Linda Phillips has been a valuable part of the ElderLink staff team for 13 years. Now, in the midst of her preparations to emigrate to Australia to join her children there, she shares her thoughts on her time at the Mission.
‘Shortly after I came to ElderLink I wrote a poem about it, which began, ‘Welcome to the healing place’ – because that’s what I found here, God’s healing love shown through the ElderLink family. I think others have found the same. Staff and volunteers, some coming from challenging work situations – and clients who have joined us, perhaps after losing a partner or going through a difficult time health-wise – have been encouraged and strengthened and found friendship and healing.
Over the years I have learnt patience, give and take, and love. 90 is the new 50, it seems! Until I came here, I had only known two or three people in their 90s, but the majority of our clients are in their 80s and 90s, with so much to teach us, so many experiences to share and so much still to give.
I will miss being here very much: the camaraderie of staff and clients; the opportunities to meet so many interesting people; the support and sharing in prayer; the whole ethos of ElderLink. Visitors who come say they notice the atmosphere is different here, somehow special. That’s because ElderLink is a family, with God at its heart.
The highs and lows? It has been sad to lose so many friends over the years, but Rachel and I count it a real privilege to have conducted some of their funerals. It’s so much more intimate and special when you know the person who has died, and more meaningful to family and friends. Seeing people begin to question, open up and ultimately come to the Lord is the real highlight!
At ElderLink we made ‘memory boxes’ and asked people to write about their lives – their school, their job and their family, etc. It was good to learn about them and helped us to recognise all that they have done and been, appreciating that each person comes with a history and a richness of experience – that each one is an individual, and each one is special.’
We will miss you here at the Mission, Linda, and will pray for you and your family as you begin a new chapter together in a far-off land!