obedient and observe the Sabbath. Looking back, that has been the most significant step taken, as a believer in God through His Son.”

In only 2 months, of having heard of the NEWSTART principles, she began to change her eating habits to conform to the principles she was learning. When it was time to head back to the US, the sciatica pain had completely disappeared. However, she didn’t have the stress management skills. Upon returning to the US, the stress, coupled with a further neglect of the principles she had just recently learned caused the pain to return with sever inflammation in her limbs. Walking became a problem. She was left with only one option: the NEWSTART program.

Margaret at the beginning of the HEALTH program in fall 2018. (Photo: Joletta Redd)

When Mrs. Margaret arrived at the program, she was in a wheelchair and couldn’t walk because of the intense pain. But as the days passed, she experienced remarkable improvement. Around the 12th day she was feeling better and by the 14th day, the pain in her back and legs was gone and she was walking again. She says, “I can see the power of God. No matter how long you have been messed up when God steps in [things change] … It is amazing!”

However, after leaving the program, sticking to the principles continued to be a struggle. That is primarily why, in the fall of 2018, Margaret decided to come to Weimar complete her personal health journey by joining the Health Evangelism and Leadership Training for Him (HEALTH) program. She comments, “These four months is exactly what I needed. I would say that I have stuck with [the NEWSTART principles] for about 95%. And I believe I’m going to continue. If I had not done this honestly, I don’t know where I would be in ten years. I’ve been given a new life.” One of the greatest encouragements that helped Margaret stick to the health principles was the examples of the physicians and staff who “practiced what they preached” by going walking early in the morning with students, participating in community lifestyle programs and adhering to the diets they recommended.

Mrs. Margaret in HEALTH class taking a test (Photo: Clive Coutet)

The key to her recovery? Education. She comments, “The greatest thing I have received is the knowledge of God-ordained way for us to live. And to know it’s actually all there in the Bible makes me realize that I have a responsibility to point people in the right direction. And now I’m pain-free. Praise the Lord!” 

A pivotal point for Margaret came during one of the Diabetes Undone community programs put on by the HEALTH class. The speaker encouraged participants to develop an “ikigai” or an overarching life purpose.

Margaret at the end of HEALTH program after having lost 35lbs. (Photo: Joletta Redd)

Margaret was deeply stirred by the message to live intentionally. For Margaret, that intentionality included: putting into practice the health principles she was learning, and sharing the information she was learning with those around her. Her entire ikigai can be summed up in three words—Saved to serve.

This greater intentionality has borne fruit. Margaret now walks up to 8 miles daily, has shed 35 lbs since coming to the program and says her memory is much clearer. Not only that, but her health age (a number calculated showing the physical age of an individual in terms of lifestyle habits) has dropped from 81 years to 52 years–something that Margaret is very proud of. Results are also being seen in her own family. She says, “You know, one of the greatest rewards is that my children have decided to go vegan, by themselves…because they saw me getting sick and depressed and they saw me come to NEWSTART and [now they see me] eat healthily. And they decided to go vegan by themselves. That is the greatest thing.”


            This recreation of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual is the driving force behind Mrs. Margaret’s story. It is an incredible testament to the power of the gospel to restore. This new lease on life is what propels Margaret forward every day to service.

Margaret is zealous about teaching people how to identify their poor health habits and teaching them how to correct them. Mrs. Margaret graduated from the HEALTH program on December 13th 2018. 

In closing, she says: “I pray that I may serve God as a witness wherever He wants me to go.”


Margaret Bam with her certificate during the HEALTH graduation. (Photo: Clive Coutet)

Lifespan Development (3 Credits)

From conception to old age, this course explores focuses on the biological, psychological, and social developmental issues and milestones for each stage of the lifespan, paying particular attention to the aspects of context, culture, and environmental issues. Topics include, but are not limited to: parenting style (child guidance), social contexts, social stress, poverty, low educational attainment, abuse and neglect, gender and family issues salient to relationships, separation, nontraditional and blended families and inadequate housing and how these affect development. Issues of aging and long-term care are included.

Moral Identity and Faith as a Counselor (3 Credits)

This course explores the formation of the student therapist’s identity as a counselor within the framework of Christianity and how this plays out in a secular world of counseling. This course presents philosophical and ethical perspectives integral to the understanding of the contemporary psychologies. Students learn how to analyze the ethical bias of psychotherapeutic psychologies, identify their underlying philosophical assumptions, and develop an appreciation for the moral components in individual, marital, and family identity formation. Also included will be a workshop to enhance spiritual development.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Basic Theories and Skills (3 Credits)

This course develops an understanding of the major theoretical orientations used by current practitioners, focusing on systemic approaches. Theories provide a coherent framework for understanding how people change. This course will highlight the Biblical understanding of how change takes place. This course covers the concepts and techniques associated with the primary theories of counseling psychology: psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, and post-modern; in contrast with wholistic counseling techniques. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, limitations, and outcome research associated with each concept. The course also highlights cultural and spiritual diversity as it applies to the therapeutic process and awareness of the self, interpersonal issues, and spiritual values as they impact the use of theoretical frameworks. This course also introduces the student to basic skill in attending behavior, clinical interviewing and clinical intervention. Finally, this foundational course clarifies key issues in human nature and prepares the student for developing a worldview that is consistent with their theological and spiritual orientation.

Advanced Counseling Theory (3 Credits)

This course will examine several individuals, and family approaches for counseling. The development of specific behavioral, cognitive, humanistic/experiential, psychodynamic and systemic frameworks will be deconstructed. Student will distinguish Christian approach of addressing individual and family concerns. Students will be involved in experiential activities designed to relate the observation, demonstration and practice to research-based explanations. In this course, we will consider how each approach is used in clinical, school, and marriage and family counseling applications. Training in the use of the therapeutic relationship will be a focus for understanding and intervening with clients.

Group Processes in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of group counseling with children, adults, families, and couples. The course focuses on basic group counseling theory including therapeutic group factors, stages of group development, and principles of commonly accepted and research-based group interventions. The course will cover different types of groups, such as support, psycho-educational, and process groups; the tasks, skills, and qualities of effective group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups, group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups. Importance is placed on responsibilities and skills and cultural considerations. Emphasis on small and large group processes and involvement in experiential activities is designed to relate the clinical process to theoretical explanations. Throughout, there is an emphasis on group work within community mental health settings.

Child and Adolescent Counseling (3 Credits)

This course provides an understanding of the broad range of childhood and adolescent problems and maladjustment behaviors. A variety of psychotherapeutic modalities are presented, providing the student with an opportunity to develop knowledge of basic child and adolescent therapy skills, assessments, and treatment strategies. The impact of the development aspects, family dynamics, social environments, and multicultural issues are addressed. In addition, legal and ethical issues and the role of hospitalization are considered.

Addictions Counseling and Treatment (3 Credits)

This course covers the prevention, assessment, and treatment of substance abuse/dependence, behavioral addictions, and co-occurring conditions. Theories of etiology, populations at risk, and the role of persons and systems in supporting or compounding abuse/addiction are discussed. The course reviews the cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neurological effects of psychoactive drug use and the impact of addiction on the family system. Best practices for the screening, assessment, and treatment of addictions and co-occurring behaviors are covered as well as community resources for individuals and family members. Additional focus will be placed on developing understanding of Recovery Oriented Care, social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position, and cultural awareness and competencies.

Counseling Diverse Populations (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the intersection and convergence of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, acculturation, and chronological age and how these inform effective mental health care. The goal is to increase awareness of multiple dimensions of diversity in order to prepare students to work sensitively and effectively with California’s multi-cultural population. Attention also is given to issues of privilege, marginality, and oppression, including sexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and heterosexism. Theoretical perspectives on multicultural counseling will be examined as well as strategies for intervention and advocacy. This course will focus on eliminating biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination. Throughout, effective strategies for communicating about emotionally charged material is emphasized.

Couples and Family Counseling: Post-Modern (3 Credits)

This course continues the study of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals, couples, and families using interactional and brief models. This course provides advanced training in the theories and techniques of modern and post-modern schools of family therapy including Cognitive Behavioral, Behavioral, Solution-Focused, and Narrative Therapy. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, outcome research, and limitations associated with each theory. Specific family issues addressed include: transition to parenthood, parenting young and school-age children, household division of labor, and blended families. Throughout, careful attention is paid to the historical and cultural context in which the theories were developed and the implications for working with diverse populations in recovery-oriented community mental health settings.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Advanced Techniques (3 Credits)

This course is designed to further develop the psychotherapeutic skills of students prior to their entry into a clinical placement. Students focus on developing proficiency in the core interviewing qualities, deriving goals for a clinical session, and in making contracts with clients for change. Additionally, students are encouraged to begin developing a theoretical and conceptual understanding of cases and trained to work with diverse populations. Students are also encouraged to address issues regarding the integration of their faith with the practice of psychotherapy.

Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families (3 Credits)

This course examines the application of psychological instruments to the assessment of individuals, couples, and families. Fundamentals of psychological assessment are reviewed including standardized and non-standardized testing approaches, basic statistical concepts, and moral, ethical and cultural considerations in assessment. The course will also provide an overview of issues related to cognitive assessment, achievement, aptitude, and neuropsychological assessment. Emphasis will also be on clinical, behavioral, and personality assessment.

Knowing God Better Through Career Development: Theories and Techniques (3 Credits)

This course prepares students to address the intersections of career, values, and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career and work-related issues

for majority and marginalized groups. Students will gain core knowledge of major career development theories; examine the implications of sociocultural factors on career development, work transitions, and the career counseling process; gain experience with career counseling assessments and resources; and become familiar with current career development literature.

Crisis and Trauma Counseling (3 Credits)

Students will develop a foundation for assessing and treating post-trauma reactions in adults along with an overview of trauma responses in children. We will begin by reviewing the variety of trauma populations followed by in-depth instruction on the mechanism of development major trauma concerns. The assessment and intervention of post-trauma conditions will be identified. Next, we will address clinical interventions including disaster mental health and exposure-based treatment. Finally, we will review issues affecting therapists working with trauma populations and self-care strategies to prevent compassion fatigue.

Research and Evaluation in Counseling (3 Credits)

The goal of this course is to enable students to become informed consumers of psychological research and to use current research knowledge and tools to improve treatment outcomes. Students will explore methods and issues associated with the conduct and use of research concerning phenomena relevant to counseling psychology. The course provides an overview of hypothesis generation, research design, data collection and interpretation, and utilization of research findings in clinical practice, while considering systemic and sociocultural influences. Students will review seminal research findings including research on specific treatments and common factors across treatments that improve therapy outcome. The course also provides students with assessment tools for evaluating mental health programs and the effectiveness of one’s own clinical practice. Emphasis is given to helping students become knowledgeable consumers of research, including the use of research to inform evidence-based practice.

Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology (3 Credits)

Fulfills the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirement for surveying the use of pharmacological agents in patient care. This course provides a basic overview of neurobiology in order to understand the biological bases of behavior and the psychopharmacological treatment of mental disorders. The course includes information about commonly prescribed psychiatric medications for children and adults – indications, contraindications, mechanisms of action, side effects, drug-drug interactions, iatrogenics, and variability related to age, gender, ethnicity, and medical condition. Students will learn how to work cooperatively and effectively with clients, family members, and prescribing clinicians. Additionally, controversies related to the medical model and to specific prescribing practices will be explored.

Psychopathology & Diagnostic Processes (3 Credits)

This course examines the major types of psychopathology. It explores techniques of intake interviewing and determining mental status to formulate a differential diagnosis based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Students will also recognize and understand the controversial history of the development of the DSM. The

course also includes a critical examination of the clinical and experimental literature in psychopathy. Etiologies of cognitive/affective functions and dysfunctions and implications for therapeutic intervention are also addressed.

Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy (3 Credits)

This course will provide students with an understanding of human sexual development with a particular focus upon sexuality counseling from a systems perspective. The goal of this course is to learn about the many facets of human sexuality and the treatment of sexual dysfunctions in a safe and respectful environment. Topics include the physiology, psychology, and sociology of sexuality, including the effects of sexual attitudes and functioning on individuals and families. Gender Identity and LGBTQ and sexual perspectives will be reviewed. Clinical applications, including the treatment of sexual difficulty and dysfunction will also be explored. Students will develop familiarity with the language and terms of sexology and demonstrate an ability to apply this knowledge to clinical situations. Finally, students will explore the above with a framework of Christian compassion and love, exploring how God created sex to be beneficial. A review of AIDS, HIV, and STDs will be given.

Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the legal, ethical, and moral issues related to the practice of LPCC and MFT in the state of California. This course focuses on contemporary professional law and ethics and moral dilemmas related to counseling practice. Students review statutory, regulatory, and decisional laws related to the scope of therapy practice, including confidentiality, privilege, reporting requirements, family law, and the treatment of minors. Professional codes of ethics (ACA, AAMFT/ CAMFT, and APA) will be reviewed. California law that is relevant to the practice of counseling will be examined including goals and objectives of professional organizations, standards of training, licensure, and the rights and responsibilities of professional counselors. Case examples will be discussed. Consideration is also given to the student practitioner’s values and behaviors, especially in relation to becoming a Christian therapist.

Practicum in Counseling (6, 3 per term)

The purpose of this course is to develop counseling competencies when working with a variety of clients with unique presenting concerns. Specifically, the focus will be on your ability to engage your clients in treatment, establish a working alliance, identify dysfunctional patterns, and use either general strategies or ECBIS strategies to facilitate change. You will work toward the development of a personally acceptable and professionally effective style of establishing and working in helping relationships. We will work toward helping you to examine your behaviors and rationales and to modify for greater effectiveness.

Course Prerequisites:
This is the terminal course for the program and will run concurrently with a weekly seminar that will address issues in counseling practice.