[Photo Courtesy of the Armenian Mission/ Euro-Asia Division]
Russia | Gayane Sarukhanyan, Armenian mission

This summer, the health department of the Armenian Mission organized a health camp meeting in the resort village of Hankavan, situated in the picturesque valley of the Marmarik River. More than 140 people took part, among them the heads of the health department of local churches of the Armenian Mission, pastors, church members, and community members.

The camp meeting was preceded by a two-month course on healthy lifestyles for all interested church members, including pastors, and heads of the health departments of local churches.

From May 12 to July 12, more than 20 speakers from nine countries taught 45 students spiritual principles and medical theory. The final stage of the training took place during the camp meeting.

From the very first day of the camp meeting until the last, God's presence was felt.

A rich program was prepared for the camp participants, including morning and evening services; seminars on healthy lifestyle, prevention, and treatment of diseases, first aid; consultations with doctors; excursions to the hot spring; massages; classes for teaching the technique of Scandinavian walking; and therapeutic gymnastics.

In the morning, everyone had the opportunity to climb the mountain guided by a Nordic walking instructor, and enjoy the views that mesmerized everyone with their beauty.

Every day the chefs treated attendees to new vegetarian dishes. This dietary style was new to many, and they tried it for the first time. Everything was delicious and attractive.

The morning and evening services were especially inspiring; in the morning meetings, group members pondered what the Bible says about health and our relationship to it.

Every evening everyone met in the hall for joint worship, singing, games, and socializing.

The evening meetings were devoted to the theme "God is Calling You," based on the example of the lives of Bible heroes who responded to the call of God. Participants discussed how to understand what God calls us to, how to begin to act in accordance with God's calling, and what is necessary in order not to deviate from the chosen path.

On Saturday, four people made a covenant with the Lord through baptism in the Marmarik River, including a student of the healthy lifestyle course.

Saturday night's meeting was no less celebratory; those who were baptized accepted congratulations and gifts, and all students of the healthy lifestyle course received certificates confirming their studies and completion of the course. And ten of the most active and successful students in their studies were awarded special gifts. 

All camp participants who were not members of the Adventist church received the wonderful book "Keys to Health" as a gift.

On Sunday, a health exhibition featured instructors introducing visitors to the eight basic principles of a healthy lifestyle. They also conducted a number of medical examinations, determined the biological age of anyone interested to know theirs, and at the end, participants had the opportunity to consult with doctors who gave practical recommendations on making healthy changes in their lifestyle.

The time spent at the camp flew by very quickly and left fond memories, and organizers hope that camp participants will continue to lead a healthy lifestyle in the future, applying the knowledge gained during the event.

At this camp, the leaders of health departments, students of healthy lifestyle courses, and pastors, under God's leadership presented as a team the message of a healthy lifestyle and the message of salvation, which was an incredible blessing for all camp participants. Many people have already felt the miraculous effect of a healthy lifestyle because health is what people most of all strive to preserve, but least of all cherish.

Let's take care of our health and always remember the words from Scripture: “Don't you know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God lives in you? The temple of God is holy; and you are this temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17).

“In many places, there are souls who have not yet heard the message. From this time on, medical missionary work must be done with a zeal with which it has never been done. This work is the door through which the truth will enter the great cities ” (Ellen G. White, Health Councils, p. 392).

This article was originally published on the Euro-Asia Division’s news site.