I began my chaplain ministry in a community just a ways south of my home. The residents and staff there are very special people. I look forward to my time with them each week. Until now I have ministered there through my affiliation with Love Your Neighbor Ministries, a chaplain ministry to healthcare settings. Recently I was approached by a great young man from the corporate offices with a new opportunity. A new position was being developed. Never done before. In addition to the care center where I go the corporation also owns eight other facilties throughout Oregon. They realized that nothing was being done to care for the residents' spiritual needs. As a result a new department, Chaplain Services, was formed and the groundwork laid to hire chaplains for each of their facilities. I have had the chance to be involved for several weeks, helping evaluate job descriptions, report forms and other publications and information to be used in this program. Now everything is in place. The time has arrived for the program to be initiated. It's time to begin!
I feel so privileged that I was offered the part-time chaplain position in the facility where I go each Tuesday morning. I accepted the position, completed all the hiring paperwork and became an employee. Two mornings a week I will be in-house, visiting and ministering to each resident. Friendships will be formed and strengthened. Stories will be shared. Prayers will be spoken as requested and needed. Hugs will be in order. Tea will be shared. Now I will have more time to share myself, my love and most important - my God - with the dear ones I have come to respect and love. I feel honored. And so blessed.
Early this morning I will drive about two hours south to the Eugene, Oregon area where I will spend the next two days in Chaplain Orientation and Training. Together with other chaplains I will gain new knowledge to prepare me for the task ahead. My heart will be challenged and my mind will be filled with a lot of information. This has never been done in these facilities. We are charting new territory. Blazing new trails. Marking the path for those who come behind us.
I will be away from home today and tomorrow. I am excited. Nervous. Overwhelmed. But most all blessed. Very blessed.