“Restless” goes to Gabriel House of Care

This summer, Kelley and her Spring Bible study group served at the Gabriel House of Care near Mayo Clinic.  She shares about her experience below!  As we gear up for Impact Jax on September 20th, here is a glimpse of just one of over 25 options you have as places to serve in and around our community on that Saturday!  You can also serve at Gabriel House with any home-grown group of life group members or friends!  Contact info for Gabriel House is at the end of this post!


I had the privilege of leading Jennie Allen’s new Bible Study “Restless: Because You Were Made for More” on Tuesday mornings this past Spring. It was the perfect follow-up to the If: Gathering event she had orchestrated where we were encouraged to live out our dreams. Restless was going to help us identify these callings through uncovering what Jennie Allen refers to as “threads”. As we studied the rollercoaster life of Joseph, we examined the unique stories God was weaving in our own lives.  We worked to identify our personal threads in the areas of: gifts, suffering, places, people and passions. We dug deep, individually and with partners, to review our pasts and examine our present in each of these areas, discovering patterns in order to see where God could be directing our future areas of service.

I wanted to end this study with a practical application of what we had learned. How could we best put into practice what we had been challenged with during Restless, while serving others? Gabriel House of Care on the Mayo Campus seemed like the perfect fit.

ghoc

I had heard of this ministry through other groups at Chets, such as the Larry Price LifeGroup, who serve there regularly. This is a home-away-from-home for patients awaiting transplants or who need regular treatments but live far from the hospital. This was near and dear to my heart as my husband underwent a bone marrow transplant at Mayo just three years ago. I knew what a blessing this home cooked meal would be to these weary patients and caregivers, far from the comforts and familiarity of home. I could not wait to experience it for myself.

Our group agreed this would be a great place to serve together, and we were excited to participate. We came up with our menu after learning about some dietary guidelines and we quickly filled the sign-up sheet! I got busy researching how many pounds of taco meat would be needed to feed 50-55 people for our taco bar and made a big Costco run.

photo-8The day of the meal I was excited to learn that the residents were very open to prayer so I had my team write “How can I pray for you?” on our name tags. We arrived early and started cooking up the meat, setting out crock pots of beans and rice, and spreading out the numerous toppings. I was a nervous wreck that I had not planned correctly and this would be a colossal failure, but I reminded myself to calm down and enjoy the experience of serving with my friends. The residents then started to line up. As I scooped out that first spoonful of black beans, I was suddenly overcome with emotion. Seeing the patients in their masks and holding their oxygen tanks made my eyes tear up and I had to hold back a choking cry. I had been so focused on the preparation and planning that I had not really thought of the people or prepared myself for the memories it would bring flooding back. Thankfully, I was able to gain composure and finish my part.

The residents were all so appreciative and kind and raved about the food. We joked that many of us are moms of young children so we loved hearing compliments on our cooking again! (The last time I cooked tacos my 6 year old son came out of his room with a “Ewww, what’s that yucky smell, Mommy?!”) They were pleased to learn there would be plenty of leftovers for their lunches the next day.

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Once everyone made it through the serving line we were encouraged to go sit with the residents and interact with them. This was a bit nerve wracking especially for us introverts, ever afraid of being a bother, but we put on a brave face and approached the tables. We had nothing to fear, for the people were so warm and welcoming. I joined an older looking couple sitting at a table for three, and after talking for a while and sharing our stories I asked if I could pray for them. I held their hands and prayed for their situation through tears. The woman, who was awaiting a lung transplant, looked me right in the eye and said that this moment was the best of her entire experience here. Wow, what a God moment. I honestly felt this was all my heart could handle and I wanted to flee to the kitchen and have a good cry. I knew that was not an option so I ventured out to other tables. Seeing my Restless gals scattered throughout the large dining room, each ministering to these hurting people, gave me courage to keep on.  I was able to meet people all the way from Boston to Fort Lauderdale. Two couples had lived within 20 minutes of previous cities I had lived in! Connections were made and I was able to share my hopeful story of my husband’s successful transplant. As soon as I brought this up their eyes would light up, knowing I could truly understand their situation. We started to clean up and out of the corner of my eye I saw one new couple and after asking around, realized no one had sat with them yet. So I joined them, assuming the man in the wheelchair was the patient, but as I got closer I could see his wife was wearing an oxygen mask. It turns out they are members of the Price LifeGroup while in town! She had received devastating news that day and was processing the information with me. I could relate, all too well, with those low days where you start reevaluating everything. I was so thankful God led me to talk with her.

photo-7A few of us stayed on and got a tour of the beautiful facility. We then talked briefly in the parking lot, processing the experience together. We got a good laugh out of our favorite question of the night, “Do any men go to your church?” Some Bible Study group members could not come but wanted to help by donating money and I had forgotten to divvy that up while everyone was still present. I asked what I should do with it and they quickly said, “We will just use it for our next meal!” It was a true joy not only to serve these brave people but also to serve alongside my Restless group and see them put into practice what we had been learning together.

If you are interested in gathering some girlfriends to serve, contact Drew Khadivi, Volunteer Coordinator, at 904-821-8995, ext. 102. You can also reach Drew by email at dkhadivi@salh.org.  Visit www.gabrielhouseofcare.org for more information on this wonderful home.


{This post was written by Kelley Hastings.  Kelley is married to her seminary sweetheart, Eddie, and they have two charming and rowdy boys. Kelley helps lead an adult LifeGroup and serves on the Chets Women’s Bible Study Team. She loves encouraging women to apply the truth of God’s Word and fully use their gifts. Her heart beats fast for infertility issues, adoption, caregivers and, of course, dark chocolate.}

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