I arrived by train early on Thursday to register as a volunteer for Your Best Pathway to Health and found the Los Angeles Convention Center already buzzing with activity. Lines for volunteers and lines of citizens in need swirled around the main floor. There was a feeling of excitement to begin meeting the need and seeing the divine appointments that were to take place. As if in testament to a working God, I was set to be helping as a mental health nurse for the event, and I was receiving text messages that people were already beginning to arrive at our department.
When I reached my intake table, I was delighted to find so many volunteers all smiling, with patients filling out paperwork. The patients were so ready. Some were smiling at the care that was being shown them; others looked worried, depressed, or even angry. But they were ready and they were about to receive help.
Since I am one of the Nedley Clinic employees, Dr. Neil Nedley, head of the Mental Health department for Pathway to Health, had me create testing accounts for the patients coming in so that we could establish the severity of depression and anxiety, the level of emotional intelligence, and any “hits” in their past or lifestyle (such as addictions, genetic factors, medical conditions) that would aid the counselors, doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists in seeing what each patient personally needed.
This was set to be simple, and it was, but when adding in the element of a needy person, it becomes complicated. We had people on the brink of tears, one who was so paranoid he walked away angry, and many others who seemed in despair. Then there was the need for Spanish translation. Many times it seemed like of the flood of people would overwhelm us, but God’s grace definitely filled where we lacked, allowing for the consistency that we needed.
I was reminded of Jesus on the mount looking towards the masses of those in need who were longing for respite from their sufferings. How overwhelming it must have seemed to human eyes. Yet Christ, in His constant link with His Father, was able to peacefully meet each need with such tenderness and a longing of His own to seek and save the lost.
The love of Christ, manifested in word and act, will win its way to the soul, when the reiteration of precept or argument would accomplish nothing. (The Ministry of Healing, 163)
May all who come through Mental Health, through Surgery, through any department during this event, be met with the love of God. May God provide strength for all the volunteers and an opportunity to show His grace, His truth, His care to all who come.
Top photo: A bird’s-eye view of Your Best Pathway to Health LA. (Photo by Eric Louw)