Hospital greeter prays for patients

Barbara H. Spitznagel, guest services associate, is a front desk greeter at Norton Clark Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She is well-suited for the job — good-natured and easy to approach. Spitznagel is a person of deep faith who was baptized in 2015. She is a member of Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Indiana, where she is an active participant on its bereavement committee, preparing meals for families who have recently lost loved ones.

Because of her kind heart and faith, Spitznagel has found a calling at Norton Clark Hospital. Individuals who come to visit patients often share their stories with her. Many times, those stories are heartbreaking. She may hear about a son who is battling cancer, a mother who is afflicted with a wound that will not heal or a friend who suffered a heart attack.

In her front desk role, she has witnessed emergencies and alerted staff for help, always checking in with them later to see how they’re doing.

“The visitors and patients that get to know me call me ‘Miss Barbara’ just like my high school teachers used to,” Spitznagel said. “People need prayer. One day while I was in the gift shop at the hospital, I found a book with the words ‘Faith Can Move Mountains’ on the front cover, and I felt compelled to buy it. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been recording the first names of patients who need someone to pray for them.”

When she has a conversation with someone coming to the hospital who needs a listening ear and an offer of prayer, she writes their name in her prayer book. During a spare moment at work or after work, she will reflect on and pray for those whose names are written in her book.

Spitznagel attends an adult Sunday school. Attendees pass a prayer book around, and Spitznagel adds the names of the people she has spoken with throughout the week. The prayer group prays for each of them.

She keeps the “Faith Can Move Mountains” book close to her and holds it with a reverence reserved for those we deeply respect.

“Prayer is powerful, and the one thing I can do is ask God for the comfort and healing of others,” Spitznagel said. “I am humbled and honored in my belief that if you have faith, nothing is impossible.”

Note: “Faith can move mountains” comes from Matthew 17:20-21. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

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