Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Greetings to all our friends and supporters of the ministry of Christian Concourse with enthusiastic “Hallelujah’s” – “Glory be to the most high God!” We trust everyone has survived the Indian Summer (at least in the mid-Atlantic states) this fall in good shape. Other than the grass still needing to be cut in October, we are pretty much cruising in normal mode here in Norfolk, Virginia. “In normal mode” sure is an interesting phrase, isn’t it? What is normal? What’s “normal” for one may be way out of the norm for another.
Take a simple cup of coffee for example. If you travel much at all outside the United States, you will find that what is considered a “good” cup of coffee to folks in one country is nothing like what the people of another country think makes a good brew. The caffeine lovers of one country like their coffee brewed down to the consistency of Karo Syrup. In other countries when they offer you coffee you will be served what is actually a thick, very bitter liquid with chunks in it. For that matter, you really don’t have to go overseas to find an unusual cup of java: just ask any Navy Chief to bring you a cup from their pot on the ship in the Chief’s Mess and you will probably gag on it!
Enough about coffee. What we are really talking about is the different ideas people have about what is “normal.” Isn’t it a coincidence that “change” and “strange” rhyme? We are creatures of habit. A shake-up of our routine can throw us way off kilter.
Our dear friends who live in local care centers have had their lives turned upside down by an illness or injury or the ravages of age. In any case, they are dealing with a level of change that is easy for us “outside” to take for granted. To us, it is often a matter for our sympathy, but to them the changes imposed on them can be emotionally shattering and psychologically devastating. And this devastation is not the only component of their suffering.
Imagine falling off the back porch one afternoon, tripping over the big tabby weaving affectionately around your feet. You lie in untold agony on the ground for hours with a broken hip until your neighbor sees you. You survive an operation to pin your bones back together, but a drug resistant infection keeps you in the hospital 20 more days. When you are released, you are sent to a local nursing home for rehab because you live alone. There you discover your roommate has dementia and constantly screams obscenities. After six weeks you are told you cannot go home because you will never walk again as a result of the damage from the infection. Your daughter visits when she can but she lives an hour away and can’t miss work. She’s a single mom with three children still at home. This is what we mean by a nursing home resident having their life turned upside down.
This all may sound far fetched, but if you visit nursing home residents very often you will discover more than one story like this in every facility. Most of us cannot imagine what their “normal” day is like now. It is a far cry from what average folks would consider tolerable. It is to these suffering people that God has called many of us to minister.
If you feel a tug in your heart to volunteer in a local long-term care facility, please prayerfully consider the Lord’s will in the matter. Though you may feel helpless to provide any real relief to such tragic circumstances, if God sends you, He will use you in many wonderful ways. Just make yourself available for nursing home ministry and watch Jesus do the rest!
We know that not everyone is called to this mission field. There are many avenues of ministry open to God’s children. We deeply appreciate each one of you who may not go to nursing homes but you see what we are doing in the ministry of Christian Concourse and want to help us with your prayers and your financial support. We thank you and bless you in the name of Jesus Christ.