Rebecca “Becky” Reeser
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I have been married to my better half, Bruce, for 46 years. We have three sons, daughters-in-law, and two granddaughters! Originally from the Midwest, we’ve lived in many states, and now call Arizona home. I retired from teaching science to middle schoolers after 28 years to return to school for a BSN/RN degree. Last year I retired from nursing on a cardiac-thoracic telemetry unit at a local hospital. It is a new season of life!
How did you hear about Global Care Force?
Recently I heard about Global Care Force from Roxanne Alexander Jone’s Facebook posts. Our paths crossed many years ago through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. I had just registered to volunteer for Global Care Force when I learned my friends, Dr and Mrs. Andy Villa, were joining the initial Global Care Force trip to Ukraine and that they were still in need of an RN.
Was this your first time in Ukraine?
Yes, but I helped facilitate two medical teams from our church to Ukraine in the past and my son visited Ukraine while attending Point Loma University as part of an international business team working in Ukraine and Armenia, so I had some connection to the country. A dear friend from Ukraine has been very involved in assisting the refugees during this conflict. So, my heart has been connected to Ukraine for a long time.
What was your impression of the Ukrainian people?
Ukrainians are very hospitable, warm, and welcoming! The patients I served were stoic at times but resilient even though they had suffered and continue to suffer emotionally, physically, and mentally. They are a determined people; united in their heritage, culture, and self-determination. As I listened to their stories I was amazed at their resiliency and efforts to carry on despite all they have suffered and continue to endure.
You have gone on medical missions before in Armenia and Honduras. Why did you want to serve with Global Care Force to volunteer in Ukraine?
I wanted to serve at the border when the crisis first erupted, but I knew with no language skills I wasn’t a good fit for that endeavor. One of the reasons I went back to school was so I could be of use on a medical mission team. As soon as I heard that the team needed an RN, I knew in my heart this was an opportunity for me to love in a practical, needed way. The timing was perfect! One unique aspect of Global Care Force is the ongoing commitment to provide clinic each month – I was so thrilled that I could tell our patients that another GCF team would be back to provide follow-up and reassurance they are not forgotten.
You probably have several memories that stand out from the trip. Can you share one or two that will stay with you?
My most poignant memory (and there are many stories just as overwhelming) was a young mother with small children. They came from Donetsk, and when the Russians arrived in their area, they informed her and her husband (at gunpoint) that they had a timetable to leave the region or they would all be shot. They left immediately and came to the town where we were providing the clinic. After treating them for various ailments, including insomnia, anxiety, and hypertension, I watched this young mom show her little daughters how to blow and jump on bubbles we had at the clinic – trying so desperately to provide some “normalcy” to their lives. I was overcome by the burden this Momma had of protecting her little ones physically, emotionally, and mentally, despite her own challenges. Incredible strength and resolve. Every family is impacted by the war – they have a loved one that is serving or has passed within their family circle. Every patient had a story, and we always provided space to listen to whatever they were comfortable sharing – that gift of listening is just as important as any medical endeavor we had to offer.
Tell us about the rest of the volunteer team?
I was privileged to serve with an incredible team. I knew Roxanne and the Villas, but had never met Dr. Steve Kineke from upstate New York, nor any of our Ukrainian counterparts, but we really worked well together and found common ground in our purpose and mission. It helps to have that synergy as we spend long hours traveling, eating, and working together. The selfless attitude of the total team made those long days very fulfilling. Everyone contributed unselfishly and displayed care and concern for our patients and each other. Our in-country logistics lead, Sergiy, is truly a gifted leader, gregarious, and full of compassion. He dreams big dreams for his country and people, and I love his big heart. Dr. Lev Prystupiuk provided invaluable assistance with his broad range of experience, expertise, and experiences. I loved the cultural insight he shared. Our drivers and translators were incredible, talented, and patient in teaching me about Ukraine. Their compassion for our patients was evident in all they did and I hope we stay in touch in the years to come.
Global Care Force will continue to send volunteers to Ukraine. What should volunteers know about the country, the culture, the people?
The country is truly the breadbasket of Europe with sunflowers being the crop I saw most often. Every home has a garden, and the diet is delicious, healthy, and fresh! Flowers are used to welcome, comfort, and to show appreciation. The people are proud, stoic, and full of fortitude and were so appreciative of our efforts to meet their medical needs. In the villages I observed such care among the citizens for each other; going out of their way to check on others and trying to help. One of our displaced patients wanted to show her great appreciation to those in the town who had taken her and her family in by helping us help them. She was a great organizer at that clinic!
Global Care Force Founder Dr. Gary Morsch believes serving others transforms your life. Would you agree?
Absolutely, and it transforms us for the better. We find fulfillment when we are willing to be used to meet the needs of others, however big or small. Only when we allow our hearts to be broken for others do we find our own hearts being transformed and made whole.
You have served in other countries with Nazarene Compassionate Missionaries. What motivates you? What does serving others mean to you?
I have always had a heart for other cultures and knowing people from different places. From a young age I heard stories from missionaries sharing about their lives, the country they called home, the people they loved, and my heart was always moved with interest and compassion. I believe that we are blessed to be a blessing. I think serving at home and in other cultures is an overflow of loving Jesus – His love compels me and His heart for all people motivates me to be His hands and feet in practical ways. I also love the diversity of God’s kids, what amazing people make up humanity!
If someone is considering volunteering with Global Care Force, what would you tell them?
Definitely take that step and volunteer. As Dr. Morsch states, it will transform your life, broaden your perspectives, and enrich your experiences.
Anything else about your experience with Global Care Force or Dr. Morsch you would like to share?
Global Care Force truly is unique and well-organized. Dr. Morsch has put together an exceptional, experienced, and professional team to address medical needs where they are most needed. Each person I interacted with at Global Care Force exhibited excellence in their role. Roxanne’s experiences and connections from her years living in Ukraine give her insight that facilitates the mission of Global Care Force seamlessly. I appreciated her leadership, attention to details, her concern for our patients, the team’s wellbeing, and our safety throughout our mission. We were always supported by the team back in the United States and it has been an honor to serve with Global Care Force. I hope to have that opportunity again.
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