As a person diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age seven, this month’s featured Peace member has sought ways to help others with this disease. Continue reading to learn about how David Jopke is
living his vocation.
David was raised in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and now lives in Plymouth with Erin. Since he was a teenager, he has known that he wanted to help others who were living with diabetes. Like many teenagers, he struggled during those years to live with this disease, but he had a diabetes educator during that time who changed his life. “She treated me like a whole person rather than simply labeling and defining me by a disease.” After high school, he felt a pull toward a degree that would become a diabetes educator. However, the natural science portion of the degree curriculum put him off, and he pursued and earned a degree at Hamline University in Communication Studies. After graduation, David worked for two separate companies where he offered technical support to people using insulin pumps. In both cases, his position disappeared due to mergers and layoffs. After this second job ended, he decided to take the plunge and go back to school at Metropolitan State University to get his MSN in nursing. He worked at Methodist Hospital as a cardiac nurse and eventually transferred to the International Diabetes Center, where he provides diabetes education. He is now again in school at Metro State to obtain a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. He credits the love and encouragement of his wife, Erin, and the encouragement from his former manager – also an RN – to finally get past his self-imposed roadblocks and dare to retrain in a new field.
David says that the best part of his vocation is “helping people who live with diabetes to live their best life. This is especially true when people are struggling or when they are scared after initially being diagnosed. It simply comes down to being able to connect with others, meet them where they are at, and restore their belief in the ability to live full, healthy lives.” He loves that he has been able to provide care for others, much like what he himself has received. He does have frustrations with systemic issues, such as lack of insurance, medication costs, and the lack of access to healthy and affordable foods.
When asked how his faith connects with his vocation, he says that he finds that serving others, especially related to a population that he is uniquely qualified to serve, lies directly with his faith. “I believe that any gifts I have are a direct gift from God, and my vocation now is aligned with those gifts.” As much as a struggle as it has sometimes been to have diabetes, he notes that having the disease has helped him immensely with his vocation. This realization has strengthened his personal relationship with God and has sustained him when challenges have arisen.
In addition to his passion for diabetes education, David has another passion – singing. “Music is a part of my soul,” he says. Since joining a choir in middle school, he has been passionate about singing and performing in choirs. He began voice lessons in high school and continued with them through college. He now sings as a worship leader at Peace, as a member of the Adult Choir at Peace, and in the Oratorio Society of Minnesota. Once this busy man finishes school, he would like to learn a second language and improve his piano skills. Congratulations, David, for finding a path that has to lead you to fully living your vocation, and thank you for all you do!