Missions to the Elderly



My first experience at a nursing home was as a teenager with a church youth group. There’s no easy way to say this… but I was pinched in the butt by an 80 year old man in a wheel chair shouting, “hey, honey buns!,” at me. Needless to say, I never did go back.

As an adult, now with small children and a father with Parkinson’s, I saw a need to expose myself and my children to the elderly and the sick. At first, I started for reasons of fear. I was truly fearful of what future God had in mind for my children and their relationships with their grandparents and I sought to prepare us all. I thought, “I had better train them to interact with the elderly and mentally / physically ill people”. I knew if I

didn’t, they would be like me and not know what to say to “them”. They would grow up and be incapable of holding a conversation with anyone who was OLD, let alone drooling. Although, if asked, I would have said I was doing it to be “missional”, because that was the “right” answer. Simply put, God had not done that work in my heart yet.

As of today, I have been robbed for about three weeks now. “Of what,” you ask.  To tell you the truth…an absolute pure joy in my life! It’s something I depend on each week!  My children have all been sick and because of that, I have been unable to see some of the dearest people to me.

Mary…I know the very first question she will ask me is, “how old is the baby?,” even though I tell her each time I see her and about a dozen times within that visit.

And, Carmela has the hottest temper.  She can give a sailor a run for his money, but she melts when she sees my children.

Rose with her baby doll….as if she is snuggling a real infant. She is never without it. Oh, and girls!, don’t even try to take it from her!

And, sweet Mr. Jim…even though one of the last times we visited he got a little fresh with me and gnawed on my shoulder in the most inappropriate way (no joke), I really long to see him each week.  More so, he longs to see us each week. He does this weird whistle thing whenever he sees us come in. I love that guy with all my heart.

I went there to satisfy an obvious need, in my mind, for my family. Now, I realize that I am filling a void for these people. I learned to love the people I thought I could not. Now when I look at them in pain, lonely, and broken…my heart can’t help but say, “They need Jesus!”  Do you hear it?  There’s the mission!  They…Need…Jesus.

That work in my heart has begun. And GOD did it.

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