Chaplain Pam Russell serves with the Capitol Commission in the Indiana statehouse in Indianapolis. She writes, “I am currently immersed in the frenetic energy of the Indiana General Assembly, 2015 Session.”
Pam is the founder and director of Almond Tree Ministry, the substance abuse counseling ministry of Bible Baptist Church, Kokomo, Ind.; a community service chaplain endorsed by Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries; and author of More than Sobriety: Resources for Biblical Substance Abuse Counseling and the forthcoming Addictions: A Family Affair, both publications of Regular Baptist Press.
She became involved in the Capitol Commission in 2010, then comprising only men, when the need arose for a woman to come alongside other women in the Capitol. With more women serving in the Capitol than ever before, the need was great. Pam found that ladies were eager to meet for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers and to share their burdens with her.
In April, her ladies’ Bible study gained newcomers, some who are already students of the Word and some who have had little to no teaching. “It is exciting to be able to clearly present the gospel to these precious women for whom Jesus died,” Pam says. “And they truly develop hearts for each other and pray for each other. It’s amazing what the Lord does with the scant weekly lunch hour that we have together.”
As Pam ministers to women holding elected office, legislative assistants, staffers, and interns, she finds that “many, like us, struggle with other things going on in their lives. They battle sickness, or have a loved one that does. They struggle being gone from home so much. Many know that God has called them to this task and this hour, and so they press on, but not without struggle.”
And the struggle isn’t exclusive to women. Pam relates, “One legislator received a phone call from home from two of his sons while he was on the House floor. They were panicking because the dishwasher was spewing water all over the kitchen! Where was Mom? They didn’t know. So this dad left the House floor to navigate his sons over the phone to find the shut-off valve and stop the flood! These things happen!”
On the third floor of the statehouse, Pam leads a biweekly Books and Bagels, offering free coffee, bagels, and Christian reading materials. She engages legislators, legislative assistants, staffers, and interns in conversation, with the aim of building relationships with them, and often prays with them. Pastors are also invited to join the group to get to know their legislators.
Building relationships also means stopping by legislators’ offices to ask how they and their families are doing and to pray with and for them. “I have even texted back and forth with a legislator while she was on the House floor, to encourage her and to pray for her as she worked. I have met quietly in the chapel with a legislator to pray for her to get her emotions in check before heading to the House floor. She had a sister very sick at home, and at the same time was to speak to an issue on the House floor.”
Please pray for Pam as she develops relationships with the women at the Indiana statehouse “for such a time as this.”