Like a Home Coming!

On my first time into Watermark Assisted Living since the beginning of the pandemic, it was great hearing my friends sing, taking their requests for songs and finding out that one elderly lady took on leading Bible studies once a week since they had been closed down. We often hear or even say things about God being in control but it is amazing to actually see how He has been doing it!

Here I am visiting after the service. We actually had a full room during our time of singing and prayer

Here is a photo of just visiting with some of my friends at Watermark after church. The room was almost full during our first church meeting we have had after 14 months of COVID. What a blessing. If you have been vaccinated, live in the North Tampa area and would like to help out let me know. For now we have been invited to meet every other Sunday at 11 AM. God has been faithful! So much to tell but space will not allow here!

For One

Some years ago my friend Darryl suffered a major stroke. This was the worst in a series of strokes each leaving him weaker and so this time after a brief hospital stay, he was moved into a nursing home. At our church we often prayed for Darryl, but for me praying just wasn’t enough. I knew that God wanted me to visit. I did work in the city where Darryl was staying and passed fairly close to his nursing home on my way home, but each time the thought came to my mind, I gave the Lord a different excuse of why that day wouldn’t work. I was too tired, my clothes were too dirty, or I was way too busy! It is amazing how creative I could be in avoiding God’s will. But the Holy Spirit was gently persistent. He just wouldn’t take “ No” for an answer. Every day God would remind me again that I needed to visit Darryl. Finally after weeks of procrastinating I gave in. So that morning I brought with me a fresh change of clothes and after clocking out at four-thirty I cleaned up in the wash room and changed. Half an hour later when I entered Darryl’s room and saw his face and the face of his wife Beverly, God’s peace settled in my heart and I knew something special was beginning.

One visit became a regular weekly get together and at Darryl’s request, I began to bring along my guitar to play a couple of songs for him. Soon other residents joined us for the singing and over a period of a time we began an informal prayer meeting. Like the opening of a rose changes came gradually, one petal at a time as one opportunity led to another. The staff gave us a small activity room for our meeting but sometimes we were preempted by a nurse’s meeting and on others only a one or two people would show up. On one of my most discouraging days as I was leaving to go home I found myself alone in the elevator complaining to God. Once the doors closed the Lord clearly spoke and asked me a simple question, “Would you do it just for one?”

I suddenly felt ashamed and remembered that Jesus had left the crowds to meet one rejected man who was wandering through graveyards at night and cutting himself with stones. Jesus had made the longest journey of His life to visit a Gentile woman and bring deliverance to her child. Little did I know that when I answered “Yes”, to Jesus just before those elevator doors opened that 25 years of nursing home ministry and hundreds of “Only ones” were waiting for me on the other side.

Today in the midst of this Covid-19 crisis the homes have all been closed. Not even family can get in to visit their parents. This disease has created a wall that feels more impenetrable than the iron curtain. But all is not lost! We still can pray. We can still call on the phone; send video messages, cards, flowers and small gifts. We can sit outside windows and blow kisses and as we do whatever God gives us to do remember the question, “Would You do it for One….Would you do it for me?”

Caregiver Devotional Give-away

With this Covid-19 crisis now dragging on into mid-July the issues for those in Long Term care have changed from being a temporary adjustment to a near permanent situation. Visits through the window, masks and tearful good-byes are what is now accepted as the new normal. These emotional, physical and spiritual challenges on those who are caregivers and staff are equal to or in some cases even greater than on those in need of care.

I wrote Grace For the Road as a devotional first aid kit to encourage and point you to Jesus Christ the healer and caregiver of us all. Drawing on my three decades of service as a volunteer chaplain I have included as many real life stories as I can. This Monday through Friday you can download the e-book format at the low low price of free! You may follow the link below or search for it on Amazon.com under Grace for the Road: Devotions for Caregivers by Peter Caligiuri.

May God bless you and keep you safe in the palm of His hands!

The Lord bless you and keep you;  the Lord make his face shine on you
 and be gracious to you;  the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-25 NIV