The video link above shows a series of three consecutive segments. More than 80 nurses gathered at the first event sponsored by the new WELS Nurses Association. Participants learned about the new organization, its mission, purpose, and planned activities. After several nurses reported on recent local activities and medical trips to Haiti, participants were invited to share their ideas for the future of the organization.
The WELS Nurses Association met on March 31, 2011, at Christ Lutheran Church in Pewaukee, WI. The meeting was opened by Clarissa Cox, Chairperson of the newly organized WELS Nurses Association, following a delicious evening meal. Ms. Cox opened the meeting with a warm welcome and recognition to the Event Committee. Those names included: Amy Taglienti, Jan Zimmerman, Pat Schlosser, Sue Bolha, Tara Brennan and Sherri Hallman. Special thanks were also given to Rebekah Carey, WLC Nursing Students, Dan Rebers, Paul Mose, Cliff Koeller, and Pastor Ziemer.
A devotion and prayer were given by Pastor Ziemer. He invited us “to serve the Lord by serving others,” and reminded us of our calling to share the Gospel. He emphasized that the Lord is building a chapel of “Living Stones,” and that He has great plans for us. We are to be used for the Glory of God because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and know Him personally. As nurses, we are “gifted with special knowledge and skills to share while witnessing for Christ.” This truth is reflected in 1 Peter 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The hymn, “Take my Life and Let it Be,” was sung.
Ms. Cox reviewed the definition and formation of the WELS Nurses Association. An initial Task Force was created to develop Vision and Mission Statements, a Statement of Purpose identifying the areas of need and a nursing survey asking for input. WELSNA by-laws are presently in review and a database is being developed.
Rebekah Carey, Chair of the Nursing Department at Wisconsin Lutheran College, described the free clinic, Granville Neighborhood Health Center, in the Milwaukee Area. This is a collaborative effort with Risen Savior Church and the College. The Clinic operations were compared to free clinics all over the United States that were brought together by volunteer health care professionals and others to offer free or low cost medical care. Pastor’s Fisher and Hoekensen, and Bob Aldrich were instrumental in the Granville Neighborhood Health Center development, which opened in April of 2009. Since it’s opening in 2009, God has blessed the clinic in many ways with volunteers and medical equipment donated. An average of 30 uninsured people are seen on the second Saturday morning of the month and there have been opportunities to witness during the visits. The example was given of a father who came in for a blood pressure check and requested that his daughter be baptized before they talked about his blood pressure!1
Mr. Mark Vance, Director of Operations for the WELS Christian Aid and Relief, then spoke. He listed three main focuses in disaster relief. They include “Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Relief, and Bridging the Gospel.” Mr. Vance continued by describing how 9/11 was a “defining moment” for our Christian Aid and Relief program. Prior to 9/11, money only was donated and distributed. After 9/11, volunteers were gathered to go and help with the crisis in New York City. Since then, a database was created with names of possible volunteers and many were sent to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Relief work has also been done in Haiti with nurses sent there as well. Upcoming projects include a possible trip to Mexico.
Slide shows and individual presentations were given by Tara Brennan, RN, Pat Schlosser, RN, Laura Schwartz, RN and Megan Behl, RN. All described their various experiences while in the United States, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was reiterated by Pat that even if we are unable to serve on a medical mission we can all pray for those that they serve. There are tremendous volunteer opportunities through WELS Christian Aid and Relief, WELS Kingdom Workers, and the WELS Nurses Association. Pat Schlosser quoted Isaiah 6:8 – “Here am I, send me!”
The floor was then opened for questions from the audience.
A question was raised concerning relief efforts in Japan following the recent earthquake. Mr. Vance will be leaving in April to evaluate the situation there and how best we can help. Sending a team to Thailand is also a possibility and is being assessed.
A question was asked regarding overseas costs for volunteers. At this time, WELS Christian Aid and Relief covers the costs of those serving.
A question was raised regarding what items are needed in Haiti. Items brought into Haiti are most often confiscated at the border for the Black Market. Therefore, it is difficult to donate items. Only those items carried in the luggage (such as eye glasses, tooth brushes, vitamins, etc.) of our teams going into Haiti are able to get through the border.
A question was asked about how a trip “gets started.” Mr. Vance explained that he must work with the various governments who may only be open to volunteers for a short period of time. He also works very closely with our missionaries already in the locations being considered. Pastor Abraham in Haiti has been very helpful in arranging our trips to date. At present, a team of one doctor and one nurse will be leaving soon to go to Haiti, but it is too dangerous right now to send a larger group. The Lord has been good to “open doors not normally open."
Ms. Cox introduced Mr. Bill Meier, National Executive Director of the WELS Kingdom Workers. Mr. Meier emphasized how WELS Kingdom Workers, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, Christian Life Resources, WELS Nurses Association and others in the Synod can all work together to accomplish much for the Kingdom. Exactly how this will be done is still being defined.
Information, photos, and volunteer sheets for the Free Clinic as well as photos from Haiti/Dominican Republic were available after the meeting. Door prizes were given out to those with specific birthdays. Our WELS Nurses Association Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Statement of Purpose were reviewed. All are listed at our website: www.welsnurses.net.
Attendees were requested to fill out an evaluation form. The floor was opened for comments, questions, or ideas. Questions included:
Is the WELS Nurses Association all over the U.S. or just in Wisconsin?
The purpose of the WELSNA is to serve our Lord and our WELS nurses wherever they might be serving others with Christ-centered care. At this time our database includes nurses from all over the US, Canada and the Dominican Republic and all communications are sent out to all people on the list. That being said, it is difficult for those who live far away to participate in the local events. We currently utilize teleconferencing with the nurses from a distance who serve on the Task Force. We have also discussed the possibility of regional chapters, an interactive blog on the website and live streaming our gatherings. Time, resources and a desire by those nurses from far away will dictate how we proceed. We are open to all thoughts and ideas.
How do we handle inquiries from doctors, dentists or physician assistants who are interested in serving?
It was suggested that they be referred to Rebekah Carey to work in the Granville Clinic or to volunteer with Mark Vance at WELS Christian Aid and Relief. That web address is: www.wels.net/relief.
Do we have a logo for our organization?
Not more than what is shown on the website of email@example.com. Suggestions may be submitted.
At present, the Association is developing By-laws. Ms. Cox stressed that her position as Chairperson is “temporary.” She encouraged other nurses to volunteer and get involved in their WELS Nurses Association. We are also working together with Special Ministries, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, WELS Kingdom Workers and Christian Life Resources. The Granville Neighborhood Health Center is recruiting more volunteers and the committee on Christian Aid and Relief is compiling a database of nurses interested in a medical mission. Our website continues to be developed and there are plans to post a link to the video of the evening!
The question was asked, “Where do we go from here?” The comment was made that “this was a great start!” Another Task Force meeting will soon be scheduled to determine our next steps after we compile the input from your evaluations.
Pastor Ziemer closed the meeting with prayer, in which he stated that “love is not static, but active.” We were encouraged to “use God’s gifts faithfully, administering God’s gifts in whatever way that we can.”
The meeting was adjourned for networking and perusing of literature in the back of the room. The 80 plus nurses voiced much encouragement in attendance. Many thanks to all speakers and contributors mentioned, for Pastor Ziemer’s opening and closing devotions, and for all those who worked to make the meeting a reality and success!
Rin Hansen, RN, CEN
St. John’s Lutheran Church,
Barre Mills, WI firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nurses Travel to Haiti June 10-18
June 10th – June 18th WELS Christian Aid and Relief Director of Operations, Mark Vance, escorted two WELS nurses, Tara Brennan and Sandy Zastrow, and four WELS nursing students, Kaili Eagan, Jill Egnarski, Dan Mulrain and Kim Riggs, along with a videographer, Jessica Zambo, to the frontiers of the Dominican Republic. The nurses and students worked with the IMA of Tennessee in Batey 9, La Descubierta hospital and IMA clinic and the mountain town of Sabena Real, assisting with healthcare needs.
The students were in the unique position of working right beside the doctors and nurses. They fine tuned their Spanish, registered patients, completed triage, performed procedures, dispensed medications, taught CPR and first aid to the ambulance drivers and helped inventory the clinic pharmacy. The needs of the Haitian and Dominican people of the mountain towns, Batey and frontier town of La Descubierta were (and continue to be) great. We all noticed how very much our efforts were appreciated; the people warmed our hearts and gave us lessons in patience as we served them. Kim was moved when an elderly patient invited her to dinner after she gave her blood pressure and diabetes medications. Sandy, a clinic wound care specialist, was in awe of how the people waited in line for hours to be seen and then gave hugs (the universal sign of love) for care received. Dan enjoyed learning about another culture and along with Kaili had fun getting to know the rest of the group of travelers who’d been strangers but became friends. Jill’s special moment was when the little girls who hiked up the mountain with her noticed her cross necklace and said they were Christian too. I enjoyed watching the students grow from hesitation to confidence in their skills and interactions with the Haitian and Dominican people. Jessica noticed the thankfulness on the faces of the people as she filmed us working in the clinics.
I’ve been asked if these trips serve a real purpose – We are healthcare workers serving our Lord to bring physical comfort to ill and needful people but we realize their need is much greater than what we can provide. We pray that we are blazing trails for our missionary, Pastor Terry Schultz (and his wife, Mary), whom we met this trip and spoke with about our experiences. The Haitian and Dominican people need God’s Word even more than the medical care we provided. Together maybe WELS nurses and missionaries can provide healing for the body and most importantly the soul. Dan Mulrain’s parting words were “when can I go back” to help these people.
We put our trust and hope in God our Savior and know He is in control. May He use those ready to serve according to His will. Here am I, send me!
Written by: Tara Brennan
Life Line: Haiti and Dominican Republic Update
Watch this video about reaching out to share the Gospel. Christian Aid and Relief ministry opportunity in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
WLC Student Nurses Travel to Lusaka, Zambia for Spring Semester
Ten Wisconsin Lutheran College junior student nurses travelled to Lusaka, Zambia, for the clinical component of their Global Health Nursing course. During the spring semester, they studied global health issues, including poverty, access to care, maternal-infant health, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and the health care provider shortage.
For two weeks, the students observed the Zambian health care system at an orthopedic hospital, mental health hospital, and AIDS hospice. They visited the Mwembezhi Lutheran Rural Health Center in Lumano village, where they were also guests in a Zambian home for a lunch of nshima, chicken, pumpkin leaves, and ground nuts.
Please read the blog of our learning experience for more details and photos.
WELSNA will attend Synod Convention July 25-28
WELSNA will be attending the Synod Convention in Watertown, WI beginning July 25th-28th and manning a table with their new banner and information on WELSNA and Parish Nursing.