Over ten years ago I attended a Bible study that was held at a local assisted living facility. That is where I met one of the residents and became friends with Mary. I followed Mary every time she switched living facilities. I wanted Mary to know that she was not alone and that I was there for her.
Mary and I had many talks over the years she spent in assisted living and finally the nursing home. We were each other's cheerleader. We talked about Bible passages, sermons, the books we read together, church newsletters and about our families. She prayed for the people at the nursing home, her caregivers and their families, her daughters and for my family. I prayed for God to give Mary strength, patience, confidence and hope in her final years. I prayed for her daughters who rarely came to see her, for her roommate who went for a drive with her son one day and ended up being drop off at the nursing home, and for all the caregivers who served the patients faithfully and put smiles on their faces.
Mary spent her final years talking to her caregivers and fellow patients about God, while handing out Portals of Prayer Devotional books (in English and Spanish) to everyone who wanted one. On Christmas and Easter she would hand out Christian tracts (in English and Spanish). On other holidays, she would pass out cards and bookmarks I had made with Bible verses on them. She also gave away Christian books that she had read. These opportunities allowed her to talk to others about their faith.
I received a call today from the social worker at the Nursing Home where Mary was residing. She called to tell me that Mary received her Crown of Glory this morning. I was happy for Mary, for she had longed to be with our Heavenly Father but I am missing my friend.
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 4-7)
The week before Mary passed away she had been reading an inspirational book and had it out on a table by her bed next to her Bible. The social worker had often been offered devotional books, but always declined the offer. On the day Mary received her Crown of Glory, the social worker saw the book and picked it up. She has decided to read it. I guess Mary got to give out one more book. To God be the Glory!
As I talked with the social worker, we told stories back and forth about how God had touched our lives. She relived moments at the nursing home where she was able to talk to and bring the word of God to the dying. It was a healing conversation for both of us, full of God’s promises.
I never got to be with my mother in her final days, but I was privileged to be able to help a friend in her final years. It was a gift to both of us.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the many friendships you have bestowed upon me. Thank you for the many opportunities that you give me to share the saving grace of the Gospel with others. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that guides me and gives me courage, to tell others that you put in my path, about our Lord and Savior, Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen.
Pacific Southwest District
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Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!