How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7 ESV
Any of us who has been involved in nursing home ministry over the last three years, has lived through some heartbreaking events and faced challenges that we never imagined before. This has often left us scrambling to find new ways to continue to reach people who are in those closed facilities. Just as a carpenter carries more than one tool in his toolbox, so we need all kinds of different ways to present the gospel. One tool which God just “happened” to put on my heart not long before the pandemic, is a newsletter. Beginning as “Pastor Pete’s Newsletter” I passed these out at one facility as a little something extra. When Covid closed the doors to all three of the nursing homes where I had been visiting, I began emailing the newsletter to the activity directors. Thinking that the closures would be for only a few months I didn’t give much thought to making improvements, but months dragged on, and we passed Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas without any glimmer of hope for a return to normal. By the end of that year, God impressed on my heart to expand the newsletter outreach and just then several other people volunteered to help and together, we began to publish the “Sunshine Newsletter”. With three other writers and one graphic artist we have moved to a two-page color format and the distribution expanded to four facilities in Florida, five in New York and one in Ohio. Today I wanted to share three blessings that we have discovered.
Blessing number one is that the newsletter can go where we cannot. Isaiah’s verse tells if that publishing good news is what we are called to do. How we publish that news will depend on where we are and more importantly, where God is calling us to go. A newsletter is a valuable tool, but just as a cheap set of wrenches sell for $15, while another with a lifetime warrantee goes for $199, so the quality of our presentation matters. It will take an investment of your time and money to publish even a single page, but it will be worth it all if we can encourage, comfort and point people to Jesus in places where we are unable to go.
Secondly, our newsletter goes to people who have not come for our meetings. We are leaving our newsletter in the hands of friends who often share it with a roommate, a family member or even a member of the staff. In fact, many times we have encountered situations, where the staff take the time to read our newsletter out loud for the residents. Just as when the rain falls, everyone’s roof gets wet, so when we publish a newsletter, its message reaches people we never imagined.
Last of all, a newsletter serves as a durable reminder of the hope of Jesus. Once printed, it may sit on a nightstand for months, and just at the right time be available to be read again. One thing you might consider is including an email or a phone number that people can use to contact you for needs, prayer requests or suggestions. It has been rare, but there have been occasions when I was invited to visit someone new, because their friend contacted me by text or email. When we sow seeds in a wide path, we never know where they may grow! If anyone has questions, ideas or suggestions on this I would love to hear them. If you are interested in receiving Sunshine Newsletter, I’ll be happy to include you on our mailing list. You can contact me at Revpete51@gmail.com. We also are always looking for short devotional submissions, or personal inspiring stories of 250-300 words. God bless and have a good week everybody! Here is this week’s newsletter. They are free for you to print or to publish on social media.