Nicole Andersen, Sparta, NJ
- Total eligible bills
- Provider discounts
- Total bills shared
I’ve wanted to send in our testimony for a while, but feel like I’ve just had the chance to catch my breath. I strongly believe our testimony should be shared with other CHM members and prospective members because the ministry has blessed our family beyond what we ever could have expected.
My husband, Tor, is a first-generation farmer and we also have a small business. We have four beautiful daughters and lead a simple but busy life.
We heard about Christian Healthcare Ministries in 2014. Joining CHM seemed like a risk, but not too worrisome since we’d always been pretty healthy. The thought of brothers and sisters in Christ helping pay each other’s medical expenses was appealing, so we joined that March.
In 2015 our oldest daughter, eight-year-old Anya, became very ill. Each week she mysteriously lost more strength and energy. Awaiting results from many medical tests was nerve-wracking, but she finally was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the skin and muscles. It’s so rare that her doctors described the chances as one in a million.
Meanwhile, I told Anya that we would figure out what was wrong and not to worry because she wouldn’t be like one of those sick children we sometimes saw on television commercials. I was completely wrong and completely humbled.
Our family went from the occasional cough or cold to $50,000 treatments every other week. We were scared to death. The most frightening thing was having a sick child; the second most disturbing thought was wondering how we ever would be able to pay for her treatment.
We had two great assurances to combat those two fears. One was that we had the hope and peace of Jesus Christ. The second was that we had signed up for CHM’s Gold participation level along with the Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic medical bills. The costly treatments caused us to exceed CHM’s regular per-illness limit of $125,000 quickly, but Brother’s Keeper was there to share bills over that amount.
We worked hard to get discounts on Anya’s bills. Our healthcare providers and CHM staff members were all encouraging and kind. It was also a great blessing that we had the flexibility to choose our specialists and didn’t need to get referrals from other doctors.
We’re incredibly thankful to our fellow ministry members. To date, we’ve obtained over $544,248 in discounts and CHM shared over $820,447 in bills.
At first I almost felt guilty that we were such a burden to the ministry, but my concerns were alleviated when cards and well wishes began to arrive in the mail. It started one evening after a 10-hour period of hospital treatment. We were exhausted and Anya wasn’t feeling well. I went outside to get the mail. To our surprise, the box was packed full of cards with many written prayers and kind words. The encouragement from CHM members across the country lifted Anya’s spirits and gave our whole family peace, hope and joy. To think that God has provided such a budget-friendly healthcare program made up of Christians who cared enough to help carry us through our crisis is almost incomprehensible. We felt loved and amazed beyond words.
Just a couple of months ago, I again opened a full mailbox and was surprised that the cards were addressed to Tor and me rather than to Anya. “That’s strange,” I thought. “It’s not our anniversary.” Sure enough, the cards were from CHM members and we felt blessed and grateful.
A few days later I noticed red spots around Anya’s eyes and near her elbows. My heart sank. After two years of treatment, it appeared her condition was flaring up again. After putting our children to bed, I had a meltdown and cried uncontrollably. We had come so far and I didn’t feel strong enough to take steps backward.
It was then I realized how perfect God’s timing is; He had made sure the cards were sent several days earlier because He knew this new challenge was coming and He was preparing us. He used our fellow CHM “soldiers” to lift us up, encourage and strengthen us for the battle ahead. Needless to say, Anya responded well to treatment and her test results were good!
Anya is now 10 years old. She continues to improve and is slowly being weaned off her medications and treatments. Praise God! She isn’t cured yet, but we’re excited that our daughter’s strength is returning and that the number and dollar amount of bills is decreasing.
Thank you, CHM staff and members, for providing affordable healthcare, a program for catastrophic bills, compassionate service and your prayers!