Samaritan Ministries Member Describes How Prayers, Shares Pulled Him through Dark Days

Pastor/Author Eric Elder: ‘I Look forward to Sharing with Othersin the Years to Come’

December 14, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Eric Elder, author of over 25 books, pianist, speaker and ordained pastor, is bringing the real-life story of St. Nicholas, the precursor of the modern-day Santa Claus, to the screen.

Eric and his late wife, Lana, spent several years researching St. Nicholas with the goal of “pointing people to Jesus and giving families a new Christmas tradition.”

Their book St. Nicholas: The Believer—A New Story for Christmas Based on the Old Story of St. Nicholas was published in 2013. Five years later, a Christian dance company requested Elder’s permission to turn the book into a ballet production.

The adaptation of Elder’s book was such a success that he began making plans to take it from stage to screen, and One Life: The Movie was born. The hour-and-15-minute movie was released privately in November and will be available for public viewing through starting this Friday, Dec. 18. Elder also recently published the musical His Name Was Nicholas, which is based on the life of St. Nicholas and includes the full script and score.

Soon after the request to create the ballet version of his book, Elder needed open heart surgery and a quadruple bypass. The months of recuperation after the surgeries were some of the most depressing of his life.

“The doctors warned me that this could happen after open heart surgery, but I had no idea how dark these days would be,” said Elder. “I felt broken: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I didn’t want to commit suicide, but I didn’t want to live.”

It was around this time that members of Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan,, a leading health care sharing ministry, came onto the picture.

“Besides the emotional, spiritual and physical battles, I had no idea how this would work out financially for me and my family,” said Elder. “I trusted Samaritan Ministries and its members because they had come through for me in the past. This time, however, my bills were more than $100,000 after just a few weeks. I called Samaritan Ministries, and so many staff members helped walk me through the process—uploading bills on my phone, getting me industry-standard discounts and always praying with me before we would hang up the phone.”

Talking with Samaritan Ministries staff members gave Elder relief, making a “nightmare situation a little brighter.”

“Then the cards, email messages, PayPal deposits and checks started arriving. Ten months later, I had received 220 shares and prayers from Samaritan Ministries members. This was enough to help me with 100 percent of my medical expenses,” Elder said.

“In the past, I always felt good about sending my Samaritan Ministries monthly shares, a card and a prayer to others in need,” Elder continued. “I look forward to sharing with others in the years to come.”

Samaritan Ministries helps more than 270,000 individuals from over 84,000 households receive prayers and encouragement from one another while also receiving more fair pricing for their medical treatments.

Through Samaritan’s effective, God-honoring ministry, thisgrowing biblical community shares approximately $30 million in medical needs person to person each month. Over the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $2.3 billion in needs, praying for and encouraging one another with personal notes.

Learn more about Samaritan Ministries International here; visit the Samaritan website at, or follow the ministry on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.