A Summer Spent 'Holding Out the Kleenex'
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A summer spent 'holding out the Kleenex' 8-14-82 Shreveport Times Times photo/LANGSTON McEACHERN Fisher (left) and Newton drop in on patient Danny Mathews of DeQuinc* By SALLY REESE Times Medical Writer Mark Newton, a young Texan who intends to enter the ministry, went back to Texas this month with the feeling that he had gotten some valuable experience in Shreveport this summer. Newton, 19, of Burnet, is a religion major at Baylor University in Waco. He was in Shreveport for 10 weeks as a chaplain intern at LSU Hospital. The experience gave him some "wonderful ministerial training," he said. He will go home Sunday. He assisted Chaplain J.A.S. Fisher in many, various ways while he was at the state hospital, taking some of the load off the chaplain's shoulders. He called on patients, sat with anxious families during surgery, wiped away tears in times of loss, and sang and preached at the Sunday services at the hospital. The internship broadened him, he said, "in accepting all kinds of people." Just talking with them had been "a growth" for him. He was assigned here by the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and was the 19th intern the hard-pressed Fisher has had since discovering the HMB's chaplain intern program in 1976. He was very helpful, the chaplain said. "Mark picks up on people's feelings." He became a very special friend of a 12-year-old boy who had no visitors, though he was in the hospital for five weeks and had a father living in Shreveport. "He had never heard 'Jesus Loves Me.' So we learned the song," Newton said. A depressed, abused wife on the psychiatric floor asked his advice. A prostitute asked him to pray with her, though proba-bly not for any forgiveness for the way she made a living. "She enjoyed her work and was looking forward to getting out of the hospital." He sneaked a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken to a 19- year-old girl hospitalized for an injury. "She hadn't eaten for eight weeks," he explained with a smile and a shrug. Sometimes all he did was listen. Once he "just sat there, holding out the Kleenex," while a patient wept. On Sundays he assisted Fisher with services in Mayo Chapel on the ground floor and in the psychiatric suite on the 10th floor. He played the piano, led the singing and did what he's wanted to do since he was in high school — he preached. Fisher said the services are held for patients, doctors, nurses and the relatives of patients, and attendance in Mayo Cbapel ranges from 12 to 40. "And sometimes the patients will bring the I.V. poles with them." Some young men who are on probation from the courts come in on Sunday mornings and "set up the church for us, and help bring the patients down from the floors." Voluntary or not, Fisher said it is help he can use. He is the only chaplain for a 650--bed hospital that normally staffs 522 beds. Newton's assistance, however temporary, was a boon to him. Since the state does not provide funds, he is indebted to local churches for the room and board for the summer interns he gets through the Home Missions Board. He feels like this is "a show of love" from the churches for the patients at the state hospital. He has relied strongly on outside help since he came here in 1972, after 20 years in the chaplaincy of the U.S. Navy. He discovered the Southern Baptist's chaplain intern program in 1976 and has been drawing on its since 1977. Last summer he had three young women to assist him in "responding to the needs ot the patients." They came from Converse College in Souith Carolina, Georgia State in Atlanta and Northwestern State University in Natchi-toches. The latter, Linda Rice, will enter the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport this fall, he said. The interns do not have to be religion-oriented. The Home Missions Board piaces more than 2,000 college students in its summer mission programs annually regard-less of that. Newton just happened to be interested in the ministry. However, he is not interested in chaplaincy, and he did not have to be to get the internship here. The Home Missions Board pays for transportation and gives the interns a weekly stipend of $50. It makes it possible for young peopke to "reach out and touch people," said Fisher. And, over and above the fact that it is helpful to him in his ministry at LSU Hospital, the chaplain finds "it really exciting to see the way the young people get involved." As Mark Newton did.
|Title||A Summer Spent 'Holding Out the Kleenex'|
Louisiana State University Medical Center (Shreveport, La.)
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|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|