- 5 January, 2014
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Every year we take a portion of the Advent Conspiracy offering and put it toward missional grants, which help Imago members start ministries that serve and bless our city with Christ’s love. This week we sat down with Abbey Haskins, RN, who began Remedy, Imago’s free monthly medical clinic, out of a missional grant in 2011.
Imago: Can you tell us a little about you — what made you decide to become a nurse? Where did you go to nursing school? In what fields have you worked?
Abbey: I’m a wife of 11 years, a homeschooling mama of three young boys and I’ve been a nurse for almost 12 years now. I suppose you could say nursing was in my blood. My great-grandmother – who I’m named after – was a nurse in the early part of the 1900s and it was a profession that I felt drawn to as I grew up. When I was a young teenager I underwent knee surgery and had an inspirational experience with the nurse who took care of me. From that experience on, in my mind, my career path was set.
After high school, I attended Linfield College – School of Nursing in NW Portland for four years and received my Bachelors of Science In Nursing. I started out as a new grad RN in the Intensive Care Unit.
Imago:At some point in your career, you transitioned from hospital nursing to community-based health care. What prompted that change?
Abbey: When I left the ICU, I was at a very low point in my career. I was pretty discouraged and burnt out. I had even considered the possibility of walking away from the nursing profession altogether. After taking a break from nursing, I decided to give being an RN one more try because deep down I really didn’t believe that I was done being a nurse. I became involved in a couple of faith based organizations who share Christ’s love through healthcare. Serving there helped me remember why I worked so hard to become a nurse in the first place and I started to see more clearly that there was still so much more Jesus had planned for me. The possibilities and potential of what I could do as an RN started (for the first time in a number of years) to get me excited about being a nurse again.
Imago: How did you get the idea to start the Remedy Clinic at Imago?
Abbey: The idea was the culmination of a lot of little thoughts, ponderings, questions, and prayers over a span of about two years. As I continued to serve regularly at New Heights Clinic and with Compassion Connect clinics, I started to have more frequent “ticklings” in the back of my mind about the possibility of a similar clinic and ministry at Imago. I shared the “what if Imago had a health clinic” idea with a few people and formally presented the idea (to Imago) with a Missional Grant application at the beginning of 2011. It was well received and supported and I was given the go-ahead to form and begin the ministry.
Imago: Can you describe the patient population that Remedy takes care of and/or what services Remedy provides?
Abbey: Our focus is serving those within our church body and those in our neighborhood and community who are uninsured or underinsured, with income less than 200% of Federal Poverty guidelines, and struggling to make ends meet. We have working relationships with a number of the local recovery programs and we frequently serve their clientele.
We offer medical and dental care on a monthly basis as well as physical therapy as often as possible. While the health care clinics are running we have a Hospitality area where our goal is to make purposeful, relational contact with those we are serving. This can be as basic as offering refreshments and a place to sit while they wait, or providing a listening ear and praying with someone.
Imago: Can you describe what kind of volunteers you need for the clinic, how many you need, and when the next orientation is?
Abbey: As the saying goes: Many hands make light work. I’m always on the lookout for volunteers who are willing to flexible in their area of service. Hospitality members who will jump in and help set up or clean up. RN’s who are happy to sit with folks in Hospitality or help out at check in. Providers who will step into a role when there is a need.
For anyone interested, our next orientation is scheduled for Sunday, February 16th at 1:30p in the Remedy Room at Imago.
Imago: How has God’s presence in your life affected your ministry to underserved people in our community?
Abbey: Without His presence in my life, there wouldn’t be a ministry. His love for me is the foundation this ministry is based on. I am continually humbled and strengthened by His Spirit and because I was first loved by Him, I have the confidence to love others in His name. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the huge amount of need in our neighborhood, community, city, state, nation, world, and think there is no way I can make a difference. When I start to feel like this or like I’m losing sight of Remedy’s mission, I try to think about Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about clothing, feeding, caring for “one of the least of these” and when you do that, you’ve done so for Him. That’s what I’m striving to do.
Imago: It’s not easy to organize a ministry like this! What has your personal experience been?
Abbey: It takes a tremendous amount of work! Sometimes I cry – literally and figuratively – God, what am I doing?! He hears that cry and answers each and every time. There have been struggles finding committed volunteers, financial concerns, questions of how to reach those who need our services the most, and many more. However, when someone comes to me and says how grateful they are that Remedy is here because no one else would help them or how amazed they were that someone took the time to listen and pray with them – that makes the hard work worth it. To know that I’m a part of sharing God’s love in a tangible way is pretty awesome.
You can read more information about Remedy here.
Have an idea for a ministry you’d like to start? Apply for a missional grant here.