Summer – 1973 – Midwest, USA
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” James 1:27
My sister, Marsha, asked the director of the nursing home, where we both worked this summer, for permission to have a Bible study for the patients on our day off. The director agreed so we had our first Bible study today. Before this, I only saw the patients asleep at night under their white bedspreads in their dark rooms. With amazement, I stared at them now dressed in street clothes. We walked room to room and invited each person to come to the Bible study in the lounge. We gathered about 20 residents and began. Marsha led them in singing a few hymns while I accompanied them on my violin. They sang with gusto their favorite hymn.
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
by Joseph Scriven
Then Marsha read the story from John 3 of Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler, who came to Jesus at night. Jesus said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 She carefully explained God’s wonderful plan of salvation. After concluding with John 3:16, she encouraged each one to receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior if they had not already done so.
Afterward, white-haired Mary came to me in her wheelchair with a bright smile on her face. “I received Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was a girl. It was so wonderful to hear the Bible lesson today and sing the hymns I learned when I was young. I can’t see well enough to read anymore, so thank you for reading God’s word today.” What a privilege God gave us to minister to these elderly residents today.
Over a year ago, I heard of a need for help at a nursing home ministry near me. Once a month I helped gather the residents in the lounge once again and then play and sing a couple hymns on my mountain dulcimer.
We sang Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee and I shared one of my favorite verses, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.“ Phil. 4:4. I asked if they knew where Paul lived when the Holy Spirit inspired him to pen these words? They shook their heads, No. “In prison. Do you ever feel like you are in prison in your wheelchair?” They nodded. “We can always rejoice in the Lord no matter how dark the valley because God is with us. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.”
When I wheeled Pauline back to her room, her eyes filled with tears. “Can I give you a hug and a kiss, Pam? Thanks so much for coming today to encourage me.” My eyes filled with tears also as she kissed me on both cheeks.
I thank Him for our seasoned believers who have willingly shared with me over the years how God carried them through difficult times. May we all faithfully run the race today until we are home in heaven above and hear our Savior say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21
I look forward to returning to the nursing home after COVID is over. I miss visiting them and encouraging them to keep looking unto Jesus.