October 29, 2010
I initially found Rest Ministries when I was in some yahoogroups and people would sometimes post the encouraging daily devotions. They're special, because they're written by and for people w/ chronic illness and/or pain. But RM does so much else--they have a great site for support and information, a Sunroom to meet others, in-person local support groups called HopeKeeper's and an emphasis on invisible illness.
It's really helpful for people to know they're not alone and that we're dealing w/ similar issues even when we don't have the same illnesses; and to be able to educate our families, employers, church members and the public about how everyone's illness is different and not to judge others w/ an illness or disability. It's hard for people to understand the variability of an illness among different people--and how even the same person can feel very different from day to day and just because they can something one day doesn't mean they can the next. Or why it's hard to plan ahead and commit, since we never know how we're going to feel. Or that we can try to do certain things, but we have to save up energy, pace ourselves, rest a long time afterward and really pay for these decisions we have to make about how we "spend" our energy.
I'm so blessed that I don't have as much pain as a lot of other people and that I'm also still able to do as much as I can physically. Lisa Copen, the founder and director, is so very affected by her RA and fibromyalgia, but she has been able to do so much w/ this ministry and has been able to work through her pain and fatigue to keep this ministry going. She has such a strong heart for helping others and ministering to the hurting, whether that pain is physical, emotional or spiritual.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
So many people's lives have been touched by the support and encouragement they've received from this ministry--they tell me all the time how much it's helped them.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Give Lisa more local volunteers that are well enough to help her in the physical ways they could help w/ the ministry and well enough to provide their own transportation, be reliable, etc. and also virtual volunteers. But since we serve those w/ chronic illness and pain, most of our volunteers are coping w/ their own illnesses, so we totally understand when people have a hard time w/ long-term commitment. It would also be great if she had enough donations that she could afford to pay herself!
Volunteer & I check the voicemail daily, return calls, take messages, answer questions, help w/ orders in our store that supports the ministry.