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I’m a Missouri River riverboat pilot and a fan of financial expert Dave Ramsey. I first heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries while listening to Dave’s radio show. I had no health insurance but was intrigued by the concept of Christians sharing each other’s medical bills, so I joined CHM in July 2015.

I was born with Tourette syndrome and have had symptoms since I was seven years old. I wasn’t undergoing treatment at the time I joined the ministry and, in fact, knew nothing about CHM’s programs for pre-existing conditions. I was simply excited to be part of a Christian health cost sharing ministry and have provision for any future medical costs.

Eventually I learned I needed surgery because the Tourette syndrome caused severe cervical spinal stenosis. The price was staggering—almost $350,000. The surgery center staff wanted 75 percent up-front to perform the surgery.

I explained that I’m a CHM member and that my condition is pre-existing so there was no way I could come up with the money in advance. I did set up a payment plan and, miraculously, my bill was dis-counted to $44,000—a reduction of 87 percent!

Sadly—and despite the surgeon’s optimism—the surgery wasn’t successful and my condition continues to worsen. I sincerely appreciate your ongoing prayers for healing, patience and perseverance.

The good news is that soon after the surgery I heard about the Prayer Page, one of CHM’s programs for pre-existing conditions. The staff was friendly and helpful and I had no problems filling out the pa-perwork to be listed in the monthly newsletter. So far, members have voluntarily donated to share $27,606 of my $44,000 in remaining bills and I continue to receive checks from the CHM office each month.

My Prayer Page experience has been nothing short of a miracle. The funds I received from all the wonderful members have been a game changer for me. I never expected that. Also, the many cards and letters they send offer me hope and compassion. They take my breath away and bring tears of joy when I see how the Lord works. I hope to someday meet some of these dear people and thank them in person.

I tell anyone who will listen about CHM. Most of them say it’s too good to be true. I, too, was skeptical at first, but now I’m a believer! Not only have I received help through the Prayer Page, but I had an unrelated incident earlier this year during which I thought I was suffering a heart attack. I was surprised to learn it was actually a panic attack; CHM members also shared these bills.

Through both experiences, God showed me that there are thousands of Christians like me out there who love helping people and truly care. I’m amazed at how CHM members open their hearts and keep “paying it forward.”

I’m so thankful that God can use anyone and anything to accomplish His purposes. In the 1980s I trained for the decathlon event in the Olympic Games and served as a spokesperson for the Tourette Syndrome Association (now the Tourette Association of America, or TAA). During that time I appeared in a Tourette syndrome educational video along with William Shatner.

Thousands of grade school and high school students viewed the video. I didn’t realize the impact the project had on many kids and teenagers who suffered from the same condition. I mention this only because I feel just as blessed to be a part of the work CHM is doing as I felt being involved with the TAA. I’ll never regret my decision to put my faith in God to provide for my healthcare costs.

We joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in 2014. Our monthly health care premiums had been raised four times to the point that we could no longer afford them. It was a bit scary because in 2011 I experienced a small spot cancer spot on my vocal cords which was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. I had been cancer-free for two years and my doctors thought the issue had resolved.

I’d never experienced any other medical issues in my life. The only time I had been in a hospital was to visit and pray for friends and family.

Some friends recommended CHM to us. I hesitated to join a group I didn’t know much about but my wife, Charlotte, and I prayed about becoming members. We decided to take the leap because we live a biblical lifestyle and liked the principle of Christians taking care of other Christians.

Little did I know that later that year the cancer would return and I would lose my vocal cords and voice to a tumor.

We joined at the Gold level and were eligible for CHM’s Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions. The medical costs that exceeded the schedule limits were listed in the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page so readers could make voluntary donations above their regular financial gifts.

I was overwhelmed with the wonderful support that we received from CHM. Between the Gold schedule and the Prayer Page, so far we’ve received $121,046 toward my medical expenses! The checks came at just the right time to pay the hospital expenses. It was a special blessing because my condition forced me to cut back my business hours and our income was drastically reduced.

Furthermore, CHM staff helped me negotiate my bills and coached us on how to interact with doctors’ offices and care facilities; with CHM’s help we’ve seen as much as 60 percent in discounts on some of the bills.

More importantly, I have received wonderful prayers and notes from at least 100 CHM members. Ordinarily, I would have dreaded coming home from work to open the mailbox because of bills. But along with the challenges in my mailbox I’d find notes and bits of wisdom from God’s people all over the country. These items were priceless and built my faith that God is in control and that His people are full of love.

God also taught me to focus on what I have rather than what I have lost and to be thankful for even the small things. Floods come to shake the house, but if you’ve built your house on Christ the solid foundation, the house will still stand. His peace is truly beyond understanding.

Today the CHM name is known and respected at my doctors’ offices. We haven’t come through this challenge yet but I gladly recommend Christian Healthcare Ministries to others. I’m still undergoing treatment, now speak with an artificial prosthetic and we’re trying to rebuild our lives. We trust that God will bring healing.

The U.S. health care system clearly needs some change and for this we continue to pray; CHM is definitely part of the answer. The help you’ve given our family is both financially significant and spiritually encouraging. If you’re looking for a Christian health care cost solution that really works, I recommend CHM. It’s the “real deal!”

In late 2014 our family was searching for a healthcare cost solution. I prayed about it for nearly a week. I didn’t know anyone who was a member of a health cost sharing ministry, so I knew it was God when I had the thought to do an internet search on Christian health cost sharing groups. It was a beautiful feeling to realize God had answered my prayer and led us to join CHM.

My oldest son, Nathan, had pectus excavatum, a condition in which the cartilage in the body grows quickly and then hardens. Nathan’s sternum (breastbone) sank into his chest and pressed against his heart.

Complications arose as he grew older and became more physically active. His ribs couldn’t stretch whenever he took a deep breath or when his heart beat rapidly. He experienced pain and many times he almost passed out; his heart was being pushed to the side of his chest and his lungs couldn’t fill with enough air.

A doctor said the condition would likely grow worse with age and said we needed to decide if this would be Nathan’s quality of life.

Doctors explained that corrective surgery is an extremely painful procedure with a long healing period of up to 12 months. In this procedure surgeons cut away from the sternum all of the cartilage attached to the ribs, peel the cartilage and remove the core, then stitch the cartilage back to the sternum, essentially remodeling the chest cavity.

After many prayers, Nathan underwent the surgery at age 19. God was with us and we entrusted Nathan’s care to His hands. We believe that God led us to the right doctors and hospital, a knowledge which gave us the peace we needed to move forward.

Because Nathan’s condition was pre-existing, I wasn’t sure what to do. I called CHM and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a representative rather than hearing a computerized voice or being sent to voicemail.

The staff member was compassionate and helped me understand that Nathan would be listed in the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page so that other members could see his name and contribute to share his medical bills. Sending his paperwork and medical bills was much easier than I anticipated.

Since then, CHM members shared nearly $69,000 through Prayer Page giving and Nathan’s bills have all been paid!

As difficult as it was to see my son in so much pain, we also experienced some surprising blessings during that time. We received many wonderful cards and notes of encouragement from members across the country. I was humbled to think that people took time out of their busy schedules to send notes and to pray for us.

The kindness of CHM members helped me realize that I wasn’t alone and that God sometimes shows His love in unexpected ways. I have recommended this wonderful ministry to several families who have since joined CHM.

Today Nathan is doing well; he can breathe better and his heart no longer troubles him during physical exertion. He still experiences a rapid heart rate from time to time, but it’s nothing compared to his previous troubles.

Walking with my son on this journey, I learned one of life’s hardest lessons: I am not in control! I discovered that struggles are amplified when I try to put myself in the driver’s seat instead of trusting God to handle the situation. As soon as I committed my son’s well-being to the Lord, events and details began falling into place.

I want to encourage other members going through a tough health challenge to get on your knees in prayer and be completely open to what God has planned for you, not what you think should happen. The world is a fallen place where bad things sometimes happen and it’s easy to wonder where God is when life gets difficult. But if we stop and look closely, we realize He has been there all along.

In November 2016 I visited my cardiologist for what was supposed to be a routine heart catheterization. Though I’d had a stent put in a few years earlier, the only symptom I was experiencing was occasional shortness of breath.

My husband, John, and I were stunned to learn that the test showed an 80 percent blockage in my “widow maker” artery. I was immediately scheduled for open heart surgery, which led to a two-week hospital stay. Though I was told the time I remained in the hospital was longer than expected, I assumed there was no reason for concern.

Three short days after my release, I returned to the emergency room due to more shortness of breath and a sustained temperature of 100 degrees. This time, a CT scan showed an even more surprising result: a lung torsion (twisting) that required a lobectomy (lung lobe removal).

Similar to my first incident, I was rushed into emergency surgery.

Lying on a gurney and feeling overwhelmed, I prayed for the Lord’s will to be done while wondering if I’d make it through another major operation, especially so soon after the first one.

Thankfully, the surgery was successful and I began the long road to recovery. However, another journey was about to begin: handling over $250,000 in medical bills.

John and I worked many hours to negotiate discounts and get the paperwork ready to send to CHM for sharing. I admit that, at first, it seemed a daunting task to take such an active role in the expense side of medical care. We’d never done anything like it before.

However, once we got used to it, it became much easier. In retrospect, the only truly challenging part was obtaining discounts from our healthcare providers, not because of unwillingness on their part, but because it sometimes required us to make two or three phone calls reminding them of our situation and request.

We came to the conclusion that the steps CHM requires members to take are necessary for the ministry to honor the Lord and best serve its members, both ethically and financially. We became more and more thankful to be a part of CHM.

As we continued to submit bills to CHM, we were often overwhelmed by the staff’s kindness and members’ generosity in sharing our healthcare costs. We received checks—including Prayer Page donations—that enabled us to meet our monthly financial obligations. We were also greatly encouraged to receive many cards and notes from fellow members who let us know they were praying for us!

In all, we obtained over $147,000 in discounts and thus far CHM members have shared nearly $69,000, leaving about $38,000 yet to be shared via the Prayer Page. Based on the ministry’s track record, we’re confident the remaining amount will soon be shared, too.

Though I wouldn’t again choose to go through two major surgeries in two months, we praise God for the lessons He taught us. We learned that God is faithful to “supply all [our] needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We also became aware like never before that life is a fleeting, precious gift. Now we thank the Lord each day for the privilege and blessing of waking up and giving us another day to serve and delight in Him.

We also thank God for giving the CHM leadership and staff wisdom to minister to members’ needs in a way that honors Jesus Christ. We recommend CHM to anyone who wishes to honor the Lord regarding their healthcare costs.

Our heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me; His patience, wisdom and power are unfathomable. For too many years I failed to appreciate His righteousness. Though I considered myself a believer, I spent most of my life acting fiercely independent, obstinate and self-reliant. I was bigger, stronger, tougher and meaner than anyone around me. I had no need for the Bible or any teachings of man.

Then in 2001 a series of events brought me to my knees and to the brink of suicide.

I knew I was living on the “dark side” and started down a long and tortuous path in search of righteousness. It took 10 years, but I finally found the faith that was buried deep inside me. However, I was still pretty independent, often proud and always pigheaded. In His wisdom, God knew that I needed to be “gentled down a bit,” a term cowboys often use when teaching a young colt how to be ridden.

In the meantime the government decreed that I had to abide by the Affordable Care Act. I looked for alternatives, but in my home state of Wyoming there was only one and it was anything but affordable.

In 2014 a friend in Christ told me about Christian Healthcare Ministries and I quickly signed up.

My gentling down a bit began later that year on a day I was hunting pheasant. Less than 100 yards from my truck my back suddenly tied up so badly that I could barely move. The orthopedic surgeon took a look at my X-rays. In his not-so-subtle way he exclaimed, “Your back looks like it was used as a chew toy by a pit bull!”

After preliminary tests and treatment failed to alleviate my pain, I had a laminectomy procedure on my spinal column, specifically the L4 vertebra. Thankfully the pain was eradicated, but it was considered a pre-existing condition. I learned my name would appear on the Prayer Page in the CHM newsletter so that fellow members could help with my bills.

Brothers and sisters in Christ: oh, boy, have you come through! At this writing I have received $42,983 in donations and have $7,763 remaining.

Though my bills are not yet completely paid, your generosity has helped a great deal in gentling me down a bit. I am profoundly grateful and thankful for you.

However, God wasn’t finished with what He wanted to teach me through my health problems.

Some months after my back surgery, my left hip began a quick and complete deterioration. I could not walk without a cane and the opiate painkillers did virtually nothing to alleviate the pain—to say nothing of their very undesirable side effects.

The big, tough guy who could carry half an elk on his back out of the backcountry, who walked away from an accidental gunshot wound to his belly from a .44 Magnum revolver, who lay completely still while a surgeon installed a pacemaker to his heart without a smidgen of anesthesia—that guy came dangerously close to being confined to a wheelchair.

God, in His amazing grace (a favorite hymn of mine) made it possible for me in 2016 to have my hip replaced. Once again, CHM helped me with the financial obligations by sharing over $77,000. I am now mostly pain-free and off the painkillers; I’m now on the road to regaining my strength and stamina.

Simple words cannot convey the level of appreciation and thanks I have for our great Father and my generous fellow CHM members.

My husband, Jaime, and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in January 2015. We were looking for an affordable healthcare option that would fit our circumstances without requiring us to pay for services we neither wanted nor needed.

I began developing cataracts a few years prior to joining CHM. The deterioration of my vision was subtle at first but became problematic in fall 2015. I couldn’t drive well in the dark or in bad weather.

A call to CHM confirmed that my condition was, unfortunately, pre-existing. “Don’t worry, though,” the staff member assured me. “There is help for you.” She explained what to do. I submitted my medical bills to CHM as I received them, paid my Personal Responsibility amount and nervously hoped for the best.

I was also able to negotiate medical bill discounts with the surgeon and hospital surgery center, though I unfortunately didn’t have any success with the anesthesiologist’s office. Additionally, the surgeon required a substantial down payment a few days before my two procedures. I had some money set aside for emergencies, but nothing remained after I depleted that to pay the surgeon’s bills. I began to worry.

A pleasant surprise was that it was quite simple to get my name listed on CHM’s Prayer Page since my bills met the Guidelines for that program. Thanks be to God, I have since received $4,958 toward my bills with $7,400 remaining. I cried when I received the first check in the mail. I’m so humbled at the generosity of strangers—but, as I remind myself, they’re not really strangers. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I now have excellent vision and my worries have disappeared! Through it all, God has shown me His great love and divine mercy. My experience has brought me closer to Him in some amazing ways.

I can’t say enough good things about CHM and the staff members. They were so encouraging and eased my concerns by explaining that each month hundreds of thousands of dollars are shared via the Prayer Page and that needs are being met in full. I have recommended CHM to friends, colleagues and everyone else I can think of.

CHM is a compassionate, no-nonsense, affordable healthcare option. The staff does just what they say they will do—no runaround, no stalling, no exorbitant fees, no hidden costs. Nothing. I thank God every day for CHM.

My husband, Fausto, and I are deeply grateful to CHM members for their prayer support, Christian love and financial help from CHM’s Prayer Page following his spinal surgery. Fausto and I are self-supporting missionaries to Guatemala. In 1960 we established a mission that requires a large investment: we manage five radio broadcasting stations and 150 churches in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Spain and Africa.

When Fausto’s back pain lasted several months, doctors recommended back surgery. However, with many pressing needs in our ministry, we put off his surgery as long as possible.

After much research and prayer, we felt our best option was for Fausto to have the surgery in Guatemala. Though American medical services are superior, we decided to receive medical care where we live.

Our God is merciful, and Fausto’s surgery went very well. We know, too, that the many prayers of fellow believers—including those from our CHM family—are effective. And oh, how we appreciate them!

We have been especially touched by the good wishes and prayers from the children who wrote us notes of encouragement. What a glorious thing to experience: the kindness and Christian love of fellow CHM members.

CHM faithfully shared more than $30,000 in medical bills listed on the Prayer Page. Thank you. We pray that God will bless each of you for your generosity!

Note: The image shows Fausto and Miriam wearing hand-woven Mayan-Ixil garments to identify with the people they serve. At the time of this writing, the Cebeiras are involved in church planting and radio ministry in five of the 23 Guatemalan tribes. There are also missions in South Sudan, Africa and Spain.

My interest in health care sharing ministries began when my health insurance premiums climbed to $1,000 per month. I became a member of one such ministry, but switched to CHM in January 2014 because the other organization could no longer legally operate due to passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

While a member of the first organization, I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a slow-growing cancer. Feeling I had some time to decide, I wrestled with what to do about treatment. My wife, Patricia, and I have a small business operating school buses and we’d lost two of our drivers to cancer in the previous five years.

I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ almost 30 years ago and I trust Him for my destiny. When I got my diagnosis, I didn’t believe it was time yet for me to leave this earth. Only once did I wonder what my wife and grandsons would do without me, but I quickly put that negative thought behind me and looked toward the future.

I initially tried taking vitamins and herbs and seeing an immune therapy doctor, but it didn’t help much.

I joined CHM and started chemotherapy about five months later. Wilma, a CHM staff member, told me not to worry and helped me understand what I needed to do. She said my condition was pre-existing but that CHM has programs for pre-existing conditions. One of those programs, she explained, is the Prayer Page that appears in the monthly newsletter.

The medical bills quickly added up. The hospital had never treated a CHM member before, so I explained that I didn’t have insurance, but was part of a ministry that would help me with my bills.* (I’ve since learned that the hospital now has other patients who are CHM members.)

I applied for financial assistance but my income was just a few dollars over the income limit. Thankfully, the hospital’s policy is to treat patients first and discuss payment afterward. The staff was also gracious in extending a 50 percent discount since they knew my bills were going to be very large. Some of my other health care providers also gave discounts once they learned the hospital had done so.

It took a little while for my name to appear on the CHM Prayer Page because I was waiting to hear back about financial assistance from the hospital. However, I didn’t worry about when the money from CHM would come in because I trusted God to move in the hearts of His people.

Since I was first listed on the CHM newsletter’s Prayer Page, I have received $118,721 from other members! Bills are still coming in and I have about $79,000 left to go. In addition, I received many encouraging cards from CHM members. I read each one and the personal touch makes me feel like I know these dear brothers and sisters. I look forward to seeing them all in heaven someday.

Today I’m doing much better and I’m undergoing maintenance treatment to keep the cancer in remission.

I compare my experience to a roller coaster: there were “lows” and “highs.” Some of the “lows” were the occurrence of abdominal ascites and blood clots and the fact I needed stents to keep open the ureter tubes from my kidneys to my bladder. The “high” times included when the ascites subsided, my lungs returning to normal and removal of the stents after 12 months.

I’m also grateful that the chemo treatments had little effect on me, which I attribute to building up my immune system, a positive attitude and—most of all—my faith and trust in Almighty God.

God received glory throughout my ordeal. He taught me patience and to trust Him each day. Some people thought I was history, but I believe the Lord intended my experience to be a testimony of His power to heal. I also think my story points to the effectiveness of the biblical principle of sharing each other’s burdens, as CHM members do each day. This principle works today just as it did in the days of the first disciples.

Even though Patricia and I trusted God from the beginning, we’re still amazed and humbled to receive cards of encouragement and checks averaging $10,000 per month. I’m forever grateful to my doctors, nurses and hospital. I’m equally thankful for each CHM member and the ministry staff. I recommend CHM every chance I get.

Most people who suffer the type of brain aneurysm I experienced do not survive, and those who live usually have lasting physical and mental debilitations.

On March 11, 2013, I was making breakfast when I felt in my head what can only be described as a popping and tearing sound. I turned off the stove and barely made it upstairs to my bedroom. I fell to my knees and shook my sleeping husband, Bill. Pounding, intense pain was quickly building inside my skull. In a short time I was semi-conscious.

Bill drove me to the emergency room, where medical staff quickly determined I had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke—a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The surgeons performed a coil thrombosis procedure, which created a platinum ball inside the balloon-shaped aneurysm. The procedure promotes blood clotting and prevents future episodes.

During surgery the doctor found another, smaller aneurysm that couldn’t be treated similarly. It posed a serious future threat; I would eventually need a stent in that artery.

The procedure was successful and I returned home after 12 days in the hospital. We didn’t have any health coverage at the time and were only able to cover the considerable cost by applying for grants.

After a few months of recovery, we called CHM to explain my condition and asked if the ministry would accept me as a member. We were told that I could be a member even with my health history and the CHM staff member explained the pre-existing conditions programs.*

Bill and I were very encouraged by the news because we were overwhelmed at the thought of large future medical expenses. We joined CHM’s Gold program and Brother’s Keeper in May 2014.

In 2016 we met with a neurologist and then with the hospital’s billing department to schedule the stent procedure. Though they weren’t familiar with CHM, when I explained the ministry they agreed to treat me as a self-pay patient.

I suffered a minor stroke during the procedure and my arm was still numb the next day, so I had follow-up surgery just to make sure I hadn’t developed blood clots. Everything was fine and the numbness quickly disappeared.

We received $50,000 in discounts on the hospital bill alone and CHM shared another $50,000 of my medical costs through its Gold schedule program for pre-existing conditions. The remaining balance exceeding the limit was listed on the Prayer Page in Heartfelt, the CHM monthly newsletter. Within a year, members had shared the remaining $31,500 through their voluntary donations—in the form of a check sent every month—so we could continue making payments on my bills.

Today I’m healthy and whole and my medical bills have all been paid!

What touched me the most, though, was how fellow members reached out to me through cards and letters while I was listed on the Prayer Page. I was moved to tears when I thought strangers cared enough to let me know they were praying for me and to make a donation toward paying my bills.

Thank you, CHM members, for your prayers and encouragement. You were the living expression of the Father’s love during the time I needed it most.

*Editor’s note: Christians living by New Testament principles are welcome to join CHM regardless of age, weight, health history or geographic region. To learn more, visit chministries.org/whocanbeamember. However, there are limitations on medical bill sharing for preexisting conditions. To learn more, see Guidelines Z and AA at chministries.org/guidelines.

My husband, Kevin, and I are small-town, small business owners in Oklahoma. He’s an optometrist and I’m a stay-at-home mom to two teenage boys, Weston and Brian.

In 2016 our circumstances changed and we had to quickly find a healthcare cost solution. At first we felt helpless because it seemed there were no viable options. We’d heard of health cost sharing ministries but were hesitant to take the leap of faith into unfamiliar territory.

Friends of ours who were also small business owners encouraged us to check out CHM. They had done a lot of research before joining. Their experience with the ministry caused them to rave about CHM.

We signed up for the Gold program*—albeit nervously—in Jan. 2017.

I’ve been hypoglycemic my entire life, but close to the time we joined CHM I began experiencing amplified symptoms that I knew needed a doctor’s attention. It was particularly worrisome because I didn’t know whether CHM would help if this new development was deemed part of a pre-existing condition.

The staff member I spoke with assured me that I could be a CHM member regardless of my health history, but that for this particular situation I’d need to submit my medical records—which is sometimes necessary if there are questions about whether a condition is pre-existing.

To my utter surprise and amazement, I soon learned that my medical bills would be eligible for sharing under CHM’s Gold schedule program for pre-existing conditions. In other words, I’d have assistance of up to $15,000 in my first year of membership—and any expenses exceeding that amount could appear in the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page, which lists medical needs from pre-existing conditions and is funded by members’ voluntary donations.

Armed with this information, I felt confident moving forward with treatment to diagnose my mysterious condition.

When I received my first check from CHM it felt like a miracle from heaven, especially in the midst of all the uncertainty about my diagnosis and about how to pay for the testing I needed. In total, CHM members shared $15,000 through the Gold schedule and $7,435 via the Prayer Page. I was also able to obtain medical bill discounts of 40 percent or more without difficulty from nearly all of my healthcare providers.

Every time I called the ministry I felt a sense of peace and confidence that Kevin and I had made the right decision about our healthcare. The CHM staff is professional and friendly, and even the “hold” worship music is enjoyable! I always ended the call feeling blessed.

Today I still don’t have all the answers about my condition, though thankfully doctors have ruled out a few of the more unsettling possibilities. I have learned that often situations in our lives don’t have a quick “fix.” Sometimes God allows long periods of waiting and frustration to teach His children to seek Him constantly as our source of peace and provision.

Kevin and I now recommend CHM to other small business owners because we want to give them hope about their healthcare. Two families we referred have already signed up. We’re humbled and honored to spread the good news of CHM to anyone who will listen!

*Editor’s note: CHM strongly recommends the Gold program for members with pre-existing conditions. More information about CHM’s pre-existing conditions programs can be found in Guidelines Z and AA at chministries.org/guidelines.

The Lord for many years has given me responsibility for cattle and land. When I was a young man, I married my high school sweetheart, Judy, and quickly settled into a rancher’s life. After the birth of our first child, we committed our lives to Christ. We eventually had four children, so it was difficult at times to make ends meet and we never had much money for health insurance.

In 1995 I was 43 and extremely busy with duties of irrigation, haying, feeding cattle, and a 70-cow dairy operation. Stress took its toll. One day my heart started beating out of control. I had severe pain in my chest and left arm.

After waiting to see if the issue would resolve on its own, Judy insisted I go to the doctor and get checked out. When testing ruled out heart problems, I was told I might have experienced a panic attack. However, the attacks recurred about once per month for many years.

In 2013 the “panic attack” frequency increased to twice a week, with each lasting three to four hours. I felt like I was running a marathon for which I hadn’t trained. Meanwhile, I somehow had contracted a bad infection in my elbow while working on an old roof.

As I went to an urgent care center to receive an antibiotic, I experienced yet another attack. The doctor sent me to the emergency room, where I was admitted to the hospital and received IV therapy.

The doctor discovered my heartbeat had doubled because a blood vessel had caused an abnormal circuit. A heart specialist diagnosed me with tachycardia and told me I needed surgery that would cost about $60,000. The other option was to try medication.

We’d just set up a payment plan for my emergency room bills and more medical debt was out of the question, so I tried the medication. Unfortunately, it made me either too tired to work or too wakeful to sleep—and it didn’t stop the attacks.

Starting to feel desperate, we looked into health insurance options and the best we could find was a $1,200 per month policy with a $10,000 deductible. In a word, unaffordable.

Thankfully, a friend told us about Christian Healthcare Ministries. We looked into it right away and signed up in May 2014. We were relieved when CHM staff members told us that there were programs for pre-existing conditions were available and to seek the treatment I needed.*

After pre-negotiating some discounts, I had surgery that July. The results were life-changing: I felt 20 years younger within just a few weeks. I now wake each morning feeling rested and ready to take on the day’s challenges!

However, there was still $49,215 in outstanding medical bills. We knew that my surgery bills would be listed in the CHM newsletter’s Prayer Page so that readers could voluntarily contribute to our need. We’d read other members’ testimonies about how their Prayer Page needs were met and we had no doubt that God would take care of us, too.

We set up monthly payments with the hospital and received a generous check from CHM reflecting its members’ donations just before our first hospital payment was due. Subsequent checks have been enough to pay our monthly bill from the hospital.

After receiving the first check, we were so excited that we committed to sending money each month toward Prayer Page needs as our mission for 2015! We also had postcards printed so that we could send a special “thank you” to every CHM member who donated toward our bills.

In a world where it can be difficult to find integrity, even sometimes among people who say they’re Christians, the Prayer Page is a beacon of Christians caring and helping meet each other’s needs. We’re so thankful to be part of such a wonderful ministry. God bless CHM!

*Editor’s note: Please see Guidelines Z and AA or chministries.org/preexistingconditions for CHM’s pre-existing conditions policy.

Darrel and I joined CHM in late 2014. We had heard of health cost sharing ministries but knew little about them. For most of our adult lives, we’d had no health insurance and paid out-of-pocket for the births of our six children: Jason, Barry, Travis, Amanda, Troy and Kendall.

Through the childrearing years there were many doctor visits and some sports injuries, but thankfully we had only one major medical incident: At four years old, Jason had emergency surgery and spent 10 days in the hospital. Even then, our church family stepped in and helped us pay the bills.

In the years 2007 to 2017—which we affectionately call “the decade of weddings”—all of our children had grown up and were getting married. They began thinking about provision for their healthcare costs. Their search and also the fact that Darrel and I were self-employed in the construction industry were the driving factors in us seeking a health cost solution.

Keeping busy with our job and large family began to take its toll on my body. As I entered my 50s I was spending more and more time getting chiropractic adjustments due to hip, back and knee discomfort.

In 2015 I had a knee X-ray that revealed arthritis and a lack of cartilage. My gait was compromised and I walked with a limp, which caused plantar fasciitis (heel inflammation). Soon a bursa (fluid-filled sac) had formed on the back of my right knee which aggravated the condition and caused constant and increasing pain.

Not one to complain, I soldiered on—until I could no longer take the interrupted sleep, tears of frustration and times of asking God “Why me? Why now?”

It had become clear that surgery was the next step in my treatment plan. I learned that, because I had experienced signs and symptoms before joining CHM, my arthritis was a pre-existing condition. Because we were in our second year of ministry membership, we were eligible to receive $25,000 in assistance from the Gold level schedule for pre-existing conditions and any remaining amount would appear in the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page.

CHM helped me with the negotiations when the orthopedic surgeon wanted funds before scheduling the surgery. We were very happy with the service the ministry staff provided and the prompt turnaround time.

I underwent surgery on April 18, 2016, spending three nights in the hospital and suffering no complications. My daughter, Amanda, and her family had recently moved back to Montana from California and were living in our guest house. She was my caregiver in the weeks following surgery and helped me perform the physical therapy exercises that restored my mobility.

Though I was frustrated that the hospital wouldn’t extend a discount, I received discounts ranging from 20 to 40 percent on almost all of my other my medical bills. Many of my healthcare providers had heard of CHM and were familiar with how the ministry works.

Today all of my bills have been paid in full, with CHM sharing $25,000 through the Gold schedule and just under $17,700 through the Prayer Page, for a total of nearly $43,000.

We were touched every time we received a Prayer Page check because we knew that many of those who donated had chosen our name from the many listed in the newsletter. It was inspiring to receive donations from members in 28 states, including several from Montana and a few families that we know. We also received many encouraging cards and even a small lap quilt from members. We were blessed by such loving gestures!

Darrel is now facing a prostate cancer diagnosis, but we are optimistic and putting our trust in our great God to provide. We’ve seen His care through our pain and struggles and have developed patience and a greater understanding of how all things ultimately occur according to God’s plan. We know the challenges of this life are nothing in comparison to the great riches He has in store for us in heaven. Praise be to God for His infinite mercy!

It’s a rich blessing to see all six of our children following the Lord and that they’ve all joined CHM, too. Of our 14 grandchildren—two yet to be born in January and May 2018—the six youngest have been under CHM’s excellent maternity program. We love the ministry and feel strongly about its mission and God’s call for His people to care for each other. We continue to promote CHM and trust that God will continue to bless it in the years to come.

Several years ago I began evaluating my health care costs. My insurance deductible was so high that the insurance company rarely paid anything toward medical bills. I could no longer justify keeping my insurance and decided I would much rather fund a Christian health cost sharing ministry than send hard-earned dollars to an insurance company. We joined Christian Healthcare Ministries at the Gold level.

My first real encounter with CHM was when my left hip became stiff and painful. The effects were mild at first and I limped without realizing it. Other people kept asking what was wrong and eventually the pain became constant and affected all daily activities. Any motion produced severe, stabbing pain. I knew I had to consult a surgeon.

I’d had a right hip replacement in 2007, so I had an idea of what to expect. I knew what was likely in store: surgery, disability, financial stress and a lengthy recovery. I became very discouraged.

However, the CHM staff was incredibly helpful. They were kind, understanding, patient and informative. Each interaction I had with the staff was basically the same: helpful and caring. Every organization interested in quality customer service should call CHM to see what modern Christ-like customer service sounds like!

Nevertheless I worried how I was going to pay the bills and feed my family. As soon as CHM sent me the first check, however, I felt relieved. God had thrown me a “life-preserver” and I slept better every night after that.

The process of submitting bills was straightforward. In fact, submitting the bills all at once helped me organize and pay them promptly. The total bills related to my hip surgery were over $58,000, which I was able to negotiate down significantly.

Because this was a pre-existing condition, CHM shared $25,000 through the Gold level sharing schedule. I was then listed on the newsletter Prayer Page for the remaining $16,864. I’m well on my way to paying the entire bill in a short period of time.

Surgery caused me to be off work for six months and income for the family has certainly been a challenge. However, the generosity of CHM members has been exceptionally helpful and very uplifting. At first I was a skeptic, but CHM continues to prove faithful. How refreshing it is for an organization to fulfill its mission.

One unexpected blessing was explaining CHM to all of my health care providers and physicians. Most of them had never heard of CHM or health cost sharing ministries. It was rewarding to explain the ministry’s purpose and to provide a glimpse into Christian living and giving. I was able to confidently tell them they had nothing to worry about. I think they knew they could trust me and that I was serious about paying my bills.

Even more remarkable was receiving unexpected notes, cards, letters of encouragement and prayer along with financial donations. The dollar amount of the contributions wasn’t as important to me and my family as the lesson that it taught us, a lesson about Christian giving and helping someone with absolutely no expectation of receiving something in return. Giving for the sake of giving—I was blown away!

My hip is healing slowly but I’m optimistic that I’ll make a full recovery and will be able to return to work.

God has taught me many lessons through my experience. First, humility. The second is to rely on Him and to stop worrying so much. He’s my redeemer, protector and strength.

But the most important lesson is this: stop, listen and accept. Life is full of change, but growth is optional. I was able to slow down, reflect and read the Bible more regularly than I did while running in the “rat race” before my surgery.

I’m overcome by the kindness and generosity of CHM members and I love telling the CHM story! Whether you incur medical bills or not, it’s comforting that our money is going to help other Christians during life’s challenges. It makes me feel good every time I send my monthly financial gift to CHM.

Thank you for all you do.

While attending Johnson University (formerly Johnson Bible College) in Knoxville, Tenn., I awoke in my dorm room one morning and could barely open my eyes. They hurt and looked very red. I hoped that I had simply scratched my eye while putting in my contact lenses and that the pain would be relieved in a day or two. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

The pain in my eyes became so intense I couldn’t leave my bed. I promptly made an appointment to see an eye doctor.

The doctor diagnosed me with “uveitis,” an inflammation of the uvea, the vascular middle part of the eye. He prescribed eye drops, and it cleared up within a few weeks.

When I went home for Christmas, my regular optometrist—who’d heard about my eye problems at school—wanted to examine my eyes. On New Year’s Eve 2003, my mom and I made what we thought would be a quick trip to the optometrist. However, when my doctor looked at my eyes, she quickly left the room. When she returned, she said “I could only find one ophthalmologist’s office open because of the holiday, but they are waiting for you in the next town. Go now!”

My uveitis was back, and it was the worst case my doctor had ever seen.

The ophthalmologist said that, on a scale of one to 10, my uveitis was an 11. I was prescribed oral steroids and the same eye drops I had been taking before. This time, the uveitis did not go away. In fact, nine years later, my body is still fighting my eyes.

I’ve visited more than 15 doctors in three states and have incurred more than $40,000 in medical debt. I’ve been tested for every possible cause for uveitis, but the tests always come back normal. I’ve been told that often a specific cause can’t be identified. Rather, it’s an autoimmunological reaction in which my body thinks my eyes are the enemy. In the last nine years, I’ve undergone numerous surgeries and procedures in hopes of eradicating the inflammation and preserving my vision.

During this time, God has taught me so much about who He is. I’ve learned that God’s will is always good and perfect, even if it means that I am not always happy or healthy. I have prayed for healing for nine years, but God has allowed my illness to continue. Still, I’ve learned to rejoice in His plan for me and to bring glory to Him in my response to the illness.

Additionally, God has shown me how to rely on Him as well as other people. This was hard because I have fiercely independent spirit. However, by being unable to read menus in restaurants or to see across a busy street, God has reminded me that He created us for community and collaboration. God continues to remind me that He created me perfectly and that, though my eyes aren’t great, He has gifted me in many ways for ministry to his Church.

Now I’m maintaining the vision I have with steroid injections in my eyes and immunosuppressants. My ability to see ebbs and flows depending on how recently I’ve had a shot, but God continues to preserve my eyes.

I’m so thankful for CHM’s willingness to help me carry my burden. Because of my illness, I had been rejected by traditional insurance providers, or couldn’t afford them in any case.

With CHM, I not only have access to financial help, but also to spiritual help through prayer and encouragement! I have been blown away by the family of God coming together to take care of one another’s needs. Being part of the Prayer Page has been such an encouragement to me and my family. We are so appreciative of your prayers and gifts.

In 2015 I closed my business after 35 years of operation. For all those years I had worked 11-to-12-hour days, seven days per week to support my family. I’d only missed one day due to illness.

A friend introduced me to Christian Healthcare Ministries, and I admit that at first I was skeptical. How does CHM offer its programs at such a low cost? I wondered. A small voice in my head whispered that it was too good to be true.

I read all of the information I could find about it and came to the conclusion that CHM is based on sound biblical and business principles. My wife, Mary, and I joined the Gold program and Brother’s Keeper in Jan. 2016.

That October I started experiencing symptoms that felt like gas building up and pushing on my diaphragm. The pain subsided whenever I cooled myself off or went for a walk. But the aching always returned. On Friday morning, Oct. 28, I’d had enough and decided that if the pains got worse by Monday, I’d go see my doctor.

At 1:30 a.m. that Monday, I awoke to intense pain that walking around the house for an hour didn’t diminish. I woke Mary and told her I was going to the emergency room two blocks away.

After just 15 minutes the on-call physician told me I was having a heart attack and that a helicopter was already on its way to transfer me to a larger hospital. I questioned whether he was sure because to me it just felt like painful gas. He said the EKG (electrocardiogram) showed a heart attack and the larger hospital’s staff concurred.

In the next 24 hours I had three stents inserted in arteries that were 90 to 100 percent blocked. Incredibly, I was discharged from the hospital after just two days.

When I got home the hospital bill of over $130,000 was already in my mailbox. I wasn’t panicking, but I was definitely concerned. High blood pressure I’d experienced before joining CHM meant my heart condition was pre-existing. A staff member told me there were sharing limits (under the Gold program) for pre-existing conditions, but that the remaining amount would appear on the newsletter’s Prayer Page and other members could make donations to help me pay my bills.

It was fairly simple to submit the medical bills to CHM. At first I was uneasy asking my healthcare providers for discounts, but a little practice made it easier and I learned that discounting is common in the healthcare industry.

I incurred a total of nearly $223,000 in bills and received more than $84,000 in discounts. At the time of this writing CHM members have shared over $93,000 of my remaining expenses and I continue each month to receive a check reflecting their Prayer Page donations.

I feel very grateful and blessed to have been given a second chance at life. My health event caused me to realize that I have fewer days in front of me than behind me, and as a result Mary and I now both have—and highly recommend—healthcare directives (living will, healthcare power of attorney, etc.). These forms are especially helpful for the spouse of a patient undergoing a serious health crisis.

I want to thank the CHM staff for making us feel like part of a family every time we called or emailed questions. I especially thank you, CHM members, for your donations and prayers. Hopefully I can someday be on the “other side” by helping others in their time of need. There’s no doubt in my mind that CHM is guided by God’s divine power and mercy.

Throughout my battle with breast cancer I have been thankful for the Prayer Page’s assistance.

My journey through this illness began 10 years ago. During a routine mammogram, my doctors found a spot. The doctor performed a biopsy, which led to a lumpectomy. Thankfully, that incident turned out to be benign.

However, in November 2010, I noticed a dimpling on my breast in the same location as the previous spot. I quickly scheduled a mammogram and an ultrasound. These tests revealed a new spot, for which I also had a biopsy. This time, my doctor sent the test to the Mayo Clinic.

In January 2011, my doctor told me I had lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), a type of breast cancer. A few months later, in May 2011, I had a double mastectomy.

Since then, I’ve had a total of four reconstructive surgeries and there are two more left. So far, my bills total $35,439. Between the Prayer Page giving and bill reductions I obtained, my financial burden has been—and continues to be—significantly lightened.

God has been so good to me and has taught me so much throughout my illness. I have found that I have nothing to fear as long as I have the facts and can make an informed decision. God has broad shoulders and will never leave me or forsake me.

He also has helped me to remain positive throughout this experience. When the doctor originally called me with the news of my cancer, I was home alone and cried out to God “So, what now?”

He told me to count it all joy, so I do.

Thank you to CHM and all of the kind folks who have helped me with my Prayer Page need! Your generosity and prayers mean so much to me.

What a joy it is to share with you that all of the medical bills related to my hip surgeries have been paid! God has provided through your generosity. Gene and I are so thankful to be part of His family. Thank you for caring and sharing to meet these medical bills.

No matter the size of the gift or the number of times you shared with us through Prayer Page giving, we see how God combined the resources and did through many people—a family—what we couldn’t do alone. We’re so excited to see His completion in His time.

Our joy is full and we want you to share in the rejoicing with us. May your heart and home be blessed by the great Giver.

We thank Him for you in Jesus’ name.

I’d like to share my story with Heartfelt readers to illustrate for them the enormous difference CHM can make in their lives.

I was attracted to CHM because I’m a small business owner who was looking for an affordable healthcare cost solution. My husband, Richard, and I joined the ministry in Feb. 2015.

Several years earlier I started undergoing monitoring by an otolaryngologist because of a lump on the left side of my neck. At first it remained small, but it started growing in the second half of 2015. My doctor and I agreed it should be removed. He thought it was a lipoma requiring a simple procedure at a surgery center. I underwent the procedure that December at a cost of about $20,000.

After I awoke from anesthesia I learned that the surgery didn’t go well. The doctor discovered the lump was actually a carotid body tumor, which could be life-threatening if not treated quickly. He referred me to an oncology clinic.

The new doctor said proper treatment would require two more surgeries. He wanted to begin right away, but I was still trying to recover from sticker shock. The cost estimate was $177,000. That’s almost as much as our house! I thought.

Uncertain, I called CHM. I learned that even though my condition was pre-existing, my medical bills could still be shared through the Prayer Page, which appears in the monthly newsletter and is one of CHM’s programs for conditions that began prior to joining the ministry.

At first I was in disbelief, but the ministry staff assured me by explaining that hundreds of folks just like me had had their medical expenses met through the Prayer Page. They coached me to ask for discounts and set up payment plans with my healthcare providers.

Thanks to the advice we received from the knowledgeable and caring CHM staff, we submitted all of our paperwork and soon began receiving monthly checks.

After discounts and financial assistance of over $150,000, over the course of a year CHM members shared nearly $46,000 through Prayer Page giving. What a blessing!

As important as those checks were, much to my surprise I started receiving something equally wonderful: lists of names of those who contributed to sharing my bills. I also received many charming cards and notes wishing me a speedy recovery. They came from all over the country and I was so touched that I wrote back to each person.

During my long days of recovery, I had a lot of time to think about my good fortune—or perhaps I should say providential provision—of being in the United States at the time of my medical crisis. Though there are many excellent doctors where I was born in Siberia, Russia, I don’t believe I would have survived such surgeries there. I thank God for His timing, which is always perfect.

From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone in the CHM offices for your patience and attention to my many questions. I also thank my family and every member of the CHM community of believers for your support and generosity. Richard and I pray that God blesses you who have been such a blessing to us!

Daniel and I joined CHM in May 2011. We had never had medical insurance, but we believed in Christians helping and sharing with one another. We were thrilled when we learned about CHM and how it operates. Our first son, Travis, was born seven weeks premature and had a bent tibia. He spent 15 days in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and came home with a removable cast that straightened his foot though it didn’t correct the curve in his tibia bone.

Our second son, Laramy, made an even earlier appearance (born 12 weeks early) and spent nearly six weeks in the NICU. At birth, he had bleeding on his brain that caused delayed motor skill development.

When we joined CHM, I was pregnant for the third time and was obviously high risk. Emily, also premature, thankfully didn’t need to spend time in the NICU. We praised God for answered prayer. Because I was pregnant before joining, the expenses from her birth were listed on and met through the CHM Prayer Page.

It was so touching to receive money and cards of encouragement from people we didn’t even know. They reached out to us in our time of need and prayed for us.

We can’t say thank you enough! CHM members were God’s way of supplying our needs. Thank you for being that channel.

When Emily landed in the hospital with a bladder infection the following year, it was such a blessing to know that we were part of a ministry that would help meet the needs we incurred while there.

The CHM staff was very helpful and especially caring during that time. They committed to praying for Emily’s healing. We praised God because we knew she was on her way to better health. We believe we are here on this earth to bring honor and glory to God, our Creator and sustainer of life. To Him be all the glory and honor!

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the financial provision available through Christian Healthcare Ministries and how its pre-existing conditions programs fully shared my medical expenses.

For many years I was a reading specialist teaching missionaries’ children in Tanzania and Guatemala. My long-term health crisis began just as I was planning to finish another degree as a school psychologist to provide assessment, intervention and consultation services to missionary kids’ schools worldwide.

But God had other plans. A “parenthesis” of testing my faith began that would last 15 years. As Oswald Chambers writes, God “battered [me] into the shape of the vision.”

Part of the journey included two rounds of breast cancer nine years apart. At the time I had health insurance because I was working at a small private school.

I thought my medical challenges were finally behind me, but in 2014 I started having excruciating pain in my right hip. It took about two months for doctors to diagnose the pain’s source: herniated discs. .

I underwent physical therapy and for about six months felt much better. However, the pain surfaced in my left hip. This time I knew exactly what to do. I resumed physical therapy and checked in with my pain management doctor for more injections.

All of the treatment resulted in out-of-pocket costs that were about half my salary that year!

Meanwhile, I was ready to make the switch to private practice and was desperate to find a different solution for my healthcare costs. I joined CHM’s Gold program in Jan. 2015 and was pleased that it’s the original healthcare sharing ministry and has a long track record of sharing its members’ medical bills.

Before considering surgery my doctor wanted to rule out other treatment options, so for many months I endured more debilitating pain. Eventually I was barely able to walk. I crawled up steps, hung onto walls and furniture for support and couldn’t do most household tasks or participate in activities I enjoyed: hiking, baking, gardening and traveling.

Two bright spots during this difficult time were being able to work due to a sedentary job and biking, since the latter isn’t a weight-bearing activity. I also took prescription pain medication and propped my knees up with pillows so I could sleep at night.

Finally, spinal fusion surgery was scheduled in Nov. 2015. (This was considered a new medical incident and thus eligible for CHM’s pre-existing conditions programs.) The first week after the procedure was pain-free and I was able to walk a little more each day. I had a setback when the pain returned with a vengeance. I was in the hospital and bedridden in a rehab center for 10 days, after which I had to live with my mother for a month because my house has many sets of steep stairs.

Two doctors thought I had post-surgery swelling while two others insisted that another disc had become herniated. They were all correct, which meant a long recovery time for me. I underwent five more months of physical therapy and regularly used a stationary bike in my home to speed my healing and regain mobility.

I’m eternally grateful to CHM for sharing $17,000 through its Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions. After that, my name was put on the Prayer Page in the Heartfelt monthly newsletter. Members responded with their donations and in time I received over $43,000 in additional help with my medical expenses.

I’m so thankful for the monthly Prayer Page checks I received that helped keep me afloat, but even more encouraging were the notes, cards, letters, emails and prayers sent by fellow CHM members. I even received a hand-quilted throw blanket!

I was gradually able to do everything I had not been doing well for many years. Today I’m pain-free—something I thought I’d never feel again—and I have resumed all the activities I love. I can walk several miles and climb hills easily, have no problem with steps and can even travel internationally for my job. The most I experience is an occasional backache that is easily resolved within 30 minutes of taking a mild pain reliever.

I also had great experiences with my doctors and all the facilities where I received health services. They gave me generous self-pay discounts and the hospital offered manageable payment plans.

I praise the Lord for a full recovery and for functioning better than I have for many years. God is great and greatly to be praised!

I joined CHM in 2014 and was familiar with the ministry because my parents were members for seven years.

I have congenital and degenerative spine conditions and experienced varying degrees of success with minimally invasive treatment. One day in 2015 I was rearranging furniture and felt pain that made it impossible to stand up straight or walk comfortably.

My doctor recommended epidural steroid injections. The CHM staff helped with my questions about submitting the resulting medical bills and, thanks to their guidance, I was able to negotiate discounts on most of my bills.

Unfortunately, the injections provided only temporary relief; I underwent spinal fusion surgery in December 2016.

A patient advocate from my doctor’s office helped reduce the hospital bill 55 percent and CHM’s Member Advocate team did a superb job negotiating the surgeon’s fees. The total cost of my bills was $246,010 before reductions and $111,872 after discounts were applied. The remaining balance of over $100,000 was shared through CHM’s programs for pre-existing conditions.

The hospital originally proposed I pay $3,000 per month for two years. They were familiar with CHM but not with the Prayer Page program. After I explained how it works, they agreed to accept the amount I received each month from Prayer Page donations.

During my recovery I received many cards, notes and encouraging emails from CHM members. These acts of kindness inspired me to do the same for other members facing a medical challenge. I have gained a greater level of empathy for others who find themselves in similar situations, and I want to “pay forward” what my family members, friends and fellow CHM members did for me.

Every CHM employee I spoke with has been courteous, understanding and helpful. I especially thank Mayly Mancari in the Member Advocate department and Vicki Benek in the Needs Processing department.

I’m thankful for many other things: I’ve been able to choose my own doctors and course of treatment. I feel peace knowing I’ll be okay if a catastrophic health event occurs because I’m a Gold member with Brother’s Keeper.

I’m thrilled to report that since my surgery I’ve been pain-free for the first time in over a decade! I have resumed all normal activities and have “gained” two inches in height.

Thank you, CHM members and staff, for all you contribute financially and in Christian love.

*Editor’s note: For suggestions on negotiating a payment plan, see member Rhonda Barfield’s article in the CHM October 2017 newsletter at chministries.org/newsletter.

On July 13, 2013, I went to pick up a cake for our church’s Vacation Bible School. I asked my wife, Roxana, to go along because it was her birthday. We pulled out of our driveway and made the 30-mile round-trip.

I realized later that sometime during the trip my short-term memory had disappeared. I didn’t remember driving or any other details about the trip to the store. In fact, I couldn’t remember anything.

Roxana took me to the emergency room. After a series of tests, doctors discovered that I had a brain tumor. Four days later, surgeons removed the tumor and my short-term memory reappeared.

It wasn’t until that October that Roxana and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries, so we knew my brain tumor would be considered pre-existing. My bills incurred prior to joining couldn’t be shared, but any future bills from my illness would be possible candidates for the Prayer Page.

Radiation later became a necessity in my battle against cancer. We are so grateful that CHM was there to help financially through the Prayer Page. Otherwise, I likely would have been denied treatment, giving me one year to live (according to my radiologist).

As soon as my name appeared on the Prayer Page, I began receiving checks from CHM comprised of donations made by fellow members. It was a manifestation of the biblical principle of praying for one another and carrying each other’s burdens.

The checks continued to arrive in my mailbox each month. CHM members shared $51,364 of my medical bills! The CHM family has exceeded all of our expectations.

Patience and trust were certainly lessons God taught me. Surgery and medication caused some depression, but the encouraging cards I received from my CHM brothers and sisters proved to be like the Bible story of Aaron and Hur. Just as they held up Moses’ arms and gave the Israelite army an advantage to victory, the prayers and cards I received gave me encouragement, words of peace, hope and love.

In the shadow of death, God gave peace and joy. My grandchildren, too, were a blessing because their questions gave me opportunities to share about the goodness of the Lord in times of trouble.

On October 24, 2014, I was told that my tumor was no longer a threat. I’ve been given a clean bill of health. To God be the glory!

My CHM family is a major part in my recovery and the life I am now enjoying.

I tell many people about the ministry. I tell them about the cards, the Prayer Page and everything I know about CHM. It’s just a small token of the gratitude I have for my CHM family.

Without your help, I would either be gone from this earth or I’d have overwhelming medical debt. Thank you to all at Christian Healthcare Ministries.

For years, my husband, Jerry, experienced pain in his left knee. When the healthcare law went into effect and our options became limited, we searched for alternatives and joined CHM in 2016.

Several months later Jerry’s pain worsened. He had a choice: either get a full knee replacement or quit his full-time job. We reviewed CHM’s Gold level pre-existing conditions sharing policy* and decided on the surgery.

I called CHM several times to ask what to do. Each time, the staff was extremely kind and helped me understand how to make things go smoothly.

Per their advice, I talked with the surgeon’s office, hospital and anesthesiologist to ask for discounts and arrange payment plans until CHM shared our bills. The hospital’s financial counselor strongly encouraged us to complete the financial assistance application.

We were pleased to receive 80 percent in discounts on our hospital and therapy bill, a 70 percent discount on our surgeon’s bill, and a 60 percent discount on our anesthesiologist’s bill. The CHM staff’s direction on how to request discounts made this happen. Also, our discounts were credited toward our Personal Responsibility amount.

After discounts of nearly $55,000, CHM members shared $15,000 through the Gold program’s sharing schedule. We felt we could handle some of our smaller bills above that amount, so we chose not to participate in being listed on the CHM newsletter’s Prayer Page for additional help. Jerry didn’t want to burden other CHM members with expenses we knew we could bear.

Since surgery, Jerry is doing much better. He returned to work part-time for two weeks and increased to six hours per day the following two weeks. He is now back to working full-time.

During his recovery, God taught us patience. Jerry hoped he would be doing better after the first six weeks, but he still shows continued improvement each day. Doctors say recovery often takes a full year.

Thank you, CHM, for your financial support. We often recommend the ministry to others.

Our youngest son, Craig, was born in March 2012 with a hole in his heart. My wife, Carla, had a normal pregnancy and we had no idea anything was wrong until a newborn check-up just before leaving the birth center.

At birth Craig’s heart was slightly enlarged from being overworked. Of course, we were surprised and even shocked. It was incredibly difficult to hand over our tiny baby to the surgical team and wait eight hours during the procedure.

The surgery was successful and Craig healed quickly. A second shock was the price tag: $190,000! By God’s grace, we received a 66 percent discount for being self-pay patients and family and friends donated the remaining $65,000 we needed to pay the bill.

In the meantime we learned about Christian Healthcare Ministries and joined at the Silver level in June 2013.

When Craig was three years old we learned he needed a second surgery to reconstruct his pulmonary heart valve and the surrounding tissue. This time he was more aware of what would happen so he experienced some anxiety. He was encouraged by the presence of his beloved puppy, Cocoa, who remains an inseparable companion to this day.

It was a frightening night because the surgeons said they were having trouble stopping the bleeding in Craig’s heart. Thankfully, God gave my mother the right words, which I’ll never forget: “If God knows the number of hairs on our head and sees every sparrow that falls,” she said, “isn’t Craig even more valuable in His sight?”

We were once again blessed by skilled surgeons and a good outcome. There was still concern, however, about how the bills would be paid.

Craig’s heart condition was considered pre-existing because it predated our CHM join date. However, we had for years said we trusted God to meet all our needs, so this was a perfect opportunity to once again put our faith into practice.

This time the surgery cost was about $150,000. We were offered a 35 percent discount if we paid the bills within 90 days, so we decided to take out a loan for the remaining balance of $97,995.

Craig was listed in the CHM monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page and we soon received an enormous number of letters, cards and emails. It was very encouraging to hear from CHM members who were praying for us.

We were worried about how we would repay the loan, but God was faithful. The CHM community chipped in and we paid off the remaining balance—all through their voluntary Prayer Page donations. The experience brought a deepening of our faith that God is in complete control.

Today Craig is a very active five-year-old who doesn’t look like he’s been sick a day in his life. In fact, he tries to do everything his nine-year-old sister does! We anticipate he’ll have a normal and healthy childhood.

We often recommend CHM to others and our only “debt” now is to our Christian brothers and sisters who stepped in to help during our time of need. It’s one that we actually look forward to repaying.

After a serious illness that caused six days of hospitalization and a canceled health plan, my husband, John, and I knew we had to find a different solution to my healthcare costs. I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries’ Gold level and the Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic health expenses.

I had battled diverticulitis in the past and knew it would be considered pre-existing, but I didn’t realize that an expensive surgery was just on the horizon.

In late October 2015 I was traveling home to Wisconsin after a wonderful Hawaiian vacation with my adult children and grandchildren. I started experiencing abdominal pain just before boarding my first flight to San Jose, Calif., but reasoned that I needed to “grin and bear it” so I didn’t miss my flight.

The pain only grew worse throughout the day. I made it back to Wisconsin but had to go immediately to an urgent care center. Two days later I was admitted to the hospital due to ongoing pain and an elevated white blood cell count. I received intravenous antibiotics and fluids and was referred to a surgeon for a consultation.

I learned that I had ruptured diverticuli and that the infection had spread through my body. On Dec. 16 I underwent sigmoid resection surgery to remove part of my colon.

The surgery alone had a “sticker” price of over $40,000. This was followed by the arrival of other bills from my surgeon, anesthesiologist, pathologist, etc.

I contacted CHM to find out how my medical bills would be handled. The staff members were so kind; they said $25,000 of my bills would be eligible for sharing through the Gold schedule and the rest could be shared through the Prayer Page. I learned that these are CHM’s two programs for pre-existing conditions. (Editor’s note: For more information on pre-existing conditions, see Guidelines Z and AA at chministries.org/guidelines.)

My bills totaled over $85,000 and I received about $22,000 in provider discounts, including a 60 percent discount from my surgeon.

Since Prayer Page needs are shared based on the voluntary donations CHM receives each month, after the initial $25,000 (shared through the Gold schedule) I began receiving monthly checks until members shared the entire remaining amount. At the same time I started getting cards in the mail—from folks I’ve never met—saying they were praying for me.

I experienced such encouragement from receiving these little “mailbox miracles.” It was inspiring to think that people were responding to my request for help on the Prayer Page.

Having suffered two infections and three bowel obstructions within a year, I learned how long-term pain can affect and change lives. Through my experience God taught me a lot about being more empathetic toward others because I came to understand how chronic pain can make it difficult just to get through a single day.

Today I am fully recovered and feel better than I have in years. When I think back to the time of my surgery, I’m reminded of how God provided for me in so many ways. For example, the CHM staff was kind and considerate even when my thinking was affected by being on numerous medications and concentration was difficult. They were patient and never made me feel embarrassed when I asked them to repeat information. It was one less thing to worry about during a worrisome time.

Both John and I now have Medicare, but I remain a CHM member because I want to continue helping my brothers and sisters in Christ as I have been helped. I recommend CHM every chance I have!

I used to be a Boston Marathon runner, but in 2009, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The disease progressed rapidly and I became handicapped within a matter of months. Treatment didn’t help and all my research came to dead ends.

To make matters worse, I knew that at some point I would need to find a different health care program than the one I had at the time.

My parents learned about Christian Healthcare Ministries when they attended a Christmas production at Hobe Sound Bible College in Hobe Sound, Fla.

They picked up an information pack for me to review. Thankful for their thoughtfulness, I called CHM for more information. A kind gentleman patiently answered my questions and explained how the program works. I hung up knowing right away that CHM membership was going to be a positive experience.

Several months after joining, I found a new treatment method through a doctor in Chicago. It involves using a patient’s own stem cells for healing. I contacted the doctor’s office and submitted an application to see if I was eligible for the treatment.

The waiting game began. I wrestled with worry and the fear that I wouldn’t be accepted.

A turning point came one September afternoon while I was praying on my patio. I asked God to show me whether I was able to receive treatment. Within a half hour, the doctor called. He was willing to treat me. I hung up the phone, overwhelmed with joy.

It’s been a long road and now I’m doing much better. I began taking steps again with a walker and, more recently, using crutches.

Incredibly, I’ve received nearly $218,000 in assistance with my medical bills, leaving only about $8,000 for CHM members to share via the Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions.

CHM is a wonderful ministry of people who, to me, seem like angels on earth.

Life is the most precious gift we’ve been given, and I’m so thankful for this “second chance” at life.

In 2014 I decided to leave my job to help my husband manage our small family business. Thus, we no longer had health insurance and started looking into our options.

I heard on a local Christian radio station that Christian Healthcare Ministries is an eligible option under the national healthcare law. CHM quickly rose to the top of our list as the best fit for us. We were impressed that the ministry had been in operation since 1981. We thought the Gold program with Brother’s Keeper was a great value and we loved the idea of Christians taking care of Christians just like the first-century Church.

Though nervous about trying something so different from insurance, we prayed about it and came to the conclusion that God wanted us to trust Him to meet our needs through a health cost sharing ministry, so we joined.

In the past I’d experienced bouts of diverticulitis. In September 2015 I suffered a serious attack, went to the emergency room and was hospitalized for several days.

I mistakenly thought it would no longer be considered a pre-existing condition. I submitted my bills to CHM and they were promptly shared. I didn’t realize, however, that they were shared via the Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions; I was just grateful for the help.

A few weeks after my release from the hospital—and then again in January 2016—I returned to the ER with recurring symptoms of acute diverticulitis.

I was scared because I’d never had so many serious back-to-back attacks and I knew the risks of allowing the flare-ups to go untreated. I’d also taken several rounds of powerful antibiotics; I’m allergic to many antibiotics and I was becoming resistant to the ones I could take.

Consequently, at my doctor’s suggestion I underwent surgery to remove the diseased portion of my bowel.

I again submitted my bills to CHM, and this time received a request for written permission to list my bills on the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page. I was confused and thought there had been a mistake, so I called the ministry.

A kind staff member gently explained that my bills exceeded the Gold schedule sharing limits. She said that the Prayer Page—funded by members’ donations above regular monthly financial gifts—was effective, as members shared to help members like me pay our healthcare providers. Furthermore, my bills would be listed until my need was met, so long as I remained a CHM member.

Though wary at first, today I can attest to the Prayer Page’s effectiveness and what a blessing it can be. I have received $25,000 through the Gold schedule and more than $44,000 from the Prayer Page, totaling $69,000.

I have also received cards of encouragement from members across the country. One person even sent me a book! Though I’m past my recovery time, I still receive heartwarming notes from CHM members.

My medical experiences taught me many lessons. One thing I’ve learned is that the Body of Christ is full of generous, caring people. I’ve also been blessed to witness God planting seeds of hope in the people in my life as I share my testimony of how CHM helped me.

I’ve learned to trust God with my needs and, though it was a paradigm shift to ask healthcare providers for discounts or keep track of all my medical bills and payments, I’ve become a much more informed and involved healthcare consumer.

The surgery was very successful and today I’m feeling better than I have in years. Randy and I are so grateful to all who contributed to share our healthcare cost burden. Because we believe that CHM is very much in line with God’s plan for providing and caring for His people, we plan to be lifelong members. We have been humbled to receive; now we want to experience the joy of giving to others’ Prayer Page needs.

My husband, Guadalupe, and I heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries from our accountant. She suggested the ministry because we are Christians, couldn’t afford the other plans available to us and didn’t qualify for government assistance.

In 2016 our 14-year-old son, Ezequiel, started having pain and swelling in his legs that spread to his back. He was in so much pain that he had to use crutches. Doctors at first thought he had a bone problem but eventually discovered it was deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a vein. It took a long time for doctors to diagnose the problem because at that age it’s unusual to have a blood clot.

At first I was very anxious; we’d never submitted medical bills to CHM before and I didn’t know how it worked. There was also a question of whether the condition was pre-existing, so the CHM staff requested Ezequiel’s medical records.

I began to think we were going to be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills and no way to pay them. However, I soon learned that because the condition was pre-existing Ezequiel’s name would be listed in the Prayer Page of CHM’s monthly Heartfelt newsletter—members would see our need and be able to respond through their voluntary donations.

In all, we were looking at charges of about $43,500. I was able to obtain discounts from nearly every healthcare provider, reducing our cost to $24,800. I told them that as a member of CHM Ezequiel was a self-pay patient. Thankfully, they were willing to work with me not only by extending discounts but also by enabling me to set up payment plans until CHM shared the bills.

While listed on the Prayer Page we received monthly checks from CHM along with many prayers and letters of encouragement. The realization that people would take the time to write to our son, pray for him and share our burden was a breath of fresh air during a very difficult time. It was like receiving word from a beloved, long-distance friend.

Today we have no medical debt thanks to CHM members. Ezequiel is 16 and still has a blood clot in his leg, but together with the doctors we’re watching and waiting, trusting the Lord and praying for a miracle of healing.

We don’t have words to express the gratitude we feel for CHM and every member who shared not just our financial burden, but our emotional and spiritual concerns as well. We hope we can become a blessing to others as you have been to us.

In 2014, my husband, John, and I researched our health care options.

I was turned down by a medical cost-sharing program because I have epilepsy. However, that organization referred us to Christian Healthcare Ministries. I joined at the Gold level in March 2014.

A month later I suffered a migraine with symptoms so serious I went to the emergency room. In the following weeks I experienced unusual recurring headaches.

My condition worsened rapidly to the point that I had vision problems. I went to the eye doctor in May. He referred me to a neurologist, who scheduled an MRI. The results showed a tumor growing on my optic nerve. In June I underwent neurosurgery to remove the tumor.

All the while I prayed, “Lord, I need you to walk me through this. I’m not sure I understand it all.” I couldn’t see well, was in pain and wasn’t even sure what questions to ask. A friend of mine, Jane, was kind enough to drive me to my doctor appointments, take notes, and ask my doctor all the right questions.

I called CHM staff member Dick Lupton because he was the one who helped John and me sign up for CHM. He was kind and helped me understand how to submit bills to the ministry. I also spoke with Amanda Moore, my Needs Processing representative, who was patient, caring and competent. At first, I didn’t easily grasp what information I needed to send to CHM because of the medicine I was taking, but in time the process became much easier.

This ordeal was my first experience with CHM and being on the Prayer Page (as my condition was pre-existing). I was concerned about how long it would take for my bills to be shared. However, once the paperwork was in order I began receiving a check each month.

I was overwhelmed with gratitude because I had never before experienced God working through His people in this way.

I received a discount on all my medical bills except one. So far, CHM members have shared $22,732 of my bills and I have $53,862 remaining. Today I’m doing much better. I’ve had a few complications since my surgery, but the Lord always sees me through. I’ll soon undergo a follow-up MRI to see if my tumor has returned.

Through my medical condition, God has deepened my trust and faith in Him. I’ve had to learn patience because my recovery has been slow. I’ve had very hard days and others that were sweet because I was resting in Him. I know He has gone before me, beside me and behind me from the beginning. I’ve felt His arms around me when I couldn’t see, and I enjoyed my quiet times with Him in a way I’ll never forget.

When people ask how we’ve adjusted to this major change in our lives, we share information about CHM. We show them the Prayer Page and the ministry’s website so we can answer their questions. I tell them how fellow Christians have helped with my medical bills and explain that we pray for each other, send cards and provide financial support.

Thank you, fellow CHM members, for your expressions of care and concern; you have blessed me in many ways. On my not-so-good days, I reread your cards and letters. I also appreciate the encouragement and help I received from CHM staff and the lovely Scripture verse cards enclosed with each check from the ministry office.

It is my privilege to walk this road with you.

When I wanted to stay home full-time to care for our four children, my husband, David, and I decided to join Christian Healthcare Ministries. However, we were nervous about how the ministry would work for us because David has frequent health problems.

In fact, before joining, David had a stress fracture in his foot—something we thought would heal itself. Over time, however, the pain worsened and the ligaments and tendons in his foot essentially dissolved. The doctor recommended extensive surgery.

This meant two things for our family: First, David would have to end his career in construction and I would have to go back to work to make ends meet while he recovered. Also, this would be our first experience using the CHM program.

David underwent surgery in July 2014 and incurred $37,000 in medical bills. We were shocked by the cost and not sure if our need would be met since it was a pre-existing condition. After speaking with a CHM staff member, we learned David’s name would appear on the Prayer Page in the ministry’s monthly newsletter.

We then called his doctor to explain the process. We weren’t sure what reaction we would get when we told him we were members of a Christian health care sharing ministry and that payment might be delayed. We were terrified we would drag the name of Jesus through the mud.

You can imagine the relief and delight we felt when we received a check for $4,000 that first month. David’s surgeon was thankful for the money and we were excited to see what God would do through His people who are part of Christian Healthcare Ministries.

God acted again because we received financial assistance from the hospital. We requested that David’s name be removed from the Prayer Page to enable others to receive the blessing of members’ donations.

David is doing well now and his foot is healing steadily.

The Prayer Page was, quite literally, a godsend. We were surprised by the generosity of everyone involved—we received nearly $13,000 from Prayer Page giving—and are so grateful for the help we received. We didn’t imagine that things would go as smoothly as they did.

God taught us to trust Him to provide for our needs. He is faithful, even when we are not. And now, even our brand-new donut business is picking up.

We want to send a big thank you to CHM and to God’s people.

I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in June 2013 because I had no health insurance.

The following June I decided I could no longer tolerate the pain caused by my “bone-on-bone” arthritis and scheduled hip replacement surgery. Unfortunately, unrelated medical challenges postponed the operation until Oct. 10, 2014.

I didn’t realize that experiencing symptoms before joining CHM meant the condition was pre-existing. At first, I was frightened because I had already undergone surgery and incurred over $100,000 in medical bills that weren’t eligible under CHM’s regular sharing program. (Though, thankfully, I eventually received discounts of nearly $20,000.)

I thought, “How will this work?” and resigned myself to the idea of personally paying all of the bills. A call to CHM, however, encouraged me.

One of the staff members said not to worry because my name would appear on the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page and my need would be met, albeit in a different manner. I’d receive a check at the same time each month reflecting donations other CHM members sent that month to help with bills for pre-existing conditions.

Checks started coming in the mail. Each envelope I opened brought tears of gratitude and humility. I also received cards and notes of encouragement from fellow Christians, which always came when I needed them the most. To think that people I didn’t know would take the time to write overwhelmed me with thanksgiving. I saved each piece of correspondence.

In time, arthritis made it necessary to replace my right hip as well and I had another surgery on Feb. 3, 2016. My first surgery had been expensive but uncomplicated—and sending the medical bills to CHM was simple. It seemed, however, that every possible medical problem happened this time.

I was released from the hospital on Feb. 5, but just three days later the hip dislocated and an ambulance took me to the hospital. By 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, I was once again in the operating room getting a new hip.

The next two months were a blur. My incision became infected and caused me to return the hospital again for seven days, during which I underwent surgery several times to clean the incision. I also had vacuum-assisted closure (wound VAC) and a blood transfusion.

I was sent home with the VAC device and a PICC line (catheter) to administer antibiotics intravenously. However, I developed a blood clot and had to go to the emergency room for the PICC line to be removed and inserted into my other arm. I had the VAC device for a month and the new PICC line for six weeks. Furthermore, I developed a blood clot in my lung.

During this incredibly difficult time of testing I spent a lot of time reading the book of Job. What I came away with is the conviction that God will provide. He gives strength and wisdom and He always knows when we need them the most.

It was more challenging to submit bills to CHM after my right hip replacement because I was so ill. However, I have received nearly $300,000 from my brothers and sisters in Christ!

At this writing, I’m still undergoing physical therapy. I’ve progressed from a wheelchair to a walker and now, finally, am walking only with the assistance of a cane. I have an entrapped nerve and foot drop (a gait abnormality) which is slowly improving.

Again, many thanks to my brothers and sisters at CHM. I recommend the ministry to others, though in retrospect, I would have kept in closer contact with CHM before, during and after my medical event. I encourage other members to do the same.

In 2011, my health insurance became unaffordable and I was deemed “uninsurable” by because of my pre-existing brain tumors.

My husband, John, and I joined CHM at the Gold level that October.

In April 2013, symptoms related to the growth of one of my two tumors became severe. My neurosurgeon ordered an MRI, which revealed that the tumor was causing brain swelling. Surgery was the next step.

I was very concerned about the costs. I knew from my research that CHM offers two programs for pre-existing conditions. Under the Gold level’s pre-existing schedule, I had $50,000 available to me at the time. The remaining bills would be put on the CHM newsletter’s Prayer Page so that readers could voluntarily donate toward my bills.

It was September 2013 and I scheduled my surgery for January 28, 2014, with the understanding that the hospital required a down payment.

Everything went smoothly until a month before the surgery, when the hospital notified me that I had to make full payment upfront because I was a self-pay patient.

I immediately contacted Lori Perko in the CHM Member Advocate department to explain my dilemma. Lori reassured me that CHM would send a check before the surgery* in the amount still available to me on the Gold schedule.

I was very apprehensive about how the Prayer Page would work because I still had about $40,000 in remaining medical bills. However, the process proved easy because CHM staff members were so helpful. I’d especially like to thank Lauren, Sherry, Jack and Rosie for their encouragement to me and my family.

Each month, I received a check from the CHM office reflecting donations sent from members to help with my remaining bills. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity, prayers and encouraging cards and emails from members and CHM staff.

I had a total of $95,512 in bills. After $10,857 in discounts and $50,000 shared through the CHM Gold schedule, members stepped up to share the remaining $34,655 via the Prayer Page!

The way that CHM members lifted me up in prayer and freely gave of their time, money and love has spoken to me, helped me walk closer with God and increased my desire to “pay it forward” and help others.

I’m doing much better now and evaluating my health daily. I really don’t know how I could have gone through my medical ordeal without God, family and CHM staff and members. I am blessed!

CHM is so much better than health insurance and I have recommended it to family and friends.

*Editor’s note: When possible, CHM works with members to share bills by a health care provider’s deadline, especially to secure a large discount. However, upfront payment is not the typical method of sharing needs. For more information, please see CHM Guideline L.

Seven years ago life was good: my husband was a chemical engineer with a good income and health insurance policy; I was serving as a youth minister and also working for a ministry in Haiti. God blessed us with the means to put our three children through college.

Then came a dreadful diagnosis: we found out that my husband, James, had Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic brain disorder with no cure.

Eventually he had to stop working and I was no longer able to be on his insurance policy. I’m so grateful that some friends told me about CHM. In Oct. 2015 I joined the Gold and Brother’s Keeper programs.

I’ve had a number of minor health issues for which CHM members have shared my medical bills. However, the most significant event was in Oct. 2017, the total replacement of my right knee.

I don’t know what we would have done without CHM’s support; it would have been very difficult for me to take care of James’ future needs if I hadn’t had knee surgery.

Without CHM we would have been facing over $60,000 in medical bills just for the knee replacement; but thanks be to God that the healthcare providers were so willing to work with me and the bills were reduced by over $41,000! The hospital bill discount alone was over $30,000.

Through the Gold program’s pre-existing schedule, CHM members shared the remaining amount of nearly $19,000.

I thank God that in spite of Huntington’s disease, James is doing quite well right now. God is taking care of us and has made our burden lighter by working through our family, friends and CHM members. The ministry is a great blessing to us and we enjoy giving to the Prayer Page and reading the stories of God’s people each month in Heartfelt Magazine.

We ask for your continued prayers for James, our family and all families facing Huntington’s disease. Please join us in asking God that a cure can be found.

God bless you all.

Thanks to the Prayer Page, a long-time, pre-existing health problem has been amazingly resolved.

My shoulders have sustained sports injuries—one of them much worse than the other. It became so painful that it woke me up every night. I had no health insurance and, after years of increasing pain, was feeling desperate. Thankfully, the Lord directed me to Christian Healthcare Ministries.

I learned about the Prayer Page and contacted the CHM staff. They were very informative and helpful. I was concerned about the viability of the Prayer Page, but they helped put my fears to rest.

One staff member told me that contributions toward Prayer Page needs vary from month to month. As the Bible says in Exodus 14:13, she encouraged me to “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” I felt comforted and decided to trust the Lord with my shoulder replacement surgery.

The surgery was performed in April 2011. The cost was approximately $12,300, much lower than the original price tag of $49,600. Bill reductions totaling $38,000 made the difference.

My shoulder hasn’t felt this good in many years, and I am very thankful to the Lord and to CHM.

I’ve been able to make all my monthly payments on the medical bills. The Prayer Page has brought my wife, Suzanne, and I much closer to paying off our bills than we had first anticipated.

I have recommended CHM to many of my friends and have been blessed myself to contribute to Prayer Page needs, helping others in the Body of Christ as I have been helped.

Surely we’re seeing the grace of our Lord Jesus working through CHM!

God has been so good to us. His people—including CHM members—are ambassadors of His goodness. We hope you are encouraged by our story.

My wife, Cathy, and I have been married 43 years. I am pastor of a small rural church in a community of about 450 people. Cathy formerly served as a school librarian and we had health insurance through her job. (She became a paraplegic after an auto accident in 1996, so health insurance for her was a necessity).

When Cathy retired in 2009, it took almost her entire Social Security check to continue on her health insurance plan. We couldn’t afford to keep me on the policy.

I was always extremely healthy. I knew about Christian Healthcare Ministries and joined in 2010 because I was 62 and knew I needed protection against major health problems.

My need for health care cost assistance went from unlikely to a reality within a few days of joining CHM. I had a routine physical and my PSA level was very high (21 rather than the normal range of one to 4).

I underwent a biopsy and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The medical bills from the initial surgery totaled more than $50,000. After discounts and write-offs the charges were about $18,000. Although we were extremely grateful for the help we’d received, making small payments to each of our medical providers still added up to about $400 per month—an added burden on our already-strained finances.

Furthermore, my doctors strongly recommended a series of 40 radiation treatments that would cost $200,000 to $250,000. These bills were ineligible for sharing through the regular CHM program because the condition was pre-existing.

We believed that God would provide for us and had been praying faithfully since the beginning of our ordeal. He showed us His supernatural provision. Beth Kabellar, a CHM staff member, encouraged me to submit my bills for listing on the newsletter Prayer Page. At the time I didn’t understand what the Prayer Page was or how it worked.

I thank God for CHM members, Beth and all the CHM staff. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been caring, helpful and professional.

In addition to the financial gifts we’ve received, through the Prayer Page we’ve also made the acquaintance of some distant cousins we’ve never met! Also, we have some dear friends who are missionaries and their mission organization is now supporting us through the Prayer Page.

And the expensive radiation treatments? The Lord led us to a pre-existing condition insurance program, though at $8,000 we thought we couldn’t afford it. We didn’t make the need known to anyone but our heavenly Father. Amazingly, checks from family members, friends, church members and fellow pastors began arriving in the mail and the total was—you guessed it—about $8,000!

It is such a privilege and blessing to be a part of God’s big family. We are so thankful for the CHM “branch” of the family and the generosity the Holy Spirit has placed in their hearts to help people like Cathy and me—people they’ve never met—in our time of need.

Thank you. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown so freely to us as James was listed on the newsletter Prayer Page. We definitely felt the love of Jesus from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have truly experienced God at work. Through CHM, God turned a frightening time into one of celebration. His promise of provision is true. We love telling people our story and encouraging others to jump on the CHM bandwagon of blessings. It’s so much more than financial support; each special, encouraging note along the way arrived just when we needed to get a boost from Jesus. Our hearts overflow with love for everyone who has impacted our lives through this ministry.

I accepted Jesus into my heart in 1972. At the age of 15, I had no idea what I was doing. Later in life, Christians told me I had been born again, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t talk to Jesus. He was like my non-imaginary, imaginary friend. (Now I turn my imagination and creativity into novels for kids, writing strong characters who solve problems through ingenuity and integrity.)

My husband, Ron, and I work from home, recently becoming empty-nesters. We still have two “boys” though: Ticket and Scout, our devoted Shelties. (Ticket also is a character in one of my novels.)

At 16 years old, I developed irritable bowel syndrome. I missed many events and spent much of my time in the bathroom. At a church service three years later, I answered a summons for prayer for “someone with intestinal problems.” I had two choices: race to the bathroom or run to the altar. God healed me that night. I rarely had that problem again.

A year later, however, I began experiencing heartburn, nausea and stomach aches. A visit to the doctor revealed I had a hiatal hernia. The condition runs in my family. My brother died from esophageal cancer at age 43 because of his undiagnosed hiatal hernia. I spent the next 36 years on acid blockers like Tagamet and Prilosec.

In 2005, I started experiencing full body muscle aches, pains and weakness. It continued to worsen and eventually became debilitating. I had to give up playing sports. I could walk on flat surfaces, but slight inclines hurt and left me sore for days.

I knew I had to get off acid blockers but I have a lot of food allergies and chemical sensitivities. The five tests I needed to qualify me for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) surgery were going to be a big problem. No surgeon would perform the surgery without them.

In 2008 the acid blockers stopped working. I had some relief but a lot of heartburn and nausea as well.

Finally, in 2011, a compassionate surgeon said he’d do the surgery.

I planned it as soon as possible because I was afraid I’d change my mind. My drug sensitivities made recuperation uncomfortable.

Two days before my GERD surgery, I experienced sharp pains in my abdomen. I had emergency surgery for a burst appendix. I awoke in recovery with the doctor who was supposed to perform my GERD surgery walking toward me. He asked what I was doing there. He was supposed to operate on me the next day.

I had the GERD surgery six months later in June 2012. The recovery was awful. At home I strongly reacted to the medication and had to stop taking it. The pain made me sick.

I cried out to the Lord constantly. It was the prayers of my family and friends that carried me through.

Hallelujah! I have been acid blocker-free for five months. Though my muscles are still weak, they don’t ache as much. I often have to take a homeopathic acid reducer. But that is so much better than being on acid blockers.

Every time I receive a heartfelt card, prayer, or donation from my CHM family, I’m touched and moved to tears. I keep every card and donation notice. I think and pray about all of you often. I feel that God is pleased with the way CHM works and will continue to bless us as we give to each other in tough times.

Thank you so much CHM staff and members for your sacrificial generosity. My family and I will never forget it!

In autumn 2013 I was semi-retired, between jobs and looking for affordable health insurance. None of the Obamacare options were financially feasible. Plus, I was unable to get answers to my coverage questions.

A friend from church suggested I check out Christian Healthcare Ministries. What I found sounded wonderful—and affordable. I joined at the end of 2013, added the Brother’s Keeper option and still was able to make it work with my tight budget.

One of my concerns was my deteriorating left shoulder. X-rays showed that the pain and discomfort was due to a “bone-on-bone” situation inside the joint. I was scared about finances and was contemplating various alternatives. Because it was a pre-existing condition, there was a limit on the amount of help I would receive from CHM under the Gold sharing schedule for pre-existing conditions.

When a CHM staff member suggested I consent to listing my need on the newsletter’s Prayer Page, I felt odd. I thought listing my name and asking for help sounded too much like begging. Then, after prayer and urging of some Christian friends, I submitted the information for sharing my bills through the Prayer Page.

Thank goodness I did.

There were some dark days when I was feeling down and still recovering. It seemed that medical bills putting my need over the Gold schedule limit were all I received. Even with discounts and early pay reductions, the bills piled up.

Soon, however, I started receiving cards and letters of encouragement from fellow CHM members. Those notes and Bible verses reminded me of God’s faithfulness to His children, and that He would never leave or forsake me.

I then received my first Prayer Page check from CHM. I immediately teared up as I realized there are true Christ-followers who put others first. My prayers continued to be answered as monthly checks, cards and notes made their way into my mailbox. They helped reduce my angst and financial woes. To date, I have received $19,179 from Prayer Page donations.

All of this support gives me great encouragement as I undergo additional surgeries. I had an infection that required the removal of my artificial joint and replacement with a temporary one. And there will be a third operation to replace that.

I jokingly tell my doctor that my condition is the gift that keeps on giving. In truth, it is CHM members who are the gift! I’m undoubtedly blessed to be among such generous and gracious Christians who share thoughts, prayers and financial gifts with those of us who are in need.

With their help and the surgeon’s care I may yet resume normal activities. My “thank you” hardly seems enough in exchange for the kindness I have received, but it accurately describes my sentiments. That is why I have recommended CHM to many people.

May God continue to bless CHM and its wonderful members.

As a single mom with six children—two of whom have special needs—things are always tight financially. However, God shows me His faithfulness by providing for me and my family. One of those provisions is CHM; I’ve been a member since July 2005.

I’ve suffered from varicose veins since my first pregnancy 30 years ago, and the pain grew worse with each of the pregnancies that followed. I am the primary caregiver for my 12-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy and requires a lot of physical assistance. When God eventually provided me with help from other caregivers who could come to my home, I knew it was time to stop putting off my surgery.

I had two laser procedures done on my right leg in March 2012. I made it clear that I was a self-pay patient and belonged to a Christian health cost-sharing ministry that would help me pay the bills. My health care provider was kind enough to give me a discount on the related bills, and I was able to set up a monthly payment plan.

My condition was pre-existing, so these bills did not qualify for CHM’s regular cost-sharing program. However, the staff at CHM told me that I could have my need listed on the Prayer Page, which has been very encouraging.

I’m now waiting for a follow-up procedure to help with my condition, and I know that God will be faithful in providing for that as well.

I’ve really appreciated receiving gifts from other CHM members each month toward my bill. Many of them come with a personal note. The fact that my monthly gift goes to help fellow believers like the ones who have helped me with my bills is one of my favorite things about CHM.

Thank you, CHM members, for faithfully sharing one another’s burdens!

I’ve been a CHM member since May 2010, and I’d like to offer my thanks to the ministry and the Prayer Page contributors who shared the cost of my cervical surgery. Your help, as my Christian family and friends, has meant much to me.

I was involved in a car accident in Feb. 2009, which caused very severe neck and arm pain. My doctors the following year recommended cervical disc replacement surgery on my C4 and C5 vertebrae.

In Dec. 2010, the neck and arm pain returned. I underwent several medical tests, which revealed that my body rejected the disc replacement and never completely healed. My doctors recommended cervical fusion surgery.

Because my back problems began before I joined CHM, they were considered a pre-existing condition. Though my need was not eligible for CHM’s regular cost-sharing program, the generosity of those who give to Prayer Page needs has been a great blessing to me. I’m feeling much better and my back continues to heal. I want to thank God for His healing and the CHM team for all of the work that they have put into making this ministry work.

After learning about the U.S. health care law, it became clear to my husband and I that keeping our insurance policy wasn’t something we could afford to do. We faced increasing premiums and deductibles, not to mention an extremely limited health care provider network.

We felt we needed an alternative and prayed for an option that would make sense for us. We started doing research and were very worried until we found CHM through a blog article.

We were intrigued and a little apprehensive. We had no idea that health cost sharing ministries existed and the concept sounded too good to be true. The more we researched and read, the more we felt sure that CHM—a viable, eligible option under the law—was the answer to our prayers.

We took the leap of faith and joined in January 2014, cancelling our insurance policy.

I joined the CHM family with a pre-existing condition: an ovarian cyst that we discovered one year prior to joining. My doctor had taken a watch-and-wait approach, but because we weren’t limited to a specific health care provider network with CHM, I started seeing a new doctor.

From the first ultrasound, the new doctor’s diagnosis was completely different. I was told that the cyst wouldn’t go away on its own. Instead, it would cause more problems the longer it remained. She suggested removal via laparoscopic surgery and I agreed.

As a CHM Gold member, I knew I was eligible for up to $15,000 on the pre-existing conditions sharing schedule during my first year of membership. However, we were still worried because we were new members and unsure of how well the ministry worked. We hadn’t expected to need CHM’s help so soon.

I exchanged a couple of emails with Beth Kabellar, our Needs Processing representative, and was reassured that the surgery—and all related bills—would be shared by CHM. I also spoke with Ken Lefever in the Member Assistance department and again with Beth for more specific medical bill questions. They were both very helpful and deserve an “A+” for member service.

Submitting bills for sharing was easier than I thought, and I really appreciated receiving a postcard from CHM confirming that my bills would be processed for sharing. My husband and I had peace of mind.

It turns out that we needn’t have worried at all. The whole process was smooth, and the biggest speed bump was explaining CHM to our medical providers so we would be billed correctly. But that only took one short conversation.

We were impressed with CHM’s promptness, efficiency and level of commitment to its members’ well being. When I submitted my first batch of bills, I included a note informing CHM that the full amount was due on the day of my surgery. CHM received the bills about two weeks prior to the surgery and I didn’t dream of getting the funds early. However, two days before the procedure I received a call from CHM’s Finance department; the staff member wanted to make sure I had the funds to pay. My check was ready and would be mailed out that day, but it would probably arrive after surgery unless CHM rush-mailed it.

We didn’t want to put an unnecessary burden on the ministry since we had the funds to pay in full, but I was certainly relieved to know that we would be reimbursed so quickly and that our bank account wouldn’t be depleted by this big expense for long. Though I told the staff member that regular mail was fine, we received the check the day after surgery—incredibly fast considering that it was mailed from Ohio to California!* I couldn’t be more grateful to CHM, its members, its staff, and above all, to God for leading us to this amazing ministry.

Today I’m doing well and headed toward a full recovery. I really believe God directed us to CHM. Had we not been members, I wouldn’t have been able to see the new doctor who diagnosed my problem correctly. This medical difficulty—and the support from CHM—has shown us that good things happen when we trust God to show us the way and put our life in His hands.

*Editor’s note: In general, sharing time for medical bills is 60 to 90 days from the date CHM receives your bills. When possible, CHM works with members to expedite sharing, especially if health care providers offer a discount of 40 percent or more. Notify the CHM staff immediately if your provider sets a time limit for reduced charges.