Sep 06

Reflections from Addie

I recently had the honor of taking a young lady out for a trip to Dairy Queen to talk about her stay at Intermountain. In particular, because she had been one of the first children I got to know when I came to work here as the chaplain, I was curious to know her honest assessment of the program and it’s part of her two-year stay. Addie is home now, and from all reports she is doing well reintegrating into her family. I was also able to talk at some length with her family as well, and will add some of their comments in this piece. Overall, it is clear that Intermountain made a tremendous difference for this family. You will see how clearly this is the case as you read on.

Here are some of Addie’s thoughts about her response to hearing that there was a chaplain’s program when she arrived at Intermountain:

“I was glad to know that there was a chaplain, even if I didn’t know exactly what that was. Of course, when I got here, it was Dana, not you! I grew up going to church, and even though at first I didn’t want to go to fellowship or chapel services, I was always glad once I got there. At home, I was used to going to church, and I would really miss it if there were no chaplain’s program.”

In regards to the best things about the chaplain’s program, Addie remarked:

“I really like you, Chris. You are fun and laid back… you make it fun and make the kids want to come. The games are a lot of fun, too. And, just a while back something “clicked” for me and I saw the connection between the games we played, what you were talking about with the Bible stories, and the stuff I was working on in the cottage. You come up with cool ways to connect all that. I know you were trying to make it connect all along, but I don’t think it really clicked for me until a few months ago. Then, I could see all the hard work you were doing to make these connections for us, and it made me want to come to chapel times even more!”

I asked Addie if any particular lessons we had done stood out to her:

“Yeah. One you did pretty early on about masks… I think it was around Halloween. It was a really creative way to talk about feelings, and how we can have masks up even when we know that God takes care of us. I remember that one a lot. Also, I liked the songs and the stories and the booklets you made that we worked through talking about Psalm 23. Oh, and I really liked the Bibles you got us to use in chapel… the Action Bibles? Yeah. I know we don’t use them all the time, but I really liked when we got those out for chapel.”

Addie said she would definitely come back and see the new chapel building once it is build, and here are some of her thoughts about what she’d like to see:

“I really like the idea of having a diner or café area. It would be fun to have a place to come and make popcorn or a milkshake or something and just hang out. I am hoping you keep doing stuff mostly in circles like you do… maybe with bean bags or cushions or something. I’m okay with stained glass and stuff, as long as it doesn’t feel too ‘churchy,’ ‘cause it should be a fun place where we can still play games and be a kid like we do now. When we aren’t using it for fellowship times, I like your idea of having movie nights or a dance space. All that stuff sounds really cool.”

At Addie’s goodbye ceremony, her parents and sister reflected on just how thankful they were for the investment Intermountain made in Addie. Her dad reflected that he felt like his “family was a lot bigger now, because all of you are like family to us now.” Mom tearfully added, “Before we got Addie here, there was like a big wall between us. It was huge. I couldn’t find any way to tear it down or get around it. Now, that wall has come down. It has come down and we are a whole family. At one time, I didn’t have any hope of that. You gave us hope. Thank you for giving us that gift.” Addie’s sister remarked of just how proud she was of her and all the hard work she had done to be ready to come home. It was quite the ceremony!

One last thing from my conversation with Addie at the DQ. I asked her what she would say to churches and people on the fence, who aren’t sure if they want to support the chaplain’s program and its part of the work at Intermountain:

Addie replied, “You should support Intermountain… Think about what God would do—God wants you to help those in need. Kids NEED to know God loves them. Help support the Chaplain’s program so kids can learn about God.”