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#78 - 11.11.09


Looking for a new Bible study
for your HopeKeepers Group?
"The Silver Bullet" and
Choices are both terrific!

See update from Lisa below following her hand surgery of joint replacements. She is in what the physical therapist called the "honeymoon phase" (what??) and the "real pain" should hit next Wednesday on day 14 following the surgery. . . thanks for all the prayers!

What is Ministry?
This is a wonderful poem and would be perfect to print out and share with your support group or share with Christmas cards. We have so many people here at Rest Ministries who do "ministry" like this every day. Thank you to all those who give of themselves, their time, energy and prayer.

Lisa is honored to be on the advisory board of New Life Christian Coaching. The founder, Life Coach Mary Yerkes, specializes in helping the chronically ill live abundant lives in Christ. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis in 1997, Mary understands the challenges of living with chronic pain and illness. Her greatest joy is seeing people set free to love and serve God with all their heart, mind, and soul. Mary is also an author, speaker, and contributor to popular Christian print and online magazines, including Focus on the Family, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, and On Mission Magazine.
Visit and to learn more.

Mary shares, "Given it's around the holiday season and resources are tight, I will be offering 2 months of free coaching to the first person who contacts me, and a reduced rate of $100 (vs. $150) for two additional people. That includes six 45-minute coaching session (2 months of coaching/3x a month), email support, and spot calls (less than 10 minutes) to share a praise report, extra support between sessions, etc."

Good day,

I'm grateful that you take time each week to let me into your life. I always love to hear from you! As you can see the shiny, skinnier version of me isn't here this week. This is life right now. . .

I have been recovering from joint replacement surgery in the four knuckles of my left hand that I had done last week, 11/4/09.

My first cast last week for 6 days
This photo is my new fancy splint I got yesterday.

As I write this Tuesday night, I'm exhausted and in pain following the 2 hours it took to design my splint. My son says it looks like C3PO from Star Wars!

Mom is here and helping me, but like many of you, it is frustrating to not be able to do things myself. And the only hand therapist is a 45-minute drive away. Since my range of motion is so bad on my right side too (shoulder, wrist, hand, etc.), I can't even pull up my own pants without assistance! And I will have this split on for 6 weeks, 24 hours a day, and then at least another 6 weeks at night following that.

It's all very humbling. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes, They (and pain meds) are keeping me going!

So on to other news I prepared for you prior to surgery. . .

As Thanksgiving draws near many of us want to reach out to others, or we'd like to see our church reach out to people with illness or disabilities who are hurting. I thought this article may be a good reminder to be able pass along to your church for some fresh ideas for this holiday season or even the New Year.

Just a reminder that since I am the author of the article I can give you full rights to reprint it. You are welcome to post it in your newsletter, blog, web site, etc. Just leave the article and footer "as is." This is one of the ways we spread the words about Rest Ministries!

Ministering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes
by Lisa Copen

Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that specifically serves the chronically ill, recently did a survey and asked people to "List some of the programs or resources a church could offer to make it more inviting comfortable" They have provided a sampling of some of the 800+ responses, all of which could be done in 20 minutes or less.

1. Encouragement emails.

2. Make sure the handicapped stalls in the restroom are functioning and clean.

3. Padded chairs or cushions, room for wheelchairs, and plenty of room for my family to sit with me.

4. Be open-minded about a support group for the chronically ill like HopeKeepers. It would make me feel very special, knowing that there is an understanding of people's needs that are not always visible.

5. Add more disabled parking, even if they are temporary spots.

6. Educate the ushers that people arriving late may have difficulty walking or getting out of cars and will need some assistance.

7. Ask volunteers to call people with chronic illness just to check on them when they don't make it to services.

8. When suppers are given, recognize that I may need help getting my meal--or at least understand that I won't be able to wait in a long line.

9. Be gentle when giving people big hugs. It can topple over or hurt a person.

10. Have a video tape of the service, not just a live web cast. Not all our computers work that well.

11. Make sure that the church doors aren't too difficult to open or at least have mechanical assistance if they're unusually heavy.

12. Stop telling me that if I really believed and had faith I would be healed by now. Please don't insist how good I look, because I know for a fact that I look terrible and miserable that day.

13. Offer me ways to serve within the church that can be performed regularly, but not on a set schedule. I still want to contribute, but I need some flexibility so that I can do a job when I feel well enough to do so.

14. Have sermon notes available so I can listen later or even just review what I didn't catch the first time.

15. Acknowledge National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Rest Ministries has a nice book list of top 100 Christian books for the chronically ill. It would make a nice display in your bookstore that week.

16. Just mention chronic illness occasionally! Don't forget to talk about it in sermons as one of the challenges many people face just like unemployment or divorce.

17. Have Christian volunteers from church that will clean house for small fee. Some have offered to clean my house, but I cannot accept charity yet, but neither can I afford to pay a regular house cleaning service.

18. Help with some of the small costs of providing encouraging books and resources for the church library the chronically ill can check out.

19. Remember how many caregivers are in the church, not just caregiving for their parents, but also for their spouses or ill children.

20. Have copies of sermons for free on CD or computer.

Find over 500 ways to encourage a chronically ill friend in the book "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend" at


I know that some days can seem like more than you can handle. Remember that the Lord promises to never leave you or forsake you. Cling to that. Even when you don't feel his presence He is still there. I tell my 6-year-old son that God is working "under cover." I know I am each day, especially righr now!


Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support

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