Happy Fathers Day, Abba, Father!
On the Weekend of Father’s Day, and more specifically, Friday and Sunday (June 17 & 19, 2016), a wonderful out-pouring of love, care and much-needed medical attention was provided to Gods kids. Dental, medical, eye/optometry, and pastoral care (provided by two chaplains and a recent graduate of Andrews University Theological seminary (My own Son, Pastor David Ettari)), as well as massage therapy and lifestyle education was provided for two full days – all free to the communities surrounding and including Mansfield, Texas. This was a pilot program, launched by the Texas Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. I happened to be visiting my son, who is presently in school and attending the Mansfield SDA Church, where this “field hospital” was set up requiring every inch of space.
As I’m a nurse, I was amazed at the ‘makeshift’ dental hospital, the presence of sophisticated portable eye exam machines, X-ray and dental equipment, while patients lay in lounge chairs and dentists sat on chairs requiring some difficult maneuvering to reach their patients. Many of the dentists came from Texas A & M University, Baylor College of Dentistry. I was amazed by the team spirit and the amount of volunteers present as well as the outpouring of hard work by a large group of strangers/medical professionals and volunteers of equal importance (most who call themselves Christians and some reporting no particular faith). They all came because of flyers on cars, announcements in churches, face-book advertisements, local Christian television (Good News TV), local schools and word of mouth – to facilitate a comprehensive goal that could be called, “Project Rescue Gods’ Hurting Kids.” It’s my understanding that all traveled at their own expense and in some cases, quite a distance.
The atmosphere shouted that “We are the family of God!” and His Spirit was evident to all. It was a glimpse of heavens’ mustard seed.
vided health screenings. Table after table after table of nurses were busy educating and screening for hypertension, Diabetes and more. Next, the halls were lined with chairs for those waiting for ex ray, dental care, cleaning, medical doctor consults, the eye doctor, and in the annex across the way, massage, life style education and counseling ( by a medical doctor) and pastoral prayer and care were set up.
One medical doctor flew from California, one from Tennessee, one of the many dentists told me he drove four hours. Others flew from distant parts of Texas.
They all came, in any case, sacrificing a relaxing Father’s Day! They came to donate their time and skills in the care of Gods’ kids, many of which were in dire need with no medical insurance. They came, bringing their talents and God-given skills to bless their Heavenly Father and care for HIS children.
I met a Nurse-Anesthetist among the rows nurses (RN’s or BSN’s). They were checking blood pressures and blood sugars for hours. One nurse shared that a young man had been found to have high blood pressure. Heart disease is a silent killer and when this young and unaware man learned of his condition, the nurse provided education on changes to his diet, including the importance of minimizing salt as well as the importance of self monitoring and where possible, reporting this to a primary care physician.
But many of the over 500 patients that received medical attention, including teeth cleaning, x-rays, extractions, eye exams leading to new eye glasses, consults with medical doctors, and important screening for diabetes, heart disease and more, do not have medical insurance or the co-pay is cost prohibitive. Also present was the Mansfield Chief of Police and one of his officers pictured here with Pastor Sean Harris of the Mansfield Seventh Day Adventist Church. Dressed in uniform, he provided a sense of additional order to the safe environment of God’ house. His wife is also notable in that she was beaming for joy and expressing gratitude at finding a way to provide service to the Lord on Father’s Day . They are christians from another denomination, but clearly, they are our brethren. She explained that she’s a realtor, but dusted off her dental assistant license and was there to pitch in.
I asked if they had any medical care. They smiled and said, “No. We didn’t need anything.” I asked if they were Seventh Day Adventists. They smiled and said, “We are members of the ‘Mansfield Mosque’. We saw the flyers and were curious.” It was my privilege to welcome them to the Seventh Day Adventist church and assure them, that they are more than welcome any time, and invited them to come again.
This organized production was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Texas Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, The Mansfield Seventh Day Adventist Church, and The Amen Free Clinic. I met a young woman,
Shawnah Shelton, who appeared to be one of the
gait keepers. She personally greeted me at the door and assessed what I needed and then I was directed as to where to go. I later learned, from Shawnah, that she is “The AMEN Clinic coordinator for the Mansfield ‘Clinic’, organizing volunteers both locally and nationally, marketing, gathering supplies, and much more.” She told me that this weekend required six months of intricate planning. (www.amenfreeclinic.org)
On friday, with only one massage therapist present, 82 back massages were given by the one hard-working volunteer massage therapist. On Sunday, a woman who
ad come for care, rolled up her sleeves and shared, “I used to be a massage therapist, how can I help?” Every volunteer worked hard and poured themselves out in service. They appeared slightly wilted by the afternoon and yet worked full days. Some came for care and after signing up for needed medical attention, joined the team as well.
Two volunteers signed up and provided name tags and tee-shirts to volunteers (Servants of the Most High). They, too were guests at the church as they were not members but came to serve the same Lord!
Everyone had a role to play. People with smiles and stories of alleviated pain and medical concerns rejoiced to have met with free professional care and service. Most of the volunteers came out for two days, and shared a common theme. “God has done so much for me, I felt I had to do something to give back!”