Why SMI? Eric and Rachel Verstraete heard 'that Biblical call to bear each other's burdens'

Michael Miller

Community was one of the key attractions of Samaritan Ministries for Eric and Rachel Verstraete—“how we share each other’s needs, and really fulfill that Biblical call to bear each other’s burdens.”

“I was in a place professionally where I kind of had to make some decisions about health care as I was becoming full time at the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Pregnancy Resource Center,” says Eric, president of Life Matters Worldwide. “Through our friends who already were a part of Samaritan, we got connected and have been extremely happy ever since.”

The Verstraetes appreciate the “freedom to seek help and seek the doctors that you really want to be able to go to without the need to be concerned about whether they’re part of a network,” Eric says.

“You can just go get the health care that you need and work with getting that paid off,” he says. “That’s been a big part.”

The health care freedom has extended to the Verstraetes’ membership at Christian Health Care Centers in Grand Rapids, a Direct Primary Care practice co-founded by Samaritan member Mark Blocher … who also was the founding president of Life Matters Worldwide, back when it was called Baptists for Life, and who writes frequently for this newsletter.

CHCC has worked well for the Verstraetes.

“We love it,” Eric says. “Rachel and I have six boys, so to be able to walk into the office, have direct access to doctors who are able to connect with you quickly, to be able to text back and forth with some of the doctors if something happens to the boys … we have been very impressed.”

Samaritan membership also has gone “superbly well” for the Verstraetes.

“With the Needs that we’ve had, we’ve gotten responses quickly from staff at Samaritan,” Eric says. “Overall, I’ve met with nothing but professionalism.”

He sees ministries like CHCC and Samaritan as “cutting edge” in providing affordable health care “without having to be in the purse strings of insurance companies.”

“How do we reclaim and redeem what seems to be, at times, such a broken system?” Eric says. “The body of believers in the church we’ve always known is the answer. I think Samaritan Ministries and Christian Health Care Centers and what they’re doing in collaboration are remarkable. I’m just blessed to be a part of it.” 

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