~by Beth Haakenson~

Five years ago (due to complications from surgery) I suffered a stroke, sepsis and endocarditis. After a month in the hospital and another month on IV antibiotics, I got the medical “all clear.” So the worst was over, I imagined. Actually, it was just the beginning of a journey from sickness to recovery—and then to my present dream for a ministry of healing through establishing a lifestyle center.

During those years of illness, my body would sometimes simply shut down—I couldn’t open my eyes, move or speak. I experienced uncontrollable tremors that could last an hour or more. I used a cane for over a year, and for a couple of months my body was simply too weak to hold myself up. I needed a wheelchair even in the house. Sometimes Scott, my husband, would have to assist me even in the simplest personal care.

By spring 2011 I had near continual fatigue and constant pain. More than one doctor frankly confessed that I had them “stumped.” Five physicians, including three at the renowned Cleveland Clinic, diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. They told me there was no cure, so I just had to cope with my suffering.

One morning Scott spent more time than normal in his devotions, pleading with God concerning my health. God answered, saying I needed to do a “cleanse.” That was all we had to go on. About an hour later, Scott had a meeting with a dear friend. One of the first things she said was, “I don’t know why, but I was very impressed to bring you this book. It’s my ‘bible’ on cleansing.”

It was an old out-of-print Adventist book, The Life of the Flesh is in the Blood, by Edward Bergholt. It outlines a six-day program for cleansing the blood, liver, kidneys and lymph nodes using simple hydrotherapy, exercise and diet. We knew God was pointing us in this direction.

Detoxing is never a pleasant experience, but by the sixth day I felt a vitality I had never experienced before. Over the next two months my health continued to improve. I had no fatigue and little pain. I found a new love for life and ministry and wanted to be like Peter’s mother-in-law, using my gift of health to serve God. Don’t get me wrong—I served Him in my sickness, but other than intercessory prayer, my help to others was greatly limited. Now I was continually asking how I could serve Him.

The dream is born

There is a large house five minutes from Sunnydale Adventist Academy that used to be a bed and breakfast inn, among other things. It has been for sale for a year and a half— one of those things you pass by without a thought. But one day Scott saw this house in a new way: as a lifestyle center.

Scott and I are practical people; we’ve never been dreamers. But, we decided to leave the thought in the back of our minds. A few days later I felt impressed to drive by the house. I pulled into the driveway and heard a small voice say, “Get out and pray.” I did. Being the end of November, everything was dead, but I could see it all alive, blooming and beautiful—a strange experience for me. I called the realtor and left a message stating we were in the dream stage, but would have interest in looking at the property if she was willing to take the time. She returned my call, and we set up a time to go through it with her and the owner.

Before the scheduled day I made another visit to pray. As I peeked in the windows I could “see” people in the building visiting and laughing with one another. I could imagine them learning God’s way of healthy living, marriage, parenting, peacemaking and handling finances. I could see pastors and their wives, lay people and medical professionals all presenting various seminars and assisting in health programs, including massage and hydrotherapy.

When I received the layout of the house via Internet, I again could see how the house could function as a lifestyle center. There was one particular bathroom with storage areas on either side. Would it be possible for one of them to be turned into a hydrotherapy shower?

Excitement builds

The day for the showing arrived. I had a 12-year-old girl staying with me that day. Her mother granted permission for her to accompany my husband and me so she could focus on praying while Scott and I focused on the house, owner and realtor. I told her that sometimes God shows us how to pray by whispering ideas or even pictures into our minds. Other times we may not know how to pray, but we can trust the Spirit to intercede for us (see Rom. 8:26, 27).

The owner wanted to hear all about our vision. She seemed excited for us, even suggesting some ideas of her own. At one point I asked if they thought the storage area next to the downstairs bathroom could be turned into a hydrotherapy shower. The owner gave us a strange look, then led us back to the area. She explained that the adjoining room, now the multipurpose room, used to be an indoor pool (which is still beneath the floor) and for that reason, the storage area I was referring to actually used to be a shower. Wow!

We left the owner and realtor with the understanding that unless God confirmed it by support from others in our church family, this dream would never amount to anything. We would keep in touch if circumstances so led.

Back in the car, our young friend had something to share. When we were inspecting one of the bedrooms, this girl had imagined two massage therapists treating patients. I had forgotten to mention my hope for massage therapy while we were touring the house. Had God given her that picture filling in the vision that maybe He has for this house? I don’t know, but just the possibility of it intrigues me.

A time for sharing

If this vision is not just of us, but of God, then I believe He has (or will) share it with more of His people. I cannot say for sure that it is God’s vision, but OUTLOOK invited me to share it with you, and now you are reading it. Perhaps you will feel impressed to pray about it as well. Here is my vision for this “House of Isaac,” as I call it: to share with people God’s way of living. Specifically, that they receive Him and His ways and experience a fulfilling, happy life here on earth and the hope of eternal life in Christ. I would love to see in reality that house become a place of health, laughter and joy for God’s present and future children of promise!

Beth Haakenson is the art teacher at Sunnydale Adventist Academy. For more information about this project, contact Beth at 573.682.7561 or bhaakenson@sunnydale.org.  

Photo Credit: House of Brokers Realty