A New Heart Finds a New Home

A legacy in transition

by Aubrey Beauchamp

A New Heart magazine cover

In the early 1970s a friend and I were employed in a brand-new hospital. The paint on the walls had barely dried. It didn’t take us long to identify other Christians on the new staff. Since my home was nearby, we invited several employees for prayer and fellowship once a week. We prayed specifically for our new hospital: the staff, the patients, relatives, doctors, and opportunities for us to minister to others. We collected a few dollars during our meetings, called ourselves Hospital Christian Fellowship, and opened a bank account. We got permission to place Bibles at patients’ bedsides, and since a small room in the hospital had been set aside for a chapel, we asked permission to put Christian literature and Bibles in that room. A carpenter fashioned a kneeling bench, and we also placed a small box for prayer requests. We met the hospital chaplain, a wonderful man who encouraged us in our outreaches and often joined us in the chapel where we prayed for the requests and shared scriptures. One day the chaplain quoted a scripture that became very dear to me. “The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned so that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary (Isaiah 50:4, NKJV).

I discovered there was a worldwide organization also called Hospital Christian Fellowship and contacted their headquarters in South Africa. The vision, they wrote me, was ”to train caregivers how to share their faith with their patients and fellow workers.” I liked that and gladly joined.

In the 1970s, most patients were admitted the day before surgery. As a recovery nurse, I visited them during afternoon rounds to give post-op instructions, then told them that we prayed for all our patients and, depending on the reaction, asked if they wanted prayer then. All accepted. Today, most patients are admitted on the day of surgery. However, there is still a waiting period close to the operating room and this is an excellent time to bring up spiritual matters and prayer.

One day I received a phone call from a reporter of a large Los Angeles newspaper. He asked me about our activities. I briefly told him and that weekend The Valley News ran a half-page story about the newly formed Hospital Christian Fellowship. Soon I began to get letters from folks who wanted to know more. This eventually led to a traveling ministry where we shared about our outreaches. “Don’t set rules,” we cautioned. “God will lead you into circumstances you could never dream about. Pray regularly about opportunities. Prayer is the lynchpin to all ministry.”

We soon compiled a sizeable mailing list. To keep folks encouraged and informed, I fashioned a small two-page newsletter, typed on my trusty IBM Selectric typewriter. I had just read Ezekiel 36:26 where God promises
“… a new heart also will I give you ….” A New Heart became the title of our magazine, which eventually grew to a full color publication that went to thousands of readers across the nation.

I cut back on work and eventually resigned from my job, as the ministry required much travel and labor. God supplied helpers and teams traveled across the country to lead seminars on “How to Give Spiritual Care.” Our first national conference was in Tulsa, 1980. We were now a nonprofit incorporation with a national advisory board, a Midwest base, and a provider of continuing education for nurses.

These were wonderful years when we met precious people in all fields of health care. Last year I felt I needed to retire as editor of A New Heart. To my great joy and surprise, Church Health approached me to continue the legacy of our publication. I found this wonderful magazine to be in sync with our objectives. And so, today, our “baby” has found a new home.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV).”

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