I am grateful for the heritage of my family and the positive influence for healing they provided for many years . My grandfather Dr. John Aaron Moore was a family physician in El Dorado, Arkansas for most of his medical practice life dating back to 1898. He was joined in his practice in 1934 by my Dad Dr. Berry Lee Moore Sr. (Pop), and the two of them served the people of El Dorado until my grandfather’s death in 1943. Pop was joined in his practice by my brother Dr. Berry Lee Moore, Jr. (Bubba) in 1957, and they served their community until 1966 when Pop died of heart failure. Upon completion of my training in 1971 I joined Bubba in his practice and continued serving as a surgeon in our hometown until 1999 when Cathy and I were called to serve for a year in Florida at a newly opened medical clinic of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. We moved back to Arkansas in 2000 to Fayetteville where I served in the field of wound care. We moved again in 2005 to Branson, Missouri to serve in a wound clinic until 2011 when I retired from the practice of medicine. Cathy and I continue serving the Lord through our First Baptist Church and as chaplains at The Free Medical Clinic.
Cathy and I were faithful church members in El Dorado during our children’s early years, and we purposed to raise our family according to Christian principles. We were living in our own strength and power, because we had not received the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ through His salvation. This all changed in August, 1977 when we received Christ into our lives and hearts. (A Shopping Trip To Dallas, Aug. 2012).
Prior to my conversion I had acknowledged only one experience which I attributed to a supernatural divine healing. I wrote about this event which occurred in 1973 in a previous blog (We’ve Done Everything Except Pray, Aug. 2012). My eyes were simply not open to the healing power of Christ which had been all around me. Not only were my eyes opened in 1977, but I had a loving wife who was encouraging me and a wonderful brother who began mentoring me. He taught me to begin living “not as a physician who happened to be a Christian, but as a Christian who happened to work in the medical field.” The difference between those two lifestyles is huge.
Bubba challenged me to pray with every patient prior to taking them into the operating room, and as much as possible to bring Christ and His healing power into every conversation. He emphasized every appointment with every patient was a divine appointment and to view it as otherwise could result in missing God’s purposes. My initial experiences of praying with patients were awkward and at times embarrassing, but I persisted knowing this was what God desired of me. In time it became easier, more natural and then established as a lifestyle of my relationship with patients. I always asked permission before praying, and over the next 35 years only had 2 people refuse to allow me to pray with them. One was a Jehovah’s Witness, and the other was a Baptist pastor’s wife who had just had a miscarriage and was angry at God at the time. I had many patients tell me I was the first doctor who ever offered to pray with them.
The more I allowed God to use my skills while acknowledging He was the healer, the more widely He opened doors of ministry for me. Conversations with patients were opened to speak about deeper needs they faced other than the obvious physical ones. It was not that the physical became less significant, but so many were having emotional and spiritual needs and seemed to have no one with whom they could share their burden. Men and women who may have been church attenders but never considered their personal relationship with Christ were being asked to discuss these sensitive issues. Not everyone responded, but some did. I did not discern any who were offended and had no one say, “I am coming to you for surgical help not religious talk.” Perhaps they did not want to offend their surgeon before he worked on them, but I do not believe this to be the case.
I witnessed people bow their heads in humility to invite Christ into their life to save them and others, while not going this far were openly speaking about their faith. Up to this point in my career I had never been associated with another physician except Bubba who had conversations with their patients along these lines. I knew this was not unique, because I was reading testimonies in spiritual journals of other doctors who were doing the same thing. Two other doctors in El Dorado, Dr. Jim Weedman and Dr. Jean Wise had the same burden for their patients, and I was being encouraged by several pastors whom I knew very well.
The scope of my surgical practice opened the door for Cathy and me to move to Florida for one year. Dr. Charlie Martin, pastor of The First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks was opening a family medical clinic as a ministry of the church, and he asked me to become their first director. After moving there in 1999, the church ordained me as a minister of the gospel. In addition to my medical duties I was involved in teaching Sunday school, preaching on occasion from the pulpit, church visitation in the hospital and performing baptisms with the other 10 pastors. I wrote about our experiences in Florida in 2 blog posts (God Will Make A Way, Part 1 & 2, Apr. 2016). Cathy and I believed our ministry was completed the following year, and we moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas for me to become one of the directors of the Wound Clinic at Washington Regional Medical Center.
To be continued —-