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March - April 2004 Newsletter
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March - April 2004

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ADJUSTMENT OF AGING
MY TRIBUTE
Dr. Trudy Veerman

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Isaiah 46:4 ... Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

This page is a tribute to the elderly in general. Herewith, I also want to show my deep respect, gratitude and affection to the hundreds of elderly I have met in my life, especially during my position as nurse, Long-Term Care Specialist, Co-ordinator of Community Senior Services and Executive Director of the Hospice.

I have done thorough research on aging, dying and death, and have written several papers on the subject for study and work projects. I have been a member of the Planning Committee with the local Health Council, Council on Aging and Home Support for the Elderly to advocate for and support the elderly to assure improvement of services and of living conditions at home and in the institution.

Many of these elderly have made a long lasting impression on my life that has shaped me into the person I am at present. Over nearly 15 years, I have developed a great compassion for them while I worked and walked with them. They shared with me their life, their joy, but also their psychological and emotional hurts, their losses, their frustrations, their bitterness, their sorrow and their tears.

I've met them, I've touched them, I've held their hand, rubbed their back, listened to their stories and cried with them. I've dried their tears and I've prayed with many of them. Only God knows what I have seen, heard and experienced with the elderly.

One day I was walking with Mr. Hill down the hall of an institution. He was an elderly man of about 84 years old, who was slightly confused. He was holding the railing with one hand and with the other he was hanging unto my hand. We were on our way to the lounge when Mr. Hill asked me what cruiser line this was. Right away I caught on that the railing in the hall reminded him of a cruising ship he had been on, a long time ago. I didn't want to interrupt his memories and said to him: "So... and what kind of cruiser were you on?" He told me then all about his trip to Europe. By then we had arrived at the lounge where we sat down on the couch. Mr. Hill was still holding my hand and put his and mine on his lap, while quietly looking outside. After a while of sitting there holding hands, I carefully pulled my hand away, as I needed to get other things done. He looked at me with big eyes and said: "You're not going yet, are you? You're not leaving me here alone?" Something got caught in my throat as I heard him plead, and I realized how much he needed my company. My eyes started to swell when I finally got the words out: "I will be back shortly, Mr. Hill."

You may not realize that patients/residents on the Long-term Care floor, in the Nursing Home or the Home for the Aged had to give up their familiar surroundings, their keepsakes, their personal treasures and pets to come to these places. They are stripped, overnight, of nearly everything, including neighbours and friends. No wonder they wet their pants because they have become disoriented and confused, and therefore cannot find the bathroom. Not the other way around. No wonder some of them hang onto last years Christmas cards, for it is ALL they have. Please, NEVER, clean up their drawers or throw anything away without their knowledge and approval. Rather, place yourself in their shoes and show empathy and love.

One afternoon, while working in the hospital, Mary asked me to cut her fingernails. Mary was an elderly patient who was bedridden. I said to her that her nails were recently cut and could go for another few days. She responded with: "Don't nails still keep on growing a bit after one dies?" I said: "Yes, they do, but what has this to do with your nails?" Well, she said, I think I'm going to die soon. By then I walked to the door of her room and closed it as I felt she wanted to talk more about it. In the mean time I got the clippers out and while I was doing her nails we conversed about her soon coming death. I introduced her to the Gift of God and eternal life through Jesus Christ. She was receptive and I then read to her Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. I prayed with her and Mary died within 48 hours.

At times I had a real revival going on when I worked the evening shifts. One night, after I put some familiar older Hymns on the tape deck, God's Spirit fell on some of the Long-Term Care patients in such a way that I had to close the door to their room, for they were "loudly" praising God. The head nurse, not knowing what was going on, asked me if she needed to give some of the patients a needle to keep them calm. "No, that's okay, I can handle them", was my reply, and I said quietly to myself: "HALLELUJAH, PRAISE GOD!"

Many of these patients have been starving for spiritual food and were neglected by family and their pastor. People often think because the patient is confused she doesn't need to hear about God's word. How wrong they are. I can testify that even the most confused patient will respond to God's word, Hymns and the love of God distributed by other believers. I have even seen them come out of confusion as God's word brought freedom to them that are trapped in a decaying body and mind.

Dear friend, my work became my Mission for God and not one day passed or I proclaimed the name of the Lord in word or in song, touching the lives of many elderly. Please, remember when you look at them that they're not only "old", but that they carry within them their childhood, teenage years and adult life. All these years of accumulated experiences, good and bad, are enclosed in this one person, the elderly. They are young and old at the same time, NOT just old.

Many of them suffer in silence and are withdrawn. It has become hard for them to express their feelings to others. They have lost interest in and the need for their peer group. The elderly are the least homogeneous group of all other age groups. Many are dying alone and without God. Although they may have been Church goers at one time, not all know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. And they that are believers often have not been stimulated in their faith, due to spiritual negligence.

If you do go and visit the elderly at their home, nursing home or hospital, allow them time to gain their confidence in you. After they come to trust you, please, make sure you share with them the love of God and His word. You'll soon find out how hungry they are and how much they have been starved of spiritual food.

How successful an individual adjusts to aging depends on many factors which influence one's life. Throughout our lifespan there are developmental processes by which we change or alter our behavior and thought life. Time and experience are our teachers!!

With the right stimulation and the positive attitude from our parents and the environment we lived in, we will have learned to solve problems and to adjust in the developmental stages, from infancy to early childhood. Through continuous experiences and interactions with people around us we will have adjusted or maladjusted to the next developmental stages of teenage, adolescence, adulthood, middle age and old age.

We react differently now to situations than we did when we were children. We (supposed to) have learned how to react appropriately; how to behave and not misbehave; how to listen; how to obey etc...

It is not my intention to give you the psychological point of view on adjusting or maladjusting in developmental stages. For according to God's Word we cannot blame anyone else but ourselves for mistakes, errors, sins, bad habits, bad attitudes, unholiness etc. We are made responsible for our own life and sin. Even if we did have a bad childhood, terrible teenage years or lived in an abusive situation during our marriage, we are the ones who should seek the face of the Lord, get right with God and bring all our cares to Him.

Romans 3:23....For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God. Circumstances differ for each individual, but all can share the same experience; as they cry out to God in their need, He hears and answers. And all have equal cause to praise Him. Read ALL of Psalm 107.

You may say... well that is easier said than done...or....if you just knew what I had gone through....or... maybe you did have a better life than I had......or....I have nobody who really loves me....etc..etc. That may all be well and true, but God is the SAME. He has not changed ?

Psalm 56:22.... Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
What He did for Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Peter, Paul and even for me, HE will do for you. Please, read my "Testimony", then you can see for yourself that my life was not all that desirable. But, what He says in His Word He will do. You have to believe His promises and you have to be obedient to the Word!!! No matter the circumstances, He can do the IMPOSSIBLE.
Praise His wonderful Name!!!

Psalm 16:8-11.... I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol (the abode of the dead). Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 17: 7b.... Oh You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them.

Psalm 39:4-5.... Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You.

Let us focus more and more on things that really matter in this life. Keep a continuous contact with God, the Father, through Jesus Christ. Learn to lean on His word, apply it to your life and pass it on to them around you. Be a mirror of God's word and may people reflect themselves in it. Have your roots deep in God as a mature tree, stable and unmovable. Rejoice in your God, and Maker and enjoy His word as is written below.

As you grow older your mind takes you into the past - to the good old days. You were full of energy then and you tackled things you would consider now impossible. You never thought about retiring or old age.

The following prayer of an elderly lady is worth re-peating:

"Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older.
Keep me from the idea that I must express myself on every subject.
Release me from the craving to meddle in everyone's affairs.
Keep my tongue from recital of endless details of the past which do not
interest others. Seal my lips when I'm inclined to talk about my aches and pains.
They are increasing with the years, and my love to speak of them grows
sweeter as time goes by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally
I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful, but not interfering; helpful, but not bossy.
With the wisdom and experience I've gained, it does seem a pity not
to use it all, but thou knowest, Lord that I want a few friends left at the end.
So help me pray more, talk less. And beyond all this, let me continue to
flourish spiritually and bring forth fruit to Thy glory even in old age. Amen!"

Let me grow lovely growing old as many fine things do.
For silks, ivory and gold need not be always new;
and there is healing in old trees, old streets a glamour hold.
So why not I, as well as they, grow lovely growing old?

Anonymous.

May the Lord's face shine upon you and keep you until the day of His Return.

Copyright Dr.Trudy Veerman, 2002

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TESTIMONY

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Greetings Dr. Barkman and Associates:

I would like to share with you and others what belonging to the American Association of Christian Therapists means to me.

I have been associated with ACCT (IACCT) for over five years. This has been a very beneficial relationship for me and those with whom I minister.

While serving at the Faith Bible College and Seminary in Washington, DC in the positions of Academic Dean, Vice President and Executive Vice President, before my stepping down in 1998, I became a Certified Professional Counselor. I along with our President, Dr. Edwin L. Jones, Sr., was invited to New Orleans to address the Conference.

I later developed a counseling course for our Masters and Ph.D. students at the time. I conducted a pilot of the course for our Masters students which included at six week internship. Unfortunately due to the demands upon my time I had to step down from Faith and concentrate on developing The Lord's Churches, Fellowships and Ministries International, Inc. This organization now consists of over 500 hundred churches, ministries and fellowships in several countries around the world.

Whether seminary, university or church I am ministering to people and know all too well that there is a strong and growing need for trained, certified and licensed professionals to come alongside those who are hurting.
I frequently share with those with whom I come in contact about ACCT. There are many who have applied, presented their credentials and have the stamp of approval of ACCT. This means so much to us and our clients.

I wish to commend Dr. Barkman and the entire staff at ACCT for making this fine organization available for us and giving us the recognition we need to assure people that we are skilled professionals who can be trusted and adhere to high standards. I look forward to a growing relationship with this fine Christian organization.

Yours In Christ Jesus,

Bishop Grant B. Williams, Jr., Ph.D.
Senior Presiding Bishop
The Lord's Churches, Fellowships and
Ministries International, Inc.



YOUR UNIVERSITY, SEMINARY, OR COLLEGE CAN BE A "CERTIFIED ACADEMIC INSTITUTION."

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We would like to create a union between our Association and your School. Thereby giving your students an opportunity to be a part of a growing, young, prestigious association. Those seeking a counseling ministry or any pastor should have opportunity to be accountable to his/her peers, clients and/or Church Members.

Requirements are simple. Call or write to request candidacy in the program. You will be issued a "Candidate" certificate. After 7 of your students inquire or 3 students apply you will be issued a certificate naming your school a "Certified Academic Institution." To maintain the standing and receive an annual certificate merely maintain the standard of 7 or 3. There is no fee for this option.

Or you may submit requirements for your counseling degrees. Upon receipt of your $73.00 fee and upon approval by the Certification Review Committee your school will be granted the honor of being for AACT a "Certified Academic Institution."

Call our toll free number if more information is needed or you wish to talk to Dr. Barkman




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WORDS FROM OUR PRESIDENT

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Greetings my sisters and brothers. I greet you in the Lord's Name... May he continue with you in your counseling ministry.

And the Lord gives us increase. Just a slight rendition of the scripture. We are thankful for the increases He has sent our way. We have worked hard, prayed for the Association... and you have responded. We trust that you feel this is a spiritual, professional, prestigeous association to which you should belong. In any case you have responded and we are thankful for your involvement with us.

We have continued our growth outside of our national borders. Some contacts are new and some have been restablished. We are also in communication with some folks in other countries. Pray that God will direct us in our growth...I trust that He will. 

We have discontinued our President's letter but have offered another option to communicate with you.  We have set up an AACT group email at Yahoo... Drop us a line and we will place you on it... Many valuable discussions take place each month.

Remember also that you can call from 9 to 5 Mon thru Fri and talk to our receptionist.  She will answer most of your questions but feel free to leave a message and we will try to soon return your call. You may also call and leave a voice mail 24 hours a day.

We pray God's Blessings on you all... Continue to minister to your church members and clients in a Christ like manner in your counseling. Let your counseling be "Christocentric."

Dr. Barkman

CALL OUR NEW FORT WORTH NUMBER
817-579-0774