My grandmother moved to an Assisted Living / Skilled Nursing facility during the past year. Although it was a difficult decision, it has been such a blessing in her life and has really changed the quality of her days. During my recent visit to Texas, I have been able to visit with her on numerous occasions.
My grandmother has found a new purpose in life. She has her own special form of ministry to several of the other
residents. I witnessed her as she helped one elderly man who is frequently confused and scared. The staff actually comes and gets my grandmother when they can’t get him to calm down and focus. Gama is able to talk him down and restore some peace in his mind. Another resident is afraid to go to dinner because she gets disoriented and can’t find the dining room or can’t find her way back to her room. But she WILL go to the dining room if my grandmother will go with her and help her stay on course. While in the elevator one day, a visitor stopped to ask Gama if she would be sure to go by his mother’s room and get her before chapel time. These connections and relationships seem to have given my grandmother new meaning. She is needed. She is making a difference in the lives of others.
Last week, a new resident came to live at the home. Gama was concerned for her. Miss Sara only speaks Spanish. She can’t communicate with the nurses or with the other residents. She is confused and frustrated and sad. Her daughter comes to see her some, and she can help translate for her when she is there. But the majority of the time, poor Miss Sara is “alone” in an English-speaking world. Gama was worried about her.
We went to visit Gama today and we were able to meet Miss Sara. Since we are Spanish-speakers, we were able to sit and talk to her for a while. The nurses were able to talk to her, through us, to ask her some questions about her hobbies and desires. My daughter, also named Sarah, was able to bring Miss Sara some of that special joy that only children can bring to the elderly. Yes, Miss Sara is sad and lonely, confused and frustrated. We will be visiting with her more in the coming days.
We’ll try to help the staff a little and try to make some connections that will ease Miss Sara’s transition into this new step in her life. I’m glad we are able to speak to her in her heart-language and bring a little comfort to her.
Ministry is everywhere. My family happens to serve as missionaries in Peru, but we are also able to serve when we are in the States with people like Miss Sara. My Gama is serving in her everyday life in her new home. Take some time today to consider where it is that you are serving, or where you might be able to serve. You might consider going to visit at your local nursing home. Maybe there is a Miss Sara out there who desperately needs someone like you today.
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!