Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3 ESV
If you have followed this blog, you know that I am involved in nursing home, not prison ministry. But the similarities between our two outreaches are many. Both our people live in a facility and have lost the ability to do a great many things. I am not sure what happened in the correctional system during Covid, but our nursing homes were in lockdown and with this latest wave those just when we thought things were getting back to normal, lockdowns have reappeared (surprise!) Some residents have been kept in their rooms, so as not to spread the virus, the rest have lost out on any kinds of group activities, including eating in the dining room. But one thing has not changed and that is the commandment of God to remember them. Now of course, remembering may simply mean, praying for them, sending cards or making phone calls. If you are already doing these things – BRAVO!
Years ago, we used to sing the Bill Gaither song, “I’m so Glad I’m a Part of the Family of God!” We all love the idea behind that song, because we all need to feel that we belong and that there are others around us who care about us. One dear sister who recently became a resident, showed what feeling loved meant. She beamed as she held up a small grocery bag, half filled with a few personal items. “Look what my friend picked up at the store for me!” she proudly stated. What was inside the bag was important, but more important was having one friend who she could trust to do some shopping. There is a desperate need for more people to be that friend to our brothers and sisters in long term care. You may say, “Well I would love to do nursing home ministry, but I am too busy with my family, job or my own health issues to do that right now.” In answer let me encourage you: I do visit several facilities each month and bring some music and I pray for people, but I am stretched thin. I can’t do all the shopping and the visiting, make the phone calls or send the cards. But people just like you can! Did you know that according to one study, more than 60% of those in nursing homes do not receive a single visit from a friend a family member or even a pastor over the period of an entire year?
So, for those who are wondering where to start? Today I am posting the first of a two-part series on answering that question. While I recorded this five years ago, the principles still apply today. Stay tuned tomorrow for part two!