Both volunteers and patients were greeted by Steve and Candace,* a husband and wife team serving as our spiritual care volunteer and receptionist. They clearly love one another, as well as each person who came into the clinic! They welcomed everyone: patients, volunteers, and guests. It was exciting, yet a little hectic, with several new volunteers from Lahai Health to learn the ropes for their site.
It was amazing to hear both patients and volunteers sharing their lives, telling jokes, laughing together, and encouraging one another. Candace and several patients had recently lost jobs, so they shared ideas and encouraged each other in their various job searches. Amanda, a volunteer, eventually joined Candace at the receptionist desk. Even though she didn’t always have answers to patients’ questions, she loved each one and sought out answers from other volunteers for them.
Both patients and volunteers were diverse ethnically and culturally; we had Indians, African Americans, Africans, Hispanics, Russians, and more. I watched in awe as the body of Christ, from all over the world, served patients from all over the world.
John was one patient who shared his story with me. His business completely fell apart with the economic downturn. He’s been diabetic for years, and had received care regularly at the endocrinology clinic where Candace worked. After he lost his job, they helped him as long as they could, even though he couldn’t pay. However, when he could no longer afford the lab tests needed to refill his prescriptions, Candace told him to come to Lahai Health. That was six months ago. Now, his blood sugar levels are lower than they’ve ever been! How could that be? It is God…He answers when volunteers pray for John. In addition, God uses all the volunteers—the diabetic educator, spiritual care volunteer, the physicians and nurses, and even administrative support volunteers—to support him as he makes lifestyle changes. Volunteers call to see how he’s doing, reaching out to care for John’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. God is at work in patients’ lives!
One volunteer came to review dental files, but spent more than an hour in a medical exam room serving as a translator for a Russian-speaking patient. He went out of his way to help where needed instead of just working on that one task!
As the evening ended, we had unexpected guests—physical therapists! We’ve been dreaming of adding physical therapy for a year because there are so many patients who need it. The barrier was space for physical therapy, but North Seattle Alliance found space! These physical therapists heard about the space and dropped in to confirm that wanted to serve, and to learn about the patients they’ll serve.
We’d love to have you join us; God is changing lives here at Lahai Health!
* Names changed to protect patient/volunteer privacy.