By Japhet De Oliveira
“To be, or not to be.” To be a mission owner, or not to be a mission owner: that is a question that would not even cross the minds of the 37,000 associates who serve at Adventist Health. They know how to “be a mission owner,” one of the six values driven by our mission to live God’s love.
A bold statement? Absolutely.
Can we say the same of our schools? Can we say the same of our churches? Can we say the same of our families? Absolutely. I believe that we are all mission owners. There are moments when we excel in that value and supersede all expectations. There are moments when we sense the freedom and creativity that God has given us, and we move forward with exceptional faith directly into action. Those are moments when we understand that everything really is held together in Jesus, as the Apostle Paul shared: “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17, ESV).
God’s love is the motivator that inspires us to own our mission. That is what inspires Sam Neese, ICU telemetry monitor for Adventist Health Sonora.
She noticed that our COVID-19 patients are often isolated for their treatment and recovery. When family members are distant due to COVID visitor restrictions, the patients need the love of those around them to cheer them on towards recovery.
“What inspires me to come to work each day is being able to help others. I like the smiles I get in return.”
In response to this, Sam started to create artwork for her patients. She finds out what they are interested in and makes personalized posters for them. We asked Sam what motivates and inspires her to serve and care for our patients every day. She shared: “What inspires me to come to work each day is being able to help others. I like the smiles I get in return. I like how proud it makes my children feel. I like knowing I make a difference in someone’s life.”
The kitchen team at Adventist Health Sonora has a tradition of making something special for patients who are in their care on their birthday. One of our patients, who had been taking a long time to recover fully, was overwhelmed when the cards arrived and the birthday meal was presented. That day, he created his own thank you note: “Best birthday morning of my life! Love you all. Thank you.”
Last month, we held our annual Mission Week, which focused on being a mission owner. Each day we streamed at three different times, live to a global audience. Hospital presidents, like Kathy Raethel and her team from Adventist Health Castle in Hawaii, provided box lunches to encourage associates to pause and be inspired. Then on Friday, a video telling the story of Sam Neese’s mission to use artwork to encourage her patients was introduced by Mario DeLise, mission director for Adventist Health Sonora. Mario explained that even the creation of the short film was a result of the efforts of three mission owners: Lindsay Brewer, Matthew Rose, and Karen O’Brien.
Each day of Mission Week, our hearts were lifted by stories from throughout the system of associates who are all mission owners. If you missed the Mission Week, you can watch it online via the Simply Mission app or at www.AdventistHealth.org/MissionWeek. And next year we hope you save the date to join us live the first week of November.