Dear Precious Saints,
Greetings in the name of Jesus. Let us take a moment to marvel at the blessings the Lord pours upon His children out of His bountiful supply in Heaven: His long-suffering, His peace, His joy, His strength, His patience, His kindness, His love….it goes on and on doesn’t it!?! No wonder Paul exclaimed, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, REJOICE!!!” (Phil. 4:4 NKJV).
We invite you to rejoice with us in the grace of God as He opens door after door for us to be instruments of blessing and encouragement to those who live in nursing homes and those who are committed to nursing home ministry.
In our labor for the Lord in the LTC arena we try to communicate to volunteers that we must make an effort to identify with the unique struggles faced by those in institutional care. For example, we are creatures of habit and we usually develop our habits based on our personal preferences – our likes and dislikes. Diet, sleep, entertainment, bodily functions, personal hygiene, and thermostat settings are just some of the areas in which we hone our habits into a deeply seated way of life. As we age there is a natural conflict between our comfort level and the changes imposed by time. Old Man Time delivers circumstances that are forced upon us against our own choosing – financial changes due to retirement, physical impairment due to health changes, family changes due to deaths, marriages, divorces, and maturing children. Often we have little or no control over the timing or the magnitude of these changes…they just happen.
So, just in the arena of unwanted, uncontrollable changes, age naturally imposes a significant challenge to us all. Now…factor in the relatively sudden decision that the only viable option for a person is that they move into a nursing home! All of a sudden all of the major areas of their way of life are compromised. Despite the best efforts of administrators and staff, they have little or no practical control over the decision making processes affecting many of their personal preferences. In many ways, it is like a death. All of a sudden they have lost their home, their natural social network, their financial stability, their sense of security, much less their control of the thermostat, what’s for supper, or when to take a shower and how warm the water will be. And what can we say of the multiplied hardships of loneliness, isolation, depression and fear thrust upon the care center population when infectious diseases like the flu or COVID-19 attack their facility? We are constrained by the love of God to think about their plight!
If you have a heart for Christian ministry in a care facility, you are a caring person. Your care reflects the love of Jesus for those who cannot care for themselves. We cannot stop all the suffering and depression that LTC residents endure, but those able to visit a facility can carry that weight with them for the time they are honored to be there. They can cheer the residents with a reminder of the message of God’s love and His free provision for their salvation! And we all can intercede for them in sincere prayer, with the confidence of knowing that our Heavenly Father has a special place in his heart for widows in their affliction (James 1:27).
We count it a great privilege to be of some encouragement to Christian volunteers in nursing home ministry all over the country through our website and our ministry materials. It is such a blessing to share the experiences and the lessons we have learned in 30 years of full-time LTC ministry. You help us with your prayers and your financial support. We could not do what we do without your sacrifice. We thank you with all our heart and we pray God’s blessings upon you.
Jerry and Dar Johnson