Healing and Restoration
Reese Lias, Jr. had driven past the sign for Uchee Pines Institute many times, but little did he dream that one day it would change his life.
In May of 2005, Mr. Lias was diagnosed with diabetes. As the poor circulation and numbness in his feet and legs worsened, he had to give up his occupation and life-long love of truck driving. He tried six different doctors and ten different medications over the years in his quest for healing, but nothing helped.
Through a series of events, Mr. Lias learned more about Uchee Pines; and in October of 2011, he came for a 17-day session at the Lifestyle Center. Treatments included hot and cold fomentations to the abdomen and legs besides the all-around lifestyle changes in areas such as diet and exercise. In less than a week, Mr. Lias was seeing improvement.
“Before I came here,” he said with face all smiles, “I couldn’t feel my legs or toes; I could hardly walk. But now I can! It is tremendous what they do here without medication. I’m off my medication, and my body is healing!”
He went on to say, “I’ve never been at a place like this. This is a stress free environment—you’re surrounded by nature, no outside world that you have to deal with.”
Uchee Pines endeavors to equip those who participate in a session at the Lifestyle Center with the tools and knowledge they will need once they leave.
“That is part of the program,” Mr. Lias explained. “It’s a retraining of your mind so that when you go back out there you won’t do what you’ve always done.”
Mr. Lias really appreciated the individual attention he received at Uchee Pines. “You get very personal care here,” he said. “You have a one-on-one counselor who sticks with you until you leave. The Doctors here are tremendous too. When you get your lab work done, they look at everything and explain it to you in detail. If you don’t understand, they will help you.”
“When God is ready to heal you, He will heal you; and He will give you ways to get healed,” Mr. Lias concluded. “I hope that anybody with any kind of sickness would try this place before they have any amputation, any surgeries, because it will prevent surgery by the natural treatment without medication, without pills, without shots. Just come here and be blessed!”
A Letter from a Health Guest
Dear Dr. Agatha,
I can’t thank you enough for the role you played in sharing your testimony with me when I was a guest at Uchee Pines. I wanted to personally let you know the effect and how God is using you and others and my whole experience at Uchee Pines to give me the victory over appetite. God is teaching me to “…fight the good fight of faith…” through His Word and prayer.
I miss the rural country atmosphere, simple and uncomplicated.
After I came home about a month ago, it was a fierce battle with appetite because I wasn’t totally surrendered to the way of life that I was taught at Uchee Pines; it was only after seeing and feeling the difference between the way the world eats and the mercy of how our God wants us to eat that I committed to eating better.
Two meals a day: breakfast and lunch; cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer and pantry of meat, milk, butter, cheese, eggs, white sugar, fish, and stepping out in faith that God will satisfy my mouth with good things that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:5).
I am eating good plant-based foods, eating my raw salad first; and just this morning, I added chia seeds and ground flax seeds to my breakfast. I used to like eggs and grits for breakfast; now I am eating whole-grain cereal, almond milk, bananas, blueberries, oranges, and raspberries for breakfast, and I love it.
I miss the wonderful church at Uchee Pines. I miss walking in the woods. I will always treasure my time at Uchee Pines; hopefully someday I can visit again. I bless you and everyone who works there; I pray that God prospers Uchee Pines and that all the guests who come through there are blessed also. I feel that was my wilderness experience, and I am so excited now as I see God working in my life to adopt this new lifestyle, and I feel so much better in my body. Thank you again!
A Health Guest
Pastor Stan Will and his wife, Thelma, visited Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center before, but not until recently did he go through the 17-day program. Prior to coming he couldn’t walk the half mile around their home without huffing and puffing, and needing to stop and rest when ascending the hill. After a couple of weeks at Uchee Pines he was walking two and three miles up and down hills.
Pastor Will reflects on his time at Uchee Pines: “I benefited greatly and am continuing to do what I learned. I have already lost 5 lbs, and want to lose another five. It was evident that the doctors were most willing with counsel and treatments to help those who needed attention; and that attitude was reflected by the staff that assisted us.
“From 6:30 in the morning until 8 p.m. everyone cheerfully encouraged and taught us the principles of healthful living. Personally, I gained a lot of benefit through the daily seminars. I even made a loaf of bread, mixing it by hand. By the way, it turned out to be quite good.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and look forward to visiting again.”
Health and Healing
It was late October. In a few days, Indriani and her husband Edwin would take a vacation to the Mediterranean/Greek Isles. They were looking forward to it, then the news came—the lump that Indriani had found accidently in September was a very aggressive cancer. Questions flooded her mind: What is this disease? Why is this happening to me? How did I get it? What will happen to me? Where should I go for treatment? What kind of treatment options should I choose? Does my doctor really know what’s going on? Will I be in pain? Will I be disfigured? Am I going to lose my hair? Will my family and friends care about me? Am I going to survive?
Indriani felt impressed to come to Uchee Pines, but was not able to get there as soon as she would like, because the session was full. With a foreboding shadow cast over what the situation held, Indriani and Edwin went on their vacation.
Upon their return home more testing was done at a different hospital. Indriani wanted to get a second opinion and more options. She was given the option to start chemotherapy immediately for eight rounds, then followed by surgery, seven weeks of radiation therapy. Based on what she knew at that time, the chemo was started. After two rounds, Indriani decided to stop getting standard therapies because of their destructive side effects. Indriani wanted to rebuild her immune system by natural therapies, so her body could have the chance to heal itself.
By December, Indriani was at Uchee Pines. Her schedule was filled with learning and applying God’s plan for health. At the end of the 17-day session, her tumor had shrunk 50%.
In January, Indriani returned to Uchee Pines for another session. The doctor checked for the tumor—nothing. An Ultrasound was done—nothing. Blood tests were taken—the cancer was nowhere to be found. “This place is really amazing!” said Indriani. “I watched so many miracles and transformations happening right in front of my eyes. I have never felt so healthy and so happy in my entire life.”
Indriani went home rejoicing in the miracle God performed in her life and committed to following a new lifestyle—one that promotes health and healing.
Urinary Tract Infections
A lady came to us who was, at the time, 61 years old. She had the diagnosis of multiple urinary tract infections. The doctor explained that most such cases were initiated by a food sensitivity, which first weakened the bladder lining allowing germs to become capable of actually infecting the bladder lining. She described her case as her worst ever, with “terrible” pain at the end of her urination— which was frequent—and with blood and a strong odor of her urine. We began giving her soothing teas, cornsilk and marshmallow root, and 10 glasses of water daily. She was given hot sitz baths, 20-30 minutes each time, six times a day for the first day, and three times daily the second day. She took only one sitz bath per day thereafter until she was well. In two days, the urinary tract was well.
Hardening of the Arteries
A 68-year-old woman came here with the worst case of hardening of the arteries we had ever seen. She had no detectable pulses in the wrists, armpits, or at her elbows, and none around her feet, ankles, knees, or groin—an amazing finding which turned up on her physical examination! We listened over all her arteries even for swishing sounds. None heard. We tried to get a blood pressure reading and could not, as pulses were not heard. She had had hypertension recorded since 1978 and blood sugar elevation since 1960. In three weeks, we could faintly feel a pulse at her right wrist and could get a blood pressure reading. And within six weeks on a strict diet, we could feel pulses in both wrists. Six months later, she was able to walk a mile twice a day.
I wasn’t sure what to think the first time I saw them. Jerry, accompanied by Kathy, sat across from my desk for our initial consultation. A man of few words and apparently fewer emotions, he sat there answering my questions, but not offering any further information. It was as though I needed to put a jigsaw puzzle together with the picture side facing down. Kathy was obviously nervous, and with a peculiar glazed look to her worried eyes, she kept asking Jerry if he was going to tell me the truth.
The truth only slightly came out in that first interview, but unknown to all of us, it would be revealed in unexpected ways.
The night of Wednesday, April 3rd, just before midnight, I received an urgent call stating that Jerry had a stroke. I rushed to the Lifestyle Center and found Jerry lying in bed, horribly slurring his speech, one side of his face drooping, and the left side of his body paralyzed. After a short prayer I asked Jerry if he wanted to be taken to the ER or if he wanted us to treat him. He opted for the latter. So treatment started in earnest. By the time the morning arrived, Jerry was able to lift his left leg off the bed and move his toes up and down.
Soon, Jerry was off to the CT scanner, which is when we found out that the stroke was the result of a large tumor in his brain. He was transferred to the regional medical center and underwent MRI scanning which showed two additional tumors in the brain. The neurosurgeon evaluated Jerry and determined that surgery was not an option. He would be admitted to the hospital for possible radiation or chemotherapy and/or comfort care.
That is when I saw the first miracle transpire. When Kathy heard that the only options were chemo, radiation, or comfort care, it was as if the glaze over her eyes fell off. I could see her thinking, evaluating the situation, and coming to a decision. Jerry had already mentioned that he wouldn’t have taken chemo if he would have the choice again, and that he did not want radiation, so Kathy realized that, following his wishes, the only option would be comfort care. She knew that in a hospital setting, he would be kept in bed and medicated, and she made the decision (with input from Jerry) to come back to Uchee Pines to live out his last days.
Little did we realize how long those last days would be. I remember shortly after this time, Tyler and David coming to visit. Tyler asked me how long I thought his father had, and I said that I thought he had a couple days to a couple weeks left. Tyler informed me that his father was a very stubborn and determined man and that he would surprise us. That turned out to be very true.
As the days passed, Jerry continued to improve slowly to the point that he was eating on his own, walking on his own, and even throwing a softball back and forth with a friend. But those times of physical improvement were also times of trial. Because of the brain tumor, Jerry was plagued with hallucinations, and it was impossible at times for him to distinguish between what was imaginary and what was real.
Those days were very hard on Kathy. She was up with him during the day, and then up with him during the night. He was morose, demanding, emotionally labile, uncooperative, and generally unpleasant much of the time. But Kathy exhibited remarkable patience and tenderness with him. He was not only emotionally difficult, but physically as well. I remember Kathy showing me the bruises she had received from Jerry while caring for him, and hearing the stories of objects flying across the room at her to “get her attention.”
Through these particularly difficult times, we continued to pray for Jerry and attempted to the best of our ability to care for him with the love of God in our hearts. And Jerry began to change.
In time, I became more and more acquainted with Jerry. I came to know a man who was raised in difficult circumstances, who met many a trial and hardship, but who always mustered up the strength and determination to push through and be successful; a man who loved to be involved in and in charge of various organizations and associations; a man who was deeply hurt by life’s pains and trails, and who didn’t let anyone completely into his heart for fear of being hurt again; a man who loved his children, but didn’t know how to express that love, and regretted many of the ways he had raised them; a man who gratified his own desires and wishes sometimes at the expense of health and relationships and yet, at the same time, was willing to generously help others. I came to know a man who was far from being a saint. But I also came to know a man who longed for love, for belonging, purpose, hope, and comfort.
With time, not only did Jerry’s physical strength improve, but his mind began to clear. As he recognized his situation, and saw his need to depend upon others, his heart started to soften. His hard exterior was slowly being chipped away through the softening influence of love. And that hard heart began to open. As time progressed, Jerry realized his need to commit his life to the Lord. He recognized that he had very little self-control, and that his natural desires and inclinations were at war with God’s will for his life, and he surrendered. On May 18th he was buried in water—baptized—as a symbol of his death to self and sin, and was resurrected from the water as a symbol of the new birth that comes through Christ living in one’s heart. I can still clearly see the tears of joy that were on Jerry’s face as he stood in the baptistery, having dedicated his life to the Lord.
After the baptism, Jerry began to decline slowly. His left side became weaker, and it was more difficult for him to walk and care for himself. The hallucinations, as well, returned, but this time he was not paranoid as before. Jerry had softened. He was concerned about others. He was concerned about Kathy and how she would carry on without him. He was much more cooperative, less demanding, and was no longer aggressive.
With more time, Jerry’s physical strength and health continued to deteriorate, but his mind became clear again, and remained so. He no longer asked for things that were harmful to him. He submitted to Kathy and his caretakers. He was thankful and grateful for others helping him. He would frequently say to me, “I appreciate you.”
Sometimes I would simply observe. Jerry would reach with his only functioning limb, his right arm, and caress Kathy’s face and would mouth the words, “I love you” to her. There was such a tenderness and love between them. It was absolutely amazing. Both were so drastically different than when I first met them. There was a total transformation that happened in each of their lives that was absolutely beautiful and amazing. Jerry was finally able to open his heart, and Kathy finally had it. The two had truly become one.
If you were to measure distance, what unit would you measure it with? Possibly inches, feet, or miles? What about weight? Ounces or pounds? What about volume? Cups, quarts, or gallons? But what about love? What unit of measure would you use to measure love? Is it desire, passion, or zeal? Or is it something more? I submit to you that the measure of love is sacrifice.
At the beginning of a relationship, when things are typically hot and heavy, when you float on the clouds, your heart flutters, and your palms sweat at the thought of or sight of “them,” there is little love, for there is little sacrifice. At the other end of a relationship—when your commitment to love and cherish as long as life shall last has been sorely tried and you have weathered the storms; when your spouse is debilitated and you have to change their bed with them in it, clean their bottom, feed them, grow faint and weary from caring for them night and day, and you continue to cherish and care for them—there is much love, for there is much sacrifice.
As I have already mentioned, Jerry was no saint. Kathy wasn’t either. Each had serious defects of character that led them to hurt many people in a number of ways. But over the 12 weeks that we had the opportunity to know and work with Jerry and Kathy, we watched the greatest miracle that can ever be seen. We saw the transformation of their hearts. Kathy three months ago was an entirely different person than Kathy today. Jerry three months ago was an entirely different person than Jerry before his death. Each of them are testimonies of the transforming power of the love of God.
Friends, God offers that same power to transform you and me. Each of us, like Jerry and Kathy, are hurt people who hurt other people. Each of us has serious defects of character that we have fought with and failed at overcoming our entire lives. Each of us has found in many ways that we are a failure. Each of us longs for true love, for true belonging, for real hope in a better future, and help along the way. Each of us is in need of a Savior.
Friends, don’t wait until tomorrow to accept the invitation of the Lord. Jerry was blessed to die from cancer, for it gave God time to work in his life and on his heart. You and I are not given the promise of tomorrow, only of now. There is no guarantee that you or I will not be killed on the road today, or meet some rapid, unexpected end. Are you prepared if that is the case? Has God transformed you? Have you surrendered your life to Him?
God showed His love to Jerry through Kathy. And the same God will show His love for you, too. God is caring, and compassionate, tender, and patient, slow to anger, and abounding in love. He has sacrificed all so that you can be His. As the classic book on the life of Christ, The Desire of Ages, states on page 25, “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’ ” He died so that you could live. You can trust yourself in His hands. He will bring about even better plans in and through your life than you can ever desire for yourself. Will you let Him be your Lord and Savior? Will you fulfill Jerry’s dying wish, and accept God into your life, to transform you, to change you from the inside out? The choice is yours, and the choice is now.
As Jerry was dying, the following promises hung on his walls—reminders of the hope which he held to.
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Friends, do you want God to wipe away every tear from your eyes. Do you want a life with no more death, sorrow or crying, and no more pain? That life is yours in a surrendered and dependent life with God. Accept that gift now, and live.
No More Pain!
Janet* had been in severe, constant pain. Every day before going to bed she would ask God to put her to rest because it was enough. In order to continue living she knew that something had to happen. “It was time to make a change,” she said, “so I decided to come to Uchee Pines.”
At the end of her stay, Janet commented, “I know for a fact that God is here and the people who are here are His angels. He uses them. It’s like they never get tired trying to make you comfortable.”
Through the Lifestyle Session, Janet’s health made a turn-around. “At this moment,” she said when sharing her experience, “not one part of my body is in pain!” With face beaming, she praised God, “It’s a miracle! The joy that I feel I can’t even explain. It makes me want to cry!”
*Name has been changed.
Healing for Body and Soul
David* came to Uchee Pines with long hair, cowboy hat and boots, a guitar, and was smoking away. When he was told that he needed to quit smoking, he replied, “I didn’t come here to quit smoking, I came here because of cancer.”
David had fourth-stage prostate cancer. He did quit smoking and followed the program. When he finally returned home and went back to his doctor, he was told, “Oh, well, you must not have had cancer.” He was completely cured, but not just physically. Through his experience, he turned his life over to God and found healing for his soul.
Former guest who came with sarcoidosis, overweight, hypertensive and depressed had this to say about his experience at Uchee Pines:
The program was very helpful. My health improved. And since being on the program, I’ve lost more than 80 pounds. My starting weight was 360 pounds, and I now weigh 279 pounds. I have also gained more enlightenment and have a closer walk with God. Moreover, I recommend this program to others and encourage them to try it out for themselves. I am keeping fit spiritually, staying with the word, staying away from the world, and staying in the Lord.