Some American volunteers are dead, or should be as energetic as they are dead, but never quit.
This was the case with veteran American volunteers Bill and Susan Bartnes of Illinois.
In their 70s, they advise fellow volunteers who may be tired of doing well. The best hasn’t come yet. “
“If you do your best, your volunteer life will get better and better,” Bertness said from his home on January 10, 2022.
It’s not that hard, and there are no challenges in volunteering.
There was a time when Bill lay in a hospital in a cage, tied to a foreign concrete slab, and a bucket of water was thrown at him to wash away the blood.
To make matters worse, he was in the terminal ward of a Dutch hospital and was not expected to live.
“Yes, that was pretty hard,” Bill said. “It happened in 1974 when Susan and I were volunteering in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, helping young hippie drug addicts get their lives back.”
Burtnesses has already emigrated to Switzerland, where he received three months of basic volunteer training.
They were recruited by one of the speakers to go to the Dila Lamb House in Amsterdam, where volunteers were stationed.
“We lived in two 50-foot boats struck together at Steiger 14 in a community of about 50 people, and we were there in volunteer paradise,” Susan said. Bartness said.
“People were able to visit and talk about their life concepts and problems. Some were able to travel directly to the boat with staff for several months for long-term assistance. That’s how most addicts kicked heroin. “
She said life was simple.
“We all ate together, talked in groups, and helped each other.
It was so great that I didn’t mind not getting in the way of the extras. It didn’t really matter.
“It was great to see these young people come back to life and see a brand new light in their eyes. They sometimes looked miscellaneous and unfriendly, but we came to know them and they It was like a brand new creation to us. There is nothing comparable to it. Nothing. “
But one night, there was a time when their heaven turned into a kind of hell.
“I caught a cold because it was winter,” he said. “I got sick with spinal meningitis. I had a seizure and had a clean bite on my lips. I was smeared with my blood.
“They threw a bucket of water at me just to clean me. It’s good that I got out of it and don’t remember much.”
But, as Susan Bartnes remembers, she remembers too well.
“Bill’s face was so hurt because he bit his lips so much that I couldn’t recognize him,” she said.
“He lay in a concrete slab straitjacket because they were injecting the last drug directly into his brain.
“They were trying to save him and couldn’t do it. All we could do was pray. Now we were the ones in need.”
The doctor tried whatever he could think of to get rid of the two abscesses in his brain and heal, but nothing helped. They finally moved him to the terminal ward and told Susan Bartness to prepare for the worst.
To make it even more desperate, she discovered that he was pregnant with his first child a few days before he became ill.
“I was here hoping my husband would die and I was alone with my child. I was thousands of miles away from my house. I was desperate.”
To make it even darker, if it was possible, it was her shocking memory the night two weeks before he was taken to the hospital.
“The night they rushed to the hospital, there was a storm of wind barking,” she said. “It was pitch black outside. The two boats were plunging into the pier over and over again.
“Suddenly the electricity went out and all the windows on the deck we lived in opened and shattered into pieces.
“The boat was released from the mooring and we were drifting into the sea.
“At the same time Bill was screaming” my head! My head! ‘Everyone who was able to get the ship back was out of the dock before it floated in the harbor. No one could help us. “
After the staff and guests returned the boat to the pier, Bill Bartness hurried to the hospital.
“I was just trying to figure out the situation and do my best,” said Susan Bartnes.
“I broke. It was a very scary moment. It literally seemed like a rope of death was entwining me. Like a torrent of destruction around me. All I could do was pray. did.”
The relationships they have built in Switzerland have now given them friends from all over the world.
“They were praying for us too,” said Susan Bartnes. “They sent me a note and called me, which was very encouraging. Without such support from other volunteers who understood us, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that. It was. “
Meanwhile, Bill Bartnes was expected to die of the remaining desperate illness in his ward.
“I remember late at night when people in our ward heard curses and crying,” he said. “For some reason, I got up and went to their bed and prayed for those poor people. I don’t remember much after that.”
Bill Bartness left the terminal ward shortly thereafter. He was the only patient who came out of the room alive.
The doctor’s verdict on Susan Bartnes said, “We didn’t do this. When we see a miracle, we know it.”
But Bill Bartness was different now.
“He was alive and walking, but had a child’s heart,” said Susan Bartnes. “We returned to Illinois. Bill slept 18 hours a day and recovered.”
He was different again when he woke up from sleep.
“Now he started reading, reading and reading,” said Susan Bartnes. “He read a book he had never read. A book of deep concepts about philosophy, leadership, theology, and government.
“He started writing lessons about what he was learning. He had never done that before. He wasn’t a teacher. He’s an electrician and his strengths are It was mathematics, not philosophy. “
Bill Bartnes began to create a homeschool curriculum for his children, now three, and a few years later, for the children and their friends.
Soon he distributed the curriculum to interested people throughout the United States. Some private schools have also started using them. He published his research notes at his own expense and began distributing them.
“It wasn’t clear where this would lead,” said Bill Bartnes, but the study was very fascinating and people seemed very happy with the curriculum and notes. Then little money was brought to us, but that wasn’t a problem. “
Then, in 2000, a volunteer trip to Kosovo built a freshwater well, which changed their lives. They didn’t know that, but years of preparation were about to pay off.
“A doctor who also volunteers in Kosovo got a memo of my vanity press and handed it to the regent of Pristina University,” said Bill Bartnes.
“This doctor had a luncheon. Regent was impressed with the notes and said the doctor closed his mouth.” And Bill wants to teach this as a college course. “I I was shocked. I never said or thought about such a thing. I looked at the doctor and said, “Are you sure?” He said, “Yes! You do!”
The regent agrees, “We can arrange it. When will it be available?”
The offer was beyond what they could think and imagine.
“It was the only time I was even talked about teaching college-level classes. They paid us, gave us an apartment and a travel allowance. We took on the job. “
12 students changing countries
Class, the basis of American political thought was not a big splash.
“There were only 12 students in the first semester, but I jumped into it because I thought” 12 people can make big changes. ” “
“We frankly told our students that the original source of American political thought was the Bible,” Bill Bartness said.
“I made it clear that I would study the Bible and understand what the Bible says about avoiding autonomy, tyranny, anarchy, and maintaining personal and national freedom across generations. rice field.
“I wasn’t talking about religion, I was talking about government philosophy. I told them,” If you don’t want to study the Bible, this class isn’t for you. ” rice field.
Those 12 students stayed and made major changes to the class.
“They brought their friends and there were 25 students next semester,” said Bill Bartnes.
“The word-of-mouth brought together 60 students in the next semester. Then 110. Then 300 students. Immediately, my wife stood in front of the door and people knocked on the door with the door closed. The foundation of the Bible in the American Political Thought class was a great success. “
However, along with the apartment to live in and the travel allowance, the promise of payment was not fulfilled.
“The college was tied to cash and they didn’t have the money,” said Bill Bartnes.
“But long before our time in Amsterdam, we were accustomed to moving forward with less to do more.
Volunteering has always been in our hearts, an opportunity to shape the country with future leaders and help them maintain freedom and freedom with little knowledge of their preciousness. “
Susan Bartness agreed.
“These young students asked us for directions. They were very eager to learn. They were sweet people and wanted to know how they should live. We wanted them. I couldn’t say “no” to. “”