Lonny Vanderpool, Apple Valley, CA

Total eligible bills
$266,270
Provider discounts
$178,327
Total bills shared
$87,943

My wife, Jeanette, and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in the 1990s. We lived in Alabama and our church pastor told the congregation about his experience with the ministry. When his wife had surgery, they received funds from Christians all over the country for her medical needs. CHM members also prayed for her and sent notes of encouragement.

My wife became very excited about this concept. I was a bit of a skeptic, but I didn’t mind becoming a member because the cost was minimal. We were truck drivers gone from home for long periods of time so we decided to make our monthly financial gifts to CHM our tithe.

Times became tough for my father-in-law so eventually we moved in with him in California. We had insurance and therefore considered discontinuing our CHM membership. Our insurance premium had just gone up and we weren’t sure we could afford both.

The same day we discussed ending our CHM membership, we received a phone call from another CHM member who thanked us for helping share his wife’s medical needs. Touched by his gratefulness, we chose to remain members.

Meanwhile our insurance premiums continued to rise, reaching $2,300 per quarter with a deductible of $4,000. We both were in great health and could no longer justify the expense, so we dropped the policy. I was closing in on age 65 and we knew that Medicare was right around the corner.

Three months later, one of my Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests came back very high. We scheduled a biopsy. The results showed pre-cancerous cells, so I underwent another PSA test. The numbers were even higher. My urologist was convinced I had cancer, but I got a second biopsy. Positive again. My urologist said the cancer was not advanced and we discussed available treatments.

After much prayer, I decided to try a newer form of treatment called proton beam therapy. It’s a low-risk, minimally invasive type of radiation treatment.

I made an appointment in November 2012 for a treatment consultation. The cost of the consultation was very high so we made an appointment with the lady from the provider’s billing department. We explained that I was a cash patient. She told us the treatment would be just over $80,000 and that they needed a 20 percent down payment before I could begin.

Because I was initially skeptical of CHM and because we had never used CHM for a major medical event, I was sure our need wouldn’t be eligible for sharing. My wife and I pulled money from our retirement accounts to pay for the consultation and 10 months of treatment.

Discouraged, I asked Jeanette to call CHM. The staff member who spoke with her was very compassionate and didn’t act like there was any problem with submitting our bills to the ministry. She told us what forms to fill out and where to send them.

I had my first treatment in March 2013. We submitted the bills and received our first CHM check about six weeks later to reimburse the expense of my original consultation.

For nine weeks I drove nearly 50 miles every day for therapy in Loma Linda, Calif. On my first day, I walked into the changing room where an elderly man who had just finished his treatment was beaming. He asked if it was my first time. I said it was. He told me God had blessed him with the best technicians at the facility. They treated him like family.

When we received the last check from CHM, my wife opened the envelope and began crying. It was for a little over $66,000 and was exactly what we owed. We went for my first follow up appointment and were able to pay the balance in full. A weight was lifted off our shoulders.

I always tell people how God healed me. I’m still praising Him every day for the best treatment and technicians—and the wonderful CHM members who gave sacrificially and prayed for me during this hard time.

My last treatment occurred on Jeanette’s 60th birthday. One of my co-workers asked what I was getting her. She was telling everyone that she already had the best gift—a cancer-free husband! It’s wonderful to know God has made a way for those of us who join with other believers in this health cost sharing ministry. May God bless everyone involved in CHM as He has blessed us in our time of great need.

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