Compassion at Work: A Wesley Nurse Encounter

submitted by: Kathy Frels, RN
Wesley Nurse, First United Methodist Church, Victoria, Texas

Recently, I had a first time client come to me as a referral from the new Victoria Community Clinic for prescription assistance. While I was performing intake for the Prescription Assistance Program I asked where she resided in order to complete the physical address requirement of the paperwork. It was then I discovered she and her daughter had been living in the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart store for over 16 months. I was shaken to discover this could be happening in our small, seemly quiet community.
She was very kind and considerate as she shared with me all that she had been through. She had been laid off in 2011 due to diabetes complications with neuropathy. In fact, her health had deteriorated to the point of being unable to wear shoes as they caused severe swelling. She also described the difficulty she encountered when applying for public assistance. Due to the overly complicated system she was forced to navigate, and lacking a basic understanding of assistance programs, she and her daughter found themselves homeless and often going days without food.

Having provided similar assistance to a number of clients through my service as a Wesley Nurse with the Wesley Nurse Health Ministries program, I quickly jumped at the chance of connecting this individual with the appropriate support services.
The first order of business was to use the partnerships and resources within our community I have used in the past to help clients in similar situations to advocate for mother and daughter.
The message that greeted me the next morning was the reward we as Wesley Nurses are so blessed to witness through our ministries: “Mrs. Frels, I love you! I want to thank you for your support and compassion yesterday. I received Food Stamps to help my daughter and me…” she exclaimed. I immediately returned her phone call to share in her joy of finally having a door open for her and her daughter.
As I was speaking with her, I couldn’t help to think of the word she repeated throughout the course of our conversation: – compassion. I began to reflect on ‘compassion’ more deeply. As a Wesley Nurse, and employee at Methodist Healthcare Ministries compassion is among the core values I and my colleagues strive to demonstrate, but how it this illustrated? How do you describe compassion in action?
Just as this client felt she was guided to First United Methodist Church in Victoria for a reason that stretched further than prescription assistance, I believe I was placed as a Wesley Nurse in Victoria for a purpose larger than myself. This experience reminded me of my oath to act compassionately in service to MHM’s mission.
I remember the words I shared with this particular client when first learning of her despair, “the Lord will intervene and provide.”
Today she is filled with comfort knowing the Lord provides. Likewise, I am overfilled with joy knowing I am a witness to this. Though the Wesley Nurse Health Ministries program I am able to play a part in administering to the health of those in need. Let us not forget why we are called to this job as Wesley Nurses, and as agents of our mission of, “Serving Humanity to Honor God.” We can rejoice knowing we are working for the Lord through all that we do each day.

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17