A Year into Plus One, Springfield Church Addresses Darkness and Dialysis with Kidney Disease Support Group

During hardship, feeling alone can be the tipping point that pushes someone from hope to despair. Ken Oziah knows this firsthand from his experience with kidney disease. While kidney disease comes serious medical complications, it can also wreak havoc on daily life, careers and cherished relationships.

Ken Oziah’s harowing experience with kidney disease coincided with the Plus One process at his church, Redeemer Lutheran Church in Springfield, Mo.

A Congregation Seeking Out Unmet Needs

Rev. Andrew Bartholomew explains, “We were looking to meet a need that was completely missing from the community.” Despite the prevalence and challenges of kidney disease, no support group existed. Ken knew he could provide vital support for people in a dark chapter of their lives.

As the Plus One committee was meeting to determine their direction, Ken says, “It was like the Holy Spirit speaking to me; It was that direct. This was what our Plus One was supposed to be.” Looking over the past year of the kidney disease support group, Rev. Bartholomew describes it as “life changing,” for attendees and their loved ones.

Overcoming the Emotional Toll of Kidney Disease

The experience has changed Ken’s life, too. Kidney disease makes it hard to plan even a day ahead, which means family outings, birthdays and even meal preparation become herculean tasks. As a result, many people struggle with depression and self-esteem and Ken was no exception.

Leading this group has allowed him to tap into his professional skills from his careers in law enforcement and teaching, and has helped him rely more on God, since he can’t do as much for himself.

Plus One Coaches Ready to Help Congregations Discern Opportunity

When asked for advice, Ken says, “Don’t sit back. Don’t leave it for someone else to do. If you see a need, step up and say something. That may be the only way it’s going to get done.”

In the past year, more than 100 congregations have worked with Plus One coaches to bring the light of Christ to their neighbors. With a new class of trained coaches, this is a wonderful time to start the Plus One process.

Contact Rev. Bill Geis today by calling (314) 590-6205 or emailing him at bill.geis@mo.lcms.org.

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