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  • by Kay Kuehn, Executive Director

Challenged to Persevere

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

I have made no secret in saying that I am a person of faith and because of that, I trust God to guide me. I cannot imagine doing the job I do as Executive Director without being able to take things to God in prayer. Pastor Susan Shoon, the Chaplain who serves in the facility where my Mom lives, leads a simple worship service in the Memory Care area each Sunday specially designed for people with memory loss. As she begins this service she has us all make the sign of the cross. As we touch our forehead we say, "God be in my head", as we touch our heart we say, "God be in my heart", as we touch our left shoulder we say, "God be on my left" and as we touch our right shoulder we say, "God be on my right". This is a simple way to remind me that God is all around me and He will be with me in all I do. Over the course of the past few months I have found myself making this sign of the cross and praying for guidance more than I ever have. I have also spent time in conversation with friends for guidance over many things I am dealing with. I have felt challenged in my role as Executive Director more than ever. As a person of faith, I also believe Satan is real and that he will do whatever he can to undermine, infiltrate and whatever he can to destroy what I am doing at Open Hands. I can say without hesitation that I have wanted to leave my keys on my desk along with a resignation letter more than once. BUT, then I ask God to be in my head, in my heart, on my left and on my right. I ask Him to lead me, to give me wisdom, courage, patience and strength to do what I can for I know I have been called by the ONE who is above all things.

I like a quote by Edward Everett Hale that says, "I am only one, but I am ONE. I cannot do everything, but I can do Something. And I will not let what I Cannot do interfere with what I Can do." These words hang on plaque in my office, I see them daily.

They were given to me by a very special person who believes in me and my ability to lead Open Hands. Sometimes the day to day minutea of the job feels like being in a valley. But as a good Pastor friend of mine told me, "The valley is a nice place to visit but don't dwell there." And so I press on, knowing that I am not alone, and when I feel the urge to leave the keys on my desk with a resignation letter I know it's Satan trying to undermine me and I will simply make the sign of the cross and recite the words that Pastor Susan taught me, just sayin'... I am grateful for the many people who are committed to helping Open Hands continue the work and mission started before I even came on board. The dedicated members of our Board of Directors, the dedicated volunteers and those who support our efforts financially. This is a very blessed organization. I want to take this opportunity to let you know WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! We receive a significant amount of in-kind donations each week that need to be sorted and prepared for giveaway. If you have a few hours you would be willing to come and assist us with this task, please contact me at or by phone at 651-646-6549 x12. This is just one of the many areas where we could use some extra help, we have many volunteer opportunities available. If you are like me I would bet you have been very excited to see the sun shining and watch the snow begin to dwindle away. Soon our meal program will be serving meals outside. I am often asked when this will occur and my reply is, "Well, when the temperature warms up enough that my volunteers don't have to dress for midwinter temperatures, we'll move out." People need to understand that the volunteers are in a shaded area for serving and, unlike the guests who sit in the sun and can come and go, volunteers must remain in the serving area. If it is windy and cool it is no fun for them. So in order to NOT lose them as volunteers I have to keep them in mind when considering moving our meal service outdoors, just sayin'... I have to share some good news with you that impacted Open Hands in January. Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf of Woodbury was moving to Oakdale. A member of our Board of Directors, Diana, serves as a volunteer there and heard they would NOT be moving their refrigerators. She inquired about what they would be doing with them and was told they would be giving them away. I was given the contact information of their Director and we were told we could have one of their double door refrigerators for FREE! What a gift! And so on Friday January 19 we put together a group of people who went to Woodbury, loaded up the refrigerator and transported it to Open Hands. We moved some of our existing refrigerators and freezers around to accommodate this new one and I have to say I absolutely love it. I am ever grateful to Diana for making this connection for us and helping with the logistics of getting it from Woodbury to St. Paul, just sayin'... Finally, Open Hands lost a dedicated volunteer, and friend, Heidi Puckett, in early March. She was always ready to serve and welcoming to the guests she encountered. We will miss her very much. It is never easy to say goodbye but with Heidi's faith we know she is ok. Please join me in keeping her family in your prayers during this difficult time for them.

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