ELIZABETHTOWN — Every so often someone comes along who ministers to your very soul, someone whom you feel like, after knowing for only a short while, you have known your whole life. This is the type of person who hears not only the words spoken, but the heart behind them. He both sees broken pieces and knows how they can be put back together so that one can see a bright future through them. Someone whom people who are hurting need. Such a person, were he to find a place full of needy people, would have found, some might say, his calling.
If that is the case, the Rev. DeWayne Lambeth, pastor at Center Road Baptist Church, has found his calling. The Cape Fear Valley/Bladen County Hospital, a place full of hurting people, had a need about a year ago for a chaplain, and heard from a trusted source that Lambeth was a good candidate.
“It was one of those situations where I was up here a lot anyway to visit people from my congregation, and the hospital was looking for someone,” Lambeth said. “Bruce Cannon (former director of Missions for Bladen Baptist Association) put my name in the hat (and) I thought that I’d love to be able to pray with other people while I was here, so it was a good fit.”
Lambeth has been on the job for about a year now, and has made quite an impression on both hospital employees and guests.
“Patients love him,” said Bladen County Hospital Foundation Director Ashley Dowless. “When I’ve been in the room with them and he comes in, they light up. He has been such a blessing to our staff and to our patients and their families. He doesn’t even have to be told what people’s needs are — he just ministers to them.”
On Tuesday, Lambeth was at the hospital making rounds. He walked from door to door, peeking in to see who was available. He stopped in to see 13-year old Lane Meshaw, who had just had his appendix removed.
“I had mine removed when I was about your age,” sympathized Lambeth. “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but when I had mine removed, I really drew things out and got to eat Wendy’s frosties for quite a while.”
After conversing with them for a few moments, Lambeth asked if he could pray with the family and, after receiving confirmation, asked for God to heal Meshaw and to draw the teen to Himself.
“He’s what I would call an outreach pastor,” said Dowless. “He walks around and talks with families, and it just comes naturally to him. When you see him coming, it just makes you feel better.
“And it’s genuine,” she emphasized.
For Lambeth, it’s all about giving people something they didn’t previously have.
“The best thing is that I get to give them some hope and light at the end of the tunnel. When I get done praying, they are so thankful, and they have hope that they didn’t have before,” said Lambeth earnestly.
He was quick to stress, however, “It’s not me — it’s God working through me at a dark time in their lives.”
Lambeth works with eight volunteer chaplains, coordinating the schedule to make sure someone is always available for anyone needing pastoral care. In addition to praying with staff and patients, he also, in his own quiet time, regularly lifts up the employees and the difficult decisions they make daily.
“The most important thing in chaplaincy is listening to people,” Lambeth said. “It might be something little, or you might find that they have deeper issues that they need the Lord for. Being the one to connect them to God is a privilege. I’m blessed that I’ve been called to do it.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.