Wed, Apr 4, 2012
During the second term as a first year cadet at CFOT those in training have the privilege of going out into the community to be a part of what God is doing. For me, this privilege has brought me to The Salvation Army’s Golden West Centennial Lodge, a nursing home for residents with varying levels of need. Before commencing my placement I was a little apprehensive about my role as a pastoral care giver. I have been involved in various nursing home ministries before but have never had the opportunity to really experience giving pastoral care. I wondered what I would be able to say to these residents. I wondered how easily conversation would come. It did not take long to realize that my wonder and apprehension had a weak foundation. I quickly learned that my role as a pastoral care provider would rely little on what I could say. Instead my role in pastoral care at Golden West is often one of being. God has provided me with the ministry opportunity of sharing the gift of time and friendship. God has used me through this experience to speak into the lives of various residents. He has also allowed me to journey alongside various residents as they face their day to day life in this environment.
As I have journeyed with various residents at Golden West I have been privileged to see the hand of God working on numerous occasions. Every Thursday morning Major Velma Preston conducts a sing-a-long time on the floors of Golden West with the most severe cases of dementia or need. Although some of these individuals no longer speak, or are often in a world of their own, something incredible happens when you begin to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Suddenly those who cannot remember where they live or if they ate breakfast are singing all of the lyrics from memory. The wonder of God’s glorious creation of the mysterious mind!
I have also had the privilege of identifying the hand of God working through the various staff at Golden West. It does not take long for someone to identify that Golden West is a unique environment. At Golden West residents become part of a family and the staff do everything they can to make this place a home. The residents, their family, and other staff members can attest to this truth. Although the residents are faced with numerous challenges (the challenges to adapt to a new way of life, the challenges of change in independence, etc.), the staff are always looking for ways to bring dignity to their family at Golden West. It is truly inspiring to witness how this team works together to create a warm and inviting home for their residents.
God has given me the privilege of seeing his hand working in a variety ways at Golden West. Not only have I been given the privilege to see his hand working but I have also been blessed with the opportunity to offer my hands in service with him there. Through this experience I have grown in my ability to simply be. I have learned that sometimes in ministry the best thing I will be able to offer is time. By taking the time to be in the company of others I allow God the opportunity to minister through my presence with his own presence. I look forward to future ministries of presence!
We are certain that Laura’s lovely presence is a blessing to the residents at Golden West.
Laura, and her husband David, are both a part of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection session.