By Steve Collins

Do you ever feel like you have the desire, knowledge, and passion to be more effective in your service to others and God, but you lack the energy? That was the predicament of O.A. Fish, a retired Eastern Airlines pilot who founded South Mountain Christian Camp in the 70’s. For years he prayed God would heal his body from poor health, the answer he received surprised him.

The July sun was already making its presence felt, even at 10 am under the shade of a picnic shelter. At age 65, O.A. Fish knew he couldn’t stay out here for long. One hundred summer campers had gathered this morning to hear from him before beginning their swim time. As the camp founder, this was O.A.’s one opportunity to interact with the kids during their week of camp, but his energy was depleted due to a myriad of health problems.
A pilot for Eastern Airlines in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, O.A. had established South Mountain Christian Camp as a place where underprivileged children could come to know Jesus. When he was diagnosed with cardio vascular disease in 1989, he retired from the airline and devoted all of his energy to the ministry. Ten years later, his energy level didn’t amount to much.
A growing number of health concerns had limited O.A.’s ability to interact with campers or help with the operations of the camp. High levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and blood sugar imbalances were treated with a multitude of pills, but the downward trend continued on what seemed to be an irreversible path. He wasn’t able to thrive because of poor choices he had made. O.A. longed to be used more effectively and prayed daily for God to heal his body.
The answer to his prayer was different from what he expected. God revealed to him that He would care for the needs of his soul, but it was up to O.A. to care for the needs of his body. This revelation created a paradigm shift in O.A’s mind as he realized that, by making changes to his eating and exercise habits, he could make himself more useful to serve others, fulfill his personal God-given mission and accomplish the daily work of God.
O.A. began the Halleluhah Diet. He eliminated processed foods and most meat, and began dining primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables. Sugar, salt and unhealthy fats were virtually abolished from his diet. He also added carrot juice and barley and alfalfa supplements. His energy level shot up and his body weight dropped, giving O.A. the motivation to begin exercising on a regular basis.
O.A. noticed an immediate decrease in the health problems he’d struggled with for so long. He was able to reduce his medication for blood pressure and discontinued his blood sugar medicine entirely. His doctor was amazed to discover that his heart and arteries were improving each year and commented that this was the only diet he’d ever seen to literally reverse cardiovascular disease.
It didn’t take long for O.A. to make good use of his newfound health. He now had the energy to help with daily camp tasks like mowing grass and keeping the fire ant population at bay. He also began interacting more with campers at favorite activities like the golf driving range and the petting farm. And the relationships he built with them made his once-a-week teaching time all the more effective.
A few years ago O.A. had a passion for more. Today, he’s doing it! O.A. is 79 years old and continues to be actively involved in the ministry of South Mountain Christian Camp. He knows the Hallelujah Diet helped make big changes in his health. He knows God gave him the wake-up call he needed.
Don’t just be inspired – wake-up to your calling too! 1. Improve your diet and exercise – you’ll have more energy to do more. 2. Pray – you have a personal God-given mission. Now is your time to rediscover it and fulfill it. 3. Find a place to serve others today. This is a way you can take an immediate next step and become more useful to others. For ideas, Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine has an annual “service” issue. 4. Celebrate how God is moving in your life. God wants to use you to inspire others toward Him. CONTACT US, we want to hear from you.

Steve Collins is executive director at South Mountain Christian Camp in Bostic, NC where he has served since 1998. He and his wife, Jen, have two children: Mike (16) and Amy (13), and they are all actively involved in the ministry there. Read more of Steve’s writings on his blog.

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