Jehovah’s Witnesses healthcare workers lean on faith to make it through pandemic

A frontline healthcare worker studies the Bible using a Jehovah's Witness online study aid.
A frontline healthcare worker studies the Bible using a Jehovah's Witness online study aid.(Special to WLBT)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 2:35 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As Jehovah’s Witnesses, many frontline workers across the state are turning to faith to help with burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Deaths from COVID-19 can be so random,” said Nicole Pace, a registered nurse from Holly Springs. “We’ve seen people come in with a small cough or a runny nose, who are otherwise healthy, that don’t recover like they should.”

“We can do everything we are supposed to do but still have a negative outcome at times.”

Pace is one of the countless numbers of nurses and other frontline medical personnel who have seen people die every day during the pandemic.

For those individuals, their religion has helped them cope.

“Prayer has played a huge role in enduring this,” Pace said. It helps me cope.”

Tina Villaneuva, a registered nurse from Brandon, was transferred from her normal job to a COVID-19 testing center early in the pandemic.

“Each day that I worked at the testing site, I was terrified of my potential exposure to the virus and that I could potentially be bringing it home to my husband,” she said.

Villanueva and her husband are combating the emotional strain of the outbreak by focusing on the emotional needs of others.

“We received permission to write to the health care workers, patients, and residents at these facilities,” she said. “It was very therapeutic for me to write to other health care workers, sharing scriptures that had helped me cope during that time.”

Lindsay Gruzdis, a Long Beach, Miss., paramedic, has struggled with depression over the course of the pandemic.

She said one Bible study aid, in particular, has helped her find relief from that depression.

“God has helped me find joy again,” she said.

Gruzdis also has been able to bond with other medical personnel “in our shared misery during the pandemic.”

“Having meaningful Bible discussions with them has strengthened my faith.”

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