“…. whatever you did for one …. you did for me…” Mt 25:40

On the third Sunday of Advent, David[1] left a voice message on my phone, asking if I would call him back when I got a chance. Over a month had passed since we took a truck load of donations to their old stone church outreach center. Since it was still before Christmas, I assumed he was interested in the possibility of our sending another truck with goods for their coal country folks. I called back but also had to leave a message and noted it was likely the time of their Sunday evening service.

When we finally connected on the third attempt, he apologized for calling on Sunday and then asked if LOC could help with something urgently needed. He began telling me how one of his brothers[2] had a thirty-year-old daughter (Adriana) with a critical intestinal disease and was having surgery. Hopefully after a few days recovery and medical treatment in the hospital, Adriana would be released a few days before Christmas. However, she would still have a lengthy convalescence and be equipped with a drain tube. This led to David’s request as to Ladies possibly having another hospital bed as we had brought them over a year ago. That bed had been provided to someone almost immediately after they had received it. Adriana did not have insurance that would cover a hospital bed, so David’s church was trying to find one before she was released. I told David that I would check with Ladies on Monday but did not think we had one. I would also contact other agencies with whom we dealt on hospital equipment, to see if a bed were available. I would get back with him as soon as possible.

Not finding a bed at Ladies or other agencies, I turned to the local online ads for a used hospital bed and found two for the same price that seemed reasonable. After visiting with the owners and looking at the beds, one was hardly used and in much better condition than the other. I told the owner about LOC, what we wanted it for, and asked if he would consider reducing the price a little. He dropped the price significantly and was glad that someone in real need would be getting the bed, as it had belonged to his grandfather. I loaded the bed in my trailer and brought it home, till we could arrange how to get it to David.

After discussing with Susan, I contacted David Tuesday night, letting him know we had found a bed, that the LOC van was available, and that we would bring some additional items Friday if that would work for him. He told me that Adriana had not been released yet but it would be later that week. He also said that her father (Bruce) was trying to get Adriana’s apartment set up. Her apartment is in Pineville (about 12 miles from the church), so we agreed to meet Friday morning at the intersection of the highways to Pineville and Hulen.

On Wednesday we loaded the van with the bed and sheets for it, along with other items, including 16 boxes of diapers, four bags of clothes, six boxes of cloth and fabric (they have a ladies’ group that use these), a real nice Pack-n-Play, and two sleeping bags. Early Friday morning, Michael (Maxine’s son) and I left LOC headed to Pineville, amidst rain which lasted through most of our trip. Nevertheless, the two-hour drive was much easier than any before, due to the comfort of the van as compared to the truck, which itself was in the repair shop after a poor run the day before to Second Harvest and crying over spilt milk!

We met David with two brothers in the church van at the designated intersection, and then followed them to Pineville and Adriana’s apartment. It was still raining when we unloaded the bed, which wasn’t bad with all the help we had. We got to meet Bruce and while setting up the bed and checking its operation, we talked about Adriana’s situation and plans for recovery. We found out she had likely inherited the condition from her dad, as he almost died years ago when he had to have intestinal surgery. During his spell, he was also having some organ failure and was on dialysis with poor vital signs. After lengthy treatment and medication trials he finally recovered and has been doing well for many years now. He did tell us that Adriana had to have three feet of her small intestine removed and the medications she was on appeared to be helping. Our LOC patron saint must have helped with our delivery schedule, for we learned that Adriana was planned for release in about two hours. Her dad had also decorated her apartment with a Christmas tree, and was busy arranging the bed and furniture to make Adriana as comfortable as possible. We talked for just a few more minutes and then held hands during the usual prayer with all four brothers individual pleas in unison for healing and thanksgiving. Michael and I wished Bruce a Blessed Christmas, asking him to give Adriana our best, as well as letting him know that they would continue to be in our prayers.

When we left it was still raining, so David asked us to follow him to the carwash. His idea was to back both vans into the wash shed, keeping dry while transferring the other items to his van. Kind of the opposite of what a car wash does, but a good idea and we got things quickly transferred. They told us how much they appreciated our efforts, the additional donations and wished all of Ladies a Merry Christmas. Michael and I headed home in the rain, with one of us snoozing a little on the way back.

I called David this week to see how Adriana is doing. He said she was released, is doing well in her apartment, has limited mobility due to the incision and the drain tube, but overall appears to be improving. Of course, he again expressed appreciation for LOC and we closed with mutual greetings for the New Year.

[1]Pastor of First Blackmont Baptist Church, “our sister mission” in Hulen, KY.

[2]I used this term because it is natural for David to so call others.

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Also since it was such a dreary day when went before Christmas as well as related to the young woman’s medical condition, we didn’t take any pictures. However on the most recent trip to KY with a truck load of donations from KLOC, we did take some pictures (you might recognize Glenn who went with me on the trip and took most of the pictures on his phone). There’s one view of the side of their old stone church (and our truck), which serves as their distribution center of items free to all who come. Another shows the inside with the typical unloading of our truck and their tables loaded for those who come once the church announces the doors are open. The last shows Glenn with 4 of their church members who also met us when we took the bed up in December.

Originally published in the Ladies of Charity of Knoxville Newsletter, Caritas


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