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In March 2014, my husband, Errol, researched Christian alternatives to insurance to see if any of them were eligible under the national health care law. Later that month, we—two very healthy people—became CHM members. We wanted to help like-minded believers with similar lifestyles pay for medical bills. Just as important, CHM was affordable for us.

In April, I suffered intense abdominal pain. I drove myself to the emergency room and collapsed in the parking lot. The emergency room staff rushed me into surgery to repair what I later learned was an infected perforation of my colon. The infection was quickly spreading throughout my body.

The doctor warned Errol that my odds didn’t look good and that they were going to remove two feet of my colon. For several days, complications arose. My husband believed this was the end of our time together on Earth, but praise God, my condition improved and I was released 12 days later.

God knew we needed CHM, and we were able to pay every penny of our remaining $72,000 in medical bills after discounts of nearly $80,000. God’s timing is perfect.

Our desire to join CHM began with the need to satisfy a government requirement, but today we send our monthly financial gift with great appreciation for this ministry that truly cares. We’re blessed to now help others who face life-threatening situations.

Insurance companies don’t work like this, but God does. He provides for His people through prayer, faith and sharing one another’s burdens. Praise His name!

Thank you, Christian Healthcare Ministries, for being the example that Christ intended the church to be.

In Dec. 2013 I developed a terrible cold that grew worse over a two-week period. When my family came home for the holidays, I was so sick that I couldn’t slice more than two pieces of ham before I had to sit down.

The day after Christmas, I was fighting for air.

Our oldest daughter, a nurse, insisted I go to the emergency room. I was admitted to the hospital and underwent several tests. That evening, the medical staff drew a liter of fluid off of my right lung. I felt better but was extremely tired.

I was released to go home but the problem quickly returned. I was readmitted on Dec. 31. A lung tap reduced the fluid on my lung by a half liter. Diagnosed with pneumonia and heart failure, I was hospitalized for a week.

Things quieted down for a few months, but on March 27, I made a third trip to the emergency room. This time I was transferred nearly 100 miles away to Bismarck, N.D., where I underwent more tests and another lung tap. Doctors discovered something unusual on the lower lobe of my right lung.

Biopsy and surgery revealed Stage 4 metastatic adenocarcinoma with lymphangitic carcinomatosis—in short, advanced lung cancer that was spreading to my bones.

It was a blow, but the Lord was—and is—with me. I looked at my family and said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our family leaned on this verse as we sought His guidance and direction.

I was extremely sick after every round of chemotherapy. Each treatment weakened me so much that I was often hospitalized. One stay lasted 18 days. I required many blood transfusions and platelet infusions.

Finally, my oncologist told me that some test results indicated I was likely to respond well to Tarceva, an oral chemo medication.

In Dec. 2014—one year after my symptoms appeared—the cancer in my lungs and bone was gone. A new lung spot shrunk to two thirds of the original size. At this writing, the spot hasn’t grown, nor are there any new cancer spots. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

To date I’ve incurred more than $274,000 in medical bills. After discounts totaling $66,476, CHM shared $207,720 through its regular sharing program and Brother’s Keeper, the optional program for catastrophic bills.

I’m forever grateful to CHM staff and members for their love, support and prayers. I admit that because I was a recent joiner, I was wary about how my bills would be paid. Now, however, I can’t say thank you enough for CHM’s wonderful sharing ministry and to all the members who have generously given to meet my needs.

Thank you to those who sent me cards of encouragement. What a surprise. How uplifting it was to receive all the personal cards from people I don’t even know.

I am totally amazed, to say the least. God’s peace has given me strength throughout this ordeal, and I have grown in the Lord. Hallelujah!

I joined CHM in late 2013. In summer 2015 I experienced symptoms which my nurse practitioner thought could be due to uterine fibroids. She ordered an ultrasound scan.

I went home from the hospital after the scan. That afternoon my nurse practitioner called to tell me that I apparently had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, which is when a baby starts to grow outside the womb. This type of pregnancy is almost always fatal for the child.

It was a Friday afternoon when my nurse practitioner called from out of town. Since her office was located two hours away from my house, she didn’t know of any OB/GYN doctors in my area. She instructed me to immediately go to the hospital emergency room.

I was shocked and frightened. As I lay on the hospital bed awaiting the results of the pregnancy test, I went through a gamut of questions and emotions:

Was I pregnant? Were we going to lose a baby? Was I facing surgery?

One comfort my husband, Cliff, and I had in the midst of the turmoil was knowing that we had our CHM family to stand behind us, no matter what happened. I also knew that God was with me and would sovereignly rule in this situation.

To our great relief, my pregnancy test came back negative. However, I had a dangerously large cyst in my fallopian tube. I followed up with my nurse practitioner and she gave me a prescription to help eliminate the cyst while she monitored the situation closely. She warned me to be very careful because if it burst I would end up in the emergency room again—this time I’d need surgery for sure.

Family and friends prayed, and during several check-ups we could see the cyst gradually shrinking. A month or so later I went to see my nurse practitioner for another scan. I asked her if the cyst could be gone by then. “Oh no,” she replied, “That was way too big. It will take much longer for it to disappear.”

But the scan revealed no cyst. It was completely gone. She couldn’t believe it. I smiled and said, “I’ve had people praying for me.”

God was good and everything worked out. I felt a bit overwhelmed at first with the process of requesting and submitting itemized bills to CHM, but I received friendly help from the staff members. After I understood what I needed to do, everything went smoothly. I received a 25 percent self-pay discount from the hospital and other health care providers. Ministry members shared my remaining bills.

I have recommended CHM to others I know. This is a ministry that has blessed us. Thank you, thank you.

After calling my health care providers about getting bill reductions, I was astounded beyond belief at the amount of discounts the hospital and providers extended. One hospital gave us financial assistance without us even requesting it. Following suit, several other providers matched the 100 percent write-off. As of this writing, I’m still waiting on negotiations with three other providers.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support and encouragement! It’s challenging to go through an illness—and mine was nearly life-threatening at one point. It’s such a comfort to know that the caring CHM staff is available to help. It means so much more than I can express.

Our family of five used to joke that the healthcare plan we had before joining CHM should have been considered “catastrophic.” Most medical costs were our responsibility and we rarely—if at all—received help paying medical bills. CHM seemed like a much better option and we joined as Gold and Brother’s Keeper members in early 2017.

However, since CHM isn’t health insurance, I had some reservations. I was nervous that the ministry was too good to be true and that we’d have to pay large bills in the event of a major medical expense. My husband, Tom, lovingly said, “If we trust in God, everything will be okay.”

Little did we know that God would use three incidents—in rapid succession—to confirm that placing our faith in His people to meet our healthcare costs was just what we needed to do.

One day in May 2017 I was getting out of our family’s truck when I stumbled after stepping onto uneven ground. Pain shot through my ankle. We went to our local urgent care facility where the doctor diagnosed a sprain. We scheduled a follow-up visit at the hospital the next day and I underwent a couple of months of physical therapy.

Two months later Stephany, our 19-year-old daughter, fell and sprained her ankle while getting off a tractor she’d been using to help plant a tree.

Three weeks later our teenage son, Brett, fetched a chain saw so he could cut up a tree that had fallen in our yard. The recoil rope jerked back and the blade edge hit his nose. He was bleeding and in excruciating pain, so off to the hospital we went. He suffered a broken nose, but we praised God that the chain saw didn’t turn on and cause worse damage.

In under three months our family incurred medical bills from three hospital events and many weeks of physical therapy. My fears crowded in. How will we pay for these large expenses? How much will CHM share?

Once again Tom reminded me to trust in God. He is more than able to protect and provide for our on-the-go family.

I pulled out the new member Welcome Pack we’d received upon joining CHM and reviewed the instructions for explaining CHM to our healthcare providers, negotiating discounts, setting up payment plans and submitting the medical incident forms and itemized bills. The information was easy to understand and I got to work right away.

When the invoices began arriving, I called the providers’ billing departments and explained that we are self-pay patients but also members of a health cost sharing ministry. We set up a payment plan and obtained discounts. I sent the medical incident forms and our itemized bills to CHM, hoping for the best.

I was so nervous when I saw the envelope from CHM in our mailbox, but when I opened it I found a check for each of our three medical incidents—totaling more than $8,200 after about $1,150 in discounts. With tears in my eyes, I thanked Jesus and called my husband to tell him the good news.

Tom was right: We can trust God and His children to meet one another’s needs. I simply can’t express what I felt when we paid our medical bills. We couldn’t be more proud to be part of the CHM family and are so grateful for the help from members.

A pastor friend recommended our family of six look into CHM when we could no longer continue on our prior healthcare plan. My wife, Christi, and I agreed that our children would be Bronze members and that she and I would join at the Gold level; however, one of our church’s deacons felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting that our entire family participate in the Gold and Brother’s Keeper programs.

As I reflect on the events that led us to join CHM, I praise God that He was providing for us even before our desperate time of need: One of our children would incur over $24,000 in medical bills during our first year of membership.

I’ll never forget Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Christi and I were out of town so I could preach at a church in western Kansas. Our oldest daughter, Jessica, was finishing her senior year at Master’s Baptist College (MBC) in Fargo, N.D. At around 7 a.m. we received a voicemail from the MBC president’s wife, asking us to call her back immediately.

Surprised, I called her right away. “Jessica experienced a bad seizure and is being rushed to the hospital,” she told me. I dropped to my knees instantly and prayed for God’s help.

During our 12-hour car ride to Fargo we prayed, cried and received news of our daughter’s brain abnormality.

The next morning I called CHM and shared our situation with the young lady who answered. She prayed with me—a welcome reminder of God’s love—and gave me advice on explaining CHM to the hospital’s billing office.

After three days of testing, doctors confirmed that Jessica had a rare type of tumor. They were unsure if it was a low-grade glioma or a slow-growing benign tumor. They advised her to take medication to prevent seizures while finishing the school semester. We also scheduled a 30-day follow-up MRI to monitor the tumor’s growth.

When we arrived home, cards and emails from CHM members flooded our mailbox and email inbox. What a blessing it was to know that so many people were praying for our family—another reminder of God’s goodness.

Scripture tells us that God orders our steps (Psalm 37:23) and He has done that for our family in so many ways. He crossed our paths with a neurosurgeon in Denver and a neurologist in Fargo who have been very helpful. They recommended that Jessica finish college and during the summer pursue surgery and treatment. We’re preparing for that, but we continue to beg God for wisdom.

On dark days we cry out to the Lord for help. He’s faithfully teaching me that He knows our needs and is in control. In times like these, God’s word comes alive and our fellowship with Him is sweet. He’s been so faithful, and we’ve been blessed to lean on the CHM family to meet our financial needs.

The day we received our sharing check totaling more than $8,000 (after a 65 percent hospital discount), I spent time tearfully praising God for His goodness and provision. I’m confident that joining the ministry was part of His plan for us and I’ll never go back to anything else.

Thank you to the CHM staff for what you do, and thank you to every member who has lifted Jessica up in prayer; we also covet your prayers for her surgery this summer. God is good, all the time.

In 2008, I moved from a full-time to a part-time job. Though I love the special calling God has given me, I was disappointed not to have the employment benefits package I previously enjoyed. Being on the insurance policy my husband’s employer provides is very costly and would hurt our family finances. After participating in a few catastrophic insurance programs, God brought our attention to CHM.

I joined in spring 2011. Later that year, the world’s healthiest person (me!) had an unexpected cancer diagnosis. One of the greatest fears was about the financial setback this would cause. I wondered if and how CHM would help us. I don’t typically read small print or do research, but one of my friends does. When she recently led her whole Christian organization to join CHM, God used that to give me great comfort and reassurance.

Now—after two surgeries, four chemotherapy sessions, and 38 radiation sessions—I rejoice to see what God has done. I received thousands of dollars from medication reimbursement programs. CHM and its affiliates helped me get deep discounts on my remaining bills. Afterwards, CHM sent me a large check to pay off the remaining bills completely!

We serve a great God, and He has wonderful servants. Thank you for giving your time and talents to minister to me and to many other people. I am humbled and very grateful to God and to you.

May He continue to bless your ministry and use you to be a blessing to thousands of others.

I’ve been a member of Christian Healthcare Ministries since August 1993. I’m so grateful for the financial help I received during a health crisis this past year.

I first felt ill in summer 2011. I tried changing my diet and even visited the emergency room, but nothing helped. In September I had abnormal blood test results. Follow-up tests revealed a large mass in my abdomen.

I underwent surgery and received pathology results that rocked my world. At 29 years old, I had small-cell ovarian cancer, a very rare disease (only one or two other women in the United States were undergoing treatment for it at the time) with a not-so-great prognosis.

Keeping a positive attitude was tough. I found it odd to think that my body—typically so good at maintaining and healing itself—was working against me. It certainly made me realize how little control I have, but it taught me a lesson of faith in the One who is in control. I knew that trusting Him didn’t necessarily mean that my body would be healed; however, I clung to the knowledge that He would do what was best for me, ultimately healing me regardless of the outcome.

Many people prayed for me during my illness. The staff at Christian Healthcare Ministries was part of that group; they meet to pray for members who have submitted medical needs. I called a few times on Thursday mornings and heard the automated message that no one was available to take my call because the staff was in its weekly prayer meeting. I found it comforting to think that they were praying for me.

Also, they always knew who I was when I called! It was great to have a personal relationship with my health care ministry rather than being a cog in the machine of a health insurance company.

I was fortunate to receive significant discounts for my medical care. My treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a round of high-dose chemo with stem cell rescue.

All parties—including the doctors and the hospitals—were incredibly helpful when I filled out financial assistance applications. Initially, I was leery of the “stigma” associated with being a self-pay patient. However, my health care providers were more willing to work with me after I explained how CHM works and received notice that I didn’t qualify for government assistance.

The bills from both hospitals totaled more than $300,000. More than 90 percent of that was reduced through discounts! My doctor bills were all for outpatient visits, which aren’t eligible for sharing at the CHM Silver level. However, the doctors’ office was kind enough to bill me at its Medicare rate.

One of my doctors was particularly helpful in finding resources, putting me in touch with the right people and encouraging me not to be hesitant about saying I was a self-pay patient. She also got me approved for a clinic at one of the hospitals where I could get free prescriptions.

Time was of the essence throughout my ordeal; in many cases I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time. However, I encourage CHM members who have more time and flexibility to seek out good doctors and hospitals. Don’t avoid hospitals with excellent reputations simply because they appear to cater to wealthier people.

As of March 2012, I’m cancer free! I’ll continue to undergo periodic testing to be sure that the cancer doesn’t recur, but after five years of monitoring I won’t need to have any consistent treatment related to this illness.

I’m so grateful for CHM and all of my fellow members whose monthly financial gifts contributed to my need. I also greatly appreciate all of the fellow Christians who prayed for me and sent me cards and notes of encouragement. I plan to write thank-you notes to each one of you; I ask for your patience in responding to so many kind people.

It’s wonderful to know that I’m part of something that makes such a significant difference in people’s lives. Thank you!

I would like to thank CHM for the excellent service in processing my recent need and for the timely reimbursement that I received. I’ve been a member for three years, and this was my first experience submitting a need. It was an affirmation of the credibility of the ministry and a demonstration of the strength of God’s people working together to meet needs.

As a Silver level member, I expected to pay a $1,000 personal responsibility for my cataract surgery. I was surprised and grateful to learn that the large reductions I received from the doctor and the surgery center offset my obligation—a tremendous help to my budget. I am especially grateful to my Needs Processing representative, Beth Kabellar, for her helpful assistance.

I became a member after leaving my last job. I had several years to wait for Medicare eligibility and didn’t feel I could afford personal insurance. I had doubts about giving up health insurance and joining CHM. In better moments, I have felt blessed and thankful to place my trust in God, my daily Provider, and to join with other believers in this sharing ministry.

This can’t be happening, I thought as I threw myself to the ground and shielded my girlfriend, Jenna, from the bullets that were spraying into the crowd.

Moments later, I was hit.

It was Oct. 1, 2017—the night that shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring 546 others.

I knew none of this at the time. My only thought was how to get our group through the crowd of 22,000 people to a place of safety.

It was the country music festival’s last night and I’d so far been enjoying the experience with Jenna and her family.

I heard a couple of popping noises which, at first, I thought were fireworks. As the sounds continued I looked around and saw someone behind me who had been shot.

That’s when I knew it was real.

When the shooter opened up on the crowd we all dove for the ground and yelled for everyone to get down. Jenna’s dad, Frank, her brother, Justin, and I all tried to protect the female family members.

I’ve never felt as hopeless as I did that moment while lying on the ground and attempting to comfort Jenna. I didn’t even think about praying; I just started doing it. Frank heard my fervent words and later told me that a calm came over him, which enabled him to start planning a way for us to escape.

In the pandemonium of that night it’s difficult to sort out what, exactly, happened in the next few minutes. We were lying on the ground for what felt like an eternity, but was probably about five minutes. We were positioned toward the front of the crowd and to the right of the stage, so at first there were too many people behind us to get away quickly.

I looked behind me to see if there was a clear path to run to safety, and then felt something strike my right ear.

I had been shot!

My mind raced: This is it.

In milliseconds I realized I wasn’t dead; but didn’t say anything at first because I didn’t want our group to panic. I finally reached up to feel the wound and said, “I think I got hit.” Though I was bleeding heavily, I could still think and move. It was time to run.

We waited for the next break in gunfire, then sprinted, shouting for everyone else around us to run. We made it about halfway through the lot before the shooter started firing again. Hiding behind a large tent in the middle of the venue, we waited for another break in the firing before escaping to a triage area in an empty parking lot across the street.

I was immediately met by Angie, a nurse who had attended the concert and who was helping treat the wounded as they arrived. She laid me down in the parking lot and applied pressure to my neck. I told her it was just a graze, but she was worried because it was close to many major blood vessels.

After a few more minutes, Angie made sure I got the next available ride to the hospital. I was led into a police SUV with three other injured men: a man who’d been shot in the hand, a young guy with a shoulder wound and a police officer who had suffered a bullet in the neck.

The hospital staff conducted an X-ray and CT scan. They discovered the bullet had passed through my earlobe, entered behind my jaw and traveled down my neck, stopping just a few inches above my collarbone. No major arteries or veins had been hit.

They called it a “miracle wound” and I was released from the hospital at 7 a.m. the next day to return home to California with Jenna’s family. I had the bullet removed at a local hospital on Oct. 18.

I have undergone a complete physical recovery and have full motion in my neck. The psychological trauma is getting better with time; I hope someday it will be a distant memory.

Through it all, God taught me the power of prayer.

I have a long list of people who have my gratitude. I’m incredibly thankful for Angie and everyone who assisted the wounded that night. The first responders, doctors, nurses and officers helped save many lives.

I also want to thank my family, friends and church family, who surrounded us with love after such a disturbing experience. People all over the world were praying for us, and a church in Virginia even “adopted” us by enveloping us in prayer and encouragement.

Even though my medical treatment was performed free of charge, I’m thankful that my dad told me about Christian Healthcare Ministries. I joined in early 2017 because I felt that this ministry is where I can best help and be helped by other believers in time of need.

Finally and most importantly, I thank God for giving me a second chance at life.

The night I drove to the hospital, I was in excruciating pain and could hardly move. It was May 2017 and my college semester was almost over, but as I sat in the waiting room all I could think about was how badly I needed treatment. However, I knew God was with me. Even as the pain increased, I felt in my heart that He was going to keep me safe.

Finally the doctors confirmed I had appendicitis, and I underwent an appendectomy. I’m happy to report that I’m doing very well and am completely healed.

Submitting bills for my surgery was very simple. Some discounts were easy to negotiate, but some weren’t. My hospital bill totaled nearly $60,000 but was reduced in half.

At first I was worried about how my expenses would be paid, but in working with CHM’s staff I felt reassured that the ministry would help me. What a relief it was when my bills were shared and I paid my healthcare providers.

God taught me a lot through my experience. I learned that when I wait on Him He will provide a solution.

The same was true for my parents when they were looking for healthcare cost provision: they waited on God for an answer. He led them to CHM—a ministry about which they’d heard only good things—and decided to check it out.

I’m so glad they did. I can’t express how grateful I am to receive the money to pay my hospital expenses. It just shows how great our God is and the amazing ways He works in our lives. Now we tell everyone how CHM came through for our family.

On August 12, 2013 my husband, Louis, had an acute hemorrhagic stroke and was life-flighted to a hospital about 50 miles away. In minutes he went from a healthy, “do-everything-myself” kind of guy to a man fighting for his life.

As you can imagine, emotions were very high for me and the family. I had to keep reminding myself that God is in control. Absolutely nothing, I told myself, happens that isn’t first filtered through the hands of God. I had lost my first husband to cancer and I wasn’t ready to lose another one. Yet, I prayed that God’s will—not mine—be done.

God really does give us strength when we need it.

When I reached the hospital, Louis was already in the Intensive Care Unit. Tubes were everywhere and the ventilator scared me to death. According to the doctors, the spot where his bleeding began was inoperable. If it didn’t stop, the necessary procedure was potentially fatal.

Immediately I called our friends and Christian Healthcare Ministries. The CHM staff put Louis on their prayer list right away. So many people prayed for him—all over the country they prayed. It was comforting to know that whatever the outcome, it would be God’s will.

Louis’s right side was paralyzed. On the third day they took him off the ventilator. We praised God that he could finally breathe on his own and that the paralysis was gone. Still, doctors recommended therapy and he was moved to the rehabilitation floor.

My fiercely independent husband was determined to take care of himself. I knew better; he needed assistance at all times. Sure enough, he was quite an ornery patient. I, on the other hand, became a light sleeper. Every time Louis stirred, my adrenalin rose and I jumped up. Sometimes I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I spoke with the Lord in prayer.

Meanwhile, I met a lot of wonderful people in the rehab department, including an elderly patient named Mike. Mike’s wife had passed away two years before and the Lord continued to put him on my heart.

On one of my sleepless nights I decided to walk down the hall. Mike’s light was on and I peeked in. He too was awake. I said hello and he asked me how Louis was doing. I gave all the praise to Jesus and said that Louis was doing remarkably well. Mike smiled and I went back to my room.

In my heart, I knew that I just had to tell Mike about Jesus.

The next morning I took a tract and proceeded to Mike’s room. I went in and praised God again. To my surprise, Mike said he had been trying to pray to God himself but didn’t know how. “Just talk to Him like you’re talking to me,” I said, “and He’ll hear you.”

I read some Scriptures to Mike and finally asked him if he would like to accept Christ as his savior. He said yes!

I don’t even know Mike’s last name, but I know that we’ll meet again in eternity. I want to thank God and CHM for all the prayers that went up on our behalf. What a testament to prayer! God brings about miracles in the darkest of situations and sometimes in mysterious ways. I thank God for His awesome grace and mercy.

My husband, Steven, and I served in pastoral ministry for 25 years before God called us to be full-time missionaries. For 11 of those years our family lived in an inner-city that was voted one of the worst places in the nation to raise children. Also, we had no health insurance for most of the 25 years.

During that time we felt God calling us to missionary work in St. Augustine, Fla.—a city we’d never even visited. “Don’t take a church…go be the church,” is what we heard God say in our spirits. Furthermore, we felt assured that He would care for our every need.

Thus, it wasn’t a surprise when some friends and our adult children started telling us about CHM and health cost sharing. We decided to give it a try and joined the Gold program in March 2016.

In early 2017 I experienced severe chest pain and swelling in my breasts and armpits. Heart problems don’t run in my family but I was concerned that might be the culprit. We began a journey to get answers.

The first stop was an urgent care center; followed by a primary care physician who ordered a mammogram; then on to a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist; all the while undergoing many lab tests and X-rays.

I think I would have been an emotional wreck if not for CHM. As a new member I wasn’t very familiar with how the ministry works, but I felt some peace knowing that we had been proactive in taking control of our healthcare costs.

After months of testing the results showed I suffered from GERD (gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease). We praised God that I didn’t have breast cancer or heart problems and that GERD can be controlled by diet!

I experienced some uneasiness about how to submit medical bills to CHM and that the sharing time is about 120 days from the time CHM receives the bills.

However, it did become easier as we wrapped our minds around how the ministry works. My mind was put at ease when the checks for sharing arrived.

We also appreciated that each CHM representative was helpful and kind, and that the staff can assist in negotiating discounts if necessary. We love CHM and regularly recommend the ministry to others.

We humbly thank you, CHM staff and members, for the peace of mind you’ve given us.

I’m a retired nurse and a pastor’s wife, and my healthcare costs were spiraling out of control at the time I heard about health cost sharing ministries from a friend. CHM became an answer to prayer.

Though I joined the ministry to pay for major medical incidents, I certainly didn’t anticipate such events happening. However, I was very surprised—and concerned—when I awoke one morning soon after joining with a fever, chills and abdominal pain.

I assessed my pain and 38 years of nursing experience led me to believe it was “rebound tenderness” in my lower right abdomen. I took my temperature and self-diagnosed the symptoms as acute appendicitis. I quickly woke my husband to get a ride to our local hospital, all the while mentally preparing myself for emergency surgery.

As much as my mind was focused on my health and doing what I could to restore it, I nevertheless began thinking about the financial consequences of what was occurring. In those moments, the Lord reminded me that He led me to CHM for this very reason. I wanted to trust Him but I admit I was still concerned about my decision to opt out of insurance and join a health cost sharing ministry. To ease my mind I reminded myself of the many testimonies I had read in the CHM newsletter.

I underwent surgery immediately following a CT scan that confirmed my appendicitis. The hospital released me within eight hours and I returned home to rest.

The next day I called CHM to report my emergency room visit and subsequent outpatient surgery. The staff member I spoke with was very reassuring and encouraged me to submit my medical bills and the CHM Needs Processing Forms.* At my follow-up visit I negotiated a 50 percent discount on the surgeon’s bill and the office manager gave me my itemized bill to submit to CHM.

Unfortunately, the local hospital was less willing to provide itemized bills and wouldn’t offer a self-pay discount, so CHM’s Member Advocate team helped me and worked with them. CHM’s staff advised me to submit the bills I had been given and to focus on my healing. The staff’s calm and caring manner was a true blessing.

In the end, CHM negotiated a 40 percent discount with our hospital and I received the funds to pay my providers the balance within the 120-day sharing timeframe.

I’m still amazed and overwhelmed at all CHM does for its members. God once again revealed His constant faithfulness and attention to detail. Though I had a few days of uncertainty when the hospital wouldn’t offer a discount, CHM was supportive and proactive in resolving any issues.

As a healthy 62-year-old, medical problems were the last thing on my mind. However, the Lord had other plans for me and, as a result, my trust in Him grew. He provided perfectly for all my needs when I surrendered all of my life to Him.

I’m filled with a deep sense of gratitude for CHM’s support and sharing programs. That’s a huge step for this retired nurse who was accustomed to the “normal” way to meet healthcare costs. I now have peace of mind about my decision to join the ministry. As I refer friends, I share with them my personal testimony of God’s provision through Christian Healthcare Ministries. Thank you, CHM staff and members!

I have been a Christian Healthcare Ministries member since March 2008. I’m so thankful for the financial help I’ve received for my health care needs. I’m also thankful for the prayer requests printed in the CHM newsletter and the prayer cards sent out with each month’s Member Gift Form billing statement.

In January 2012 I found out how necessary and effective these prayers are in uplifting fellow members during stressful and emotional health situations.

I underwent minor surgery in September 2011 only to find out two months later from my family doctor that an additional operation was necessary. I was upset because I had just healed from the first surgery. I called Beth Kabellar, my CHM Needs Processing representative, and asked her to pray that I would accept the need for surgery and wouldn’t be stressed out about it.

Beth shared my request with other CHM employees during a morning prayer session. In November 2011, my request was printed on the monthly prayer card—as well as in the December 2011 newsletter—so fellow members could share my burden by praying for me. I received many get-well cards with prayers and words of encouragement from CHM members.

I visited a specialist and was very relieved when the doctor said I would only need the second surgery if my condition grew worse.

I was thankful and appreciative that Christians who didn’t even know me would pray for my needs. At the same time, I felt a little guilty since I didn’t need the second operation. I prayed, “God, thank You for all of these members who showed Your love to me and bless each one of them for their kindness. I wonder, though, why You led them to pray for me when You knew I wouldn’t undergo another surgery. Lord, are You strengthening me for something I can’t foresee?”

God answered my question on January 13, 2012. My husband, Norlin, suffered aortic dissection—a tear in the artery caused blood to flow between the layers of the aortic wall and forced them apart. (Doctors normally don’t perform surgery for this condition because it’s too dangerous—they just allow the dissection to scar over.)

Norlin survived the dissection but six days later suffered complications that required emergency surgery. The surgeon said he would do his best, but explained that patients with this condition rarely survive and those who live often suffer paralysis or kidney failure.

Miraculously, Norlin came through the surgery with no paralysis! His kidneys shut down temporarily but soon regained functionality.

The surgeon told us that his technique didn’t save Norlin’s life. He said Norlin should have died and that God—and God alone—was responsible for this miracle.

I stayed by Norlin’s side in the hospital for 36 days. God knew that I didn’t need another surgery but that I would need the prayer and words of encouragement from the nearly 50 CHM members who let me know they were praying for me. I sensed their prayers during the long days of Norlin’s surgery and recovery; I found the strength to keep going when I thought I couldn’t possibly continue down this difficult road.

Although I was also grateful for the prayers of family members and friends, the cards from CHM members were a lifeline and were tangible reminders of God’s love. I read and reread each word to regain my strength.

I called the CHM offices after Norlin went into the hospital. The staff again listed us for prayer, so we found another 11 cards of encouragement in February 2012 when we finally returned home.

I looked at the postmark date on the envelopes and, sure enough, some of the members had been touched by the Holy Spirit and motivated to pray for us on the same day Norlin had his surgery!

We have such an awesome God who knows our needs and answers prayer in ways we could never expect.

Thank you, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and thanks to all of you who prayed for us.

My husband, Tom, and I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries from a good friend. Tom was about to retire from his job with a lawn and garden wholesale supplier and we would no longer receive health benefits. We started looking at other options and were thrilled to find this large group of believers who live out the biblical principles of bearing one another’s burdens.

We love the Lord Jesus and believe that sharing with other Christians is the way God desires us to live. We joined CHM in May 2011.

My life before lung resection surgery in November 2014 was filled with chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. I used inhalers to breathe and was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Additionally, I had a problem area in my right lung that regularly appeared over the years on CT scans, but doctors always assumed it was pneumonia. Yet every scan, especially in the last three years, showed that the area was slowly increasing in size. Meanwhile, my bouts with pneumonia became more frequent.

After seeing a lung specialist (who informed us I did not have COPD), I was advised to see a surgeon to have the area of concern removed.

After a successful surgery, we were surprised to hear the condition that had plagued me for so long was an active infection that for some reason was growing on my lung’s scar tissue.

We were incredibly grateful to God to hear that I didn’t have cancer and to know the infection was now gone. He gave us such peace while going through this experience and His grace surrounded us. The words from Lamentations 3:22-24, Romans 8:35-39 and Isaiah 41:10 were a great source of strength to us. We were reminded in a powerful way that nothing can separate the children of God from His love in Christ Jesus!

Since my surgery, I have not had a cold, bronchitis, or bout with pneumonia. It’s a miracle and we are so very thankful.

The CHM staff, especially Yvonne Woolridge, our Needs Processing representative, was kind and helpful. She answered our questions and gave direction and encouragement when we submitted our medical bills. Her guidance made our experience easy.

After discounts, CHM members shared more than $20,000.

We often recommend CHM to others because of our positive experience and because it follows a biblical model for which we see a great need in our world today.

We would like to thank each ministry staff member for their daily service to the Body of Christ and our CHM extended family for their continued support and prayers, which make a ministry like this possible. God bless and keep you all!

I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries when I was at a Christian men’s conference in Dallas, so I stopped by CHM’s information booth. Our family of seven had never had a health crisis or thought much about health coverage since it had always been a benefit provided by my employer.

However, I had since launched into full-time ministry as the national director of Iron Sharpens Iron Conference Network (ironsharpensiron.net), an organization that facilitates one-day Christian men’s conferences nationwide. That meant I needed to find an affordable healthcare solution for my family.

We signed up for the CHM Gold program and Brother’s Keeper in Dec. 2013. We had no idea how critical those choices would become for our family. In hindsight we see that CHM was Almighty God’s provision for us.

We learned something was wrong when my wife, Barb, went to her osteopathic doctor for a back adjustment. She had an odd feeling near her rib cage. The doctor thought it was strange enough that he ordered a CT scan.

We received a phone call from Barb’s doctor early on a Sunday morning in July 2016. He said that her liver was diseased and that she needed to see an oncologist right away. Within a few days we met with several doctors. Barb underwent more testing.

The oncologist clearly stated during our initial visit that there was no cure for Barb’s type of cancer and that our only real option was palliative care.

The first thing that ran through my mind was that my wife was in trouble and, according to online research, might have less than a year to live. We weren’t led by the doctors to believe anything different. Her scans showed more tumors than could be counted in multiple areas of her body.

I had a couple of rough weeks wrestling with our new reality. Then it became clear that Barb’s health crisis wasn’t something I could delegate to someone else. It was a personal wake-up call and caused me to take charge of the situation. I realized that helping my wife to heal was my job just as much as the doctors’. So, I spent literally hundreds of hours researching what would help Barb get better.

We have a great personal and professional network, so I also reached out to our peers and invited people to pray, pray, pray. We filled a calendar with the names of friends and acquaintances who interceded for Barb.

Despite her Stage 4 liver cancer, Barb didn’t really look sick. The doctors couldn’t find a primary cause of her cancer, so when speaking to our five children, we were careful with what we shared about the diagnosis. That helped us ease the children into the reality that their mother had cancer while still telling them that we were seeking medical treatment. We also sought professional advice on completely changing Barb’s diet and getting her on supplements that would strengthen her immune system.

We were pleased that with CHM we could choose healthcare providers without having to follow a network. That was key during the early weeks of Barb’s ordeal. The first month or so we were all over the place, working with many providers, trying to get an accurate diagnosis. We simply told them that we are technically self-pay patients and most of them gave us a discount of 25 to 50 percent.

At the time of this writing, CHM and Brother’s Keeper have shared over $160,000 in medical bills after roughly the same amount in discounts.

Barb continues to battle cancer but we have seen significant improvements. She is in excellent spirits—all of her healthcare providers have been impressed by her winsome attitude and determination—and her energy level is high. Her numbers have plateaued; doctors say that’s a good sign.

On this health journey I’ve learned that trials and challenges are a part of life and part of what God allows and uses to build our relationship with Him. I’m more committed now to what I do in my own ministry work of helping other men. I want every husband and father to be walking with God and able to shepherd his family through their current crisis—or the one that’s just around the corner.

Christian Healthcare Ministries has been such a blessing and, in many ways, a partner on this amazing journey of regaining Barb’s health. CHM helps the patient, the family, and the doctors do what’s necessary for healing. We’re so thankful!

My husband is a pastor and I am a college professor. During our 23 years of marriage, we have always had traditional health insurance. However, when the nation’s health care laws shifted, we were faced with seeking an alternative to meet our health care costs. A friend told us about CHM and we began doing research.

We were immediately impressed by the shared values and tremendous vision of CHM. We decided this program would be a great fit for our family and we joined the ministry in January 2014.

Our family lives a preventative lifestyle with a plant-based diet and regular exercise. In 16 years of parenting, we have never had any serious illnesses or injuries—no stitches, no breaks, no flu, no hospital visits.

However, within a month of joining CHM, we had our first need for a hospital visit, as our 10-year-old daughter fell and broke her arm at the playground. Because the first doctor misdiagnosed the issue, our daughter’s arm required surgery in order to heal correctly.

CHM was a tremendous support throughout the whole experience, and we were amazed when we received a check for the entire amount of the hospital bill—$20,000.

When we tell friends about CHM, the question they always ask is, “Does it really work?” We can now answer emphatically, “Yes, indeed!”

On January 5, 2012, I contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disorder that causes extreme weakness. The disease onset was rapid; I was hospitalized for eight days followed by three days of rehab.

It was scary to continually grow weaker without knowing what was happening. During the first week, scores of medical tests were performed to rule out major problems (heart-related, stroke, cancer, etc.).

As we waited, God encouraged my wife, Corin, and I with many Bible verses that seemed to come alive. Psalm 18:30 was especially meaningful: “As for God, His way is perfect…” I thought, “Who am I to question what He is allowing to happen in my life?” I felt peace that my sickness was not unto death or a chastisement, but was rather an illness meant to bring glory to God (John 11:4).

By the end of the week, I could barely lift my arm two inches off the hospital bed and couldn’t roll over. At our request, elders from our church came to pray over me and anoint me with oil.

In His mercy, God made that the turning point. The next day saw me improve. I never needed a feeding tube, ventilator or other major support. My rehab therapists were amazed at the speed of my recovery, saying “You don’t need our help!”

In all, my medical bills totaled more than $123,000.

As CHM members for more than 13 years, we knew from experience that we should seek reductions on our medical bills. We’d received help from the ministry for maternity needs and emergencies, but we’d never endured anything that caused such large bills.

We spoke with a hospital financial counselor about getting assistance. We also let CHM staff members know that I was in the hospital.

Though it took time and effort to educate our health care providers that CHM is not an insurance company, eventually we obtained 100 percent write-offs on our hospital bills! Other providers soon followed the hospital’s example and reduced their charges. We had an overall cost reduction of more than 98 percent.

In retrospect, I see God’s hand at work preparing us financially for my illness. I am self-employed and last year experienced a significant income drop. The main reasons we qualified for such large bill reductions were my income and the fact that we have seven dependent children.

Regaining my stamina has taken time and I’m still taking blood pressure medicine. However, I’m once again working fulltime and I rejoice in God’s healing. We’re so grateful for the love, generosity and support of our family and our loving church. To God be the glory; great things He has done!

My husband, Jared, and I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries in spring 2009. We are both self-employed and decided CHM would be a good thing for us. We joined at the Gold level.

On April 20, 2013 I was in Tucson for a ladies’ conference. When the conference ended, I and two other women took one of the speakers out for lunch before heading home to Sierra Vista. I started feeling sick before the food was served and excused myself to the restroom where I began vomiting violently. This was especially disturbing because, after gastric bypass surgery in 2006, I was told that vomiting would be physically impossible for the rest of my life.

I was in agony the entire 70-mile trip home. That evening I went to the emergency room, was told I had the stomach flu and was sent home to rest. I crawled into bed early that morning and by night, I still felt weak. A little voice inside told me I needed to go back to the hospital.

Thank God I listened. If not, I would not have survived the night.

Doctors ran more tests and found that I had an intestinal blockage and would probably need surgery. I remember calling my mother and brother-in-law, but for a while after that I was completely unaware of anything.

I woke up to nurses frantically bustling around me, trying to get a peripherally inserted central catheter (PIC) line started. I heard the doctor say, “Don’t worry about the line. Just get an IV started. We have to get her to surgery now. We’re losing her.”

I believe God allowed me to wake up at just the right moment to hear those words. My first thought was, “I don’t feel like I’m dying.” Then, all I could do was pray. “Lord, You are in control. I belong to You. May Your will be done.” And I had peace.

My organs began shutting down. I had difficulty breathing and I was rushed into surgery. Doctors discovered that my small intestine had twisted and cut off the blood supply. One section had become necrotic—meaning the tissue had died—and was poisoning me.

They removed part of my small intestine and told my husband that I was alive but probably wouldn’t make it. My chance of survival was less than 20 percent. I was put on life support for several days and even when I “woke up” I wasn’t really all there.

Meanwhile, my doctors were trying to find a surgeon who had the appropriate skills and equipment to help me.

In May I was transferred and underwent a second surgery to reconnect my esophagus to the part of my stomach that had been disconnected during gastric bypass surgery. I remained in the hospital one month and four days, after which I was released for recovery and rehab.

My husband found that working with CHM was easier than we anticipated. I had always been a little skeptical. “How would CHM come through for us if something major did happen?” I thought.

Nevertheless, we were blown away at how fast CHM mailed the first checks to share our costs. I remember getting a voicemail saying that CHM had already negotiated a $5,000 bill down to $1,000 and that the check was in the mail. That happened just in the first two weeks, and the rest of the process reflected the same pattern: a ministry staff member called to notify us, we received a discount and the check was in the mail.

I don’t remember ever being worried about how we would pay the medical bills we were racking up. CHM stepped in and took care of things financially before we even had a chance sit down and sort everything out. My bills amounted to nearly $350,000. The total was discounted to $131,000, of which CHM shared $125,000 (we did not have the Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic bills, but we plan to sign up soon).

God was there during every step of my experience. My pastor recently went through a triple bypass surgery and spoke about God giving “dying grace” when you need it. I found that the Lord did the same thing for me. I believe He allowed me to wake at just the right moment to show me how powerful and almighty He is. He is in control. God gets all the glory.

I lived to celebrate my 16th wedding anniversary on November 1, 2013. I was here for my son’s 15th birthday on November 21. We were once again able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together as a family. I am so thankful for CHM’s financial help. The ministry really came through for us.

In June 2013, I underwent surgery for a ruptured appendix and an abscess on my cecum (considered the beginning of the large intestine). The surgeon removed my appendix and 13 inches of my colon. I was hospitalized in Houston, Texas, for six days.

My symptoms up until the surgery hadn’t indicated the problem.

I had no fever and my white blood count was normal.

When I returned home, I faced recovery—and medical bills poured in. I received bills from the hospital; surgeon; radiology center; anesthesiologists; pathology center; emergency room; and my specialist in gastroenterology.

The illness alone was overwhelming. I can’t imagine going through such an experience without a strong support base such as Christian Healthcare Ministries.

I’m so impressed with this ministry and its integrity and faithfulness. CHM worked with me and guided me step-by-step on submitting needs. The staff negotiated discounts on my behalf, shared my costs and prayed with me. I received $35,772 in discounts and CHM shared $56,031 in medical bills.

My experience with Christian Healthcare Ministries has been pleasant and I tell others every chance I get that this option is available to all believers. In our society, with many concerns about medical care costs, I am relieved to belong to this Christ-based ministry. I’m grateful to be a CHM member. It’s a ministry through which we serve one another in love.

It is noteworthy, I believe, that a prayer request comes in the mail each time I receive monthly Gift Form statements from CHM. It’s refreshing to be part of this ministry and to serve in prayer and finances to meet the needs of others.

The Lord has surely been kind to me, and I’m praising Him!

For 29 years of married life, my husband, Jonathan, and I never had a health care plan. The Lord blessed us with good health and we are very grateful. But because of the U.S. health care law, we had to look at our options.

Christian Healthcare Ministries’ biblical emphasis caught our attention. A program that enables Christians to help each other with their medical bills is a fulfillment of our duties as brothers and sisters in Christ. We’d much rather send our money to help fellow Christians than to an insurance company. CHM was the best option for us.

The ministry was an answer to prayer, and we called ahead of time to ask how to handle medical bills in case something should happen. CHM staff members were personable and eager to help. They answered all our questions.

Little did we know, our first medical incident wouldn’t be long in coming.

One evening, I experienced pain in my chest and upper left arm. The left side of my neck was tight and I couldn’t breathe easily. Eventually the pain diminished and I fell asleep.

The next morning, my chest felt numb and I again had trouble breathing. It hurt to take a deep breath. Jonathan took me to the emergency room and doctors hooked me up to a heart monitor. I underwent a number of tests and was sent home with a heart monitor and a referral to a cardiologist in Baton Rouge.

The cardiologist had me take a stress test. I failed it and took a nuclear stress test next. I failed that one, too, so the doctor scheduled a heart catheterization to check for blockages.

The Lord graciously calmed my fears during this time. I knew He was in control and I have always trusted Him. He’s the Great Physician.

Thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, there were no blockages. I really believe it’s because of prayer and God’s healing that I am pain-free today.

In the meantime, my hospital and doctors’ bills totaled $40,000 before discounts. Jonathan sent all the paperwork to CHM.

We then spoke to my health care providers about discounts. I simply asked them to give me, as a self-pay patient, the same rate an insurance company would receive. I also showed them my CHM card, explained how the ministry works and applied for financial assistance.

After discounts, our total was reduced to about $8,000. That’s amazing! I received a check from CHM for the remaining amount, and we paid the providers. I was again in awe of the Lord and His goodness.

I can’t say enough how much CHM means to me and my family. It’s a blessing to be a part of a ministry that enables Christians to share each other’s burdens. May God continue to use CHM in a way that always gives Him the glory.

Thank you to all my brothers and sisters in Christ who sent cards and words of encouragement, as well as those who lifted me up in prayer. Receiving cards from all over the nation touched my heart during my time of need. Thank you, Lord, for such a biblically-based organization that stands behind the Word of God when it comes to sharing one another’s burdens.

My family and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in 2013 after hearing about it from one of my wife’s co-workers when she worked for Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey.

Contributing an affordable monthly amount to a Christian ministry and seeing it use that money to help other Christians in need was a no-brainer for us. Plus, we knew that Obamacare was looming on the horizon. We much preferred CHM’s solution rather than paying into what we believe is a broken health insurance system.

In November 2014 I experienced significant pain and restricted movement in my left hip. I visited a chiropractor several times and even had an X-ray, but it revealed no problems. For months I dealt with the pain, hoping that a few more visits to the chiropractor would resolve the problem.

I’m a professional drummer, producer and songwriter in the Christian music industry. In May 2015 I was leaving my home studio after working all day. I bumped into a stand holding a heavy keyboard, causing the stand to collapse and the keyboard to fall down and back onto my left leg.

I fell on the concrete floor, causing my hip to break. “Something is very wrong,” I thought. “Most 32-year-olds don’t break a hip when they fall!”

The small hospital near our home transferred me to a larger medical center in nearby Nashville. I underwent a CT scan and an MRI. That’s when doctors discovered a giant tumor in my hip bone—the reason my hip broke when I fell.

I was transferred to another hospital that specializes in the treatment I needed. Surgery was performed to remove the tumor and repair my leg. I now have a rod in my leg going up to the ball and socket of my hip and through the side of my femur, screwed in on the outside.

Thankfully, we learned that the tumor was benign.

However, medical bills started piling up and we had no income since I wasn’t working and my wife, Kelly, is a stay-at-home-mom caring for our two young sons. That’s when we witnessed the Body of Christ coming together. Hundreds of fellow music artists, friends, family members, my publisher and others raised money to help with living expenses while I was unable to work.

Whenever I received a new medical bill in the mail, I submitted it online via the CHM Member Portal, which was easy and convenient. Staff members Terry Lawrence and Joy Spriggs were a great encouragement; Terry kept in touch with me throughout my ordeal and Joy helped answer questions about my bills. I’ve incurred more than $100,000 in medical bills, received over $70,000 in discounts and so far have seen CHM members share nearly $40,000!

Today I’m still undergoing physical therapy—an expense CHM also shares under the Gold program—and am getting close to feeling normal again.

It was a humbling experience to see friends, family and CHM members all working together to help us in a time of great need. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Kelly and I have always tried to be givers and help others, but through their example, God gave us an entirely new perspective on giving and generosity. It reminds me of the chorus of “Give,” a song by my friend and fellow Christian musician Jason Crabb:

If you want to get love then give it
If you want to feel some forgiveness
You’ve got to let go and do some forgiving of your own
If you want a friend then be one
Need a little kindness, show some
You’ll be surprised at how much finds its way back home
It don’t matter what it is
If you want it

Kelly and I have recommended CHM many times over the past two years and several families have joined as a result. They couldn’t be happier to be part of this big “family” of believers.

Editor’s note: Ricky Free spent nine years playing drums with award-winning Gospel artist Brian Free & Assurance. He has produced multiple GMA Dove Award-nominated albums, multiple No. 1 songs and Top 10 songs and has been named Producer of the Year several times. He has written a No. 1 song and several Top 10 songs.

One autumn day, I fell off the ladder outside my home and hit the cement patio below. It was clear that the landing had shattered my right wrist; I could feel the bone fragments penetrating my skin. I pushed everything back together with my left hand as best as I could and went to find my wife.

“Let’s get you to the emergency room,” she said. We don’t have insurance, so wrap it with a bandage instead, I told her. “You need treatment.” We can’t afford it. “We’ll show them your CHM card.”

She insisted we go. Afraid of losing the use of my hand, I conceded.

At the hospital’s front desk, someone asked, “May I see your proof of insurance?” Actually, I’m a member of Christian Healthcare Ministries. “Okay, great. We’ve treated other CHM members. I’ll process your bills as a self-pay patient, and we’ll begin treatment immediately.”

A great deal of stress lifted from my shoulders; I was comforted to know I would receive quality treatment.

I called CHM to explain what happened and was amazed at the degree of compassion and concern over my injury. We discussed how to submit the Needs Processing forms and itemized bills from the hospital, and I managed to negotiate discounts if I paid the bills within a certain time period.

CHM shared my bills before the hospital’s deadline. We received up to 40 percent discounts from all my other health care providers (surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse practitioner, etc.). As a CHM member I wasn’t required to pay upfront; I could instead set up a payment plan until I received additional funds from CHM.

Today my bones are healing. Due to atrophy, I have a lot of physical therapy ahead of me. My doctor expects that I’ll regain 80 percent of full use, but I’m hopeful that my recovery will be even better.

One highlight of my experience was how quickly and thoroughly my hospital and other providers took care of my needs. And having worked with CHM patients, they processed my paperwork immediately.

Due to various life circumstances, I had developed a negative attitude about life and the world. Earlier in 2015 I lost my managerial position and health care coverage when my employer’s company closed. I couldn’t afford the exorbitant premiums and deductibles offered through any Obamacare plans. Likewise, my wife was also forced into early retirement a few years ago because of a near-fatal auto accident. I therefore didn’t have faith that we would be taken care of if a medical situation arose.

CHM changed my perspective because it is a genuine, legitimate ministry founded on one simple belief: Christians are capable of and faithful to help complete strangers by coming together.

I don’t know what the future holds for our world in regards to health care, but I do know that CHM is there for its members and is a ministry we can count on.

My husband, Michael, and I became CHM members in Jan. 2015. We were thankful to find this affordable healthcare cost solution and we enjoy reading Heartfelt Magazine each month.

Michael and I were ecstatic to discover in Sept. 2016 that I was pregnant with our first child. We wanted to try a home birth with an experienced midwife.

During the Christmas season I experienced itching all over my body. After some online research we concluded that it was probably hormonal itching due to the pregnancy.

Nothing to be alarmed about, or so we thought.

However, the itching grew worse and we began to suspect intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), a disorder in which pregnancy hormones impair liver function; it usually disappears shortly after giving birth. My midwife also had become concerned.

The events that followed happened so rapidly that it made my head spin: the midwife ordered extra lab work; the test results confirmed ICP; I was put under the care of an OB/GYN and was immediately scheduled to see a maternal fetal medicine doctor.

The doctor said he’d only seen one other patient with bile acid levels higher than mine and that I’d need to be induced the following week. Because of ICP, my womb had become a toxic environment and there was a high risk of stillbirth.

Crestfallen because we’d set our hopes on a low-intervention birth, we nevertheless knew the doctor’s recommendation was our little one’s best chance at survival. Despite many decisions to make in such a short time, we had peace because we felt the prayers of God’s people.

Micaiah Ray Glover was born on April 7, 2017 at 36 weeks gestation and five pounds, nine ounces. By God’s grace, he was healthy and there were no birth complications! My junior high-age stepdaughter, Emmalyn, flew in during her spring break in order to see her new brother while still a newborn. That was an added blessing and help during a challenging time.

However, six weeks after the birth my itching had still not gone away and was actually getting worse. I had become jaundiced and had lost all of my pregnancy weight, plus 10 pounds. I had no appetite and was losing more sleep than usual for a mother of a newborn.

At my six-week postnatal checkup I was referred to a liver specialist. I scheduled an appointment with a physician’s assistant the following week. The day after, she called and instructed me to go directly to the emergency room.

Something was seriously wrong with my liver.

After six long days in the hospital, I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare and chronic disease that damages bile ducts inside and outside the liver. I underwent two procedures to get my bile flowing normally again. Over the next two months my skin color normalized and the itching went away.

The staff at the hospital where I gave birth was familiar with CHM. They offered a discount of $15,000 if we paid quickly. I called CHM to verify that was the correct thing to do. We also received discounts from the OB/GYN and anesthesiologist. (Editor’s note: Please notify CHM immediately if your healthcare provider sets a deadline on a discount of 40 percent or more.)

Though I also received excellent medical care from the hospital where I’d gone to the emergency room, their billing staff wasn’t as easy to work with. Unfortunately, since it was an emergency I didn’t have time to contact CHM before being treated, but I remembered tips from Heartfelt Magazine and felt confident talking with the hospital staff.

The staff, however, said they didn’t give discounts to CHM members. I called the ministry and was assured that it was going to be OK; I had done my best and CHM would share the bills regardless of whether there was a discount.

At first I was intimidated about keeping track of my expenses and submitting bills and paperwork to the ministry. The ministry staff was patient and gracious in answering my questions and, once I got used to it, sending the information was easier than I anticipated. I even started a filing system to keep track of what was submitted, what was shared, on what we needed to make monthly payments, etc. (Editor’s note: A sample medical bill log for tracking healthcare expenses—maternity or otherwise—is available by logging into your Member Portal account at chministries.org/members.)

In all, CHM members shared over $80,000 in medical bills!

Today I still struggle with PSC and fatigue, its primary symptom. I have relapsed a couple of times and had another procedure performed in April 2018. Not much is known about PSC or what causes it, so we’re trying different options with my diet to see what may help.

My condition has humbled me because I’d always been a high-energy person. Now I’m grateful for the days I have energy whenever they occur. Micaiah is a typical active one-year-old and I do my best to keep up with him!

The journey has been frightening. When I was diagnosed with ICP we had to accept that our son might be stillborn. After learning about the PSC I wrestled with the fact that I might not live long enough to see him become an adult.

However, no matter what happens we know that God still works all things together for our good. We’re so thankful for everyone who prayed for us and I’m also grateful for the late diagnosis of ICP that enabled me to enjoy most of my pregnancy.

We love CHM and tell many people about the ministry. Some of my healthcare providers who hadn’t heard about CHM before were intrigued and said they wanted to learn more. After hearing my story, even our tax accountant was amazed by how much the ministry helped our family.

Thank you, CHM staff and members, and may God bless you as you do the work of His kingdom.

See CHM’s sample medical bill log and Gold program maternity guide at chministries.org/maternity.

Diagnosed with endometriosis, in 2008 I underwent surgery to remove a fibroid tumor.

My pain resurfaced seven years later and the doctor ordered a second surgery. He believed my pain was caused by an adhesion. However, during the surgery he also discovered two spots resembling endometrial implants. The doctor removed those as well and the pain went away.

In 2016 I was compelled to seek a different healthcare cost plan. Not long before, a friend’s son had broken his arm; my friend raved about CHM and how its members shared the entire expense. Her testimony and my own research indicated that joining CHM was the clear choice for someone like me, so I became a Gold member in January 2017.

A few months later I experienced sudden abdominal pain. It was so severe that pain medications had no effect. The doctor surmised it was a ruptured cyst and advised that I wait a few weeks to confirm the diagnosis, but the pain continued. An ultrasound revealed that I needed surgery to remove more endometrial implants.

I praise the Lord that the surgery was a success, but my healing isn’t the only blessing that came from my experience. CHM has made me think quite a bit about the description of the early Church in the book of Acts—they gathered what they had to help others in need.

I felt like I was being a burden when I first let the ministry know about my medical need, but the man who answered the phone was compassionate, kind and encouraging. CHM shared about $6,800 after more than $4,000 in discounts, and now I tell others about the ministry every chance I get. It’s a beautiful picture of love and how we—the body of Christ—can meet the needs of others. I’m so thankful to be a CHM member.

Our story is a tale about what happened when we least expected it and how God wove CHM into the tapestry of our lives to help us in a time of great need.

After serving as missionaries for many years, in 2004 my husband Richard, and I continued in full-time ministry by founding The Keystone Project (keystoneproject.org) in Keystone, S.D. The Keystone Project is a global missions network that trains church leaders to “make disciples who will make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20)—with a focus on international leaders and students.

Our oldest son, Richard Jr. (“Rick”), and his wife, Jennifer, joined CHM in early 2014. Knowing we were searching for a healthcare cost solution, they encouraged us to sign up as well. We became Gold members that July and for several years enjoyed relatively good health.

In May 2017, however, my husband was teaching a discipleship training seminar when he began feeling strange. By that evening he felt tightness in his chest. Our youngest son, George—who had just earned his EMT license and was in paramedic school—asked Richard if he wanted him to call the ambulance. Thinking it wasn’t serious, Richard said no. George instead gave him three baby aspirin tablets.

Richard’s symptoms returned after a few hours and we went to the emergency room. We were shocked to discover that he was suffering a heart attack despite eating a healthy diet and regularly using his treadmill.

After the diagnosis, a number of tests and a stent procedure, we started talking about what we thought the incident would cost. We joked—somewhat morbidly—that the charges would be “scary enough to cause a heart attack.”

We soon received the medical bills and my calculator did, indeed, show a scary number: nearly $58,000.

Thankfully, a letter from the hospital arrived stating that, because CHM is not insurance and we are considered self-pay patients, our bill would be reduced 52 percent if paid in a certain timeframe.

I immediately called CHM and they worked with us to meet the discount deadline.

Meanwhile, I set up a payment plan with all of Richard’s healthcare providers to keep our accounts in good standing. We were thrilled to soon receive the CHM check to share the remainder of the hospital bill, and as someone who loves a “bargain,” I couldn’t have been happier with how the ministry handled the situation.

A few weeks later Richard went back to the hospital due to more pressure in his chest. We thought perhaps it was another heart attack. He was tested and diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Again, CHM stepped in to share the expenses, totaling $6,800 after discounts of about 50 percent.

During the summer I accompanied Richard to his heart rehab appointments; I’d heard those who undergo cardio rehab have a 60 percent lower risk of recurring heart events. We also implemented some lifestyle changes to help ease his GERD symptoms.

Richard has since returned to the work he loves at The Keystone Project. We praise God!

God has blessed us with nine children—all adults now—and with the exception of Richard Jr. we decided to name them after heroes of the Christian faith: Jonathan Edwards Greene, David Brainerd Greene, William Carey Greene, Charles (“Charlie”) Finney Greene, James Hudson Taylor Greene, Andrew Murray Greene, George Whitefield Greene and Amy Carmichael Greene.

Our family works together every day at the Rushmore Express Family Inn and Suites, owned by The Keystone Project.

Four of our eight sons are CHM members, and two have thus far welcomed babies born under CHM’s Gold maternity program.

Rick Jr.’s wife, Jennifer, gave birth to Richard III on Jan. 21, 2015. They welcomed a second son, Joah Thomas, on Oct. 7, 2017. Joah’s birth weight was under five pounds and complications landed him in the NICU, but thankfully he’s doing fine today. Between the two pregnancies and a miscarriage the family suffered in 2016, CHM shared over $47,600.

Charlie and his wife, Amber, celebrated the birth of their first daughter, Emory, on Aug. 19, 2016. CHM members alleviated the financial burden by sharing $16,870 in maternity expenses.

Pregnant for the second time, Amber was sent home on Dec. 14, 2017, after her labor hadn’t progressed enough to be admitted to the hospital. After a very short time at home her water broke.

Driving to the hospital 30 minutes away, Amber told Charlie to pull over because they weren’t going to make it in time. As soon as he called 9-1-1 and opened Amber’s car door, Charlie caught the baby in his arms!

They had called me on their way to the hospital and I dropped everything I was doing, arriving just after the birth and just as an ambulance approached from the opposite direction.

Thankfully, both mom and baby—another daughter, Indiana Seraph—were fine and were safely transported to the hospital. At the time of this writing CHM has shared nearly $6,000 in expenses for Indiana’s birth.

CHM has been there for us during the most frightening and joyous times of our lives. We have been reminded that the number of our days is in God’s hands (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16). Every day is a new chance to make good choices regarding our health and to be thankful for the many blessings He has given us.

We highly recommend CHM and have referred others to join. We’re so happy to know that our monthly financial gift helps bring healing to others in the family of God. We welcome CHM members to visit us in the Black Hills of South Dakota; our ministry is only two miles away from Mount Rushmore!

In May 2012, at age 57, my wonderful Christian husband was killed in a car accident. One of the many decisions I had to make after his death was the critical issue of health care costs.

At $641 per month, his insurance plan was out of the question for my budget. It wasn’t until October that I realized joining CHM at the Gold level wasn’t so much my decision as it was God’s provision.

In December I had major eye problems from a hereditary disease. As my sight worsened, it became harder to see while driving at night. I made many visits to the eye doctor but left with no satisfaction. Finally, I was referred to a corneal specialist who said I needed surgery as soon as possible.

The surgeon seemed skeptical when I told him I didn’t have insurance but was a member of a health cost sharing ministry—Christian Healthcare Ministries—that would take care of me.

The doctor advised me to sign up for insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. “No way,” I thought. I was fed up with health insurance plans that refused to cover treatment they previously told me was approved. CHM was my choice.

In January 2014 I had a corneal transplant and cataract surgery on my right eye. The next day my sight vastly improved; I was overwhelmed with joy and amazement at the beauty of the world I’d been missing.

The surgeon came in with a big smile to my follow-up appointment. “You’re the star of the show today. Your vision is 20/25. You’re doing better than most people who had the same operation.”

To receive a discount on the surgeon’s charges, I had to pay up-front before the surgery. Amanda Moore, my CHM Needs Processing representative, helped me get a check expedited to share that bill.* After negotiating discounts, a surgery that would have cost almost $22,000 was reduced to about $15,000.

What a blessing CHM has been in this journey of faith. Over and over I’ve opened my mailbox to find another check to help with doctor visits, prescriptions and other medical bills for this incident.

The staff is helpful every time I call with questions or prayer requests. Amanda Moore, Lori Perko and Deborah Walker have been encouragers by listening, praying with me and passing my prayer requests on to the rest of the CHM staff.

What a wonderful “hug from heaven” I received when I opened my mail to find an encouraging card included with the final check for my remaining bills.

To me, “Christian Healthcare Ministries” means caring and financial help. I’m thanking God and CHM for taking care of me. Joining the ministry was one of the best decisions I have made since the loss of my dear husband. Thank you again.

*Editor’s note: When possible, CHM works with members to share funds early to obtain a large discount or meet a health care provider’s deadline. However, this scenario is not typical.

In September 2012, my wife and I were three months away from running out of our COBRA insurance coverage. Sharon worked in a small office whose staff had looked into a group health plan, but premiums were unreasonable ($2,700 per month for us).

We petitioned for a COBRA extension but were turned down. I had blood pressure issues and my wife had arthritis. We started investigating health care alternatives.

Shortly after, Sharon learned about Christian Healthcare Ministries and showed me the website. I remember sitting in front of my computer thinking, “Praise God! There is something Christians can turn to.”

Meanwhile, I’d felt pressure in my chest on and off for 26 years. Doctors had never found anything wrong and I was tired of spending money and taking tests with no diagnosis. However, things became so bad that if I did a physical activity for two hours, it took me 24 hours to recover. I began to suspect that something was really wrong.

We had a time of prayer at church the following Sunday. My wife and I prayed with another couple; the woman was a school nurse. I told her what was happening and that I was hesitant to go to the emergency room because we were new CHM members and didn’t know how well the program worked. “Don’t let that stop you from getting the help you need, Larry,” she told me. I know now that the Lord was speaking through her because that night I began to feel chest pressure.

Tests done in the emergency room showed I hadn’t had a heart attack. In fact, my initial EKG was normal but the pressure remained. The medical staff gave me medication to relieve some of it.

Not long after, my heart stopped.

The staff was able to get my heart beating again. They did another series of tests and everything was okay—my arteries were not blocked. I don’t see how my arteries could have been completely clean, so maybe God performed a miracle in that hospital room.

Medical staff determined that my heart stopped because of sick sinus syndrome (the name for a group of heart arrhythmias in which the sinus node—the heart’s natural pacemaker—doesn’t work properly). The cause of my chest pressure, however, is still unknown.

My medical bills totaled over $93,000 and I qualified for a 40 percent discount on my hospital bill through federal aid. After additional discounts, the total reduced charges were nearly $70,000 and CHM shared the remaining $23,000. I was overwhelmed.

It was important to me to keep the cost down because I didn’t want to be a burden to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I knew people were praying for me and I was confident the Lord was going to take care of me financially through His people at CHM.

Christian Healthcare Ministries went beyond anything I could have ever expected. I received my first medical bill in late June 2013, the full hospital bill in July and received my first check from CHM in August—more quickly than payment from an insurance company. The hospital staff was amazed, too.

I sometimes think about what would have happened if I still had insurance. I would be paying my $5,000 deductible and the remaining 20 percent on our 80/20 plan. With CHM, I have yet to pay a penny out of my own pocket thanks to my discounts. I’m convinced that CHM is the way the Lord provides for His children’s health care costs.

I can’t express enough gratitude for the ministry. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

And special thanks to my amazing family, church family and friends who have shown me such an outpouring of love.

The first time my husband, Bruce, and I heard of Christian Healthcare Ministries, the idea struck us as biblically sound. When we signed up 13 years ago, it was a way to minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing that it would also serve us in the unexpected event of a medical crisis.

The unexpected became reality when in 2013 I was diagnosed with a large spinal cord tumor that required surgical removal. After hanging up the phone, I sat trying to digest this diagnosis.

I kept thinking, “Thank God for Christian Healthcare Ministries.” Whatever I would have to face, I knew I didn’t have to worry about medical costs. Psalm 84:11, a verse I had memorized the day before, resurfaced: “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

I was and still am so thankful God had everything under control. I knew God would give me grace to persevere during my treatment. I knew He had given me a good thing in Christian Healthcare Ministries and I prayed He would return me to good health as well.

My health is better now than it was two years ago, and every single bill has been paid in full. After discounts of more than $30,000, I received nearly $50,000 from CHM. In fact, one reimbursement check arrived before the bill did.

I’m deeply grateful for all that CHM members have done for me during this difficult time. What a wonderful feeling to have everything paid off!

Before my surgery, I was told my best options for surgery were two local hospitals. I called CHM to ask which would practice better stewardship of funds given by the Lord’s people. I was advised to choose what I wished, but that one of the hospitals had a good track record of giving bill discounts. I chose to receive treatment there and was very happy with my choice.

May God continue to bless you as you bless His people with your ministry. I don’t hesitate to enthusiastically recommend CHM to my friends!

Due to a job change last year, our family moved over 400 miles to Lakeside, Calif., after 27 years of living further north in Modesto, Calif.

My husband, Chad, had health insurance through his new company, but a family policy wasn’t an option for us. Fortunately, some good friends highly recommended Christian Healthcare Ministries. Our teenage son, Xavien, and I joined the Gold and Brother’s Keeper programs in Oct. 2017. (Editor’s note: Brother’s Keeper is CHM’s program for catastrophic medical bills.)

Jan. 9, 2018, was literally a dark and stormy night. We regularly care for Rugar, a friend’s quarter horse. That night my daughter-in-law, Jessica, was helping me feed him. Dressed to the nines in rain gear and a head lamp, I ducked inside the barn to pull the feeder trough under the awning and out of the rain.

Apparently not satisfied with his supper, Rugar kicked me in the head and I immediately blacked out.

Jessica quickly called 9-1-1 and an ambulance soon arrived.

I came to after a few minutes with a numb face and profuse bleeding from my chin. Having never experienced an emergency like this, I was scared but trusted that I was in good hands.

On the way to the hospital the tears started to flow. Yes, I had a concussion and was in pain, but the fear I couldn’t erase from my mind was what this would cost and how we would pay for it. I manage the family finances and I knew this would be an expense that definitely wouldn’t fit into our budget!

I received excellent care at the hospital along with nine stitches to help heal the gash on my chin.

During my recovery I talked with the friends who referred us to CHM. They had submitted medical bills to the ministry and assured me that it would be easy to send my bills via the CHM online Member Portal (chministries.org/members). That helped put my restless mind at ease.

I read and reread CHM’s advice on talking with healthcare providers’ billing offices. I asked, verbatim, for a discount on each bill. A couple of providers said no. Another one seemed hesitant and said they’d never had that question before.

However, the hospital bill—the most significant charge—would be reduced 40 percent if I could pay within a certain timeframe. I called CHM and explained the situation. The staff worked quickly to meet the deadline and a bill of over $47,000 was reduced to just over $28,000—an expense that CHM members shared. (Editor’s note: Please contact CHM’s Member Advocate department at 1-800-791-6225, ext. 5002, if your healthcare provider sets a deadline for a discount of 40 percent or more on a bill more than $1,000.)

I also learned that CHM doesn’t share most medical transportation bills, so I was determined to negotiate my ambulance bill. It was a bit of a wild goose chase getting in touch with the right person because I wasn’t sure which company transported me. I spent a few hours calling around, but eventually found out the $1,300 charge was written off. Another blessing!

Today I’m doing well. The only reminders of my accident are a scar on my chin and a few forgetful moments—though my husband teases me that those moments are due to age, not my concussion.

My ordeal and the resulting treatment and costs taught me that I need to trust God more. I’m sometimes slow to learn that I can’t control my own destiny but the accident proved that each moment is in God’s hands, not mine. When fear set in, He gave me peace that everything was going to work out fine if I just stopped worrying and let Him take over.

Words just aren’t enough to express my gratitude to CHM and its members. Thank you so much!

After a serious accident last year, I no longer take freedom of movement for granted.

I was trimming tree branches on Memorial Day 2014 and was about 20 feet high. The branch I was cutting was heavy. When it fell, the weight shift raised the branch my ladder was braced upon and destabilized both the ladder and me.

I fell off the ladder and landed on a steel fence below. The fence is about 3.5 feet high with metal points at its top nearly six inches apart and seven inches tall.

Two or three of the points penetrated my abdomen. One even went clear through my back. I managed to get off the fence and lay down in my backyard.

I praise God that my wife, Karen, and neighbors saw the fall—and that one of the neighbors was a police officer and former EMT. After radioing for an ambulance, he administered first aid.

The Lord laid His hands on me and I’m certain there were angels all around that day. Miraculously, the fence points didn’t damage my internal organs. I was later told that one metal point came within an eighth of an inch of my spinal cord. Had it hit my spine, I would have become a paraplegic.

I received excellent care at the local hospital and underwent emergency exploratory surgery. I had two broken ribs, a fairly large hematoma, a bruised lung, fractured vertebrae, an eight-inch incision in my abdomen and other wounds. I was released after five days in the medical center, but I had to wear a back brace for a while.

I’m so thankful for the Lord’s mercy. He had everything in place to take care of my needs. The outcome of my situation could have been very different.

Karen and I (along with my doctors) were amazed at my rapid progress. After 24 weeks, gone were the five medium and large wounds we packed daily with gauze.

We celebrated the small victories—like the ability to drive again or wear a tie—because each situation was a big deal to us. We rejoiced when, after 16 weeks, I was able to return to church. In fact, I wasn’t prepared for the emotion of that day. We entered the front doors and just cried. My wife doesn’t shout often, but a “Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!” came right out of her. She says she would shout it from the rooftops, but for obvious reasons our family no longer “does” heights!

I’m especially thankful for the freedom to walk in my church doors to kneel at the foot of the cross. There is no greater privilege.

We thank God for healing and no infections. He has truly been good. Christian Healthcare Ministries, too, was wonderful and shared $34,855 in bills after $22,785 in discounts. We are so grateful.

Later, we were grieved to hear that the police officer neighbor who saved my life passed away. We’d appreciate your prayers that God will comfort his family.

It’s been quite a journey and we hope that many people will come to Jesus through our experience. How rich God’s presence has been. We’ve witnessed miracle after miracle and are overwhelmed by the kindness of those who anticipated and met our physical, emotional and financial needs. Praise our wonderful Lord and savior!

A little over five years ago, my husband, Tom, and I decided to move; we would no longer have employer-provided health insurance. I spent months trying to find an insurance plan we could afford. Christian Healthcare Ministries was an option, but I was a bit skeptical because we’d only used traditional insurance.

Eventually we became frustrated with major annual increases in premiums that didn’t reflect any usage by us—but still continued to rise. We researched the pros and cons of numerous health care options. Once again, we considered CHM and, after much discussion, concluded that it had to be better than health insurance. Joining CHM and Brother’s Keeper at the Gold level was very affordable and the total cost of both was still less expensive than any insurance plans we found.

Just months after joining in Feb. 2013, our family practitioner found an abnormality during Tom’s office visit. He was referred to a specialist for testing. The specialist was very accommodating when we explained that we were self-pay patients. He offered the least expensive test that he could.

An unexpected incident occurred during the test and my husband was sent to the emergency room. Thankfully, the situation resolved within several hours and he was sent home.

Faced with much higher bills than we anticipated, we called the billing department for each health care provider and asked if they offered discounts for self-pay patients. Most offered a reduction or requested that we apply for medical assistance. In the meantime, we made small monthly payments on the bills to show we weren’t ignoring them.

I completed the necessary forms for CHM and submitted the bills showing the original costs and reduced amounts. Within one month, we received the first CHM check to help pay off the first provider. In less than three months, all of our bills were completely paid off by this wonderful voluntary health cost sharing ministry and we were reimbursed for the payments we had already made.

Meanwhile, one morning in July Tom woke up with a detached retina and needed emergency surgery. The incident happened suddenly and doctors told us it couldn’t have been prevented or anticipated. Though it was difficult for him to be restricted in all his activities while his eye healed, he complied. The doctors told us that Tom’s improvement in such a short period of time is not normal. They described it as “incredible”!

Our faith has grown stronger through the tough times, and we have seen how God faithfully provides when we simply ask Him. It is now our pleasure to pray and help others with their medical costs through this ministry.

We’re so grateful that God provided for our needs through Christian Healthcare Ministries. We spent so much money in previous years on health insurance premiums with high deductibles that our savings had become depleted.

Each time we received a check from CHM, we felt overjoyed and blessed by the outpouring of sharing. It was a joy to write our last check for the hospital and to include a letter explaining how we were able to pay the last lump sum instead of a small monthly payment—through God’s goodness and the generosity of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Stunned by sudden pain, I quickly retreated from a friend’s driveway into the safety of my car. Looking down, I found a deep wound caused by a dog bite. I later learned that the dog’s fencing was not secure.

My husband immediately drove me to the emergency room and I was treated with anti-rabies shots and antibiotics. Feeling the need to be proactive, I also added probiotics and cultured vegetables (such as noncommercial sauerkraut) to my diet.

This was my first incident as a Christian Healthcare Ministries member. Every time I called the CHM office, the staff answered my inquiries in a helpful manner and explained what I needed to do.

My original bill was $21,050. I had read the CHM literature and newsletters and therefore absorbed the idea of negotiating discounts for medical services. I asked and the hospital offered a 50 percent discount if I paid cash.* Since I was financially able, I proceeded at the encouragement and direction of the CHM Member Advocate department. CHM members shared the remaining amount of my bill.

The following weeks were a lesson in learning patience because healing simply takes time. I believe that deep wounds heal from the inside out. My leg continues to heal, though some numbness remains at the site of the injury.

I first heard of Christian Healthcare Ministries 10 years ago while reading a magazine. I was intrigued by its practice of not sharing expenses for unbiblical medical care. However, change is difficult for me, so it wasn’t until this year that I researched our family’s options once we canceled our catastrophic policy from an independent insurance company. We chose to join the Christian Healthcare Ministries family. I believe God went before me on all my health care money matters. If memory serves, our previous policy didn’t even have emergency room coverage.

I can now speak with confidence when I say that CHM represents itself well and is trustworthy. We thank God for the obedience of this ministry’s members.

*Editor’s note: If your medical bills total more than $1,000, please contact the CHM Member Advocate department at 1-800-791-6225, option 5, before accepting a discount and making payment. Please remember that once a bill is paid, negotiations cease. To learn more, see CHM Guideline L.

My husband, Donald, and I were members of a different health cost sharing ministry. We eventually became unhappy with it because our monthly sharing amount continued to rise and it started to seem more like an insurance company.

A few years ago I saw a segment on Christian Healthcare Ministries on Fox News’ “Huckabee” show. I felt compelled to look into CHM, especially after watching two members give their testimonies on the show. I called the ministry and asked a lot of questions, eager to make the switch.

Three years passed witho
I laid hands on him and prayed over him. He began to feel better and left to work at one of our farms. The next day he seemed fine as well, but as the third day arrived, he was up and down throughout the night due to what he thought was indigestion.

We contacted a physician friend in nearby San Angelo. He got us an appointment the next day, during which an EKG was performed. Results were abnormal, so medical staff did further testing and determined he would need a stent. More testing revealed three heart blockages, two major and one minor. We scheduled surgery immediately.

Donald recovered very quickly. The doctors said he was strong and healthy in general, and the day after he came home from the hospital, he was back to work in the cotton field and overseeing the planting. At 11 weeks post-surgery, he was back to normal.

I called CHM after we returned home from surgery. The staff was very helpful, talking me through what to do as bills came in. The first was our physician bill totaling $18,616, not including some small out-of-pocket payments. The physician offered a 25 percent discount that was only applicable if paid by a certain time. The hospital, too, offered a time-sensitive discount (50 percent). The bill was $83,278 before the reduction. I quickly completed the CHM Needs Processing forms and faxed them (along with the itemized bills) to the ministry.

I called the next day to verify their receipt. A kind staff member named Doug Dillard assured me they had arrived and gave me the name of our Needs Processing representative, Jennifer Brotherton. She, too, was very helpful. CHM shared a total of $59,068 in medical bills after the discounts.

The most important thing I can share about our CHM experience is that we never had to panic and there was no drama. Everything flowed smoothly. CHM helped make our hospital experience seem like a “blip on the radar” because they gave us peace of mind. We didn’t worry about how the bills were going to be paid because Christian Healthcare Ministries was there for us.

What a blessing, too, to be part of a spiritual support system from CHM members. My husband received cards and letters of encouragement from folks all over the country. Throughout our ordeal, God gave us a great revelation of His grace, love and faithfulness. We are truly grateful, and I definitely recommend CHM to everyone.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

On Mother’s Day weekend in 2013, our very active and healthy 11-year-old daughter, Makayla, experienced severe fatigue, muscle pain and tingling in her extremities. We took her to a local clinic where she was diagnosed with a concussion and sent home.

However, her condition worsened. She slept a lot, had no appetite and lost control of her facial muscles and motor skills. We took her to the hospital where doctors ran more tests and found nothing unusual.

She collapsed that evening.

Alarmed, we took her to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment that lasted five days. She was hospitalized for 23 days, improving halfway through her stay. She began an intensive rehab regimen which continued after her release until mid-October.

By that time, the hospital bill was over $160,000—not including charges for twice-a-week rehab. We made the hospital aware that we didn’t have insurance, but were part of Christian Healthcare Ministries. We were in contact with CHM staff member Terry Lawrence; he assured us that CHM would work with us on our bills.

We visited a financial counselor while Makayla was still in the hospital. The counselor gave us forms to complete to determine our need for financial assistance. In addition, since I’m self-employed, we submitted copies of our tax returns and records from my photography business.

We were exceedingly blessed when we were notified that the hospital had given us a 100 percent discount, not only for the $160,000 bill but for any expenses we incurred over the next year for any of our children under 19 years old—praise the Lord!

The hospital staff was very easy to deal with; they even reminded us to visit with the financial counselor before checking out. We were diligent to provide them with all the information requested and were very upfront with the hospital regarding our CHM membership.

We have been members of CHM for many years, so I knew it was important to pursue bill discounts. Yet, prayer was just as important throughout our ordeal. We posted updates about Makayla’s progress on Facebook and people from all over the country responded with notes of encouragement and prayer.

Today Makayla is doing very well. She no longer needs physical therapy and has resumed all normal activities while showing very few GBS symptoms. After Christmas she was able to rejoin her friends in her basketball league. Though she has lost much of her stamina and coordination, she is able to run, jump and compete. We are so grateful for the prayers of the CHM family and continue to believe that God has touched Makayla and that she’ll be able to lead a normal life.

My advice to anyone regarding discounts is this: Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s a very non-confrontational process and worst scenario is that they may say no.

Or, as it was in our case, they may give you a $160,000 discount! To God be the glory.

My husband and I are general contractors and we were building a new home in summer 2014 when I noticed Kevin struggling to process simple concepts. When he made three attempts to build one wall, I knew something was wrong.

We scheduled a doctor appointment and I requested an MRI. The doctor suggested depression was the problem and prescribed antidepressants. However, Kevin’s condition grew worse and we switched doctors in December. He underwent an MRI on Dec. 23.

The medical staff detained us in a small waiting area. The phone rang and our new doctor was on the line. Kevin had a large tumor in the center of his brain and he needed to be admitted to the hospital.

I told her we were going home to celebrate Christmas with our children and grandchildren. She could call the next day with a “plan B.” The next day (Christmas Eve), she made an appointment for us with the oncologist the following Monday.

I hung up the phone. How strange that we would be seeing an oncologist. I was shaken up and felt like I was falling apart.

I called CHM and spoke with Sherry Wyscarver, our Needs Processing representative. Since we were relatively new to CHM, I asked if there was any doctor or hospital from whom we couldn’t seek treatment.

She gently explained that all I needed to worry about was taking care of Kevin. She prayed with me over the phone. “I feel that God is going to be glorified through this journey you are on,” she said.

I sunk to my knees after we hung up and prayed for peace, wisdom and strength. In that moment, I felt like God picked me up. To this day, I don’t think He ever put me back down.

We enjoyed celebrating Christmas together and asked our daughter, who has a medical background, to join us as an advocate during the oncologist appointment.

The tumor couldn’t be surgically removed and appeared to be a Stage 3, fast-growing tumor. If that were true, we were told that Kevin had about three months to live. Doctors recommended further testing and referred us to a reputable hospital several hours away.

We had an appointment on Jan. 21 and a biopsy scheduled for Jan. 27. There was only one MRI appointment available before the biopsy. The billing office told us we had to pay $6,000 before it was scheduled. The biopsy would cost even more.

I called Sherry immediately. She asked me to hand the phone to the billing representative. After a while, everything was resolved and I was back on the phone with Sherry. “Don’t worry about anything,” she said. I was flooded with peace.

Our prayers were answered when the biopsy showed Stage 2 cancer rather than Stage 3. Though he wasn’t yet out of the woods, we had hope that Kevin would be with us a while longer.

After simultaneous radiation and chemotherapy, doctors are amazed at how well Kevin is doing. From the beginning, we were told treatment would only stop the growth—not reduce the size—of his tumor, but his tumor has indeed shrunk!

God has met our every need. CHM and its Brother’s Keeper program have shared nearly $300,000 thus far in medical expenses, and members have prayed on behalf of Kevin and our family. We’ve received hundreds of cards from members who shared encouragement, prayers, stories, pictures, videos and testimonies. God even worked through The American Cancer Society, which negotiated a $12 nightly rate at a nearby hotel during our six weeks of radiation therapy. In addition, we’ve become good friends with the physician’s assistant, who has shown an interest in our faith!

Every day I think about how blessed we are to have CHM in our lives. Thank you for your amazing support and prayers. Thank you, members, for your constant encouragement. We are blessed beyond measure because you are in our lives.

In 2009 I lost my employer-provided health insurance and chose to obtain a short-term medical insurance policy. I had to reapply every six months; the cost went up each time. I was denied renewal in early 2010. By that time, my adult son was a member of Christian Healthcare Ministries and I joined after he told me about the ministry.

Two years later, I received a call from my doctor regarding the results of a routine blood test. My PSA number was high, and he was scheduling an appointment with an urologist.

The urologist scheduled another PSA test. The score was even higher at 6.5 (the normal range is 0 to 4). A biopsy was scheduled and performed. While I waited on the results, I prayed and trusted that I didn’t have cancer.

My doctor called to tell me that two out of 12 samples were positive. I did have prostate cancer and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “This happens to other people,” I thought.

The treatment process began quickly: consultation with doctors, reading up on treatments, deciding the best course of action. Should I get surgery to remove the prostate? Or radiation treatment? Both have serious—and permanent—side effects.

We decided on a relatively new kind of treatment called CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery. My wife and I felt it was the right choice because CyberKnife targets the prostate; regular radiation treatment would have affected my entire abdomen.

Cancer is expensive. I called the billing departments of the hospital and doctors’ offices to explain CHM and request discounts on my bills. Though it was more difficult working with some providers than others, I still received $49,559 in discounts. CHM shared the remaining $116,287 in bills.

The CHM staff was always supportive and caring whenever I called to review the process of submitting medical bills for sharing. I once received a phone call from a staff member simply telling me that he was praying for me. I really appreciated that personal attention.

My PSA score after treatment was 0.7—that’s a definite cure!

Ironically, I found that incurring large medical bills was more stressful than the cancer itself, but I’m so thankful we had CHM to come alongside us. I don’t know what we would have done without the ministry. Because of my ordeal, I’ve learned that I really can trust God with my finances.

I recommend CHM whenever I can.

When my husband and I heard from a friend at my job about Christian Healthcare Ministries, we decided to check it out. I’m so glad we did.

On August 20, 2014, I experienced a seizure. I was rushed to the hospital and underwent an MRI and CT scan. Tests revealed a tennis ball-sized, nonmalignant tumor on my brain.

I was shocked because I had no idea that anything was wrong. Questions came in a rush: How would I be able to continue working? Should I have the surgery doctors were recommending? I didn’t want to, but the tumor’s size could cause future seizures.

I called CHM and everyone was kind and supportive. I worked mostly with Heather Collins in the Member Advocate department. Her wonderful, sweet spirit helped me through the process as she answered all my questions and walked me through the steps.

Submitting my bills to CHM was much easier than I thought. The process was seamless, even with many bills from doctors, hospitals and miscellaneous services.

To date, I’ve received $50,526 in discounts because of CHM’s wonderful staff. CHM members have thus far shared $62,249 in medical bills.

I’m still in “repair mode,” so to speak. My peripheral vision has been affected, but I believe in the healing power of God. I am praising the Lord, too, because it could have been worse. While my heavenly Father and I had some very intense discussions on my impaired vision, I praise Him because I’m still able to see!

Experiencing an illness is where the rubber meets the road. When things are going well, we praise God, thank Him and then go about our way. In trials, however, we truly have to put our trust in the unseen, overcome doubt and embrace His unconditional love.

I give much thanks to CHM members and staff for their help through this process—financially and spiritually. I have recommended CHM to many people and will continue to do so. You’ve become family to me. You aren’t an insurance company where members are only numbers. You really care for us.

My husband, David, and I declined the healthcare program offered by his employer because we believed there was a better way to protect our family from medical costs. We placed our faith in God when we joined CHM in 2014.

One year later our teenage daughter, Jorja, was sent to the emergency room for dizziness and a concussion after landing on her head during a cheerleading stunt.

Our faith in God’s provision was suddenly being tested. Would CHM really share medical bills? Was the bill submission process difficult? How long would it take for us to pay our bills?

After some deliberation, we walked into the emergency room and timidly explained CHM to the front desk staff, but they didn’t bat an eye. Right away Jorja received the care she needed to get better.

A few days after her discharge, the hospital’s financial assistance office called and explained that our self-pay status permitted a 70 percent discount on her bills. David and I were amazed at the news and relieved to learn of the significant reduction.

Immediately I felt obligated to save CHM members as much money as possible and asked for additional discounts on the radiologist and physician bills. Next, we set up a small monthly payment plan with each healthcare provider, completed the Needs Processing forms and submitted them online through the Member Portal.*

Fellow CHM members shared the remainder of our medical bills—a fact for which we’re extremely grateful. Without CHM we would have paid thousands of dollars. Thank you for sharing our medical expenses and for being a wonderful example of the love of God!

*Editor’s note: The Needs Processing Forms are available at chministries.org/needsforms and also on the CHM Member Portal at chministries.org/members.

My husband, Andrew, and I heard of Christian Healthcare Ministries in November 2013 and joined Jan. 1, 2014. CHM plus the Brother’s Keeper* program for catastrophic bills seemed to us the perfect solution to stay true to our Christian beliefs while still complying with the U.S. health care law.

How, we wondered, could a ministry like CHM offer such a vital service at such a low cost? We quickly learned the answer to our question.

In March 2014, Andrew called me from work saying he was experiencing pain and loss of vision in his left eye. Our family doctor quickly referred him to an eye specialist, who in turn referred him to a neuro-ophthalmologist in Oklahoma City—about 100 miles away.

After more exams, tests and procedures, the neuro-ophthalmologist’s diagnosis was a rare, infected growth in the retina and optic nerve. It blocked blood supply and only allowed Andrew to have peripheral vision. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI and more blood work during subsequent visits to Oklahoma City.

The next week, he had painful symptoms in his neck and shoulder. The pain increased so rapidly and was so intense that he was admitted to the hospital. Andrew had a severe staph infection that spread in and around his neck bones and nerves. As if that wasn’t enough to handle, testing also showed a blood infection and varicose veins along his esophagus, which would cause severe bleeding if any of them burst.

Andrew underwent emergency EGD (upper GI endoscopy) surgery to clamp off the largest six veins, while another 20 would be corrected four to six at a time in the weeks and months ahead. He spent 10 days in the hospital and was sent home with orders to remain on total bed rest and to take strong medication for several weeks.

When I arrived home after the surgery, I called CHM in tears. I was blessed by staff member Ken Lefever, who prayed with me and reassured me that ministry members would help us. Since we had also joined Brother’s Keeper, CHM’s optional program for catastrophic bills, I felt comforted knowing that even bills surpassing the regular program limit of $125,000 would be shared. I was able to sleep that night sustained by the thought that Andrew could receive the treatment he needed.

The medical bills started rolling in and I was nervous about explaining CHM to our health care providers. I carefully read the Guidelines and pertinent information in the ministry’s newsletter more than once and prayed before I made my phone calls. However, most providers were receptive and agreed to discount their fees. We also applied for the hospital’s charity care discount and received 80 percent off its fees.

A few weeks later, Andrew was hospitalized a second time. His infection was still present and he had anemia and pneumonia. This time, the hospital wrote off his bills 100 percent.

Nevertheless, charges were still accumulating and I found myself with more than 15 bills and just as many monthly payments to manage. Since Andrew was off work for a while, we learned a lot about prayerfully depending on God’s provision in times of suffering and hardship. I prayed earnestly for God to show me a timely way to keep our financial commitments. That week, I was offered a job cleaning at our church, which paid the exact amount we needed. Praise God!

When all was said and done, we received 66 percent in discounts on medical bills for Andrew’s eye condition and 55 percent off his EGD surgery and related bills. What a blessing it was to receive checks from CHM to pay each of them in full one by one! We’re so grateful for the expertise of the ministry’s Member Advocate department to help us obtain discounts and for Yvonne Woolridge, our CHM Needs Processing representative, who patiently and kindly answered my many questions.

Andrew spent a year recovering his health, which included four more EGD surgeries and many return trips to Oklahoma City for eye appointments, shots and retina surgery. Thankfully, though he still wears a patch, his left eye has finally stabilized and peripheral vision remains, though his central vision never returned.

We love being a part of CHM and we gladly send our monthly financial gifts, knowing they’ll be shared to help other Christians. We heartily recommend the ministry to family and friends.

Aug. 29, 2013: I had a routine ultrasound done on my thyroid because I’ve had hypothyroidism for nearly 18 years. I told the technician that I minister to abused women and she told me her own sad story. We prayed and I pointed her to the Lord for comfort and encouragement.

Days later, I was told that I had four tumors: a large one on the right of my thyroid, and three on the left.

My doctor sent me to a surgeon for a biopsy. However, due to a technical glitch, his radiology department couldn’t open the test results file. After six weeks of delays, a second ultrasound was ordered.

Nov. 7: The results showed that all four tumors shrunk in size—by 50 percent! The doctor was baffled; he didn’t believe the ultrasound results could be mine. He ordered a third test.

Nov. 18: I was sent to a new facility with state-of-the-art equipment. By that time, all of the technicians had heard about me. I was told that the last biopsy’s results could be because of poorer quality. I mentioned I found it interesting that my tumors had shrunk. The technician gave me a strange look. “I also believe God can do miracles,” I told her.

Four days later, the hospital called. They asked to schedule an appointment immediately for yet another ultrasound. Something in the prior test results wasn’t clear and there would be no charge this time. At first, I was fearful. Then a thought occurred to me: it seemed like God was going to a lot of trouble to show the medical professionals that He was still in charge. I prayed and gave the situation to the Lord.

Dec. 8: I was taken to a special room where the radiology department director examined me. Twenty minutes passed. He said he needed a second opinion, so his colleague arrived and examined me. They conferred. I was told it was over but that I needed to stay, so I waited another 10 minutes. They wanted to meet with me again.

I arrived early for my next appointment and talked with the nurses. Many of them were Christians in need of encouragement. We talked about the goodness of the Lord. Yes, we agreed, He takes care of His own.

I met with the doctor. “According to my chart,” he said, “your first ultrasound showed four tumors. The three on your left are no longer there. You also had one on your right nodule that was solid and large. It’s now less than one-quarter inch. It would be impossible to do a biopsy on such a small mass. You don’t need surgery or a biopsy. Come back in six months.”

Six months later (April 2014): I returned for my final follow-up appointment. My thyroid continues to improve and the doctors said there was no need to do another ultrasound for another year.

I discovered that I had been prescribed the wrong medications for many years, am highly allergic to various foods and that I’m vitamin-deficient. Now I am taking the right medicine and I’m feeling much better.

I give all the glory to God! I pray this simple story will encourage someone else today. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Our family joined CHM in January 2014 and, with what happened soon after, we’re so very thankful for that decision.

We served as pastors in Indiana for nearly 10 years when, six years ago, we felt the Lord calling us to become full-time evangelists. As a result, our family travels extensively.

We hadn’t had a health care plan for several years because a full-time evangelist doesn’t have a set or guaranteed income, plus we wanted something faith-based. Due to the requirements of the new health care legislation, we looked for a different way to care for our family’s needs.

After extensive research and speaking with several staff members at Christian Healthcare Ministries, we felt this was the best choice.

In February we were in the final stages of preparing for an April missions trip to the Philippines. We planned to speak at churches and a youth camp in a city called Baguio.

My wife, Melanie, hadn’t seen a doctor in six years. She made an appointment in Houston where we were ministering at the time. The doctor discovered Melanie had never had a mammogram. She sent her for one that day. Three days later, we were told that something looked abnormal.

Another biopsy and MRI confirmed that Melanie had invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).


Her tumor was nine millimeters in size and she needed surgery quickly.

There is no way to describe the feelings of panic, fear, desperation and uncertainty. While I prayed, the Lord spoke very clearly to me: “I have it under control and everything will be okay.”

I’m human and I had moments of distress. Through our ministry we’d witnessed many miracles and healings across the United States and overseas. God healed people we prayed for who suffered from cancer, seizures and other medical issues. This was different. Now we were faced with our own need, so we prayed continually for my wife’s healing.

Surgery was scheduled for March 5. “Expect the cancer to be in the left breast and perhaps the lymph nodes as well,” doctors told us. We prayed for complete healing.

The doctor approached me after the surgery. “We removed the cancer on her right side. The tumor is now only 0.7 millimeters. There’s no other cancer in the lymph nodes or anywhere else.”

I was overjoyed at the tumor’s reduced size! God has always been faithful.

Many people have asked why God didn’t remove the cancer completely. My answer is this: “Yes, He could have, but He gets more glory from this.” At first, the doctor suggested that my wife undergo chemotherapy, but she’s now receiving radiation treatment and is doing wonderfully.

It’s a walk of faith, but we’re taking this walk together and the Lord continues to lead the way.

When I contacted CHM about my wife’s condition, I was asked if she could be placed on the prayer list. I was impressed that someone would be interested enough to take the time to pray for her situation.

I spoke with Wilma in the Needs Processing department, who was kind and able to assist us in processing our medical bills. I talked with Lori in the Member Advocate department, who said to let her know if I had any problems with payments to the doctors.

CHM has completely taken care of us during this difficult time. We’re forever grateful, and I tell everyone about this health care option. CHM fulfills biblical principles as the body of Christ bears one another’s burdens.

It has been a blessing not to worry about the medical bills. After $20,125 in discounts, CHM shared $23,514. We don’t know what we would have done if CHM hadn’t been there for us. Our faith has been lifted and we realize more than ever that God is fighting for us.

Thank you, Christian Healthcare Ministries family, for ministering to us during a time of crisis. May God richly bless every one of you.

In May 2012 I was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer that’s difficult to overcome. My journey with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments lasted for eight months and finally ended, positively, on January 30, 2013.

Initially, fear and frustration gripped our family as we faced the unknown. I immediately called CHM to discuss finances. My mind was put at ease when a staff member told me that I was a Gold level member with Brother’s Keeper. I didn’t need to worry about money; instead, I was encouraged to focus on getting well.

My doctor was amazed at how well I coped with chemotherapy treatment. I never was hospitalized and didn’t vomit even once. I did regain some weight I had lost, but I praised God that I had no side effects from the medications. I clung to the Bible verses, “The prayers of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) and “My God shall supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19).

My children and grandchildren were a great encouragement to me. After I lost my hair due to treatment, one of my sons said, “Hair or not, I love you the way you are.”

Christian Healthcare Ministries was a blessing during my journey. We were encouraged with many cards and prayers—without counting, I know we received more than 100 cards from CHM members. CHM also helped us financially by sharing all of our expenses so far for treatment in the amount of $131,510 after $59,380 in bill discounts. A pharmaceutical company even gave me its medication for free—to the tune of $54,000!

As of this writing, I am still healed. God has been very gracious to me. My cancer doctor, who is Muslim, told me at my six month follow-up appointment, “Your attitude and your faith have healed you.” Yes, this is the day that my Lord has made and I rejoice because His mighty hand has restored me to health!

Thank you to the CHM members who came through for us. Thank you for being there, for lifting us up in prayer and for giving faithfully. We could rest peacefully knowing that we would be taken care of financially. May God bless each one of you and may 2014 be filled with peace, joy and love.

My name is Samuel Mason and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2008. My prostate specific antigen (PSA) level was 45 and my Gleason score was 8—both high numbers.

I determined at the outset to battle my condition through conventional medicine, natural medicine such as diet and exercise and, of course, supernatural medicine (prayer).

In 2011, when about to lose my health insurance, I saw a segment about Christian Healthcare Ministries on Fox News’ “Huckabee” show. Thoroughly impressed, I joined CHM as a Gold level and Brother’s Keeper member in July 2012.

As part of my prostate cancer treatment, my urologist recommended androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)—a treatment based on the reduction of androgen hormones, which stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. By lowering my androgen levels, the cancer would shrink and its growth rate would decrease. I began that treatment regimen immediately.

Eventually my PSA level became unreadable (zero), so my urologist and I decided to halt the therapy in May 2012. By March 2013, my PSA had risen back up to nine. We then agreed I should resume the therapy. After three months, my PSA level was down to 0.11. My urologist anticipates that it will soon settle at the unreadable level once again.

I learned that the medicine I needed cost nearly $3,000 per injection and that I would incur this cost every three months. However, the person I spoke with at CHM was very helpful and suggested there might be means through which I could get my medication for free. By following that advice and also through the help of a friend at church who works for the regional medical center, I was able to connect with a foundation that has committed to providing my injections for free for at least the next year—praise the Lord!

In the meantime, CHM reimbursed me for the initial medical bills incurred upon my resumption of hormone therapy. What a blessing!

Should the Lord tarry, I’m expecting to be around for my wife, children and grandchildren for many years to come. My trust is in the Lord. Satan wanted to use this disease to steal my tomorrows, but I sure don’t want to let him use it to steal my todays by filling them with worry and self-pity. Whether my time here on Earth is long or short, I’m going to live my life to the fullest at every moment.

I’ve always loved art, particularly drawing and painting. I earned an art degree from Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. In time I found myself working in advertising and media management. Despite my successful career, I believed God was calling me to create and teach art.

My wife and I began planning for my early "retirement" so that I could serve the Lord through my passion for art. We calculated our expenses and budgeted for what we thought would be more than enough for our healthcare costs.

Then I made the leap.

Around that time I heard about CHM on The Dave Ramsey Show. Intrigued, I did more research. Some friends and family members thought I was crazy to take a risk by joining a health cost sharing ministry, but I liked what I had read and became a member anyway.

Though I believed in CHM’s values and mission, a part of me intended to remain a member only until I reached Medicare age. Knowing I was in great health, I believed I would skate through the next 18 months with perfect health.

But I was wrong.

Instead, annual blood test results indicated elevated kidney and liver counts and a follow-up ultrasound revealed a large kidney tumor. My urologist deemed the tumor "suspicious" and strongly encouraged me to get it removed.

I was very scared. For so long I had been healthy and taken very good care of myself, but now I had no idea what would happen. It was then I questioned the decision I’d made to trust in a faith-based medical sharing ministry. Would it really work? Were the skeptics right?

God is indeed good and my experience with CHM was great. The staff members were understanding, helpful and thoughtful. Though it took some time, I read the Guidelines and instructions for submitting medical bills and followed them closely.

Many of my healthcare providers were familiar with CHM and gave discounts right away. For those who didn’t, I found it helpful to develop relationships with the billing office staff. When I believed a more significant discount might be available, I "climbed the ladder" by discovering who in the billing office had authority to approve discounts.

Though negotiating took a little more effort, it was worth it—and quite interesting. With a little work, nearly all of my bills were discounted between 20 and 50 percent—and the most costly bills received the deepest discounts. It’s amazing how much money can be saved with a little time and effort! (Editor’s note: To learn how discounts help you and all CHM members, see the July 2018 issue at chministries.org/newsletter.)

I’m fortunate that my cancer was contained within the tumor. My illness caused me to lose 40 pounds, but I’m doing what I can to keep my remaining kidney in good shape. I will have additional testing at my six-month follow-up appointment and, God willing, all will be well.

Second to a positive, healthy outcome to my diagnosis was the thrill of seeing CHM members come through like they say they will. God continues to do amazing things in my life—one of which is being part of this ministry. After $42,000 in discounts, CHM members faithfully shared more than $39,000 of my medical bills.

Making the switch to CHM has enabled me to serve God with my talents. God is good, and so is Christian Healthcare Ministries.

Editor’s note: To learn more about Joe McGuire’s artwork and caricatures, visit joetheartguy.com.

Two missionaries found in CHM a Bible-based reason to hope in God’s provision for their health care expenses while also helping other Christians pay their medical bills. Ben and Melissa Melancon of Lawrenceville, Ga., joined the ministry in 2011. They had no idea God would take them on a journey to show how powerful hope in Him can be.

In April 2014, Melissa had problems seeing out of her left eye. Her doctor assumed she needed glasses and referred her to eye specialists, who then referred her to a neuro-ophthalmologist. A brain scan revealed a tumor pressing against Melissa’s optic nerve.

“The moment I found out I had a brain tumor, I simply wanted to commune with and be close to the Lord,” Melissa said. “I remember praying, ‘Jesus, I need You close to me.’” The Lord was faithful, said Melissa, to lead her beside quiet waters. “By drawing close to Him, I recognized that He was going to be a refuge to me.”

After learning of the diagnosis, Ben and Melissa sought comfort and guidance from the Scriptures. “We studied the truths from God’s Word about Him healing all our diseases, making and forming us, watching over us and being our deliverer,” she said.

“Going through such a serious journey, the thought often crossed my mind: ‘What if I die?’ I would leave behind relationships, love, memories and more. But I also knew that I would fully experience the deepest expression of love and the deepest relationship I could ever have—my relationship with my Creator.”

A spiritual battle raged as Melissa experienced times of doubt and uncertainty, but hope won out. “There were many moments when I had to make a choice: I could live in fear and anxiety that my life was about to end or I could live with the faith and hope that God knows my days.”

Melissa was encouraged as she spent more time in God’s presence. “He drew me close and encouraged my heart. My faith deepened and I learned to see Him as a good father and healer.”

In June 2014 Melissa underwent surgery that restored her eyesight from 50 to 98 percent. CHM members shared her remaining medical bills after the Melancons received nearly 50 percent in discounts. The couple praised the Lord, rejoicing in the truth of Hebrews 6:19: “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

A month later, the Melancons learned Melissa was pregnant. “We were filled with gratitude, faith and joy,” she said. Melissa underwent a C-section since the baby was in breech presentation; their daughter was born healthy.

“My pregnancy was a symbol of God birthing a new hope in our lives, and we followed the Lord’s call to name her Hope,” Melissa said. “She’s a message from God about trusting Him and watching as He births something beautiful from our difficult circumstances.”

Between the brain surgery and maternity bills, CHM members shared more than $52,000. “All of our health care providers were willing to work with us and the CHM staff was always loving, pointing us back to Jesus in our time of need,” Ben said.

The Melancons are happy to have their health scare behind them, but they’re even more pleased they learned to cling to hope in the Lord. “What we experienced is a powerful reminder that God wants to give us hope that anchors our soul—and even joy—when we go through trials,” Melissa said.

Editor’s note: A video of the Melancons’ testimony is vimeo.com/141279677.

Rising healthcare prices for the self-employed caused my husband and me to seek a more affordable method to pay our medical costs. When we learned about CHM, I understood that it wasn’t insurance, but I liked the idea of sharing others’ needs in a biblical way. I also liked that my monthly financial gift would go to families who were incurring medical expenses.

Our CHM story began on Easter Sunday in 2017 when my 16-year-old daughter, Erin, experienced severe abdominal pain on her right side. The following day I tried to get an appointment with our doctor.

When I told the nurse that the pain continued for more than 24 hours, she encouraged me to take my daughter to the emergency room to see if it was her appendix. Tests ruled out appendicitis and the doctor surmised that she might have a virus.

Isaiah 40:12 talks about God having a strong hand and how He measures the waters in the hollow of His hand. When you have a sick child—and especially when the doctors are unsure of the cause—it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. The passage in Isaiah reminded me that God works all things together for good. I found strength in knowing that I didn’t need to fully understand the purpose of her illness because there was purpose nevertheless.

When the bills came I called the hospital and asked for a discount. The representative who spoke with me was polite, but she was also new and unfamiliar with CHM. She said we could get a discount if we paid immediately, but the discount she offered was smaller than I’d hoped.

I didn’t want to leave CHM without any room for negotiation by paying the bill at that time, so I asked her to issue me a new bill reflecting the discount being offered. I simply wanted something in writing before sending the bill to CHM. She refused.

When I called the CHM staff, Pat Turner from the Member Advocate department helped me negotiate the charges to obtain a better discount. At the time, I was out of town and my ability to communicate back and forth about our bills was limited, but Pat was flexible and her positive attitude and willingness to work with me brought great reassurance.

Negotiating Erin’s medical imaging bill was a completely different experience. The provider immediately offered a sizable discount and it was much easier to work with them.

Though I hope we don’t need to seek medical care in the future, if we do I want to have a general knowledge of our local medical facilities’ costs. I would have considered taking Erin to a different hospital had I known there can be discrepancies between medical facility costs for the same services.

To my relief, today Erin is doing well, is active in sports and keeps a very busy teenage schedule. The doctors never landed on a diagnosis but she improved anyway.

God reminded me of His faithfulness when I received the $4,500 check CHM sent to share my daughter’s medical bills. God taught me that He’s in control, that His hand is strong and that I can trust Him.

Thank you, CHM family, for being the method He used to reveal this to me.

My husband and I own a small business, and in 2014 our medical insurance became too expensive. After hearing about health cost sharing ministries, I found several options online.

My husband, Bill, and I were drawn to CHM because its programs are very affordable and fit our business’ budget. We were surprised, too, when we learned that all dependent children are just one membership unit—a great savings for families with multiple children.

In spring 2015 my Siamese cat attacked my elderly, outdoor cat. I intervened and suffered a bite on the back of my right hand. Infection spread quickly up my arm. My local urgent care facility prescribed an antibiotic; however, that night I experienced an adverse reaction and went to the emergency room. The staff prescribed two different antibiotics.

My primary doctor wasn’t satisfied with the emergency room’s treatment; my hand was still badly infected and she was concerned the bite had ruptured a tendon or caused a bone infection. She sent me back to the ER for lancing of the wound and additional testing.

Swelling persisted, so the doctor changed my antibiotic and prescribed an ointment. These helped tremendously but did not fully heal my hand. After six weeks of antibiotics, the doctor wanted me to undergo an ultrasound and bone scan. I was horrified at the tests’ costs—I’d already racked up nearly $6,000 for what first appeared to be such a simple issue—and declined them because I wasn’t willing to undergo the radiation treatment required for the bone scan.

I decided I would rather do self-treatment: aspirin to address the inflammation and a hand cream containing arnica plant extract.

I had questions about obtaining the itemized medical bills necessary for CHM sharing. Staff member Vicki Benek was very kind to answer all my questions and provide me with helpful information.

One health care provider gave us a 20 percent discount and we signed up for the hospital’s program for self-pay patients.

Unfortunately, my self-treatment with aspirin landed me in the emergency room several months down the road. I was experiencing tightness in my chest and pain in my left arm. It wasn’t a heart attack; I was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—probably caused by the aspirin I was taking.

This time, Bill drove me to a different hospital because I hadn’t had a good experience with the first one; one of CHM’s advantages is that as a member I can go to any health care provider I wish as long as the treatment falls under the ministry’s Guidelines.

The second hospital had a shorter wait time and offered a significant discount if the bill was paid by a particular date. This discount also was credited toward my CHM personal responsibility, so I had no out-of-pocket costs. The ministry worked with me to share the bill before the hospital’s due date.

I’m blessed to have learned that CHM really works. The staff members are incredibly patient and we’ve recommended CHM to several friends and family, especially those with many children and those we know who are small business owners.

Our family joined CHM in December 2013. Health insurance was unaffordable for us as a family of 14—which includes six biological children and two sibling groups adopted from foster care. As homeschoolers and operators of a horseback trail-riding farm and a Christian campground, we like that CHM gives us many healthcare choices and aligns with biblical values. However, the most significant factor is that the ministry is a mechanism for Christians to support each other spiritually as well as financially.

We didn’t know how those prayers and encouragement would help us navigate the troubled times ahead and help sustain our family through two serious automobile accidents.

On Oct. 24, 2016, our 15-year-old son, Elijah, was driving a golf cart while completing his daily chores. Neither Elijah nor the driver of an oncoming garbage truck saw each other. The truck, going 40 miles per hour, struck the golf cart.

Our 20-year-old daughter, Caileigh, was giving a riding lesson in our front yard and saw Elijah’s body fly 25 feet and land facedown in a muddy ditch. Caileigh leapt over the fence and ran to him, screaming for my husband, Doug, to come running from our barn.

Emergency crews arrived and a helicopter took Eli to the hospital. I accompanied him, dazed but amazed he was alive. His injuries included several broken ribs, a head injury with two large lacerations, a dislocated and shattered elbow that required surgery and significant bruising with road rash.

We praised God that he was discharged after several days in the hospital and needed only to undergo physical therapy.

In the meantime, I contacted CHM to request prayer and the staff listed our name on the prayer card sent with each monthly billing statement.

The CHM family sent many notes, letters and cards to encourage us and tell us about the prayers they were lifting up on behalf of Elijah and our family. We were humbled by the outpouring of compassion and love from so many Christian brothers and sisters we’d never met. Our faith was strengthened.

We thought life would get back to normal, but another fiery trial was yet to come. On Jan. 11 we awoke at 4 a.m. to a police officer shouting Doug’s name from outside our house. Sleepy and disoriented, I followed Doug to our kitchen where I heard the dreadful words, “Your kids have been in a terrible accident just down the road.”

I’ll never forget that moment when reality struck me as fiercely as the winter wind whipping through the doorframe and the sound of helicopter blades slicing through the night air. I looked out our side door toward the curve by the bridge and, sure enough, I could clearly see a spotlight and fire truck lights. Oh no. I thought. Not again!

Our 18-year-old daughter’s Suburban was a mangled mess wrapped around a tree; I could see Denna’s terrified face as she sat pinned in the vehicle. Emergency responders said Eli—our son who was involved in the October accident—was already en route to the hospital and that Frederick (“Zac”), our 13-year-old, was severely injured and also would have to be extracted.

For three hours rescue crews worked tirelessly to free Denna and Zac from the wreckage. I remember praying, “No matter what, God, You are still good and I trust You. I want my kids to stay here with me. Selfishly I pray I get to keep them, but they are in Your hands.” Since I couldn’t find any more words, I just prayed the same ones over and over.

During those hours—the longest of our lives—a police officer gave us the unbelievable details of the night’s events.

Our teenagers left a church friend’s home around 11:15 p.m. Denna had no memory of the accident; she must have fallen asleep. Both boys also were asleep when the vehicle crashed into the tree at 11:45.

Though the wreck occurred just 200 yards from our home, no one heard the noise. We live in a remote area, so no one passed by until almost 4 a.m. when a woman on her way to work found the children and called 9-1-1.

Denna’s phone was destroyed in the accident. Since Eli was conscious and not trapped in the vehicle, the children decided their best chance was for him to make it home to get us. However, in those moments of panic Eli couldn’t “find” his right leg, which was twisted at a bad angle. After carefully lifting it, he tried to lower himself to the ground, but his broken femur and not-fully-healed elbow from the previous accident caused him to fall and break several ribs on the running board.

Meanwhile, Zac screamed and moaned in pain as he floated in and out of consciousness. The impact had pushed him from the passenger seat to the second row, where a tire was lodged between his legs and his foot was turned 180 degrees the wrong direction.

From the driver’s seat where she was trapped, all Denna could do was squeeze Zac’s hand to try to keep him awake, while encouraging Eli as he army-crawled to the front of the Suburban. “You have to make it, Eli!” she shouted. He continued crawling toward home, all the while looking for something to use as a crutch so he could try to walk. Arriving at a road sign about 25 yards from the car, Eli made a last-ditch effort to stand, but collapsed again.

It was 45 degrees with 50 mph winds. Eli’s head and face were bleeding; his ribs, arm and leg throbbed. Rather than passing out trying to make it down the road, he curled into a ball, rolled into a small gully with his back to the wind, and for about three hours waited and prayed.

As Doug and I slept, we had no idea that our precious children were fighting for their lives in their crushed bodies and praying unceasingly in their crushed spirits. Denna was devastated at the pain she inadvertently caused her brothers. Eli felt terrible he couldn’t make it home to get help, especially every time he heard Zac start screaming again.

Emergency crews first freed Denna from the wreckage. The doctor who arrived with the helicopter wanted to call in a special team that would amputate both of Zac’s legs to remove him from the vehicle. Our township’s first responders were heroes that night, asking for more time to get his entire body out. They were successful about two hours later and Zac was freed—with both legs intact.

It was surreal to be in the emergency room with trauma teams simultaneously working on three of our children. Cut-off clothing and boots were everywhere; rings, necklaces, wallets and such were handed to us in containers and bags. There were X-rays and CT scans, IVs and pain shots, doctors, nurses, specialists, surgeons, pastors, family, friends—prayers, prayers and more prayers. We were exhausted in ways we never knew were possible.

In the days and weeks to come, we leaned heavily on the knowledge that people everywhere were praying. I called CHM to ask if our brothers and sisters could pray once again. Not only did the person I spoke with at CHM agree to share our prayer request, they prayed for our family right there on the phone. Truly a blessing!

God performed so many miracles, perhaps the greatest of which was the tree—the only one on that stretch of road—that stopped the Suburban from careening into a marsh and submerging our children into deep, freezing cold water. In Eli’s earlier accident, the garbage truck hit the golf cart at just the right place to prevent more serious injury or death. Denna had the clarity of mind to know she had to help Zac stay conscious and the January air was cold enough to prevent him from bleeding more. Eli was kept safe on the side of the road.

Friends, family and church family stepped in to help with finances, meals and childcare; they even built a small addition and wheelchair ramp for our house! Neighbors down the street let us borrow their wheelchair van for transporting Zac to and from appointments.

At the time of this writing we’ve not yet submitted to CHM any medical bills for sharing by ministry members. We’ve been approved to receive assistance from Medicaid and are waiting to learn to what degree it will help with our bills. We know our heavenly Father has a plan.

Most importantly, God spared the lives of all three children—Eli twice! God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Editor’s note: Moyer family updates, including videos, can be found by searching “Moyer Miracles” on facebook.com.

I haven’t experienced a life-threatening illness or life-changing health event. However, I thought that telling my story might help others realize that CHM is here to help its members with less “serious” accidents as well as long-term illnesses and major injuries.

My husband, Dean, and I are self-employed. We had high-deductible health insurance that was no longer available after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went into effect. We found that our monthly insurance cost would almost triple and there was no way we could afford the premiums, so we looked into health cost sharing ministries.

We really liked what we saw on CHM’s website, especially the Brother’s Keeper program, Prayer Page, online testimonies and the ministry’s long-term track record of helping Christians with their medical bills. We joined in January 2015.

That September I was hiking with my husband, 11-year-old son, Kevin, and our Labrador retriever, Millie. I was using a retractable leash. Suddenly Millie took off after a squirrel and jerked me downhill for several running steps before I fell and landed forcibly on my elbow.

Dean drove me to the emergency room, where I learned I had broken the radial head in my left elbow. Four days later I had surgery for torn ligaments and received a stainless steel replacement.

After returning home, I reviewed the CHM website to find out how to submit my medical bills. I also called the ministry with questions and found the staff was very helpful and kind.

The hospital bill was more than $27,000—quite expensive for an afternoon spent hiking in the park! After a discount, CHM members shared the remaining $24,515.

The hospital staff (including my surgeon) had never heard of CHM, but they have seen that it works and that fellow Christians came through for me.

Today I have regained almost full-range of motion in my elbow. It’s a little stiff at times and I’m still working on achieving full strength, but I praise God for such a good recovery.

In the days preceding and following my surgery, I had a lot of time to think, pray and exercise my faith in God. Though the experience was painful and inconvenient, in retrospect I can see God’s hand at work as I felt peace and hope. My parents came to visit and stayed with us for five meaningful days. Friends and fellow church members supported us in many ways, including bringing us meals. About a month after surgery, I attended a Christian women’s retreat and requested prayer for healing and restoration. I was encouraged by another woman who had broken her elbow some years before.

I recommend CHM to others. It’s wonderful to be part of a ministry that is helping other Christians all over the country. I’m glad to be a part of it and very thankful for the ministry staff and the members who helped share our costs.

I am still great friends with our dog, Millie, but no more retractable leashes for us!

About five years ago, in the middle of Christmas break, I needed a kidney stone removed. As it was during the holidays, my health care provider was on vacation and I had to get a “Change of Care Givers” form approved. Unfortunately, my provider was the only one approved under my health insurance plan. It took them nearly two weeks to see me. I was waiting in agony until I finally had surgery.

After the procedure was performed, I learned that the insurance company had recanted its approval of my claim. For about six months I was led to believe that I had to pay for all of the surgery and doctor bills. The bills were turned over to a collections agency before the mess was finally cleared up.

I spent countless hours on the phone being transferred from person to person, fighting for my insurance coverage. As soon as the final bill was paid, I canceled my insurance and sought out an alternative option. That’s when I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries. My wife, Doreen, and I learned about CHM on the Fox News Network’s “Huckabee” show. We checked it out and signed up immediately.

In June 2013 Doreen began experiencing some bloating and went to the doctor’s office. Doctors performed a series of tests—including a CT scan—that showed she had a seven-inch-long mass on her right ovary. We were devastated and spent the next two weeks in anguish as we waited to see a specialist. Doreen’s surgery was scheduled for June 25.

Meanwhile, our interaction with CHM was simple and easy. Staff members assured us that the money would be there when we needed it and told us the staff was praying for us.

When we told the surgeon and hospital that we were self-pay patients and were members of CHM, at first they were a bit confused. They contacted the ministry to learn more and hung up the phone feeling much more comfortable with the concept. However, they required a 50 percent upfront payment in order to give us a discount of nearly $21,000.

CHM worked with the hospital to make sure the necessary amount was shared via overnight shipping the day of the surgery. Its arrival was prompt and I could tell that the providers were impressed. I remember thinking that CHM must have been a breath of fresh air compared to the typical paper war to collect funds from a health insurance company.

We praise God that Doreen is recovering nicely and has returned to her daily exercise routine. Though she had to have a hysterectomy, there was no cancer!

The simplicity and efficiency of CHM is how health care is supposed to be. Thank you for all you do. We love this ministry!

A cancer diagnosis didn’t interfere with representing a National Football League team at the NFL draft—and my medical bills were shared thanks to CHM.

My wife and I joined the ministry in January 2016 after a friend recommended it. We were pleased to learn that it’s an eligible option under the Affordable Care Act. Even though Teresa and I had always been very healthy, we decided to sign up for CHM’s best programs: the Gold participation level and Brother’s Keeper for catastrophic medical expenses.

In March I began passing small amounts of blood in my urine. I thought I had a urinary tract infection or kidney stones, but I felt none of the intense pain that usually accompanies stones. I prayed for healing and hoped the problem would simply disappear, but symptoms grew worse.

In mid-April our family doctor recommended I see a urologist. After blood work and a CT scan, the urologist identified a golf ball-sized tumor on my left kidney. He wanted further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

I was devastated. I’d expected him to say I had kidney stones and instead heard him use the dreaded “C” word: cancer.

After a cystoscope procedure, the doctor determined that my cancer was malignant and wanted to schedule me for surgery the following week.

Then a small miracle occurred. I asked if the surgery date could be pushed back slightly because I had been chosen by the Tennessee Titans to represent the team at the 2016 NFL draft. I was scheduled to fly to Chicago and deliver the first-round draft picks jersey to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell—live on ESPN prime time.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I thank God that cancer didn’t get in the way!

The urologist agreed, with the stipulation that I undergo surgery three days after my return. After an incredible and memorable weekend, I surrendered my kidney to renal carcinoma.

By God’s grace, the tumor was outside the kidney and completely encapsulated, so there was only a slim chance the disease would spread. Though the kidney removal surgery was a great success, the doctor indicated my cancer could return at any time, so I could expect that multiple follow-up scans every year would become a way of life.

Throughout this time the CHM staff was empathetic and helpful. Jeri Ball, in particular, was responsive and reassuring. She even quoted inspirational Bible verses in some of her emails—quotes that were relevant to my situation.

Though I had some difficulty obtaining the correct forms from my healthcare providers, I was pleasantly surprised that getting medical bill discounts was easier than I anticipated. Most providers had a prepared “self-pay schedule” that was 35-to-50 percent off normal charges. I started making payments, knowing there would be an additional discount when I paid the balance with funds shared by CHM members.

In all, I received nearly $32,000 in discounts and CHM members shared the remaining total of about $29,000.

If I had to sum up my experience in four words, it would be these: God is awesome, period. I’m thrilled to now live an almost-normal life. My last three scans have been cancer-free and if my next one is also clear, I will only have to undergo one annual scan!

We all know someone who has cancer, but there are no words to describe what goes through your mind when that diagnosis is yours. There are some things only cancer sufferers and survivors can understand, and I think I’ve become a more sympathetic and considerate person because of my ordeal.

Between my family, friends, CHM members and acquaintances on social media, I know thousands of people all over the world were praying for me. I believe their prayers contributed to the warm sense of calm when God told me that this, too, would pass. I also felt so loved when many family and friends wrote kind messages and well wishes on my post-surgery Facebook post.

No matter what happens to U.S. healthcare legislation, I will remain a CHM member. This ministry is a perfect example of how I believe Jesus wants us to use our resources to take care of other Christians in need. The program really works and will continue to work as long as believers show the compassion and love of Christ. I pray that keeps happening for a long, long time.

On November 21, 2011, I fell from the roof of my house while doing maintenance. I slipped, overturned and started sliding off face first. The distance to the ground was about 10 feet. I knew my body position was not good.

In those few milliseconds before falling, I experienced a miracle.

“Remember your training!”

God gave me those words and I instantly tucked into a parachute landing fall, a skill I learned years earlier as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division in the U.S. Army. I placed my feet and knees together and bent my knees to prepare for impact.

The second miracle occurred when I hit the ground. I landed backwards, hitting hard feet first at an angle, and then slamming flat on my back. I was conscious, alert and did not get the breath knocked out of me. Most of all, I felt a strange, beautiful peace.

All this occurred within seconds.

The fall broke and crushed my third lumbar vertebra and sustained severe neck injuries. Rushed to the hospital, I was released after nine days of treatment.

Five days later, I was admitted to another hospital due to severe swelling caused by blood clots. I was there eight days while my fever broke and the swelling decreased.

A third miracle took place during my hospital stays. As family, friends and even strangers came to visit, I felt more humbled and thankful than ever before in my life. Scripture verses I had forgotten came to mind and I found myself praising God for allowing the accident to happen.

Though it sounds strange, I was grateful. I believe God broke me physically so I would become stronger spiritually.

As a result of my fall, He also gave me opportunities to share the Gospel that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Though I was in tremendous pain and taking medicine for six months following the accident, God gave me the ability to endure. He provided excellent care through my loving wife, Ann, and our many friends. He also strengthened my prayer life and my marriage.

In the meantime, we had medical bills of nearly $57,000. As soon as I was physically able, I called Christian Healthcare Ministries. The staff members and the staff of The Karis Group, a partnering Christian patient advocacy organization, were very helpful and efficient. They answered all of my questions and calmed my fears. I knew that other Christians were going to bat for me by praying and helping me financially.

I was able to obtain nearly $55,000 in medical bill discounts and CHM members shared my remaining bills. I didn’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expense and witnessed God working through other Christians to meet my need. It was an indescribable feeling.

Several months after the accident, another miracle occurred which was perhaps the greatest one of all. Still unable to walk, Ann helped me out of the house and into the yard. I looked up at the corner of the roof from which I’d fallen and saw the skid marks from my feet.

To my amazement, I also saw that there was a hard, woody shrub under the corner. If I had plunged directly down, I would have been killed. God had landed me nearly seven feet away! I knew that this trajectory was impossible without God’s hand at work.

Today I have no nerve damage, a perfectly healed back and a new spirit of strength. God helped me recover faster than I expected and I feel ready to do whatever He wishes me to accomplish in this life.

We serve a gracious and loving God who cares for each one of us and is always faithful. Praise be to God!

Too many years had passed since my last mammogram, so I checked the cost of getting one at clinics and hospitals near me. A breast cancer center in Sarasota—though an hour away—charged only $50. The cost was worth the drive. I scheduled an appointment.

To my surprise, doctors were concerned by the results and recommended further testing. More scans and a biopsy confirmed invasive ductal carcinoma.

I had breast cancer.

As I look back on my journal entries and Bible verses I’d read in the beginning days of this scary journey, I realize that God was teaching me to rest in Him, especially as I contemplated my treatment options:

Should I have only the lump removed and undergo radiation and chemotherapy? If I choose a mastectomy, should both breasts be removed or just one? Which type of reconstruction surgery is best?

I felt comfortable with the simplest route: a double mastectomy with no reconstruction. I opted to avoid radiation and chemotherapy, and went to war on cancer in a different way. I changed my diet by avoiding gluten, sugar, soy and dairy. I eliminated chemicals from my home environment and increased my antioxidant intake. I detoxed regularly, took supplements and did what I could on a daily basis to strengthen my body and immune system. (Editor’s note: CHM recommends that for your safety and benefit you always consult with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you.)

I also leaned on the experience of others and the comfort of Scripture, particularly Psalm 103:1-3; Philippians 4:7; and Isaiah 41:10 and 13. One book that was particularly helpful was The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer by Hollye Jacobs. It was one of the most illuminating resources to understand my diagnosis from a medical perspective.

After giving the ministry my permission, CHM shared my prayer request amongst members and I began receiving cards and letters of encouragement. Prayers, Scriptures, bookmarks, children’s drawings and more comprised over 130 acts of kindness. I felt humbled, joyful and blessed because of the support, thoughts and prayers from my CHM family. These kind offerings and my faith in God helped me tremendously in my healing journey.

Today I’m in excellent health and grateful for recent blood work that shows no sign of the cancer returning. In addition I’m pleased to say that CHM is much better than other healthcare cost programs. Though it was a little more work to negotiate discounts, I didn’t have to worry about large out-of-pocket costs. In all, CHM shared $79,636 after $69,351 in discounts.

I’ve had several opportunities to share my CHM experience and the lessons I learned with others who were or are just beginning their medical journey. The ministry worked so well and I’m thankful for the prayers and financial help from God’s people.

I’m excited there’s a CHM option As small business owners, my husband, Michael, and I chose a statewide coverage program as our health care option in 1994. When the federal health care law took effect, the program ended and we had 30 days to find health care coverage. No matter where we applied, we heard two things:
  • The cost would be five to six times as much as we paid before.
  • We couldn’t choose our doctor or hospital—unless we paid more.
Frustrated, we reluctantly searched the health insurance marketplace. Even then, it was unaffordable and we resolved to go without health cost support.

God led us in the direction we needed to go I needed a haircut and visited a new stylist. She saw I was upset and tense and asked what was going on. I told her about our health care woes and that I felt like we were falling through the cracks. She told me about health cost sharing ministries. Christian Healthcare Ministries, I learned, was the only one that had programs for pre-existing conditions. We joined in March 2014.

It was all in God’s timing A few short months later, I was rushed to the emergency room with a high fever and severe bladder infection. My bills were shared by CHM. Later that year, I underwent surgery for pain and nerve damage in my hands. Michael, too, has had medical bills shared by CHM.

The blessings are endless CHM makes it easy to submit bills, and our needs were shared at a much faster rate than claims paid by our insurance company. The CHM Guidelines told us ahead of time what was eligible for sharing. We had peace of mind because we knew the hospital bills and expensive tests would be shared. Many people with health insurance don’t know what they have until they try to use it. They then realize it covers only a percentage of what they thought after a high deductible is applied.

A recent find Negotiating with health care providers can reap big rewards. My most recent surgery taught me that a “good-faith down payment” goes a long way. Bills can be reduced drastically when you ask and are willing to work with providers.

For instance, my $51,426 hospital bill was discounted to $11,238 when I agreed to make a $500 down payment. I then showed the hospital staff my CHM membership card and explained how CHM would send me a check for the remaining balance, which I would then use to pay the hospital.

God takes care of His children I believe joining CHM happened because God’s hand was guiding me. My husband and I are close to Medicare age. Friends tells us Medicare is not what they expected and that there are many out-of-pocket costs. We fully intend to use CHM as a supplement* to Medicare, and we continue to share the news of CHM with friends and family.

God is good. We’re very blessed, and CHM is one very big blessing.

Editor’s note: For more information on how CHM works with Medicare, visit chminstries.org/medicare or read the articles on Medicare in our August, September and October 2014 newsletter issues, available at chministries.org/newsletter2014.

In over 50 years of being a Christian and 43 years of marriage, our family had never faced a more difficult time than late summer and early fall 2016.

In mid-August my husband, John, and I learned that our daughter-in-law left our oldest son. Two weeks later, our daughter and son-in-law announced that after 16 years of marriage his adultery was causing them to divorce.

We were shocked; they had attended Christian school together and we were all members of the same church.

Still reeling from these revelations, after another few weeks we heard the news that completely changed our world: John had kidney failure resulting from late-stage multiple myeloma.

Terminal cancer.

We had joined the Christian Healthcare Ministries Gold program in April 2012 and in the four years since I’d had a few minor health issues.

John, however, was never sick.

In October 2016 John suspected he had a kidney infection and visited our primary care physician, who ran some tests.

I was running errands when John called to tell me the test results and that he needed to go to a hospital intensive care unit right away. I dropped everything to return home and drive him to the ICU.

After what felt like thousands of tests, we learned the diagnosis: John had lesions (tumors) throughout his body. The lower spine lesions were more advanced, which is what caused his kidney failure.

Since multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, John suffered multiple fractures; over time he went from walking with a cane to not being able to walk at all. At one point his arm was in a sling and he had difficulty breathing because most of his ribs were fractured. Eventually he had to use an oxygen tank.

Shortly after we learned the news I realized I would be an “accountant” of sorts; I had to keep track of the constantly-arriving medical bills. Though in retrospect I see I didn’t have to be nervous, I was nevertheless overwhelmed at the thought of calling CHM. Never before had we faced such high medical costs.

The CHM staff was terrific; the representative I spoke with was patient in answering my questions and listened intently as I explained what was happening in our lives. She prayed with me about John’s illness and all of the other family trauma we were experiencing.

John and I were amazed, too, by the overflowing of love evidenced by the numerous cards and prayers we received from CHM members—Christians we’d never met but who nevertheless are our brothers and sisters in the Lord. John would read and re-read the encouraging notes, knowing that he was being surrounded by God’s love through each and every one of you.

On June 27, 2017, God decided John had suffered enough and took him home to heaven—only eight months after his diagnosis.

He left behind quite a legacy: he was the spiritual head of our home, a godly father and a loving grandfather. He was always the first one to point out that God’s hand was at work and looked past his own circumstances to encourage our children in their struggles. He saw the dark valley of cancer as an opportunity to tell the hundreds of medical personnel he encountered what God was doing in his life, no matter how bad his day had been. Doctors, nurses and technicians all witnessed God’s love and mercy in John—delivered along with a smile. Though not perfect, he was the embodiment of Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Thus far I’ve received nearly $117,000 in discounts on John’s medical bills and CHM members have shared nearly $65,000.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the enemy has been hard at work attacking our family, but I’m even more sure that my faith is real and that God will make something good come of these trials. There are still tears and moments of weakness, but I rejoice in knowing that John feels no pain—only joy—in God’s presence and that many lives were touched and changed because of him. The Lord is truly near to the brokenhearted.

Thank you, CHM friends, for being the hands and feet of Jesus to our family.

When I signed up as a member of the CHM family a few years ago, I never suspected that my decision to step out in faith would have such an inspiring impact on my life.

By God’s grace I had been extremely healthy all of my life. However, when I decided to take an early retirement, I knew it was unwise to be without health care coverage until I reached Medicare age. It was then that God led me to Christian Healthcare Ministries.

I had no immediate needs and, quite frankly, wasn’t too concerned about CHM’s effectiveness. However, all that changed dramatically in fall 2012 when I was diagnosed with severe diverticulitis. After three days in the hospital, I was looking at more than $25,000 in medical bills.

I was very worried about how I would pay the bills. But my fears turned out to be unfounded. CHM was there for me and everything was taken care of even faster than I had expected; praise God!

Yet, there’s more to the story. In fall 2013 I found I had an inguinal hernia. With Medicare only a few short months away, I wanted to postpone taking any action so I could spare CHM members substantial expense. Unfortunately, after two intense attacks, my doctor recommended I receive the proper care without delay.

I contacted my CHM Needs Processing representative, Tina Farnsworth, to explain the situation. She advised me to do what was necessary to protect my health and told me the ministry would support my decision. I took the advice of Tina and my doctor and had the injury repaired.

Once again, the medical bills were more than $25,000 before discounts. This time, however, I had complete confidence that Christian Healthcare Ministries would come through for me. And it did! With the assistance of Tina Gentile in the CHM Member Advocate department, all of the bills were paid in full even more quickly than I expected.

Although it’s doubtful that I will ever be able to fully repay the ministry for the funds I received from other believers, I’ll do what I can by remaining a lifelong supporter of CHM!

May the grace of God be with you and with all of my fellow CHM members. We truly are helping each other stay obedient to God’s Word by sharing medical bills. I’m humbled that God considers me worthy of participation in this great ministry.

I’ve had trouble with migraines since I was a young adult. Over the years, doctors attributed them to every cause under the sun—stress, caffeine, menopause and possibly a food allergy—but nothing proved conclusive. In 2009, I was told that having a hysterectomy might help, though doctors weren’t certain.

I decided to take a different route. I wasn’t willing to have major surgery just to see if it would help. Instead, I participated in biofeedback therapy for three years to try to get my body to function properly. Afterwards I went more than a year without suffering a migraine. Praise God!

In mid-July 2013, I began to wake each morning with a headache (not a migraine). I took my regular medicine, the headache stopped and life went on as usual. By Friday of that week I knew something was seriously wrong. I had headaches each morning and they wouldn’t go away.

The longer I sat at work, the sicker I felt. I went to see the secretary to have my blood pressure checked. It was extremely high at 184/139. I asked my daughter-in-law who works in the medical field what she thought. “Go to the emergency room, Mom!” she said. By the time I arrived, my blood pressure had climbed even higher. The doctor ordered a CAT scan.

I had a tumor on my brain. It was the size of a softball.

I was transferred to another hospital via airlift to avoid complications. Within 15 minutes I was on my way to Fort Wayne, Ind.

When I arrived, nurses stabilized my blood pressure and I was given an option: have surgery that night or wait until Monday for the head trauma specialist. We waited. The surgery took place July 23.

I was discharged three days later. I had no pain, no side effects and no headaches! My pain prescription was filled but never taken. My seizure medication was only precautionary and prescribed for just one year. Recovery has been smooth and complete. I praise God for His miraculous work.

“Incredible” was the word used by every doctor and medical staff person who saw me. God did some amazing things in me and through my family that showed His glory and peace while I was in the hospital.

The day I returned home, God reminded me of Psalm 118:23 which says, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Truly God was gracious and did a marvelous work in my life, my family and many others who were praying for me. God is always good!

My husband and I had read for years about exorbitant health care costs and had firsthand experience with them. Our son was paralyzed in a car accident in 2010 and was hospitalized for three weeks, followed by several weeks of rehabilitation. The cost was well over a million dollars.

When we looked at Christian Healthcare Ministries, we knew that in this age and culture, it’s absolutely necessary to prepare for catastrophic events. In our minds, Brother’s Keeper is a necessity, not an option. So we joined the CHM Gold program and Brother’s Keeper.

My husband, Larry, thought he had a cold, and then bronchitis, in Feb. 2014. By May he’d become extremely pale and weak. We took him to the emergency room when at one point he couldn’t breathe. His lower abdomen hurt on the right side—a symptom we believed was caused by his continual coughing the day before. Doctors felt his side, diagnosing possible appendicitis.

However, tests revealed a large tumor perforating his colon. A hemoglobin level of 5.9 meant he’d lost almost two thirds of his blood. Immediately after receiving eight units of blood and four units of plasma and platelets, he had surgery to remove the volleyball-sized tumor. “Had you waited two or three days,” we were told, “Larry wouldn’t have made it.”

We were blindsided. What we thought was pneumonia turned out to be a large, benign B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. Cancer.

Everything seemed out of control. I was so afraid of losing him.

And the cost. As you can imagine, I was devastated the first time I called CHM. I called crying, not knowing what to do or say. The man who answered was kind and reassuring. He prayed for me right away, calmed me down and told me what I needed to tell hospital staff members because they didn’t understand my first explanation. He told me what to do when Larry returned home and the bills arrived.

I couldn’t believe we really didn’t have to worry about money while going through this process. Submitting the initial forms and bills was easier than I expected.

In time, Larry began to heal. He slowly regained his appetite and we prepared to take a trip from California to Baltimore for our daughter’s June 30 wedding. We’d planned to see an oncologist upon returning home. The cancer was benign and slow-growing, we’d been told. But as we left for Baltimore, Larry felt pain in his back and on the side where his tumor had been. It worsened so we went to an urgent care center for pain medication on the day of the wedding rehearsal. We made it through the wedding, but the pain was so bad that Larry needed a wheelchair at the airport during our return trip. That really scared me and we ended up in the emergency room again two day later.

“The cancer is everywhere,” a doctor told us. “One kidney is compromised and he needs blood.” I called a cancer center 80 miles away to get Larry admitted. His pain was horrible, and I was frightened. I knew I very well could lose him.

The center was tentative about admitting Larry because we didn’t have “conventional insurance.” I panicked and called CHM. Heather Collins in the Member Advocate department spoke with the center’s billing department to explain the process. Larry was admitted the same day.

After two rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer center’s financial office called to demand a large payment before the next week’s treatment. I again called Heather, who also had been contacted and was already working with the center. We returned for treatment on time, thanks to her help.

Words can’t express my gratitude for what everyone did on our behalf. Heather and our Needs Processing representative, Beth Kabellar, were amazing. I’m so very, very grateful. Their kindness and caring made our journey easier.

Yes, I was stunned at the cancer center’s demands, but it could have been so much worse. CHM had already proven how the ministry takes care of its members, so I didn’t feel threatened. It was a blessing to not be upset and worry myself sick. It was also a blessing to experience peace, knowing that God was handling it all through CHM.

At the time of this writing, Larry is receiving his fourth round of chemo. A PET scan revealed remarkable results. His doctor said he is in 95 percent remission! He’s terribly thin but otherwise doing well.

To date, we have incurred $835,763 in medical bills. We received $379,296 in discounts and we praise God that so far $456,151 has been shared by CHM members.

The kindness of so many folks at CHM and the comfort of paying a debt in full were incredibly encouraging. I have recommended CHM to others. Christian Healthcare Ministries is more than a way of paying medical bills. We share each other’s costs while becoming more responsible for our own health. We are responsible to each other because it’s based on the Bible and God’s love. We are blessed with the comfort of prayer from fellow members. Money can’t buy that and insurance can’t provide that.

We never expected to need Brother’s Keeper, but because we had it, we weren’t worried about catastrophic medical bills. We didn’t have to worry about losing our home or retirement savings. We were able to concentrate on Larry’s health. The peace afforded through those few extra dollars per quarter far, far exceeds the contribution.

If you’re eligible for Medicare, for your own benefit, please don’t “jump ship” and automatically discontinue your CHM membership.

My wife, Nancy, and I have been blessed by using God’s money to help others with their health care costs for more than 20 years. Now, in retirement, we see God’s hand still working for our good. We’re so grateful that we remained CHM members and used the ministry as a supplement to help offset charges Medicare wouldn’t pay.

Social Security has been our only source of income since I retired in 2010 from my role as a pastor. We maintained our faith that God would meet our medical and financial needs, clinging to Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Serving in ministry nearly 40 years in three states, we had often experienced God’s peace in our decisions—and dealing with my cancer was no different.

In October 2011 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and began a long journey to recovery. We didn’t know what to expect, how serious the cancer had become or how expensive the treatment would be. We assumed the cost would be significant. Nancy and I immediately prayed for God to use us so that my cancer would be an open door to minister to other people.

The Lord directed our steps to wonderful doctors and a superb cancer clinic in Georgia, where I underwent treatment from February through April 2012. While there, I had many opportunities to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and minister to many families across the United States—families like us who were facing serious diseases. We listened to their stories, encouraged them and prayed with them. We remain in touch with many of them.

The results of my treatment were better than we could have hoped: I feel great! We serve a prayer-answering, healing God who lowered my PSA levels significantly.

Our medical bills from Donnie’s cancer totaled approximately $91,000. Medicare paid for everything except about $7,000, which is still a large amount to someone on a fixed income. However, our brothers and sisters in Christ stepped in to help to share most of the remaining bills, leaving only a small amount we were responsible to pay.

Now we have begun a new “ministry” to encourage our retired friends to join Christian Healthcare Ministries. What CHM does is a model for other ministries to follow because this body of believers truly carries out the command to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

May God continue to bring new members to CHM and may it continue to bless many Christians until the Lord returns.

My sister joined Christian Healthcare Ministries 15 years ago, so when my husband’s company downsized and he lost his job and benefits, CHM was an option we researched. It became clear that CHM was the best choice and we signed up as Gold members.

Before April 2014, I had only been to the hospital three times for the births of our sons. Mid-April, however, I experienced sharp pain in my right lower abdomen. After the second day—and too much time researching online—I decided this could be pretty serious. I asked my husband to drive me to the emergency room.

Blood work and CT scans revealed a large cyst on my right ovary. Confirming it wasn’t my appendix, the hospital discharged me and advised me to see my OBGYN as soon as possible. Several weeks later, I underwent outpatient surgery to remove the cyst.

The sharing process was new to me, so I read and re-read the CHM Guidelines. There was a huge difference between the way CHM works and just showing the hospital staff an insurance card; I was now taking responsibility for my health.

Amanda Moore, my Needs Processing representative, was the go-to person for my many questions. She was kind and answered my emails in a helpful way.

Like anything new, the more I interacted with my health care providers and CHM, the more comfortable it became. Each time I explained my new way of handling health costs, it became easier. I kept an accurate account of every bill and developed a spreadsheet for convenience.

My bills totaled $24,636, and with guidance from CHM staff, I obtained discounts and financial assistance in the amount of $21,208. The reduced total was only $3,428—an 87 percent discount! As per CHM’s policy, I didn’t have to pay my $500 personal responsibility amount, and CHM shared my bills in a timely manner.

I knew the ministry was there to help if I needed it, but I also knew that no one understood my situation better than me.

I’m doing great now. The surgery was successful and my recovery time was only a few short weeks.

I wish I could share all of the blessings, stories and lessons I learned through this experience, but the best I can do is say this: God grew me in my faith, compassion, patience, steadfastness, confidence, gentleness, thankfulness and boldness in sharing Christian love.

We are grateful to God and CHM, but we are also very thankful to the providers who graciously discounted their bills to help us. I pray that we are not like the nine leprous men in Luke 17:11-19 who continued on their way after Christ healed them. May we be like the one who returned to thank Jesus and give God glory. If you find yourself in a medical situation, I encourage you to write to each doctor, acknowledging and thanking them for their role and generosity.

Through this incident and telling providers about CHM, I had the incredible opportunity to share Christ with those I would not otherwise have met.

Fellow CHM members, I encourage you to read and read again the Guidelines and monthly newsletters. Both are helpful in understanding the many advantages of CHM. Each story was helpful to me in grasping just another little piece of the sharing process and how others experienced victory both medically and spiritually.

I’m a shy person, but I assure you there’s no reason to be shy. I learned how to emphasize to providers that I was responsible for my bills, and it’s to your advantage to learn how, too. I told them that my CHM family would share my bills after other resources were used. I found myself getting more and more excited about the money I was helping save—money that would be used for other CHM members.

Take good notes, keep track of everything, make follow-up calls and don’t hesitate to ask for additional assistance. Most importantly, write or call to say thank you.

I would definitely recommend CHM. In fact, I have. Doctors and hospitals were more willing and eager to work with me than with an insurance company.

As CHM continues to remind us, we are the Body of Christ. When we do things for the glory of God, we experience the impossible becoming possible.

Our family joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in 1993 when we had two sons, Roman and Alexander. Since then we’ve experienced various medical incidents, including hemorrhoids; appendicitis; broken bones; accidents; gallbladder issues; Angelman syndrome; kidney stones; and my pregnancies with our five daughters—Olivia, Julia, Arianna, Victoria and Sophia.. We’re grateful to CHM members for sharing nearly $90,000 to help us with these many expenses.

Two of our daughters—Arianna and Victoria—at age six were each diagnosed with scoliosis. After researching our options, we decided to use an alternative treatment method designed to stop the disease’s progression. It was incredibly time-consuming (15 hours per week) and we continued the treatment for several years until other crises entered our lives.

Without treatment, the scoliosis progressed. We knew that our daughters would need surgery in order to live longer. (Severe scoliosis can shorten lifespan by up to 20 percent because it affects internal organs and rib cage rotation.)

We found a remarkable surgeon who practices medicine about two hours away from where we live. Arianna underwent spinal fusion surgery in June 2012 and spent three weeks in the hospital.

Due to the severity of her spinal curve, she spent the first two weeks wearing a halo traction brace to gradually stretch her vertebrae column. That was the most difficult time because her pain grew worse daily despite taking pain medication. In most cases, doctors have to check up on young patients to make sure they continue the treatment. Arianna, however, was tough and very brave.

Arianna’s medical bills totaled $345,504; the hospital bill alone was more than $300,000. Thankfully, with a lot of help from CHM, the hospital bill was reduced by 77 percent. Overall we received $251,948 in discounts and the remaining balance ($93,556) was shared by CHM members!

God’s grace and strength—with some instrumental help from CHM—carried us through this ordeal. God is good all the time!

Christian Healthcare Ministries has been a great blessing to my family and me. Like many families, the recession hit us hard. In 2010, our business lost 75 percent of its clients in just a few months. Our income was cut in half. We struggled to keep our heads above water—but were sinking quickly.

We had a health insurance policy that cost $800 per month and only covered my wife, Lori, and our two sons, Jet and Avery. Furthermore, the policy had a $2,500 per person annual deductible.

I went without insurance because I couldn’t afford the extra $1,000 per-month cost. I had to do something to lighten our financial load, so when I heard about CHM I looked into it right away. I liked what I learned, but Lori was accustomed to insurance companies and was skeptical that a health cost sharing ministry would be there for us when we needed it.

However, we decided to cancel our insurance policy and step out in faith to become CHM members. We put our whole family on the Gold sharing level because we felt it is the best value of services at a reasonable cost.

We found out all too soon that we could, indeed, rely on CHM members for help.

On June 1, 2012, just one month after becoming a member, I fell down our front porch steps and seriously injured my left leg. I hobbled around for about five weeks before I learned that I had torn my quadriceps tendon in two.

On July 17, I underwent surgery to repair the damage. It went well, and I was sent home to recuperate the same day.

At first I felt a little awkward explaining to my health care providers that CHM isn’t an insurance company. However, I quickly learned that they were familiar with health cost sharing ministries. Presenting my CHM membership card also proved helpful. With the exception of two MRIs that I prepaid to obtain a $2,000 discount, I received all of my treatment without being asked to pay anything out-of-pocket. In fact, my hospital automatically extends a 53 percent discount to all self-pay patients.

As the medical bills started to show up in our mailbox, we immediately submitted them to the ministry. Because we were so new to CHM, Lori and I wondered if CHM members would come through. You can imagine our joy and relief when the first check for payment arrived—it was for more than $10,000!

Though I’m disappointed that I had a large medical need so soon after joining CHM, I want to assure other CHM members that their faithfulness will be rewarded by our faithfulness in contributing toward other members’ medical needs. In fact, I have become a great “evangelist” for CHM here in the Chattanooga, Tenn. area; I have shared my story with friends and business colleagues in hopes that they, too, will join.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful work you’re doing. May God bless CHM members and staff as you continue in His service.

I was born with hip dysplasia that wasn’t discovered until 18 months old, when I struggled to learn how to walk. Doctors saw that I didn’t have a hip socket. After traction (the use of mechanisms to gently pull and stretch ligaments), I was in a body cast for many weeks.

Later, I wore leg braces to align my femur to the correct placement. But because I had no socket, doctors said I would never walk.

To their amazement, I walked into my follow-up appointment. X-rays revealed a hip socket—a miracle from God—that served me well for more than 45 years.

I learned, however, that years of wear and tear would eventually cause me to need a total hip replacement. As a 31-year-old mother at the time, I prayed I could tolerate the pain until my kids (then one and six years old) were self-sufficient. Today they are 15 and 20; God answered my prayer.

In early 2015, my husband called CHM to make sure we understood the sharing process before pursuing surgery. We filled out the Needs Processing forms* and submitted itemized medical bills. Though time-consuming, we understood the necessity since CHM members are technically self-pay patients.

We received numerous discount offers from the hospital and surgeons for any prompt payments—and many for being self-pay. CHM then shared the remaining $75,778 for my medical bills.

For many years, taking steps was somewhat painful, but each one was also a reminder of God’s gracious hand on my life—and His miraculous provision for me. Surgery was another step in that process. He provided for me and was faithful, just as He has always been.

My recovery should have included four to six weeks of not bearing weight on my left leg, but the doctor was so pleased after surgery that he put me under no restrictions. There was very little bruising and swelling. Today I walk pain-free!

Throughout my recovery, I received cards, encouragement and many prayers. I’m amazed at the power and love of the Body of Christ. James 5:16 instructs believers to confess their sins and pray with others for healing because “the prayer of a righteous man avails much.” I believe it.

God’s provision for my surgery is confirmation that He is still actively involved in my life. What a humbling and comforting realization. Thank you, CHM family, for faithfully serving us in our time of need. I give God all the praise and glory.

*Editor’s note: The Needs Processing forms are available on chminstries.org by clicking “How it Works” > “Medical Care and Bills” > “Needs Processing Forms.” Another option is to electronically complete the forms and submit your medical bills by logging into your online Member Portal account at chminstries.org/members and clicking the “Submit Medical Need Online” menu item.

I sustained a brain injury when I was hit by a drunk driver in 2012. After surgery and rehabilitation I went back to living an almost-normal life, but I didn’t have health insurance. The accident was very costly, so I began to search for coverage as soon as I recovered. A friend from my cowboy church told me about Christian Healthcare Ministries and it seemed like the perfect solution. I joined in August 2013.

I was riding my horse the morning of Dec. 20. Galloping toward the end of the arena, I heard a popping sound. My metal stirrup had snapped in half.

With multiple World Championship titles, I consider myself a very accomplished rider, but I hit the ground regardless. Thankfully I was wearing a helmet but it was evident something had happened to my ribs.

My fiancé picked me up and drove me to my barn. We went to the local urgent care center. My ribs were cracking and my breathing was becoming shallow. We were advised to go to the emergency room, then we were immediately transported to Fort Worth. There, I spent two days in a trauma room with three broken ribs and a pneumothorax (air leak) in my right lung.

My fiancé notified CHM of my incident and I was put on the prayer list right away.

I had no idea my injuries would be serious or require so much care. I was frightened of the accumulating medical expenses, but I was able to pay the first round of invoices due to the prompt service and customer care from the CHM staff.

I have received $42,950 in bill discounts and CHM has shared $32,592.

I’m doing much better and in Jan. 2014 I felt well enough to start riding again. I even won the Pro-Class at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo only four weeks after my hospital stay!

Through this experience, I have been overwhelmed at the kindness of strangers and have experienced an amazing outpouring of God’s love through friends and family. I started receiving get-well cards from CHM members across the country after my fiancé had me placed on the prayer list. I’ve even had a fellow CHM member send me a friend request on Facebook and we’ve had some wonderful conversations.

A special thank you goes out to my CHM contact, Ken Lefever in the Member Assistance department, in whom I have truly found a friend. He was very kind and thoughtful and always went above and beyond. I don’t know what I would have done without CHM.

Late 2016 and early 2017 were some of the most difficult months of our lives. Our two-week-old son, Crew, passed away from a heart defect. Still reeling from the loss, we got the news less than six months later that our two-year-old daughter, Mazy, had a life-threatening condition.

Soon after Feb. 2017, when we joined the CHM Gold program and Brother’s Keeper, Mazy started experiencing typical childhood ailments. We weren’t alarmed by her mild fevers and cold-like symptoms. Even some bruising, pale skin, pain and fatigue seemed indicative of nothing more than a bout with the flu. Mazy was too young to tell us much about how she felt.

April: A few days later I was lying next to Mazy and stroking her hair before her nap time. My fingers ran across a bump slightly smaller than a ping pong ball above her right ear.

I immediately felt panic and was confused as to how I hadn’t noticed the bump before.

The pediatrician thought it might be a cyst and ordered an ultrasound, with inconclusive results. That led to an MRI and a misdiagnosis of a bone disorder.

About a week later we met with specialists about the bone disorder and they decided to perform a CT scan. The results ruled out the original diagnosis, but the neurosurgeon still wasn’t sure what it was because the scan was atypical for both infection and cancer.

That’s when we really became frightened.

Two days later the neurosurgeon had biopsy results showing that our sweet Mazy had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

It’s impossible to accurately describe all the emotions we felt. We were lost, scared, hopeful, angry, frustrated and sad all at the same time. We immediately began to pray and pour out our hearts to God. We asked, Lord, what’s happening? Are we going to lose our daughter now, too?

James: Meanwhile, we were still working through the details of some of Crew’s medical bills. I remember that I fought back tears one day after a particularly difficult phone call with a representative from our prior health plan. I felt extremely frustrated and helpless knowing that Mazy’s treatment would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I prayed, God, our son died and no one from this company even seems interested in helping us. Am I going to get the same treatment from CHM when I call about Mazy? Please, help me.

Thankfully, the conversation with a CHM staff member that day was like a breath of fresh air. She was sincere when she told me how sorry she was that we were facing this situation, then took the time to ask how I was doing, how April was and how our two older sons were coping. She asked if she could pray for Mazy and our family. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for her kindness and concern.

In contrast to the “sprint” of activity in just a month’s time, Mazy’s two-and-a-half year treatment plan stretched out before us like a marathon. She underwent a year of intense chemotherapy followed by two weeks of cranial radiation. Our schedule is much more manageable now, with a treatment regimen of daily oral chemotherapy and monthly rounds of intravenous chemo along with lumbar (spinal) injections every three months.

Meanwhile, the medical charges have piled up. To date CHM has shared over $410,000 after $436,000 in medical bill discounts. Every healthcare provider has given us discounts—especially the children’s hospital—and financial aid. What I thought would be an intimidating process was relatively simple; some providers even gave a discount automatically. After some practice I also found it fairly easy to upload Mazy’s medical bills to CHM’s Member Portal (chministries.org/members).

At this writing Mazy still has about a year of chemo to go, but thankfully the most difficult treatment period is over and she is now in the “maintenance” phase. She is a happy, strong, busy three-year-old and she has an 80 percent chance of being cured!

Though Mazy will likely experience some long-term side effects from treatment, we’re grateful for our trials and have learned many things from them. Here are a few:
  • God loves His children deeply and perfectly; He never has and never will abandon us.
  • When tragedy strikes, look for the “helpers!” We were the recipients of so much love and many services. We were offered meals, house cleaning, child care for Mazy’s older brothers, listening ears and shoulders to cry on. Furthermore, we received many prayers and cards, a number of them from CHM members. (One day Mazy was so excited to receive a batch of cards from ministry members that she carried them around all day!)
  • There are many kinds of miracles and there’s always something to be thankful for.
  • We have a choice when we go through trials: we can turn toward or away from God. Trials and pain can be sacred and beautiful. The hard times can help us become better and more Christ-like people if we choose to learn from them rather than wallow in self-pity.
  • We weren’t being singled out; everyone has trials. When we focus on helping others with their difficulties, we find that our own burdens seem lighter.
We’re thankful for all those who helped us on our journey—heavenly and earthly angels alike. Family, friends, doctors, nurses, other families fighting cancer, and CHM members humbled and inspired us with their kindness.

Ultimately, we’re thankful to our heavenly Father who has carried and sustained us.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In the blink of an eye, life changed for our family. On a Sunday afternoon in June 2015, a weapon misfired in our home and our 15-year-old daughter Anna suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the abdomen.

My husband, Keith, administered first aid while we awaited the arrival of the local EMS team, terrified and praying all the while for God to save our daughter’s life.

She suffered damage to her pancreas, liver, intestines, bile duct, and a vena cava. She also lost her gall bladder and one of her kidneys. She had two fractured vertebrae from bullet fragments lodged in her spine.

Within the hour, Anna was life-flighted to a hospital in Houston, beginning a series of miracles too numerous to count. As the helicopter pilot stood vigil outside her emergency room door praying for her safety, surgeons and nurses were inside marveling at Anna’s stability despite multiple internal injuries.

I called CHM first thing Monday morning. Needs Processor Yvonne Woolridge was caring and supportive. She gave us clear instructions for submitting medical bills to the ministry. When our hospital offered a 50 percent discount for prompt payment on Anna’s hospital bill, CHM expedited the bill for sharing. Eventually the hospital extended a 70 percent discount on all hospital procedures.

Anna spent a month in the hospital for surgeries and other procedures, but her progress was steady and she was moved from ICU one week earlier than anticipated—another miracle.

She was discharged from the hospital but continued with tube feedings. Thankfully, my background as a registered nurse enabled me to adequately care for her at home. We praise God for preparing us with the exact skills and knowledge we needed to face this ordeal.

I often think back to that first month we were home when Anna’s feeding tube, which also delivered her medications, consistently became blocked. One day it was blocked for hours, causing her both hunger and pain. I remember feeling helpless and frantically trying different methods to unblock the tube.

As I prayed for God to show me how to fix the blockage, Anna calmly said, “I’m going to be okay, Mom. I know you’ll fix it. I’m fine because Jesus is relieving my pain right now.” What a powerful and humbling reminder that He is in control and present with us through all struggles!

Just before Thanksgiving, Anna was able to eat a few bites of food, and finally her tube feedings were reduced to overnight only. Even more exciting, she returned to school part-time on January 5, 2016.

Without a doubt, Anna’s injury was the most challenging experience we’ve ever faced. However, God revealed to us His constant peace and showed our family grace and mercy as He protected Anna. As we recount those first days and all that we’ve experienced, we stand amazed at all God has brought us through.

We were also blessed by the Body of Christ rallying around us. Our family, friends and church supported us, fed us, prayed for us, cared for our other children and encouraged us every step of the way.

We also received many cards from people we didn’t know. I told Anna they must have been from CHM members. More and more cards arrived with notes of encouragement and letters from members who shared their own stories of God’s faithfulness. Each was a unique and precious word from God to Anna and our family.

Anna continues to recuperate, and we tell others about the ministry’s care for members’ medical and spiritual needs. After nearly $400,000 in discounts, CHM has shared more than $355,000 in medical bills. We are forever grateful. Thank you.

My wife, Becky, began to feel physically weak in December 2013. Her condition worsened despite treatment for the flu and pneumonia.

In early January 2014 I took her to the emergency room. Her red blood cell count was 5.6 (a normal count for women is 12 to 15). She received two units of blood, was hospitalized for five days and underwent many tests.

After two weeks, the doctor gave us bad news: Becky had multiple myeloma cancer.

Our hearts were broken. She never dreamed she could have cancer, but I had done a lot of reading and was preparing for the worst.

Now the worst had come.

Becky started treatment with chemo injections twice per week. The doctor said the best treatment plan was to work toward remission, followed by a stem cell transplant.

He referred us to a hospital in Los Angeles where the transplant would cost $980,000. I was shocked at the price tag and called Christian Healthcare Ministries immediately.

I told Beth in the Needs Processing department that we were facing nearly $1 million in expenses. I felt I needed to apologize that we were such a burden. Her response was quick and compassionate: “It’s okay, Mr. Szydlowski. What you have with CHM is better than an insurance plan. You’re a Gold member and are a part of Brother’s Keeper.* Don’t worry; we’ll take care of the finances.” I knew then she was talking about CHM members sharing to help us.

I received a packet from CHM with information about how to submit our bills to the ministry. One paragraph stated that if you were receiving the packet, something had come up that was very serious. Though not the exact words, it ended with: “Realize that God is with you and we are here to assist you.” I remember shedding a few tears. It was a message from the Lord.

The hospital stood firm on its price even after weeks of negotiation. I researched online and found an autologous stem cell transplant (meaning that Becky would receive her own stem cells) costing between $300,000 and $600,000. I also compared costs from several hospitals including one of the best cancer centers in California. Originally $700,000, discounts reduced the estimated bill to $343,330—a great savings compared to the original hospital’s price.

Since CHM doesn’t have a preferred provider list, I knew that our bills would have been shared even if we’d chosen the original hospital, but with God’s guidance we decided the hospital offering the $343,330 price was the best option. From day one of our journey, His presence has been evident. Becky never had to worry about the cost and she received the best possible treatment.

The injections she needed also were expensive. We applied for assistance and saved $106,260! I had learned the best way to get discounts was to speak with someone face-to-face. “I have something better than insurance,” I told providers.

Initially, I was discouraged by how the providers seemed more interested in profit than in helping patients. After treatment, however, that perception began to change. Sometimes they would mention discounts even before I asked. Many looked for means of financial assistance to help us. Most hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and chemo treatment providers were willing to give discounts. Very few did not.

We’re very thankful for God’s provision throughout this difficult journey. Each day had—and still has—a set of new challenges. Yet God has always been there and we look to Him daily. The prayers and support of God’s people strengthened our hearts and helped build our faith.

Thank you to the staff and members of CHM. You shared more than $416,000 in medical bills and have been an unbelievable agent of God’s love and care.

*Editor’s note: Brother’s Keeper is CHM’s program for catastrophic medical bills.

As a child, I loved reading biographies of great missionary heroes. I longed to live a life worthy of a biography so that someday people would see my life and say, “Wow, look at what she did for Jesus.”

From infancy, however, I experienced doctor-baffling health problems. Test results always came back normal. After my two children were born, symptoms steadily grew worse and doctors said things like “You’re my most complicated patient” and “I just don’t know what else to do.”

Not exactly comforting words.

Over the next 10 years I was diagnosed with a number of illnesses including hypoglycemia; Addison’s disease (an adrenal disorder); asthma; scoliosis; and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (a rare connective tissue disorder). Each diagnosis came with additional medication and the expectation of a prescription-dependent life.

After traveling the world and serving God’s people in Uganda, Kosovo and Indonesia, Addison’s disease brought our family home from the mission field in 2007. We had to leave our mission board, losing our health insurance. It was therefore a great encouragement when my husband, Brian, and I discovered CHM; I became a member in May 2012.

Meanwhile, we wanted to return to full-time ministry, but the dream seemed impossible because I was living with such extreme physical limitations. As the years passed we started losing hope. The future looked bleak; all we could see was lifelong disability.

Then, finally, a breakthrough.

In 2017 God opened two doors for us in Brian’s vocation and with my health. Source of Light Ministries, an evangelistic and discipleship-focused organization in Madison, Ga., urgently needed a new chief financial officer with accounting skills and mission experience. We eagerly accepted the offer and our family packed up to move from North Carolina.

Around the same time I underwent an MRI that revealed what was causing most—if not all—of my chronic health problems. I suffered from Chiari malformation, a structural brain defect. In essence, my brain was too large for my skull, causing intense pressure and interrupting nerve function. The test images clearly showed part of my brain squeezing down into my spinal cord. It became a family joke that my brain was trying to escape!

I learned I needed a highly skilled neurosurgeon to correct the problem and was told there are fewer than 10 qualified surgeons in the world. God was so good to us, though, because we found one who was only a three-hour drive away.

Three weeks later, in Oct. 2017, I underwent successful surgery. After just a few months I no longer needed any prescription pain medication! Today I can go for walks with my family, go up and down stairs, am homeschooling our children and have become involved at Source of Light. The improvement in my quality of life is more than I ever hoped it could be.

CHM was a great blessing through many difficult years and especially during the time surrounding my surgery. The staff members were helpful and kind and answered all of our questions. Without CHM we never could have afforded to pay even a percent of the procedure’s total cost, which was about $120,000. I would have had to forego the care I needed and continue my spiral toward lifelong disability. I had peace as I was wheeled into the operating room because I knew that God’s people were going to share 100 percent of the charges.

The hospital gave me a 70 percent discount and the surgeon also extended a large reduction in his bill. In all, I received nearly $54,000 in discounts and CHM members shared the remaining $66,000.

Living with chronic illness took its toll on my mind and heart, but I don’t wish away the years of struggle. They compelled me to dig deep into the Bible for answers and encouragement. I learned to fend off thoughts of defeat and self-pity. I discovered that faith is a choice based on the truth we believe, not on feelings. God taught me that I had just as much value and worth to Him lying helpless in a hospital bed as I did when scurrying around trying to prove myself.

It was also during these challenging years that I began to write many books, especially Why Doesn’t God Fix It, which explores the mystery of why Christians suffer. Because I needed the answers myself, I knew that other people were wondering, too.

My childhood goal has changed. I no longer want to get to the end of my life and have people say, “Wow, look at what she did for Jesus.” I want them to look and say, “Wow, look at what Jesus did for her.”

Editor’s note: Kimberly Thigpen (professionally known as Kimberly Rae) has over 200 published works of fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. Many of her fiction books explore the theme of human trafficking, while her nonfiction books center on suffering and chronic illness. To learn more, visit her website at kimberlyrae.com.

My wife, Jeanette, and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in the 1990s. We lived in Alabama and our church pastor told the congregation about his experience with the ministry. When his wife had surgery, they received funds from Christians all over the country for her medical needs. CHM members also prayed for her and sent notes of encouragement.

My wife became very excited about this concept. I was a bit of a skeptic, but I didn’t mind becoming a member because the cost was minimal. We were truck drivers gone from home for long periods of time so we decided to make our monthly financial gifts to CHM our tithe.

Times became tough for my father-in-law so eventually we moved in with him in California. We had insurance and therefore considered discontinuing our CHM membership. Our insurance premium had just gone up and we weren’t sure we could afford both.

The same day we discussed ending our CHM membership, we received a phone call from another CHM member who thanked us for helping share his wife’s medical needs. Touched by his gratefulness, we chose to remain members.

Meanwhile our insurance premiums continued to rise, reaching $2,300 per quarter with a deductible of $4,000. We both were in great health and could no longer justify the expense, so we dropped the policy. I was closing in on age 65 and we knew that Medicare was right around the corner.

Three months later, one of my Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests came back very high. We scheduled a biopsy. The results showed pre-cancerous cells, so I underwent another PSA test. The numbers were even higher. My urologist was convinced I had cancer, but I got a second biopsy. Positive again. My urologist said the cancer was not advanced and we discussed available treatments.

After much prayer, I decided to try a newer form of treatment called proton beam therapy. It’s a low-risk, minimally invasive type of radiation treatment.

I made an appointment in November 2012 for a treatment consultation. The cost of the consultation was very high so we made an appointment with the lady from the provider’s billing department. We explained that I was a cash patient. She told us the treatment would be just over $80,000 and that they needed a 20 percent down payment before I could begin.

Because I was initially skeptical of CHM and because we had never used CHM for a major medical event, I was sure our need wouldn’t be eligible for sharing. My wife and I pulled money from our retirement accounts to pay for the consultation and 10 months of treatment.

Discouraged, I asked Jeanette to call CHM. The staff member who spoke with her was very compassionate and didn’t act like there was any problem with submitting our bills to the ministry. She told us what forms to fill out and where to send them.

I had my first treatment in March 2013. We submitted the bills and received our first CHM check about six weeks later to reimburse the expense of my original consultation.

For nine weeks I drove nearly 50 miles every day for therapy in Loma Linda, Calif. On my first day, I walked into the changing room where an elderly man who had just finished his treatment was beaming. He asked if it was my first time. I said it was. He told me God had blessed him with the best technicians at the facility. They treated him like family.

When we received the last check from CHM, my wife opened the envelope and began crying. It was for a little over $66,000 and was exactly what we owed. We went for my first follow up appointment and were able to pay the balance in full. A weight was lifted off our shoulders.

I always tell people how God healed me. I’m still praising Him every day for the best treatment and technicians—and the wonderful CHM members who gave sacrificially and prayed for me during this hard time.

My last treatment occurred on Jeanette’s 60th birthday. One of my co-workers asked what I was getting her. She was telling everyone that she already had the best gift—a cancer-free husband! It’s wonderful to know God has made a way for those of us who join with other believers in this health cost sharing ministry. May God bless everyone involved in CHM as He has blessed us in our time of great need.

Without help from CHM, I’m convinced my husband and I would have been forced to file for bankruptcy.

Looking back at the events our family endured this past year, it’s clear that God drew us to join this ministry for reasons we couldn’t have imagined. I’m lucky to be alive and blessed to have joined CHM at the right time to meet my healthcare costs.

Last year we learned that my mother, who lived in Poland, was ailing and deteriorating quickly. Not long after she passed away, I was devastated to learn that her death was the result of a close relative’s maltreatment. The trauma of such a realization was more than I could bear and the emotional pain I felt increased daily.

Stress, I’m told, is one of the worst things that can happen to a human being and it affects people in different ways. My belief is that stress and anxiety caused a rupture in a brain aneurysm I didn’t know about. (Editor’s note: According to some medical research, a severe emotional state may trigger an existing aneurysm to rupture.) I spent two long weeks in the hospital so doctors could treat me and evaluate the rupture’s long-term effects.

I’ve since learned that about 40 percent of brain aneurysms are fatal and about 66 percent of survivors suffer permanent brain damage. Yet God spared me from any negative effects and I began to focus on getting well so that for many years to come I can be with my husband, Ron, and our twin sons.

No one can predict what life will bring and I believe that’s why God brought CHM into our lives. My medical bills were sudden, unexpected and financially overwhelming.

The first bill we received—my hospital bill—was over $285,000! I thought, Where does anyone get that kind of money? Already struggling to overcome some deep hurts and stress, I couldn’t force myself to add the burden of trying to figure out how we would pay for our astronomical medical costs.

Thankfully, in Jan. 2015 we had joined CHM’s Gold program and Brother’s Keeper, its program for catastrophic medical bills. (Editor’s note: For more information about Brother’s Keeper, see chministries.org/catastrophicbills.)

Ron worked with my healthcare providers to obtain itemized bills and then submitted the bills and CHM’s Needs Processing forms online. He also negotiated discounts—including a reduction of nearly 50 percent on our first bill. The CHM staff encouraged him and coached him on what to do to maximize the discount amount. (Editor’s note: CHM Needs Processing forms can be downloaded—and forms and medical bills can both be submitted through your Member Portal account at chministries.org/members).

In all, CHM shared $192,045 after $166,497 in discounts, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way they cared for our needs—financially and spiritually.

Nor can I adequately describe how grateful we are, or see how we could expect anything greater than the love CHM members have shown us. CHM is one of a kind, and we’re always referring friends and family