Medical Missionaries in Action

by Lorraine Gabriel

Rico Hill speaking at a health seminar at Hayden Lake Church. Photo by Lorraine Gabriel.
Debbie Beihl, a senior medical student, Michelle Maier, RN and Heather Torquato, a church member made a meal in Beth Duffy's home. Photo by Beth Duffy
It is the focus of the medical missionary team to help people learn healthy meals. Photo by Beth Duffy

HAYDEN LAKE, Idaho. January 27, 2015  -  “The highlight of my summer was the opportunity to be a medical missionary,” said Debby Maniscalco. “I do not have a medical background, yet I was able to participate in an educating and life-changing experience. All I had to do was be willing to give my time.”

Debby is a member of the Hayden Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church. A goal of the church is that every member can be a medical missionary. Some dismiss “medical” work as specifically for medical professionals, but members, led by Dr. John Torquato, a practicing medical missionary and physician, don’t think so. They have rallied behind the truth and effectiveness of this statement by Ellen G. White. “We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary” Testimonies Vol 7, p. 62.

During the summer of 2014, this became clear as committed members along with two senior medical students from Loma Linda University, two young registered nurses, and two other young professionals teamed up for seven weeks of blessing others. They set out to follow the example of Jesus.

“I was amazed that there were people who were willing to get up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise, people who were willing to be real and vulnerable about their struggles in life,” said Debby. “To see a person moved to tears when they understood the sacrifice that Christ endured for them.”

This group visited homes, encouraged the discouraged and helped individuals with exercising, grocery shopping, cooking and sharing meals together. Anything that was needed for lifestyle change, the team was there to assist. They bonded with these individuals on a personal level, engaging their hearts so that they would see that there is a God of love.

But this was not the end. The people were invited to the church for cooking classes, health lectures, prayer meetings and Friday night services conducted by the students. The combination of visits along with events at the church brought seven new friends who now regularly attend the church.

One newly baptized was Beth Duffy. "I always was a yo-yo dieter. I prayed for help, and the Lord answered… I not only lost 21 pounds over 8 weeks, but I also learned the importance of getting fresh air into my lungs, moving my body in new ways, and walking closer with Jesus."

Towards the end of the summer, health evangelist, Rico Hill, from Beehive Ministries held meetings at the Hayden Church emphasizing the importance of the physical law-moral law tie in. “Rico Hill brought the Lord into everything,” said Christine Parker, who is currently studying in preparation for baptism.

Christine was so overwhelmed with the warmth and love week after week that she decided to attend Hayden Lake’s evangelistic series, which began in September with NPUC Evangelist Brian McMahon.

The Summer made a difference in Debby’s life as well as for the Hayden Church and community. “I saw lives changed - it was wonderful! I thank the students that came here and offered their lives as a service.”

Plans are in place to repeat this medical missionary model in the greater Spokane area. But prior to that, Rico Hill, with a team of professional guest lecturers, will be conducting, at the Upper Columbia Conference office, medical missionary training called C.H.A.T., Community Health Advocate Training. This is training to prepare all church members to work together and show the love and compassion of Christ to those around them. For more information or to register, go to