Update on Our Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFL,Inc.
July 26, 2016-An Update of Our Good Shepherd Ministries
The blessings of this summer day to you!
We are seven months into 2016 and it has been quite a year for us thus far. The Ministry and its needs continue despite our slowing down due to the new challenges of cancer for both of us. Presently, I am doing well physically after a partial surgery for breast cancer in March and another, thankfully unfounded, scare in May. I still contend with the aftermath of a partial gastrectomy for a rare GIST stomach cancer in 2013. But, since July 18, JudyB. is dealing with rigorous chemotherapy for Myelo Dysplastic Disease, a very serious possible precursor to AML. As you may know she has been cured and free of APL, a rare Leukemia, since 2007, but the strong chemo- treatment for that has likely, over time, brought about a complete deterioration of her blood. She is strong in spirit and faith but feeling weaker due to the condition and the present treatment. Our focus is on her treatment and it is a blessing that we had already been winding down on our Tuesday and Sunday church activities. She can not be in a room full of people as she has no immune system left. For the forseeable future we have stopped our Sunday and Tuesday activities as of July 5th and July 17th. We know you will join us in praying for her successful treatment and for all of our people as they continue on their journey to become Christ-like in love, service and seeking justice. Our hearts and prayers remain with them always.
We have stopped our regular meetings of necessity, but we will continue relationships with our people and others who reach out to us. We will continue to meet many needs until the end of December as a non-profit 501c3 agency. We have commitments to families and individuals that help them maintain and sustain housing and educational endeavors. Some months’ notice is needed by people before we withdraw those commitments so they can work harder at becoming self-sufficient to the extent possible and also find other sources of assistance. We have made many referrals and will open fewer new cases, but will still continue a level of assistance until the end of December 2016. We remain available for the Sacraments and spiritual guidance as we are able.
Our commitment to children, youth and families and all of our people continues with the help of our associates in service. On July 15th we were able to take eight youngsters, ages 7-15, and two grandmothers, to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater to see the Wizard of Oz. We were able to greet and eat with the group and our dedicated Church and Board member, Judy Alves stayed to chaperone and transport them. According to one bright and artistic nine year old “this Show was the best ever!” We also helped twelve of our young people with beginning school supplies and will be providing clothing and other school supplies to some of the others. School begins again in early August.
We have been helping people with their medical needs uncovered by insurance as well. For example, three individuals have received special orthotics and shoes for foot problems that interfered with mobility. Also, on June 5th, a Nurse Practitioner, Joan Gibble (Photo below) came to work enthusiastically with the large group on diabetes, other illnesses and nutrition. In the 703 hot meals that we served in this seven month period we have emphasized healthy cooking, no junk food or sodas and balanced proportions. We hope this helps form a base example and regret that for now we can no longer continue the meal program. We are especially thankful to Ellen and Jack McNally and their friends for feeding our Tuesday group and to our members Pearl Cudjoe and Judy Alves, and Lisa Munklewitz and Monica Picirillo of Lamb of God and Gini Beecroft and her Breckinridge community for our delicious Sunday meals.
We met needs for medications that were exorbitant to those on low fixed incomes. One older woman just finished a seven month prescription regimen that cost 80$ a month that she did not have. She and her family are very grateful for our assistance. Another man whom we helped with prescriptions and other needs was finally awarded SSDI and made a very nice donation to us so we could continue to help others.
We continue to assist Pat, our 62 year old formerly homeless woman who lived in the woods for over a year, to prepare for and attain Senior housing. After many applications and interviews and a process of paying old bills, Pat is ready to enter Senior housing on August 1st, 2016. She and her cat Sarah have been living at our Hospitality House behind the church since 2/3/16. She has been so thankful as she was able to “return home to God”, in her words. She asked to be Confirmed when the Bishop came in early June and joined six others who made a mature commitment to follow Christ. We will miss Pat and her joyful ways and Pat will miss us and her Good Shepherd church friends as her new home is over an hour and a half away. (All local Senior housing lists were over two years long). But she is so happy to have her own home after many years. This week she visited her new home in Belle Glades and she loved it. We are arranging for her furniture to be moved on August 1st and her first month’s rent and security paid as she receives her small Social Security check later in the month. Two or more of our members will accompany her and help her to complete the move. (Pat is sitting between our two young men in the Confirmation picture below).
Our Good Shepherd Hospitality House now has three people living there in transition to affordable housing and when Pat moves on, another person/church member will move in. While all there realize this is a transitional/temporary living space, we are pleased that we can continue to offer this safe and warm home to those in need at the present time.
We remain a 501c3 agency until that December 2016 when we voluntarily let that function go so we can continue to downsize. It is likely that we will continue after then with some people whom we serve as well.
We thank our loving God and we thank our friends so much for making our Good Shepherd ministries possible. We wish you all the best and continually thank God for you.
Love and Prayers and blessings,
Pastors Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont
Blessing One Another