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When life doesn’t go as expected

Right at Home offers new opportunities for those facing health challenges

When tragedy strikes, many people’s first thoughts might be “Why me, Lord?” or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “Lord, what did I do to deserve this?” Sometimes, in such a crisis, the faithful work of other people can bring about health and healing.
Kim Stender was a controller at a couple of auto dealerships for 25 years. She had been “married” to her job for so many years that her dream of becoming a wife and mother hadn’t been fulfilled. “I decided to do something about the part of my dream I could control and, over the years, adopted three internationally-born children, including one with multiple special needs.
“My youngest was not yet two when, at 45 years of age, I suffered a stroke,” Stender told Metro Lutheran. It left her unable to speak, use her right side, or process information correctly. “When I was discharged from the hospital, the plan was for me to go to a nursing home for extensive therapy. [But] I couldn’t go; I needed to get back home to my kids. I wasn’t able to care for them, but they still needed me and I needed them.”

The stroke left her unable to speak, use her right side, or process information correctly.

With the help of friends — the majority of them from Victory Lutheran Church (LCMS), in Eden Prairie — Minnesota, Stender was able to go home. Her fellow congregants provided meals for her family, kept their house clean, did laundry, helped the kids with homework, tucked them into bed, and came back early the next morning to start it all again. They provided Stender with rides to therapy and waited to bring her home again.
Stender said, “I truly believe that it was their care and concern that made it possible for me to recover to where I am today. All the while this was going on, I was wondering how I was ever going to pay back these people for their love and dedication to my family, and at the same time watching others who didn’t seem to have this same support.”

Paying it forward

By April 2007, Stender had recovered enough to return to her job at the dealership. But recession was just beginning to take its toll; lay-offs were starting. “My job was eliminated,” Stender explained. “I was now without income, without a vehicle, as I had driven a company car for 25 years, and without health insurance for my children or me.
“Through a lot of prayer and soul searching, God, in his wonderful mercy, brought me where I am today.” Stender started a regional franchise of the company Right at Home. “This company allows me to pay back all those who helped me by ‘paying it forward.’” Right at Home provides in home non-medical services to elderly and disabled adults. Professional caregivers/homemakers provide services such as cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, errands, med reminders, and transportation.
Stender understands the barriers faced by people who have medical struggles. She explained, “I know what it is like to suddenly not be able to do these tasks for yourself. I know what it’s like to be the one who always cared for others and now need that kind of care. I understand, I get it.”
But even that is not the final word for her. “Through tragedy, God has brought me to exactly the place I was meant to be. God doesn’t say the pathway will be easy or smooth, but he does say he will guide us through it! Right at Home is here to help make the pathway a little smoother.”
For more information on Right at Home, contact Stender at 763/559-9733 or go to its website at

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