When the Executive Order on Immigration first came down, Christine Fogel was afraid. “I was feeling kind of powerless, and so I prayed about it,” she says. Just three days later, she received a call from her long-time friend and Clinic Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Bloxsome. She asked Christine if she were available on Wednesday mornings to pray with new clients. “And, to me, that was like God hearing my prayer,” says Christine.
No stranger to volunteering, Christine splits her time between being a wife and mother, praying for clients at the Legal Clinic, providing physical therapy to those at a free medical clinic in Carmel, and transporting the Missionaries of Charity Sisters to nursing homes. Rather than finding this schedule burdensome though, Christine says she is fortunate to have the time and resources to volunteer regularly. “I am grateful that I can do that,” she says.
Several years ago, Christine took a church course called Border Crossings. “We went to people who are marginalized and we went to their world, not to serve them, but to be among them, so we could get to know them as people,” she says. This experience completely shifted her thinking about the poor. “We ate what they ate, and we talked to them like you’d talk to anybody,” says Christine. “Once you know somebody and once you hear their story, then they’re just another person to you.”
She carries this lesson with her wherever she goes. And on Wednesday mornings, clients at the Clinic can fill out a small form if they would like prayer. At times, the language barrier complicates things, but Christine trusts the Holy Spirit to guide her. For one woman in particular, Christine felt a powerful need for safety, and so she prayed for a hedge of protection. She then learned more of the woman’s story, which included sexual abuse, drug trafficking, and much danger. Christine says Kathleen told her, “This is not an atypical story.”
In contrast to such heavy moments though, there are also moments of real joy. Like when a Muslim woman asked Christine for prayer. “I’ve never prayed with someone who is of the Muslim faith before. And it was exciting to be able to do that,” she says. Christine is also blessed when clients flip the script. “[They] write they want to pray for the people at the Clinic, the workers, the attorneys, the people that are helping them,” she says. “To me that’s so humble. It’s so beautiful.”
Although she may not have legal expertise to offer clients, Christine believes prayer is a vital service. “My own ego can put me in a place of wanting to do because then that reflects positively on me, but prayer really is the most powerful thing that I can do for somebody else. And that sort of keeps me right-sighted.”
Of course, stepping out in faith is not easy. “When I’m in my comfort zone, I can do the GIGI thing, like, ‘God, I got it,’” says Christine. “But when you’re willing to go to be with people or to go to places you wouldn’t usually go, that’s where you’re going to find Christ.”
Categories: Volunteer Highlight