But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV

My husband and I are privileged to operate a home-health retreat in picturesque southeastern Minnesota. Our Mercy Valley Farm is nestled along wooded limestone bluffs bordered by glimmering trout streams. Nearby Amish farms dot the gently rolling landscape. The Amish in our area are practical and industrious–but poor. Because of their religious beliefs, they do not carry health insurance or accept government aid.

As a result of their stand, they are readily receptive to simple home remedies. My faith, and my trust in God’s effective healing methods, has been substantially strengthened by my working with the Amish. The following story illustrates how they helped me, too.

One cold January evening, as my husband and I were settled in by our cozy wood stove, the phone rang. The call was from one of our Amish neighbors. Their 6-year-old daughter had developed a skin infection, which had rapidly spread within the past twenty-four hours from her ankles up to the knees. The parents had tried a few home remedies; but as the short winter day turned into dusk, their hopes faded into despair.

They asked if I would please come to see what else could be done. Quickly, I packed my medical bag with poultice materials and herbal teas. Cautiously driving over the narrow, snow-covered gravel road, I headed for their old weathered farmhouse.

I found the little girl sleeping on a small cot in the middle of the dimly lit room. A worn blanket covered her shoulders, leaving both lower legs exposed, as even the weight of a thin sheet on the sore limbs would have been unbearable. Her little legs were swollen to nearly twice their normal size. Clear fluid was seeping through the pores of the taut, reddened skin.

I stood there for a moment, assessing the scene–the exhausted pain-weary child, the anxious faces of the parents, and the solemn siblings hovering around the small, quiet form. I silently sent up an urgent request for heavenly wisdom to meet this challenging situation. Then we went to work.

The parents were instructed to fill two large buckets, one with hot water and the other with cold water for a total of seven changes. This contrast bath was to be given four times during the day. After each water treatment, a charcoal or herbal poultice was to be applied to the infected area. We prepared garlic and other infection-fighting herbal teas for her to drink throughout the day. I also prescribed plenty of pure drinking water and a nutritious plant-based diet–free of sugar, grease and lard.

When I left the home later that night, the house seemed warmer and brighter. The family was filled with new hope and courage. When I returned the next morning, the father and mother happily reported that the pain in their daughter’s infected legs had definitely diminished. The family members faithfully gave water treatments, applied poultices, prepared teas, and strictly adhered to the dietary plan. The pain, redness, and swelling gradually disappeared without a single visit to the doctor’s office. This household was truly grateful for God’s wonderfully simple healing ways!

Mary Ann Kimmel-McNeilus, LLUSM class of 1972, is a family practitioner in Lanesboro, Minnesota.