From the front lines, faith leaders Pastor DeLeesa Meashintubby and Sarah Koski.
[00:00:05] Sarah Koski: We were talking about this idea of faith leaders on the front lines. What does it mean with your faith as a leader as Executive Director of Volunteers In Medicine clinic? And then what I really wanted to talk about was Sister Monica, and through her faith and then her mentorship and teaching of you and how that propelled you forward in your career.
[00:00:29] DeLeesa Meashintubby: Ha! Funny you bring her up. She and I just had a great chat Monday, you know, being a faith leader and doing this work, if you didn’t have faith, I’ll tell you what, it would be hard to lead. Or if you’re leading, it would be hard to grasp all the things that are coming at us because right now this past week or two has really tested my faith of, ‘Where are we at?’
[00:01:00] ‘Am I afraid of this? Am I afraid of that?’ That type of thing, but no, I’m not afraid because He did not give me a spirit of fear. And so He gave me a love power, and a sound mind. And what a sound mind is, is a disciplined mind. So my mind has to stay focused on losing control. And I have to know, even though I might say I have control, He’s in control.
[00:01:29] So that’s where it comes that part of the faith with me and I sometimes wonder how am I doing all it is that I’m doing. And it’s because it’s not about me. It’s the He that’s in me that’s allowing me to do this. Now does everybody get it? And everybody understand it? No, they don’t. But as long as I get it and I understand it, that’s all that matters right now.
[00:01:57] And then having someone like you, Sarah, that’s willing to share this with the public because a lot of us are undercover, if you know what I mean when I say that. Some of us are undercover and not willing to share that we have a higher power that looks out and takes care of us, but we do. And so that part right there, being willing to be vulnerable to the community, to where they can see that you’re not walking this by yourself and that there’s someone guiding you. And that you have to be submissive to who is guiding you because it’d be easy to cry and whine like this morning, everybody’s calling in sick and such, but you know what, here’s the thing. We’re here to take care of a community of people who have no access other than us to be taken care of, or it would be uncompensated care going into the ERs and the Urgent Cares and such.
[00:03:01] So it’s just for us that we need to be who we’re called to be for that time being and move forward with it.
[00:03:10] I’m going to ask you a question now, Sarah, what do you see with our community? How do we bridge us together to be strong enough to share who we are and who leads and guides us.
[00:03:24] Sarah Koski: I think we just have to be confident in the sense of really who we are, right. And I think that that’s where the uncomfortability of witnessing outside, letting your light shine in the community, is, there are so many faith leaders who aren’t quite sure just to be like, ‘This is okay,’ of, ‘This is who I am and that’s okay.’ You know, when I worked at the American Red Cross, we had to sign ethics disclosures that we remained neutral in everything that we did, right? So but I could just, I was the gal who was laughing almost every single day. And people knew if I was in the Eugene office or the Portland office just by the bubbly laughter coming out. And so, I mean, that was how that was, my witness was laughter.
[00:04:07] What we call ‘fruit’, right—the patience, the love, the kindness, and that we show that we are a representation of who we follow. And so I think the way that we bridge together is we just really have to determine and knuckle down, ‘Is this who I want to be? Is this who I’m going to represent behind closed doors and out in the street?’
[00:04:28] DeLeesa Meashintubby: That’s it. And sorry, I didn’t mean to flip it back at you, but that’s just what we have to do right here, because you know what the fun part about this is we, we have to know each other, don’t we?
[00:04:44] And the hard part about us is that we don’t even know who we are sometimes, how are we going to know who other people are? I always tell my congregation, God’s not schizophrenic, we are. You know, it’s still the hard part about going through all that we’re going through, because we’re going through tumultuous times right now, as leaders, faith leaders, community leaders, whatever, but we can—
[00:05:12] My dad used to say, ‘They can see you sweat, but never let them see you crumble.’ But now that I’m an old (unintelligible), I know what that means that I can, you know, you might see me dripping perspiring and whatever, but you’re not going to see me crumble because it’s not me who’s doing this.
[00:05:34] I’ve learned it’s not about me. And that’s what I have to keep it in my mind that it’s not about me. And it’s about those, that patient that comes into the door. It’s our privilege to be able to serve them instead of them coming in, wanting something for me, they’ve got something to give to me when they come into that door, because it allows me the opportunity to serve.
[00:05:58] Sarah Koski: And serve you do Miss DeLeesa, you are a shining light and a great representation.
[00:06:04] I mean, you walk the walk and talk the talk in my opinion, I know (you too girlfriend) DeLeesa, you inspire me daily. You’ve been there. You’ve texted or called me at times when, you know, I really needed your help. And here you are making sure I’m okay and investing in me, but there was someone who invested in you too. And that was Sister Monica. And can you tell me a little bit about Sister Monica and your backgrounds, how you met and some things that you learned.
[00:06:39] DeLeesa Meashintubby: You know what, Sister Monica is just phenomenal. She is now 90 years old. She was a CEO of Sacred Heart and at PeaceHealth. She’s done all of these things.
[00:06:56] Then once she retired, she came out of retirement to start Volunteers In Medicine clinic. She and I met really when I applied for a job at Volunteers in Medicine. That was a new clinic that was starting. And she and I, our interview was two hours long, just chatting and talking. One thing Sister Monica did, was,
[00:07:18] She saw something in me that I did not see in myself. And so she was bringing me along this whole time where I never knew. And now what she does for me is that she, I say I have access to the back phone because I can pick her up and call her at any time to say, I don’t know what to do. Where are we going?
[00:07:41] How do I do this? And, you know, she says, I said, well, how did, how would you do this? And she said, it’s not about me. What are you doing about this? I’m like, oh, she’s putting it back in my lap. Okay. I can talk to her and she’ll talk me through things and help me to say, she said, see, you had the answer all alone and it’s kind of like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, bye. Have a good day. I’ll talk to you later.’
But you know, the thing about her is that she’s a visionary. She can see things that other people couldn’t see. And one thing I know that she’s done is she’s surrounded herself with good strong people. And that’s one thing I need to learn to do better is to make sure I’m dependent on those who are around me.
[00:08:35] And because we all have that gift of doing something. And I have to make sure to utilize their gifts because if I’m not utilizing their gifts, then it’s going to waste. And so with her, Sister Monica has taught me that. She’s also taught me how to believe in myself. And one thing else that she’s taught me foremost is to not be ashamed of who I am and whose I am.
[00:09:03] And so I appreciate that. And knowing that she’s still here at 90, has that ‘Go-get-them.’ And it was able to talk me through stuff. Hey, I know God’s has her here, even if it’s just for me, she’s here for me, but you know what? This woman has really set the world on fire here in Eugene over all these years.
[00:09:28] And my hope is that we can keep her legacy going.