North America

Hispanic Members Accept and Share Health Challenge in Local U.S. Church

After benefiting from the initiative, organizers are inviting others to join.

Waleska Gonzalez, for Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review
Hispanic Members Accept and Share Health Challenge in Local U.S. Church
Members of the Calhoun Hispanic Seventh-day Church participated in “Back to Life,” a 21-day health challenge. The program was such a success that there are plans to host this type of lifestyle program in nearby churches. [Photo: Georgia-Cumberland Conference, Southern Tidings]

Fibromyalgia, high triglycerides, energy depletion, extreme fatigue, and other debilitating health conditions used to be part of Norma Utz’s daily life. Utz, who had been an active member of the Calhoun Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church in Calhoun, Georgia, United States, felt helpless and frustrated.

Utz’s prayer of finding a way to overcome her conditions was recently answered, and this led to something much larger than she first envisioned. Working with a health coach, Utz began making small changes in her lifestyle, and soon she regained lost energy, was sleeping better, and was able to walk without her cane.

Being used to serving and helping in her church, Utz felt God was leading her to share her experience with others who were suffering similar health issues. From this desire, Health Warriors was started — a group that, assisted by Utz’s health coach, promotes lifestyle changes to improve health.

Health Warriors created “Back to Life,” a 21-day, faith-based challenge to regain health and wellness. Originally, about 15 women accepted the challenge, but during the 21-day challenge, husbands, children, and friends, including some who were not Adventist members, joined as well.

Through weekly meetings, daily devotionals, and constant motivational support, each participant took baby steps by gradually exchanging unhealthy practices for new and healthy habits.

By the 21st day, many pounds were lost, body measurements became lower, and many participants reported more energy and better-quality sleep. They were moving and exercising, learned how to prepare new foods, and began eating healthy and tasty meals that their families also enjoyed. Furthermore, these warriors reported that they regained and strengthened their daily connection with God.

For Utz, a few weeks after the challenge, her blood work came back with extraordinary results. For the first time in years, her triglycerides were back to normal levels.

With the help of the Calhoun Hispanic church and local church pastor René Hernández, Health Warriors started with the desire of helping others to regain health. But it will not end in Calhoun. Hernández has invited Health Warriors to come to other churches in his district to bring spiritual, physical, and emotional health back to members’ lives.

The original version of this story was posted by Southern Tidings.

Waleska Gonzalez, for Southern Tidings, and Adventist Review