The Widow’s Mite or the Widow’s Might in Christ?
by Chris Herman
This is a story from Carol Herman that captures much of what God has been doing at St. Lazarus Mission.
Just to be fair, I am warning you that this will be a long post about nursing home ministry.
Share in our Joy.
My husband and I love ministering to and with folks who live in nursing homes. It is our joy which is often accompanied with many sorrows. Today, however, was one of those days that brought us great encouragement and giant smiles.
There is a lady at Livingston Care Center who, though asked repeatedly, would not come to our Sunday afternoon church service. I will call her “Janice” (not her real name.) For about a year, my husband asked her to come, but was always answered with a straightforward “No.” Then one day, Janice rolled her wheelchair to the doorway of the where the service was held and just hung back as an observer. We continued asking her to join us, but was given the familiar “No.” This went on for another year. Fast forward to about May of last year, my husband began a ministry of annointing with oil to any who asked. This somehow struck a chord in Janice, and she approached Fr. Chris for anointing and prayer. This pattern of coming in for prayer at the end of the service continued off and on for another year…until today.
Hang in there, I told you this would be long.
Another story, yet related. There is another lady at Livingston that has been with us since last spring. She and her son attend church with us every week. I will call her “Mavis” for our purposes. One Sunday, Mavis became unually animated during worship. She clapped her hands and moved her feet. In speaking with her after the service, we joked around that she would be great with a tamborine. Another resident picked up on that comment and suggested we have many tambourines. That idea deeply resonated with me. Why not allow the residents to participate more fully in worship through musical instruments? Duh!? It promptly went on my To-Do list, and did not get done.
May 10th, 2015.
On May 10th, we received an anniversary card from Mavis and her son. I gave my thanks and tucked it in my bag. Chris and I did not open the card until later that day. To our amazement, along with the well wishes, was a check. A check intended to bless us on our 24th anniversary. We were immensely humbled. We knew it was a financial sacrifice to gift us the money. We sat on it for days, wondering what to do with the check. Finally, we had the idea to buy a tambourine. To my surprise, I was able to buy exactly TWO quality tambourines with the money. We were happy, and shared our news with Mavis and her son. They were thrilled, as well.
Last Sunday, Janice did her usual “sneak in at the end and get prayer.” When she did, she saw me introduce the two new tambourines to Mavis. Janice’s face then lit up like the Fourth of July! Janice said, “I used to play the tambourine at my church!!” Being the opportunist I can be, I quickly retorted with a, “Janice, if you come to church next week at the beginning of the service, I will give you one of the tambourines to play.” She agreed. I was not convinced she would show up on time.
I was wrong. Thankfully.
Today, Mavis showed up at the beginning of the service. She stayed for the whole service and did a beautiful job with the tambourine! It was exciting to see! I wish you all could have seen it for yourselves.
All this to say…a widow’s mite was the seed that brought a soul back to church. It doesn’t get any better than that. Just because you are elderly, or just because you are in a nursing home, does not mean that God can’t use you to restore His people.
Today was a good day. Praise the Lord!
Thanks for reading.
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