Food stamps, friendship, and fun

It’s amazing how God provides a new kind of family when your biological family is so far away.  It’s an honor and privilege to not only call the six amazing people God placed in my life, friends but family.  We are all different but add so much to the group.  Students making breakfast in their aptWe laugh, cry, and share our hearts with one another.  Like all families we have our arguments but always pull together whether it is to plan meals, go grocery shopping, and live on our food stamp allowance.  Let’s just say that we have all learned quickly what a blessing food can be.

True happiness does not come from worldly things or possessions but from time spent together.  Whether we are relaxing at a coffee shop, going on a hike at Radnor Lake, braving downtown, or hanging out in apartment E3, we always seem to have a great time.  There is never a dull moment. Dinner is filled with laughter, devotions provide insightful discussions, and down time includes learning to count in Thai, guitar playing, and occasionally a movie.

Most recently we started our new endeavor, the thirty-day squat challenge with Olivia and Claire as our fearless leaders.  I have never had so much fun exercising.  From 50 squats at a time to 250 squats over a course of thirty days.

I knew before coming to Nashville that I was going to establish some lifetime friends but I never realized how amazing they were going to be.  I can only thank God for placing us all here this summer.  As the last week and a half winds down it’s going to be bittersweet to our go separate ways and return to our families.  We joke about how we need to use Google hangout to catch up once a month but part of me hopes that we do.

The staff and volunteers at Siloam are another kind of family.  Edwin Warner Park picnic - Caleb, Lindsay, Claire, Olivia - 2013There is such a loving and supportive environment there that it is infectious.  These wonderful people have welcomed us into their work place and have gone out of their way to make us feel included and needed in and out of the clinic.  For the last several Fridays many of the staff went above and beyond by graciously inviting us to dinner.  Which, for us, is a huge blessing to not only fellowship with them but to have a yummy meal that consists more than our typical entrée and veggie.

These lovely people also pooled together to lend us an assortment of different sized water shoes for us to borrow for our adventure to Cummins Falls.  Inside the clinic, they taught us how to first love God and to love each and every patient that walks through the door.  Whether it is by blowing bubbles to make an unhappy child smile, or praying with a patient that needs comforting.  The focus they have for whole-person care is incredible and how they rely on each other to accomplish this.Cummins Falls is visited by the CHI students

To show the heart of these people, they took the time to reflect on a patient whose wife had just recently passed at a staff meeting.  As they shared their stories it was incredible to see how much an impact a patient could make on a room filled with the clinic’s staff.  Who else has a staff meeting that starts and ends with prayer and reflects on the impact of a patient?  One of the stories shared on this patient was that he and his wife considered Siloam as their church.  What a blessing and a wonderful demonstration of how a health center can share God’s love.

While here, I have also gained another church family among the Burmese Bethel congregation.  These people have been such a blessing.  I can’t wait to share more in a later post of how this small group has touched my heart!

Madison Brown - CHI 2013 participant  Madison is a participant in Siloam’s Community Health Immersion.

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