By Josh Gibbon
We asked some of the frontline workers from across our movement to reflect on the impact of this season on their work. We are so grateful to the paramedics, nurses, doctors, and chaplains who offer their service in this challenging season and in particular those who offer it as a response to Jesus’ love in their own lives.
Bruce Tindale has been a paramedic for 38 years and is an elder at Seechange Church in Jannali.
In 2019 Bruce became an Ambulance Chaplain to paramedics. Along with Whiskey, his Springer Spaniel Poodle, Bruce endeavours to spread love and support and be an ear for paramedics in their toughest moments. Check out his reflections on what this season has been like for him and his colleagues:
“The current status of the Covid-19 Pandemic has only served to increase the workload of operational Paramedics. Our caseload has not diminished in this season; however, our case durations have increased. Meaning we are doing the same workload with less time yet requiring more and more effort. This leaves Paramedics, exhausted, stressed, feeling vulnerable and burnt out.
Please pray for Paramedics specifically to be able to sustain the onslaught that we are facing, to deal with the stress and exhaustion, and that we would be refreshed and revitalised in our mindsets.
As an Operational Paramedic and as one of NSW Ambulances Chaplains, I have sought to spend a portion of my off-duty time visiting the local Emergency Departments with snacks and refreshments for my beleaguered colleagues, and a listening ear, to support them where I can. The opportunity to bear witness, to see my colleagues in their struggles and support them is making a difference.
Paramedics by their very nature are very resilient, but the current circumstances are pushing them far beyond what is normally coped with. Many of the Ambulance Chaplains are reaching out in new and innovative ways to support and comfort Ambulance colleagues with the love of Christ.”
Fiona Mackenzie has been a chaplain at Fresh Hope Care Green Hills in Maitland for three years and was an ambulance chaplain before that. She shares with us her perspective from continuing to serve in aged care throughout this year’s lockdown:
“There is no denying this is a heavy season of uncertainty, grief, anxiety, and fear. But within this, I believe there is an invitation for us as believers. God is inviting us into a new space, but do I as a chaplain have the courage and obedience to partner with God and what He is doing?
The environment in aged care is ever-changing. The challenges of the current moment are burdensome. The fear of the virus entering the facility, the restrictions that stop visitors and families from entering, and the isolation and loneliness the residents feel are all challenges daily.
But what opportunities has God given us amongst these challenges? The invitation is there to strip back the way we have always done spiritual and emotional care and explore new avenues. Are we able to courageously accept this invitation?
I know I have been invited to partner with God in these new opportunities. For me, I must be disciplined quietening the deafening sounds of the media, people’s opinions, and the need for knowledge to simply listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit to guide me at this time.
To lead people spiritually at present begins with following. Am I following the still, small voice? And am I leading others toward the still, small voice?”
Jacinta Mitchell is from SeeChange Church in Jannali and started her nursing career in the middle of the pandemic in May this year.
She cares for children battling cancer and their families on a daily basis. She shares with us about her experience of being Jesus’ hands and feet to these children, while wrestling with all the questions, pain, and learning she’s undergone in her first six months on the job.
Let’s show Jacinta some love in the comments below for her amazing work!
“I’m a new grad RN working in paediatric oncology with some amazing nurses. We wear masks and goggles every day, so I am yet to see their faces!
As a new grad I’m learning to balance full time work with spending time with Jesus. He’s asked me to care for others out of His strength rather than my own, which has been tricky to consciously activate that. Jesus has been asking me to be available to listen to Him, my colleagues and the families I care for. He knows what they need and at the moment it’s a space to be heard, to debrief and be encouraged.
Honestly, I’m still learning how to be a nurse. Juggling that with trying to “live out” my faith in a hospital environment has definitely been a learning curve. I’ve cried to Jesus a lot – even questioned if He makes a difference. He has been kind and faithful for every situation that makes me doubt Him (i.e. a death or a relapse). He provides beautiful moments of hope and joy.
Some challenges we currently face include:
- Low PPE stock
- Supporting terrified parents whose child has almost no immune system during COVID, where many people refuse to wear masks or isolate.
- Constant fear we will bring COVID to our patients
- Wrestling with the personal impact of COVID while caring for others
Some ways you can support us:
Be praying that we don’t lose our desire to be nurses.
Support us in practical ways like making meals or shouting us a coffee!”
Cody Gottle is from SeeChange Church and works as a registered nurse in a medical practice in Wollongong. He’s passionate about showing Jesus’ love for people through the medial care he provides. Let’s listen in to his experience of serving during the pandemic.
Carolyn Schache has been a chaplain with Fresh Hope Care for five years and worked at Pendle Hill for two years. Here’s her reflection of being a frontline worker and ministering to the residents through the pandemic. Let’s show Carolyn some love in the comments below!
“I’ve been asked if I believe we can repel this (crisis) with our positive faith and prayers. I don’t believe that a virus can discriminate like that. I do believe in trusting God in everything we’re going through. And, also, I believe in keeping open to what God might bring out of it – to avoid getting hypnotised by the sense of crisis. So, our faith can bring us a lot of help and blessing even on hard days. That’s what a faith victory is for me.
More staff turn to chaplains for support than before. Many have family and friends overseas, cut off from them. People lost loved ones and couldn’t go to a funeral or be with others to grieve. Or they’re just tired because it’s been a huge time. Sometimes they’re scared. So, not just chaplaincy but also work teams have become a bit like family for each other. In fact, I think that coming through all of this, we will always feel a special connection to our Pendle Hill colleagues because we went through these times together.”
Read Andrew Moreton’s story HERE.