Social distancing measures at Good Samaritan Society – Prairie Creek in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, mean staggered dining times for residents in independent living. Unfortunately, Arlette Villaume’s breakfast time conflicts with one of her favorite things, devotion.
“It helps support my faith and gives me security,” the 94-year-old resident says. “Because it reminds me that God is always with us and that we can depend on him for whatever we need. Even when bad things happen, he’s still with us.”
Arlette makes her own breakfast three times a week so she can hear God’s word at chapel.
“It’s very important that I do that so that I can get here,” Arlette says.
Sharing your faith
Being able to share faith is an essential tool for getting through the isolation and mental struggles that can accompany the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Kringen is a chaplain at the Society in Sioux Falls.
“There’s a God who loves us and cares for us even though he does allow certain things to happen. Those things also can work out for our good,” Chris says.
While it may take extra effort to find the bright spots right now, Chris says the situation is forcing our families to pause and think about what is important.
“It’s made our society slow down a little bit and to realize that maybe we have taken our friends and family for granted,” Chris says.
Chris splits time between Prairie Creek and the Society’s Sioux Falls Center locations. He’s seen, firsthand, the effects of visitor restrictions on residents’ mental health.
“People really put a lot of hope into that next time they can see their child. Then you have people who are a little more confused and then they can’t remember why their friends or relatives aren’t coming or their children. They feel left out and forgotten which is a horrible place to be,” Chris says.
Staff members are doing everything they can to help fill those voids. With the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out taking place, Chris hopes that an end to the pandemic is in sight. He points to a verse in Psalm 23 for comfort.
“Yes we do walk in times through a dark valley that it calls the valley of the shadow of death. Basically, the psalmist is saying that he is comforted because God is with him. That couples nicely with the message of Christmas because one of the names we call Jesus is Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us,’” Chris says.
Spiritual leaders uplifting residents, staff
Society Chaplains across the country are diligently lifting up residents and staff members every day with the help of God.
Bill Gran, Spiritual Ministry Senior Consultant and Pastor at the Society’s national campus, urges people this Christmas to think of the wisdom found in Isaiah chapter nine. He wants everyone to surround themselves with four types of supporters.
“Those who are kind of guides and counselors for us. Those who are more like that Everlasting Father that may harass us, hold us accountable but love us deeply. The cheerleaders who encourage us. Then those prophets, kind of like the Mighty God, who can help us to be honest with ourselves,” Bill says.
He says there is light and hope this holiday season.
“I pray that you will know all those blessings of God’s love for you in Christ as a Wonderful Counselor, as a Mighty God and a Prince of Peace,” Bill says.
If you are struggling to find hope this Christmas, we have several resources to help you move forward.