Laurie and I have many experiences and stories about the healing and even life-saving power of charcoal. We learned how to make activated charcoal during AFM training 13 years ago, and we have taught many villagers how to make and use it as well. Time and again we saw positive effects from its use. The pen of inspiration tells us that skills for treating people’s physical ailments will, in the days just before Jesus returns, be our only door to reaching people with the gospel. In situations where preaching the gospel is prohibited, our health message and the love we show to others by caring for their injuries and illnesses open the way for the truth about God and His plan to save humanity.
Since I feel that this is important information that should be spread far and wide, on a recent visit to Pacific Adventist University (PAU), I went to the vice chancellor’s office and offered a proposal to teach a class in the medicinal use of charcoal. A date was set for the class, and Laurie and I dug into our photos to assemble a presentation. Our daughter, Johanna, in her last year of nursing school at Andrews University, had done research on charcoal and put together a PowerPoint presentation for one of her classes. We borrowed her presentation to use as a starting point and added pertinent photos and quotes.
PAU’s Health Sciences amphitheater proved to be the best venue for this event. It has doors directly to the outside making it easy for us to monitor the fire we had kindled for charring coconut shells under tin cans while we lectured inside. We were pleased when more than 40 people showed up for our class that Sunday afternoon. People even drove in from town to hear our presentation. During the class, Laurie told stories and showed pictures of patients with severe tropical ulcers. She talked about the science of activated charcoal, how it works and how it can be used. I also shared the story of a little boy in a remote village on the Fly River who had been bitten by a deadly Papuan Black snake. With no medicines available to treat him and no clinics close by to rush him to, I used what I had—prayer and charcoal. The boy miraculously survived. Praise God for His simple yet effective remedies which, when combined with prayer, are powerful medicine.
At the end of the session, before going outside to fetch the charred coconut shells from the fire, we answered questions from the audience and heard testimonies from two of them about how charcoal had helped them. “Next time, we want you to come and teach us about hydrotherapy!” one person exclaimed at the end of our class.
As missionaries living in a remote area, we have had to rely on God and natural remedies to take care of medical issues. We may not be experts in all areas, but working where there are no doctors and very little infrastructure has propelled us to learn all we can. Knowing the One “who healeth all thy diseases” (Ps. 103:3) makes all the difference.