This note marks thirty years of full-time Christ-centered ministry in service to the interdenominational Christian community in the Hampton Roads area, throughout the United States, and to several other countries around the world! O how faithful God has been! In spite of all the many shortcomings on our side of the equation, Jesus has proven himself merciful, generous, forgiving and kind as we sought to follow Him. We had to depend on Him for every day of health with a clear mind, for every practical resource, for every open door for outreach – especially since He made it obvious from the beginning that this was His ministry, not ours. There is no room within the scope of this letter to list all the miracles, all the glorious occasions the Lord has shown up “just in time,” all the marvelous nursing home missionaries we have had the privilege to meet and help along their way, all the mature Christian friends He has brought across our path to counsel and encourage us! The list goes on and on.
Maybe, beside the gifts of salvation and a loving relationship with our Savior, the greatest blessing we have experienced in the past thirty years is to have met so many of His precious gems living in the care facilities we have ministered in. This may be the greatest joy of nursing home ministry: getting to touch the lives and encourage the faith of Christ’s saints who live there. And every now and then He allows us to look into the beauty and grace within their heart that He has nurtured and polished by His love and kindness to His glory.
It is humbling and glorious to look into the joyful eyes of one of God’s faithful children who has weathered the struggles, the failures and successes of education, marriage, work, mortgages and relationships, and even now remains victorious in the face of suffering at the end of their natural life, suffering that the rest of us can only imagine. We have known many who were anxious to move on to see their Master face to face. To many of them the trappings of this natural life no longer have the magnetism we all know so well. To many of them, their own concerns and struggles are not as important to them as the well-being of the staff and visitors who enter their room. To many of them, prayer is a constant preoccupying communion with their loving Father.
We cannot put a number on how many of Father God’s “little ones” we have sung and testified and sermonized to over the years. But we have seen time and time again, though we are tired or distracted when we start, the Holy Spirit just pours Himself out upon them as we bumble along “leading the service.” Little withered bodies sit up erect. Expressionless eyes become alert and attentive. Confused muttering becomes melodious harmony to the tune of “Amazing Grace.” It brings tears to our eyes as we reflect on it. What an incredible, monumental honor it is to bless the souls of saints! And only God knows how many He has used us to be the catalyst for Him to open their eyes to the glory of the truth of the Gospel and faith in Jesus Christ!
Thirty years have flown by. Who knows what God has in store for the coming years. One thing is for sure, we are thankful and humbled beyond measure as He continues to sustain and minister to and through us – for His glory and the sake of His Kingdom in earth. Hallelujah!
We would be remiss if we did not gratefully acknowledge the crucial role that our supporters have had in this mission field. Those of you who have sustained us in ministry with your prayers and your financial support must know that we deeply appreciate your sacrifice. May God richly reward you for your care and your faithfulness.
Jerry and Dar Johnson