The Importance of Our Insiders Ministry
June 14, 2017
By Karen Kendall
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead.
My mom, Joy, spent 5 years in a nursing home after having had a brain hemorrhage. If you haven’t been through a long term illness – which my family hadn’t — you may not know this, but …over time…the best of friends, the most well intentioned friends…all of them really good people…over time…slowly….quit….visiting. I understand. Some people don’t like the smells of a medical facility. Some have a hard time seeing a friend be sick. Some don’t know what to say…especially when it seems like they are saying the same thing every time…or if it seems like the other person isn’t responding…such as in my mom’s case. I get it.
BUT what my family learned during those 5 years was the importance of the visitors who continued to come to see my mom…who only stayed a few minutes…who offered a smile…held a hand…or shared a memory. What my sisters and I realized was how important that brief distraction was to my mom even with her limited brain function. It brought a smile to her face every time. And more importantly, it turned out, was how important it was for my dad – the survivor – who sat by my mom’s side every day for those 5 years…to see …to know…that my mom wasn’t forgotten.
We didn’t know the isolation of such an illness until we experienced it. My dad said, “I wish we had understood this earlier and your mother and I would have visited more people who could not get out.”
So I am Karen Kendall, I am an Alto II in the Chancel Choir and I am also the lay leader for our Insiders Visitation Ministry program for the homebound at FirstChurch. I have been a Visitor with this ministry since right after I joined the church when our dear Betty Watson ran the program. I make a short visit once a month. Sometimes I take my 3 year old niece who is truly the life of the nursing home, and often, much to my delight, I get to hear stories of the church “back in the day.” It brings me joy to get to know my Insiders.
So this is my unpaid, unpolitical solicitation – There are people in this church that many of you grew up with. There are people in this church that helped raise many of you. There are people in this church like Herbert Massey that many of you knew, Betty Lou Gary that I understand was active at Cowboy Church, Ron Smith, Lavelle Lerner…and the list grows.
We are always looking for visitors. Rev. JoNell Lindh does a fabulous job making sure our members who can no longer get out on their own don’t fall through the cracks. As she identifies those who need us, she and I work together to find a member who can take on this once a month responsibility.
Please consider being a visitor. Pray about it. Ask us questions, and if you have an interest in this ministry, please reach out to JoNell or me. We look forward to connecting to you, and likewise connecting you.