Blog

10 Years Worth of Thanks!

Refuge Clinic patients are without a doubt, the best patients! You can search high and low, but you would be hard pressed to find a group of more loving, grateful and wonderful people. Refuge Clinic is closely embarking on our 10 year mark, and throughout the years we can look back and see God’s gracious hand at work. We are honored for the friendships He has gifted us with through the men and women that walk through our doors each and every day. Over the years, you have shared your lives with us; you’ve let us cry with you you, celebrate with you, laugh with you, and walk through times of sickness and health with you. We could not be more grateful for the way you have blessed us by your hugs, your kind words and your genuine friendships.

Our volunteers and staff come to the Refuge Clinic each week because of you! We are excited to see your faces and celebrate what God is continuing to do in your lives. God’s commandment is for us to love one another just as He has loved us. We know the greatest love we can have in our friendships is to give our lives for others. God does powerful things in us and through us when we choose to walk selflessly in unity with each other. Thank you for walking out this journey with us; for being our patients and most importantly…for being our friends. You are a part of our Refuge Clinic family and we love you!!

“Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining. Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God.” (1 Peter 4:8-10)

- Rachel Smith, Executive Director

 

Investing in Students!

One of the most awesome things we get to do at Refuge is invest in students!   Since opening, Refuge has received applications from hundreds of students interested in pursuing careers in the medical, dental, counseling, administration, or social work field.  We get the privilege of watching many of those students experience working hands-on with patients for the very first time.   Many of these students are able to serve alongside people who are already working vocationally in the profession they aspire to.  I would like to introduce you to a couple of those students!

Julie Crawford has been serving with us for almost 3 years!  Julie started volunteering at the Refuge Clinic in the Front Desk role and after faithfully serving for about a year, she began learning the Dental Assistant role.  As a Dental Assistant, Julie had the opportunity to work alongside all of our Dental Providers and not only observe dental procedures, but also witness our Dentists and Oral Surgeons listen with compassion and treat patients with extra care.  Each of our Dental Providers was able to pour into her, teaching why and how procedures are performed.  Next month, Julie is headed to the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and we couldn’t be more excited to see her achieve her dreams of becoming a dentist!

Lindsay Williams began volunteering at the Refuge Clinic the day our doors opened!  As a young student, Lindsay began working in the Front Desk role.  As she advanced in her undergraduate career, one of our physicians, Dr. Cowen, took Lindsay under his wing, allowed her to shadow him and glean from all his wisdom!  Dr. Cowen spent time teaching Lindsay how to treat the root of a patient’s problem instead of putting a bandaid on the “superficial wound”.  This month, Lindsay graduated from University of Kentucky School of Medicine and is headed to University of South Alabama for a General Surgery residency program.  Because of the extra time given to her by Dr. Cowen, Lindsay will no doubt be an amazing surgeon!

One of the things we value at the Refuge Clinic is investing in the next generation. We love providing an environment where a student who may think “what can I offer right now?”, has the opportunity to serve out of their current giftedness. They are able to grow in their love and compassion for their neighbor, and grow in their understanding of who God created them to be!

 

Tee Time at the Refuge Clinic!

Freshly cut grass, a gentle breeze, and the sound of golf balls soaring across the sky can only mean one thing – it’s time for the Refuge Clinic Annual Charitable Golf Tournament!

The Refuge Clinic is hosting a golf tournament at the prestigious Champion Trace Golf Club on Monday, July 17, and you’re all invited! Registration will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a scrumptious lunch from Saul Good, with the tournament set to tee off at noon.

Registration is $500 for a team of four, or $125 for individuals. This fee includes your round of golf, lunch, fun door prizes, and a gift bag you don’t want to pass up. Not to mention, all the proceeds go to fund The Refuge Clinic.

By participating in this event, you have the opportunity to provide someone with healthcare that otherwise wouldn’t receive help. For our patients, we’re more than just a medical clinic. In the past few weeks we have aided patients with transportation to and from the clinic, provided them with a translator for their appointment, connected them with counselors, and crafted dentures for patients that have been waiting years to have a smile they’re proud to show off. And that’s just the beginning.

Needless to say, this tournament is more than playing on an incredible course with all your friends. It’s a path to provide healthcare and a glimpse of hope to the community around you.

For more information on the the tournament, click here or visit the front page of our website,  www.refugeclinic.org. We can’t wait to see you on the course!

McCall Thacker, Administrative Assistant

More Than a Clinic

People might assume they know what we do here at the Refuge Clinic. What more is there to know? We’re a clinic, we provide healthcare to people. And while that’s certainly true, we are so much more than just a clinic!

All of our clinics are run by dedicated volunteers. Everyone from the doctors to the pharmacists are professionals who volunteer their time to serve the community. They allow us to provide completely free healthcare to our patients. That in itself is pretty incredible when you really think about it!

We love our patients so much that we want to go above and beyond regular healthcare to meet every need of each patient who walks through our doors. We offer counseling services to our patients who may be going through a difficult season of life and need someone to walk alongside them. We host mental health clinics where our patients can receive care for any of their mental health needs and concerns. We provide patients with transportation to and from their appointment if they are not able to do so themselves. For our patients who need specialty care, we work tirelessly to connect them with someone willing to see them for free or reduced cost.

And it doesn’t stop there! We provide our international patients with translators for their appointments, and assist them in applying for programs which provide free medication. We help them find jobs, homes, clothing, items for their house, the list goes on and on.

Our goal is to walk through life with our patients and see them to full restoration and health. Every person who walks through the doors of the Refuge Clinic is more than just a patient- each has a story, a family, and life aspirations. As the body of Christ, it’s our mission to invite them into that family and show them the same love that was so generously extended to us!

- McCall Thacker, Administrative Assistant

The Refuge Clinic Annual Golf Tournament is Fast Approaching!

 

The day is fast approaching for the Refuge Clinic Annual Golf Tournament! Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to register yourself and your team for the event on Monday, July 17 at Champion Trace Golf Club!

Is there anything better than taking the afternoon out of the office to tee it up at one of the top 10 courses in Kentucky? Believe it or not, there is! All proceeds from the event go to directly support the ministry at the Refuge Clinic.

Your 18 holes will work to extend the love and hope of Jesus to the underprivileged of Central Kentucky:  a set of dentures for one patient who has lived for years without teeth, a specialist visit for another to receive care they have been forced to neglect for too long- the list goes on. One afternoon of golf contributes toward real life change for a member of our community!

Your registration fee covers your round of golf for the day, lunch provided by Saul Good, and a gift bag! Check-in for the event begins at 10am on July 17; lunch will be served beginning at 11am with a shotgun start for the tournament at noon.

Click below to register, or contact Mikhail Jenkins for sponsorship opportunities!

Mikhail Jenkins
Fund Development Coordinator
mjenkins@refugeclinic.org

 

 

Belonging

Easter as a kid in my family was always something. It would start with the traditional receiving of easter baskets, a quick comparison to make sure we all got equal loot, eating cinnamon rolls and jelly beans for breakfast, and searching for plastic eggs around the house. Usually at some point, there’d be a fight between my sisters and I, or one of us would get in an argument with our mom over being forced to wear panty hose and uncomfortable shoes. Then we’d all line up next to each other to get our picture taken before heading to church.

I remember wanting Easter to mean something to me. I knew it was important, but I didn’t feel anything. I believed in Jesus and the story of Him dying and being risen from the dead, but it didn’t mean anything to me, personally. I wanted it to. But it didn’t.

Fast forward a couple of decades. This past Easter Sunday, I watched my 13 year old niece give her life to Christ and be baptized. I sat in a row with my entire family – that same, fighting family from when we were kids plus a few extras in the form of brother-in-laws, nieces, and my own daughter. The pastor was talking about how Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning brought with it profound love, forgiveness, and belonging. It was that final word that struck me- belonging. Psalm 68:6 says “God sets the lonely in families”. John 8:35 says “a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt nothing about Easter. I’ve sinned deep and have felt the sting of consequences from it. The death and resurrection of Jesus is now something I celebrate with my whole being in recognition of my desperate need for His love, forgiveness, and His Family (belonging). And on this day, watching as my niece not only gave her personal life to Christ, but joining the eternal Body of Christ, the joy of Easter was even more alive in my heart.

Christ’s body was given for us in more ways than one. The physical body of Christ was laid down, but as a result of that sacrifice, the Body of Christ was united forever.

Today and every day, we have the opportunity to celebrate this new life, this belonging that has been bestowed to each of us by the only One capable of giving such a gift!

“…for it is His boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead. And God has reserved for His children the priceless gift of eternal life” – 1 Peter 1:3-4

 

- Kara Moore, Director of Operations

Give, and Be Blessed

A highlight to my day is meeting before clinic starts to read scripture, share a devotion and pray with each other.   Blessings abound when we share our heartaches, praises, joys, and needs with each other.  Sam is one such volunteer who brought such joy to the start of clinic one day and gave me a different perspective on what we do here at the Refuge.

The scripture he shared was from Proverbs 22:9:  “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed for he shares his bread with the poor.”

From Sam:

“I always thought this was an odd verse.  If you look at the syntax it implies that rather than the person receiving the bread being blessed, it is actually the person who shares it that is blessed.

Growing up I didn’t really understand this verse.  While I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon, I was never in a situation where I was worried where my next meal was coming nor did I have to worry about my parents finances.  It is because of this that when I finally did start to volunteer with the Refuge Clinic, I saw myself as someone who was going to sacrifice their time and energy for the sake of someone else, not exactly in line with Proverbs 22:9.

As I volunteered I was absolutely shocked by the people I met.  These were people I would consider down on their luck, people who were struggling to have 3 meals a day and to have a roof over their heads.  Yet these were the same people who laughed at everything, truly enjoying life and always having Faith in God.  It was an outlook on life that I would struggle to have if I were in their position and yet it helped me to look at my life in a new perspective, one that was optimistic instead of sour.

Looking back at Proverbs 22:9, I now can understand the verse for what it truly is; because while I originally planned to sacrifice my time for others, I feel like I ended up getting more out of it from them.”

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

I am thankful for volunteers like Sam who would not only share their time and talents with us but also who are willing to share their stories.

Before I came on staff at the Refuge Clinic full time, I would volunteer my time at our Nicholasville location after a full days work at a local hospital. On my way to clinic, I would often wonder “why am I doing this? I am tired and should just go home”.  However, upon leaving the Refuge Clinic later that night, every single time I would go home with so much more energy and strength then when I started.  I have heard this numerous times from our devoted volunteers.  When you give of your time and talents, God is so rich to bless you beyond measure. His grace is sufficient to hold you up and sustain you.

Sandi Chinn, Clinical Coordinator

 

The Keys to Hope

It was two years ago that my friend Debbie came to The Refuge because she had chronic physical needs that had been untreated due to her lack of accessibility to primary care. And with her permission, it is a joy for me to share some of her story with you.

When I met Debbie, she was living with a friend- when that arrangement ended, Debbie found herself living in a “home” with eight strangers, where she slept in a back room with no heat, and often with no running water. This home was later condemned leaving Debbie to find another place to stay. For much of last year she slept on a park bench downtown, and eventually moved to a field where she slept first in a camping chair and then in a tent, or in a hotel when her friend would earn enough money from his job.

It was a day filled with much celebration (and tears, and pictures!) when we moved Debbie into her new apartment. I asked her how long it had been since she had a set of keys for her very own place, and she told me she couldn’t even remember. This was a moment we had prayed daily for, and seeing it come to fruition was a clear picture of God’s provision, faithfulness, and His ability to rebuild our entire lives.

There are so many things I want to tell you about Debbie’s heart, personality, and life. But her words are far better than mine: “Being homeless was very difficult. If I didn’t have God, if I didn’t have my faith, I know I wouldn’t have gotten through it. I would be dead if not for Jesus! Looking back I have realized that God knows exactly what we need, and He knows exactly who we need help from. The Refuge helped me physically, but God used the people to provide me a cushion and a support that I didn’t know I would need when I was so lonely and lost.”

I truly believe we are meant for each other; to be family, friends, advocates, encouragers, celebrators, listeners, etc. It is a privilege to open our lives up to people, and be invited into theirs. Our desire is that our patients would know they are someone who matters so deeply to the God who created them, and they, like Debbie, have a story worth telling.

- Ellen Bentley, Volunteer and Resource Coordinator

 

Every Number Is A Story

Let’s just get this out of the way- I’m a finance nerd, among various other types of nerd as well. I like numbers and logic and statistics and spreadsheets and making sure everything lines up just right. OCD? Maybe (definitely).

In ministry, just like finance, we have a tendency to count everything, and the Refuge Clinic is no different. We love to know how many people are coming through our doors, how many are participating in each clinic, who is becoming more engaged into other programs we offer, and the list goes on.

It’s never a bad idea to track numbers like this- after all, every organization has a budget for a reason, right?

God makes a point to emphasize numbers in scripture as well. He ordered Gideon to reduce his army to 300 men (Judges 7:4-8). Jesus used a couple fish and a few loaves of bread to feed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-18). Peter’s testimony to the crowds in Jerusalem added 3,000 members to the early church (Acts 2:14-41). The Bible is full of specific details and head counts!

But in reality, it goes way beyond simply tracking numbers to fill out a spreadsheet or to boast about at the end of the year. Every number represents someone’s story- the story of a person who is the apple of God’s eye and His treasured possession. Every patient who walks through the doors of Refuge Clinic has been uniquely and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe, and if we’ve extended to them even a fraction of His immeasurable love, then we’re doing something right.

Our prayer, and I hope you’ll join us in it, is that each of the more than 3,500 individuals who call the Refuge Clinic their home for primary care experience the unconditional love of Christ as a result of walking through our doors. Every number is a story, and we have so many to tell…with more on the way!

 

- Mikhail Jenkins, Development Coordinator

Before and After!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when we are talking about changing lives, I think these pictures are worth a lot more!  If you have been following our blog over the last few months, you know we have put a lot of emphasis on our denture program!  The state of Kentucky is ranked second in the nation for residents missing all their teeth. At the Refuge Clinic, we have a waiting list with well over 100 people who have been waiting years (yes, years!) to have their smiles restored. Patients who have struggled eating and smiling, waiting so long to be able to do what so many of us take for granted. And the Refuge Clinic wants to change that!

A few weeks back, Mikhail wrote a blog focusing on steps we are taking to speed the process along (if you haven’t read it yet, go check it out here!). Providing dentures for patients literally changes a life!  Many of our patients hide their smiles and have low self esteem due to not having teeth and report having trouble finding jobs because of their appearance. In addition, they struggle to get the proper nutrients as they have trouble eating many foods.

Our mission at the Refuge Clinic is to restore health and value to the community through the unconditional love of Christ. We believe that each person has intrinsic worth and value and re-gaining their smile is a huge step in personal healing which will help them gain a stronger sense of self-worth. Please pray with us and for us as we try to reach our goal of providing a smile to 100 patients in 2017! Providing a smile for someone communicates that they are valued, yields an incredible sense of self-confidence, opens new avenues for employment and most importantly changes lives!

If you’d like to make a difference in the life of one of our patients, please consider making a $200 donation which would cover the cost of a set of dentures! To give, visit the tab to the left, or simply click www.refugeclinic.org/give.

Cady Jean-Baptiste, Dental Coordinator