Patient, Husband, Writer
I was a pastor for 21 years before my wife, Paula, and I founded Elijah House in 1975, a ministry dedicated to teaching the Biblical principles of truth, repentance and forgiveness. As we were building our ministry, we traveled extensively. In our work together, Paula and I were pioneers in teaching inner healing. We also broke the barriers that had traditionally prevented women from teaching the gospel. We wrote 17 books together. We taught together. We did everything together. During our marriage, we had six children and now have many grandchildren and great grandchildren—so many I’ve lost count.
I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s after Paula needed nursing home care. I experienced tremors and shaking. I lost my sense of smell and it was hard to chew. I was full of sorrow and grief without Paula, but I believed that it was important for me to go on. When, after sixty-one years of marriage, Paula passed away, I lost hope and didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t smile or laugh, but then I met Marte. Her friendship was a great comfort and eventually, we married.
Marte helps me through the difficult times, and in our life together I experience wholeness, completeness and joy. People even tell me I look younger than my 86 years. Before I met her, I had lost hope. I felt my life was at an end and I was preparing to go home, but through the gift of our companionship, we are now on yet another spiritual journey. We are still newlyweds, having been married just six months, and we are looking forward to spending time together in the beauty of the approaching summer.
Though my struggle with Parkinson’s has been hard, I have learned that I am not the disease. I am more than the disease. I work each day to fulfill my calling for teaching inner healing. I want to be an emissary of Jesus’ teachings and to help set people free to be the most that they can be.
John Sandford, Age 86, USA
Living with Parkinson’s