On Sabbath, May 25th, 2024, history was made in the North Andros District of Churches as the Lowe Sound Seventh-day Adventist Church held the district’s first 8 Weeks to Wellness graduation exercise. Under the theme “Building Healthy Families & Communities in 2024”, Velinda Rolle and her health team, consisting of leaders of various ministries of the church and two community members launched the 8 Weeks to Wellness Program on Thursday, April 4th, 2024.

Rolle challenged the church and community participants to adopt three weekly initiatives—Meatless Monday, Watery Wednesday, and Fry-less Friday. Shandera Smith, the Health Ministries Director of the South Bahamas Conference, was on hand to present certificates to the eleven participants who had attended seven or more of the wellness sessions. She also delivered an inspiring keynote, applauding the participants for choosing to follow Biblical Health principles. 

Smith said, "Because you were bought with a price, with Christ own life on Calvary, we have no right to do as we please with our bodies. Our bodies therefore belong to Christ, and we have the responsibility and the awesome privilege of doing everything possible to achieve or to keep it at optimal health, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually. We should see our health as a priority and make a true eternal investment in it by following the Master's health plan. So I’m happy that you allowed your minds to be transformed. You have caused your thoughts of what the world offers us as health to be disrupted, and you’ve chosen to follow biblical health principles. It begins up here, and it translates into action or into behavior. You were given a lot of information during the program, but having a considerable amount of knowledge won't make you healthy, it is only when you act, only when you do, that you would experience the abundant life that God offers."

The weekly wellness sessions followed the N.E.W. S.T.A.R.T. lifestyle program format to introduce one of the eight laws of health per week. Each session included a short devotion led by Pastor Lee Burrows, an invigorating aerobic exercise workout, incentives, a health presentation, and a coaching session. The program garnered much support from the Adventist Health Professionals Association and the Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries team who hosted a church and community health weekend and expo from April 5th-7th, 2024. 

A highlight of the program was a fun run/walk that occurred on Whit Monday, May 20th, 2024. Wellness participants and friends walked from the Lowe Sound Seventh-day Adventist Church to Morgan’s Bluff Beach. The benefits of the program were evident as participants saw some improvement in their health and experienced some weight loss. As a result, many are motivated to continue to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. 

Marlene Benwell (participant) shared, "I am grateful to the church for putting on this program. I have lost two pounds, and yes, I am excited about losing this two pounds. You know some people may say, 'That's only two pounds', but I am two pounds lighter than when I started the program, and it doesn’t end here. I intend to continue exercising, I intend to continue with our weekly challenge of the 'Meatless Monday', the 'Water Wednesday', and the 'Fry-less Friday'. I will have to continue with those because I have seen where being on the program really help me. I am feeling 100% better, and I am motivated to continue."

Sonia Miller said, "This is one of the things that I have adopted from the Seventh-day Adventists and I have been practicing for quite a while. Having gone through the program, I’ve gained a new insight as to what I can do to be a healthier person. I am now motivated to focus more on temperance, what I am eating, and the amount of rest I get on the daily basis".

The Lowe Sound Church Health Department expresses sincere thanks to God, as well as the health ministry’s department for a successful program.

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