Transformed News

A Package via Heavenly UPS

Susa* walked in one day, her daughter with her, desperate for help.  Since MOJ cannot take walk-in patients she was provided information as to the process and paperwork needed to qualify as a patient.  At an unusually fast pace, all the paperwork was received and approved.  Seeing how sick Susa was, Sam at the front desk had great compassion on her.  He worked with the schedulers and medical team to see if it would be possible to do her first intake and her first medical exam on the same day.  Though it was a squeeze with an already full patient load, everyone agreed to make it work and go the extra mile.

Susa came in last week and saw Dr. Tucker.  The patient had lost nearly 10 pounds in the last two weeks with digestive issues, unable to keep any food down. Dr. Tucker asked if she had tried Ensure?  The response was a heartbreaking one.  "We can't afford it."  Unfortunately, this nutrition drink is not something kept on hand or received for the sample room.  Nonetheless, there were some medications that could help.  With the exam complete, Susa was sent for her intake and instructed to return for medications before leaving.
Susa ended up leaving.  The medical team realized she had not picked up the meds she really needed, so a nurse called and requested she come back the next morning.  Shortly after, the nurses found a box that had arrived the day before which had gone unnoticed.  Opening the box, the nurses were shocked. It contained a 24-pack of Ensure!!  No one had ordered it.  No one knew where it came from.  This is something never on hand at MOJ. But now when Susa came the next day, not only could she get her meds, she would receive a glorious package of Ensure; a gift that will certainly help her gain her nourishment and strength back.  It seems the mystery box came via Heavenly UPS with God's fingerprints all over it!

Pictured:  Sam Manzanares, Bilingual Receptionist, holds a box of Ensure that was delivered just in time for a new patient that needed it, and no one knows where the box came from!

Mental Health Loses and Jarod Wins New Opportunities

Only 1 in 5 people get the help they need for mental health.  Jarod Poertner was one of those who chose to get help.  He testifies he is in a much better place now for taking that difficult step and highly encourages others to do the same.
Jarod became a member of Henderson Hills Baptist Church in 2020.  Ministries of Jesus (MOJ) and the services offered there was the main reason he was drawn to the church.  Jarod has struggled with mental health issues for years.  He realized if he didn’t get a handle on it, it would soon get a handle on him.
Jarod admits, “it is difficult to unpack some things but I knew I needed help.”  First, Jarod received pastoral counseling at MOJ where he spent weeks working through past hurt and learning more about forgiveness.  He was then connected with one of MOJ’s Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC).  During those sessions he said his counselor talked a lot about scripture.  “Battling mental illness will be a lifelong process, but now I have tools.  I learned how to turn to the Lord and His Word so in times of trouble that is where I go.”
Though Jarod is in a much better place and smiling ear-to-ear now, it brings comfort to know that if he does need more counseling in the future he knows he can reconnect with his counselor.  The LPC noticed Jarod could benefit from other services at MOJ so he got in touch with Rita Hernandez, Director of Social Services, to help him with employment needs.  Jarod wanted to work but needed some direction.
The “Ticket to Work” program was the ticket for Jarod.  He was able to get a scholarship to take classes at Francis Tuttle.  Growing up, Jarod said he always had an interest in the medical field so he was quickly drawn to the chance to learn skills he would enjoy.  The anatomy and physiology courses were his favorites.  Learning about the heart and all the blood vessels connected to it, various blood tests and lab work that can be done kept his attention.  Though nervous to start, through online and hands-on learning, Jarod completed the phlebotomy program in four months with a 4.0.

Upon completion, Rita connected Jarod with someone that could help him tailor his resume better for landing a job.  He is currently interviewing and actively pursuing leads, but no offers so far.  “I am actively submitting applications.  I trust God will provide so I can do what I’ve been trained to do and help others.  I am trying to have faith and patience in waiting.”

Two years ago Jarod was not able to see very far ahead.  He couldn’t see the future because mental illness had an edge on him.  He would have never dreamed he’d go to school and learn phlebotomy and feel like he could be used to make a difference.  What changed?  “Willingness to get help.”  In a much better frame of mind now, Jarod wants to encourage others to open up.  He says, “if you’re willing and able there are people out there willing to extend love and help you.  There are people at MOJ or other places that can help no matter what you are going through.”

I asked Jarod what he learned about himself over the last two years through the counseling he received.  With a smile that never went away the whole time we talked, he said, “I learned I have a future and I have worth.  I have value.  I have hope.  I’ve gotten that reassurance every time I come to MOJ.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please seek help.  You can schedule counseling with MOJ by calling 405-715-4851 or dial 988 for the National Help Line.

Pictured:  Jarod Poertner (left), doesn't let mental health struggles control his life thanks to counseling at MOJ.  Rita Hernandez, Social Services Director at MOJ, connected Jarod to the "Ticket to Work" program so he could study phlebotomy.  He is now actively seeking employment to put his new skills to work while helping others and making a difference.

Against the Odds, Jim Beat Alcohol & Agnosticism

I’m not sure there is a God.  If there is, I’m not sure I can know Him.  This was Jim’s thinking.  He’s a self-proclaimed agnostic, retired fire fighter suffering from PTSD, and has lived a life rooted in alcohol and abuse from a young age.  Life is stacked against him, and hope seems futile.  But by the power of God all this has changed, and those descriptors don’t define Jim anymore!
Stepping into church at Henderson Hills and Celebrate Recovery (CR) 7 months ago, Jim came out of desperation. Sure there were fears, nerves, and lots of anxiety, but his marriage and life were crumbling and he had to try something different. Numerous AA meetings had not done the trick. After gentle nudges from concerned family over time, he laid aside the skepticism and took a bold step to deal with alcoholism and agnosticism head on – he had no options left. Monumental obstacles certainly, but they began to crumble as Jim opened himself up to Truth for the first time.

Jim started attending church and CR weekly. He said, “I gradually believed there was a God. Knowing that and working the 12 steps with a biblical approach now makes so much sense…God has shown He can help by giving me the strength to live a sober life.” Jim has now been sober for 6 months! Every week Jim participates in a men’s step study group. He finds strength and encouragement meeting together with other men working through their own hurts and habits.
Growing up in an alcoholic and abusive family was no match for the power of God! Jim is now a child of God and has found freedom from something that bound him for decades. He found power to help him stand in God’s Word as he understood more of who God is. “The Bible. I had never read the Bible before. It was very eye-opening! I wanted to know more and that is why I kept coming back.”

Jim will be baptized on March 5 at the 10:45am service at HHBC. He beams with joy as he talks about his new life in Christ! To those who are hesitant to try church or CR, look at Jim’s life as an example of what God can do when you open yourself up to Him. “Give it a chance,” he says. “It blows my mind how much support is here! Any issue you’re having, there is a place for you to find help here.”

Pictured: Jim Mangan (left), new believer in Christ whose life has been radically changed by the power of God, along with Recovery Director, Chris Gibson.

God Prompted Anna to Care for Her Health

From the look on her face and the joy that radiates from her, you’d never know Anna has been through some tremendous challenges in the past 2 years.

At the beginning of 2021 Anna felt the Lord was impressing on her to take better care of her health and get a physical.  Her job as a caretaker for her sister with down syndrome did not provide insurance so she wasn't sure where she could take care of her health without it costing money she didn’t have.  A friend told her about Ministries of Jesus and so she made the call.  Her first appointment was an intake.

She recalls, “all my circles (physical, relational, emotional, spiritual) ended up being really small and I was like, ‘what’s happening to me?!’”  This was the starting point and realization that some things needed to change.

Prior to becoming a patient, Anna had lingering effects of COVID.  The MOJ clinic referred her to a partnering lung specialist to find relief.  She had no idea the plethora of help available when she arrived at MOJ and step-by-step she kept saying, “you offer that?  Yes, please!”

She hadn’t been to the dentist in 20 years, so she had a dental exam at MOJ and fixed a broken tooth.  Though she knew things were abnormal, it had been too long since her last well-woman check so that was taken care of.  For heart palpitations, she had an EKG.  Another MOJ appointment revealed osteoporosis.   She was thankful for the peace of mind she had for getting all her questions answered and for the free medications she received.   Anna says, “I learned all this because the Lord prompted me to take care of my health and then He led me to Ministries of Jesus.”

At her last appointment, Anna thought she would be moving away.  She says, “when I told my doctor, the medical staff and volunteers all came in and prayed for me.  I was moved to tears at such compassion.  I  thanked them for how they had changed my life.”  She recognized that to get the physical and all the tests she had been given, she would have had to shell out thousands of dollars she didn’t have and claimed this as “a gift form the Lord.”
Desiring emotional healing, Anna also received counseling at MOJ. “My counselor validated me for 12  weeks!  Just having space to talk to someone about losing my mom and beginning to care for my sister full-time was healing.  Now, I am healthier emotionally and spiritually too, where I can pour in to others and help them.  I’ve received so many answers here, and much healing, and that has given me peace.”  Before leaving, Anna smiles big and says, “I’m ready for my next intake.  My circles will be much improved!”

Pictured: Anna (right), in the MOJ free clinic the Lord led her to, with Nurse Wanda & Dr. Tucker.

Two Insane Wrecks & A God Who Heals

Jeff’s life turned upside down in an instant.  As the light turned green at a stoplight in Bricktown and Jeff’s car began to go, a pedestrian came out of nowhere trying to beat the light.  He pushed off the front of the car and landed motionless on the concrete .  To this day, Jeff doesn’t know if the man lived or died, but driving near crosswalks triggers unimaginable fear in his heart.

Four months later, Jeff felt and heard a loud explosion while driving on Hefner Parkway.  A lady had hit his car from behind, going 90 mph!  Surprisingly, Jeff walked away without serious physical injuries, but the psychological impact was monumental.  When driving on the highway now, he still gets terrified of being hit.

Shortly after the wrecks, Jeff began getting daily migraines - and they’ve continued for 9 years.  He says, “Life became excruciatingly difficult.  For 4 years, I fought through each day at work then spent hours at home in the dark and silence racked with pain.”  He was out of medical options and fell into a deep depression.

Jeff was later diagnosed with PTSD and also discovered he had toxic mold which came with many debilitating symptoms.  After 4 years of fighting, Jeff lost his job and had to let go of everything.  He couldn’t bear the endless pain and became semi-suicidal.  “I felt afraid, angry, isolated, withdrawn, and hopeless.  I had hit rock bottom.”

Fortunately, Jeff’s story doesn’t end there.  At Ministries of Jesus, he found unbelievable hope!  Jeff took a class MOJ offered called Making Peace With Your Past.  Soon after, he began attending Celebrate Recovery (CR).  Jeff went all in, participating in large group, small open share groups, and in-depth step studies.  He says, “CR has been incredible and has brought about unbelievable healing.  I am so thankful for CR and the incredible work they do, every week, in the lives of so many very messed up people - like me!”
Jeff also began seeing a Christian counselor at MOJ who helped treat his depression and PTSD.  With new migraine medications, he still gets migraines every day, but the severity and duration of them have been greatly reduced.

Beaming with a joy only Christ could give, Jeff concludes, “I now have my life back!  I went from being hopeless, to being suicidal, to recovering, to serving.  I am now giving back and volunteering at MOJ doing patient intakes, and volunteering at CR leading step studies.  I give all the glory to God for this amazing ministry, and for the miraculous healing that has taken place in my life!”

Photo:  Jeff today, having walked through years of darkness, now beaming with Light

A Walking Miracle

Years ago, Alonda* went to a clinic with significant pain in her back and hardly able to walk.  They told her there was nothing they could do to help.  She felt slighted because of her age and inability to pay.  While making a stop, someone noticed her struggle to walk in pain.  They knew of a clinic in south OKC where Alonda could see a doctor for free and made the suggestion.  Desperate for relief, Yolanda went straight there.  At her first appointment she met Dr. Tucker, MOJ Medical Director, who took a team of volunteers to help at the start-up clinic once a month.  Dr. Tucker referred Alonda to a specialist and that is when the road to healing began.  

In time, the clinic MOJ helped start in the poorest zip code in south OKC began to stand on their own.  Dr. Tucker would no longer be serving there on occasion, but Alonda was not going to part ways from a doctor that was not only helping her, but deeply cared for her as a person.  Though the drive was farther, Alonda became a patient at MOJ and continued care under her now friend and doctor, Dr. Tucker.  

Improvement continued steadily.  Alonda has been a patient at MOJ for 7 years now.  When Dr. Tucker first met her, she had spent months in bed; it was just too painful to move.  Now, she’s literally a walking miracle.  She gets around very well for 75 years young!
The inability to walk, or work, took a toll on the rest of Alonda’s health.  She was not able to afford food and admittedly was hungry.  At times food around the trash bin on the corner became her meals.  When the medical team at MOJ discovered she did not have access to food and did not have dependable transportation to get food, the Social Services department went to work and helped her through a lengthy process to get her approved for Meals on Wheels.  

With proper nutrition, Alonda continues to gain strength and improve her health.  She has even gone back to cutting hair twice a week.  Like many served at MOJ, Alonda isn’t looking for a hand out.  She just needed some help so she can be healthy enough to work and contribute to society.

Alonda, smiling, says through a translator, “I am thanking God for all the healing that has been done in my body.  I am thankful for the food provided and how my Spirit has been fed here, too.  In all the pain I’ve experienced, I asked God to help me not let go of my faith.  God has answered and my faith is stronger.  I know God has provided for me.”