Samaritan Ministries Member Tracy Kamprath Tells How Her Journey of Healing Shared by Other Members Was a ‘Blessed’ Journey
January 11, 2021
PEORIA, IL —In November 2007, Tracy Kamprath began having trouble with her hearing. Initially she put off going to the doctor, but, when she finally consulted one, he discovered tumors in her ear and brain that eventually would leave part of her face paralyzed.
At an initial visit to a surgeon, she was told that the cost of an operation for her condition could easily reach commonly reached $250,000. While that was not an unusual price for that kind of surgery, Kamprath and her husband, Jeffrey, were unusual in that they had no health insurance—by choice. Instead, they were members of Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), a health care sharing ministry whose members don’t rely on health insurance. Her story of what she now calls her blessed journey can be found in the book Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story.
The Kampraths joined Samaritan in 2004 when both taught at a private Christian school. Though unable to afford health insurance, with two teenage boys and a younger daughter, “we felt like we had to have something.”
Before Tracy had the brain tumor, the family had submitted several other medical needs to Samaritan and had positive experiences. However, the huge financial threat of her upcoming surgery unsettled the couple.
At the time, Kamprath panicked. “What have we done? We don’t have insurance,” Kamprath cried to her husband. “We can’t face this—physically or financially.”
Jeffrey comforted his wife, reminding her of times in their lives and in Scripture when “trusting in God” had looked foolish to those who don’t believe in God, yet things had worked out. It looks foolish to 21st century Americans when someone does not have health insurance and instead relies on God and the Body of Christ to help them bear that burden. The Kampraths were going to trust that people they had never met were going to send them money to help them pay their overwhelming medical bills.
To many, the Kampraths’ decision to drop health insurance and join a health care sharing ministry was foolish, even irresponsible. But in the eyes of the early Church, it was (and still should be) a natural expectation that we help each other in times of need. After all, the Apostle Paul wrote, “If one member (of the Body of Christ) suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
“That was the thing that just kind of thrilled me, to see God taking the thing that the world was saying was foolish and then showing His glory,” Kamprath said.
Members are urged to be praying for those with whom they have shared. The Kampraths made that point to their doctor. “We told the doctor that we had thousands of people praying for him,” Kamprath said.
The answers to those prayers became obvious as 2007 passed into 2008. Kamprath walked out of the hospital six days after her operation that spring instead of the predicted six weeks. “I went home on April Fool’s Day, which I thought was God’s joke on the doctor,” Kamprath said.
The final cost of the incident, thanks to discount negotiations, was closer to $55,000—far below the initial $250,000 estimate. The Kampraths received shares from other members, along with notes and cards of encouragement.
“It’s made me very aware of the gift of life that God’s given me and taught me that I need to not go through life blindly,” Kamprath said. “I have a little bit of facial paralysis left, but not much. To someone who is new to meeting me, they can’t tell, but to my family, they can see a little bit. To me, the paralysis is a reminder. When I look in the mirror, I think, ‘That’s OK. That’s a reminder of what God did for me.’ Not a day goes by that I don’t think I’m so fortunate and blessed.”
The blessings, she said, have flowed as a result of the brain tumor, which enabled Kamprath to draw close to God and to “be able to see Him work through His Body in so many different ways.”
“I thank God that we found Samaritan Ministries and that He led us there,” Kamprath said. “I’m in awe of how He works through … the Body of Christ and that in this day and age something so simple can have such a profound impact on people’s lives.”
Every month, through Samaritan’s effective, God-honoring ministry, thisgrowing biblical community shares approximately $30 million in medical needs person to person among more than 270,000 individuals from over 85,000 households. Over the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $2.3 billion in needs while praying for and encouraging one another with personal notes, cards and letters and receiving assistance in finding fair pricing for their medical needs.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.