Get to Know Jana Peterson: Missionary Heals Her Past, Embraces Her Future
Jana Peterson first leaned about OHI in 1992, when her Godfather returned from a 2-week stay, “Thirty pounds lighter in body and about a million times lighter in spirit,” Jana said. He never regained the weight, and frequently credited his spiritual experience at OHI San Diego mission for having a transformational impact. When she was dealing with systemic candida a decade ago, she decided to try OHI’s holistic healing program for herself.
It worked beautifully, Jana said, but a string of traumas and stresses in the intervening years triggered the symptoms all over again, along with leaky gut, Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder, and chronic fatigue. “I was ‘life paralyzed’ my brain stopped working, and I couldn’t process or leave the house,” Jana said. “The prospect of brushing my teeth seemed akin to climbing Mount Everest, and I was completely out of resources.”
It was at that point her landlord, a frequent OHI guest, became concerned. He suggested she consider applying for the 3-month missionary program, and told her he would even let her out of her lease if she was accepted. Jana immediately applied, and was approved. She sold her car and took her 22- lb Maine Coon cat, Mongo, to stay with her best friend. The healing transformations began for her body, mind and spirit.
Jana said that the bonds missionaries develop with guests are extraordinary.
“It’s everything,” she said. “There is this unexplainable kind of sacred intimacy, a real trust and love that transpires between people in a week’s time and it’s totally authentic. I have shared things with people here I have never shared with another living soul. “People who find themselves in a physical, emotional or spiritual crisis can turn to OHI. Everything in the program works in conjunction, and I don’t know how it would be possible to find better community than what we share at OHI.”
“This is the happiest and most at peace I have ever been,” she said, “and if it were not for my OHI community, I would not be here. It’s natural to look at someone who is always smiling and assume they are the happiest person ever. But some of the kindest people hold the most pain.”
“I had cut myself off from a world that just seemed too unbearable, and I lost all sense of connection and community. I also lost sight of how thoughtful and beautiful people can really be. My OHI community constantly reminds me of this with their unfaltering support, love and validation. OHI is the family you get to choose for yourself.”
“My every waking moment has purpose,” Jana said.
It’s not just the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of her that are coming into balance.
“I have lost a considerable amount of inflammation in my body,” Jana continued. “My joints are starting to heal and I am gaining flexibility. My stomach no longer feels like I ate a steady diet of shrapnel. I feel safe. I can remember things. The only tears I cry here and often are tears of gratitude and joy.”
The OHI missionary program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program and desire to continue on a spiritual path to heal themselves and others. Missionaries immerse themselves in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage those with a heart for service to apply.
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