Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We send this letter out with thanksgiving and praise in our hearts to God Almighty; and with deep appreciation to you who support us with your prayers and your financial help. Dar and I are encouraged and humbled by God’s amazing grace, His loving-kindness and His watchful provision in our hearts and our circumstances. And we are likewise humbled by your faithful, loving care and generosity as you are participating with our Lord as instruments of His love to us. Again, we say thank you!
We are also blessed by another wonderful gift the Father has given us in our mission: He permits us to minister to His precious children who live in nursing homes! He has called and empowered us to bless them with chapel services and with free Christian ministry materials and with care package items, certainly. But, we are honored and privileged to be on the receiving end as witnesses of their joy and their faith and their perseverance. And, such character and tenacity in the face of such opposition and hardship is a huge testimony and solid evidence of God’s wondrous love and care for them in their struggles.
We do well to contemplate how strong they must be in their walk with God to maintain their composure and poise! Even more so, we would be wise to open our eyes to see how gracious and meek and lowly our Heavenly Father is to hold them in His loving hand to sustain them in circumstances that most of us can only imagine (if only we will stop and think about it!). They have lost their dignity. Their pride has been assailed. Just about everything they ever valued and treasured has been reduced to the contents of a small cabinet at the foot of their bed. They are in the care of people whom they do not know. Their children are often making most of the important decisions about their circumstances. Most of their friends and many of their closest family have either passed, live too far away, or are too feeble themselves to visit. They are lonely and seldom does anyone from their home church ever visit.
But they hold on to their faith in Jesus. Like a lifeline in the midst of a raging sea they tenaciously profess the Lordship of Christ. You will hear them complain sometimes (who wouldn’t?). You might catch them with a tear on their cheek. Occasionally, they seem confused and forgetful. But just put a little hymn booklet in their hands and ask them to turn to page 6 and sing with you “Amazing Grace”! My, my, my! The glow of love for God and gratefulness for His mercy and deep, deep thanks for His saving Grace…it all comes rushing from their hearts to their faces. Often the tears of suffering turn to tears of joy! It all brings to mind this passage from Habakkuk in chapter 3, verses 17-19:
Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle — even then, I will be happy with the LORD. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me. The LORD Almighty is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer. He makes me walk on the mountains. (God’s Word Version)
What an opportunity with eternal implications that He gives all of us with the invitation to participate with Him in the encouragement of their faith in Christ! Thanks again for each of you playing a part.
With Love In Christ,
Jerry and Dar Johnson