The good news is we are expanding little by little in our outreach to the nursing home community in our area. This month we are invited to begin bringing music to the memory care people at Watermark in Trinity Florida.
Today I am grateful that God has continued to supply a few faithful workers. His promise is that He will remember every sparrow. May our hearts be tuned to sing His praise so they can hear!
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5 NKJV
Hi! “I’m Helen*. I’m from Kaiser Valley!” she greets me every week. Helen (not her real name) is perky, funny, and she now lives in
the Alzheimer’s ward at the nursing home I visit. Helen has an amazing memory for the verses of all the hymns. For most of her life, Helen attended church,sang in the choir, gave her offerings and like so many others she never once receives a visit from her pastor.
Being a pastor isn’t an easy job. Most people don’t understand the pressures, the demands and the temptations that we face every week. But pastors are also shepherds and as shepherds we are called to help to take care of sheep. Some sheep pay their tithes faithfully, dress nicely and shake our hands to tell us they loved the message. But some sheep lose their way. In this parable Jesus is talking about a lost sheep just like my friend Helen from Kaiser Valley. She is a sheep who has wandered off a little too far. One day she looked around and the rest of the flock was gone! There were no familiar landmarks. She cannot find anyone to help her find her way home. What all the Helens and Bobs and Alices and Marys need are shepherds who will come looking for them. Do not take this message as just another guilt trip, but rather as a gentle encouragement to remember how joyful it is when Jesus finds any one of us. Remember that the business of finding lost sheep is a great joy for both the shepherd and the sheep!
One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. Acts 13:2-3
The next few years will see exciting new opportunities about to open up to people involved in nursing home ministry. The question is will we be ready to go? One Abc news report states that there are 100 projects underway for Alzheimer’s and Dementia communities based on the experimental faux village in Holland. These micro-communities will have barber shops, ice cream parlors and bus stops. The challenge for those of us involved as chaplains, volunteers or regular visitors to traditional nursing homes is who will open the first church in such a setting? If we leave it to the government or the for profit corporations rushing into this lucrative field I think we all know the answer. Today is not too soon. Just as in the day of the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit is calling some of us to prepare for the work to which God has called us to bring not just awakening of memories but awakening of a real message of hope. Now is the time to prepare. Please feel free to enter the conversation. Be blessed this week as you go!
There is already operating such a model city in Holland for Alzheimer’s patients and this one in San Diego is just the first of 100 proposed in the United States. What is your take on this concept? I would love to hear back especially from others who deal regularly with real life situations involving loved ones with Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s. Is this a great new concept or just one more step of separation between us and people who are living with memory challenges?