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From dying to living

Stacy Balch holds two photos of her daughter Morgan. Left shows her hospitalized after a reaction to meth. Photo on the right shows her today, having accepted Christ and becoming drug free after coming to the Ministries of Jesus (MOJ). (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

Stacy Balch holds two photos of her daughter Morgan. Left shows her hospitalized after a reaction to meth. Photo on the right shows her today, having accepted Christ and becoming drug free after coming to the Ministries of Jesus (MOJ). (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

EDMOND—With a mountain of concerns and no medical insurance to get the help they needed, Stacy Balch had almost given up hope of healing for her teenage daughter, Morgan, a diabetic who was addicted to methamphetamine. That is before she first showed up at the door of the Ministries of Jesus (MOJ), an Edmond-based Christian medical clinic.

Morgan, who had been hospitalized numerous times and had been at the brink of death once after using meth, first met with MOJ staff member, Theresa Nelson. Nelson, who serves as Medical Administrator, was convinced the young girl would not live much longer.

“We have seen and helped so many patients,” said Nelson. “But for some reason, I was lulled into believing Morgan’s problems were too great. I guess I thought the drugs were bigger than God.”

Morgan was given insulin treatments to help her physically and was exposed to the Gospel in hopes of changing her life. The young lady came back to the clinic multiple times, but Nelson and the doctors were not sure what would happen next. It was then that Morgan was also introduced to an MOJ licensed alcohol and drug counselor who began walking Morgan through an addiction recovery process.

Dr. Sherri Tucker serves as Medical Director for the Ministries of Jesus, which offers a wide variety of free medical services for its clients.

Dr. Sherri Tucker serves as Medical Director for the Ministries of Jesus, which offers a wide variety of free medical services for its clients. (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

“We knew with her diabetes condition, if she used meth one more time, it could kill her,” said Nelson. “We prayed that God would save her soul so she would go to Heaven.”

What happened over the course of the next few months would astonish Balch, Nelson and the entire Ministries of Jesus staff and volunteers. In a stunning turnaround, Morgan found Christ, was born-again, and has been clean from drugs for one full year.

“My life before coming to Ministries of Jesus was a life of pain, drugs and hopelessness,” said Morgan. “I was not living for God, and I chose a life of destruction. I tried to numb my pain of a broken family and bad choices as a teenager through using drugs.”

“I was diagnosed, at age 10, with Type 1 diabetes. At age 14, I began experimenting with drugs, and by the age of 17 I was using meth. On April 24, 2013, my life balanced between this earth and death. I overdosed on meth and was found barely breathing and minutes from the end. I laid in a coma in the ICU for 6 days. As my mom and family gathered around praying and discussing burial options, God was working a miracle,” she said.

Morgan’s mother, Stacy, first heard about the clinic when looking for medical care for those who do not have health insurance.

Theresa Nelson, left, serves as MOJ Medical Administrator, developed a close relationship with Balch, throughout Morgan’s transformation.

Theresa Nelson, left, serves as MOJ Medical Administrator, developed a close relationship with Balch, throughout Morgan’s transformation. (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

“I have never been anywhere where people are so kind and helpful,” said Balch. “You get prayed for three of four times in one visit. When the doctors come in, they are so caring and helpful; it means so much. I am amazed.”

The Ministries of Jesus began in 2008 on the campus of Edmond, Henderson Hills. In the past six years, the ministry’s first-class facilities has served more than 7,000 clients like Morgan, holding 2,000 one-on-one counseling sessions each year with hundreds going through the clinic’s addiction recovery ministry.

MOJ offers free medical and dental treatment, social services and also Christian counseling.

“At the core of our mission is to see people as a whole,” said Kim Swyden, executive director of the Ministries of Jesus. “The world says that all that matters is the body, how you look and smell and feel. As Christians, we know that God cares about the whole person, and that is the approach our medical staff and volunteers have with each person who walk through the doors. That attitude is based on Luke 4:18-19, which are the foundational verses for MOJ.”

The Ministries of Jesus is funded through individual donations and grants, in addition to some support from Henderson Hills. “The Ministries of Jesus is truly making an eternal impact on the lives of so many in need, ones just like Morgan. Our God saves!,” said Dennis Newkirk, senior pastor of Edmond, Henderson Hills.

“We lean heavily on the Lord to provide for our budget each year,” said Swyden. “This ministry is built on faith and relying on God, whether it is helping people overcome physical, emotional and spiritual trouble through the transforming power of the Gospel, or by keeping the lights on and ministry funded.”

“The Ministries of Jesus at Henderson Hills is serving in a great way on the front lines of ministry in Oklahoma, meeting both physical and spiritual needs,” said Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “I applaud its founders, volunteers and staff, and I pray for their continued success for the Kingdom.”

Morgan said that God used many people to turn her life around. She thanks Theresa and MOJ workers Sherri Tucker and Dr. Draelos. She also thanks her church family at Okarche, First.

Sally Miller, who began as a volunteer at MOJ, now serves as office manager.

Sally Miller, who began as a volunteer at MOJ, now serves as office manager. (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

“My church family at First Baptist of Okarche helped me learn about forgiveness and healing. My Sunday school teacher, Deb, helped me to see that Jesus loves me and is there for me at all times. My family has always taught me of God’s love. I finally found a joy and peace that I searched for so long through using drugs and making bad choices. Last year I gave my life to Jesus and was baptized,” she said. “Such an overwhelming feeling to know that Jesus wiped away all my tears and forgave me for the way I had been living and gave me another chance.”

Morgan knows what darkness is like and speaks hope to those affected by addiction.

“My words of wisdom to families who are plagued by addiction is to pray and then pray some more. Never give up hope. My mom and family never thought I would overcome my battle with drugs, but they never gave up on me,” she said. “Not only is the addict suffering but also the entire family suffers. There is fear, worry and doubt constantly running through their minds. However, Jesus is there to help.”

Morgan recently celebrated the one year anniversary from that dreadful day she was at death’s door. Today, she has begun a new journey at The Talking Leaves Job Corps, where she is getting an education and has a clear vision of her future.

“I have also started a Bible study group on campus, as there was a need. I want to lead others to Christ and continue to move forward in my walk with Him. I have set goals for myself and have begun the work to reach these goals,” she said.

Kim Swyden serves as Executive Director for the MOJ. Its facilities are located on the property of Edmond, Henderson Hills.

Kim Swyden serves as Executive Director for the MOJ. Its facilities are located on the property of Edmond, Henderson Hills. (Photo: Jonathan Burkhart)

According to Swyden, not every person who walks through the MOJ experiences the transformation that Morgan has. Yet each one will receive attention that is focused on the whole person—spirit, soul and body.

“We are grateful to our remarkable staff and our volunteers who enable us to provide a variety of services, including medical, dental, vision, Christian counseling, addiction recovery and other critical services for everyone, regardless of their faith journey and without any social filters,” said Swyden.

“Yet we are even more grateful for their heart to serve in a Christ-like way,” he said. “In the end, that is what we have to offer.”

“God not only proved that He is bigger than drugs, but He used Morgan to blow my faith out of the water,” said Nelson. “God answers prayer, so when someone calls in desperate circumstances, the answer is ‘God will help you! Come to the Ministries of Jesus.’”

For more information on the Ministries of Jesus, visit www.moj.com or call 405/340-7400.

 

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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