Jesus Loves Me in Memory Care

The long term care community is far more complex than those on the outside realize. There are group homes for those with various mental disabilities, independent living neighborhoods surrounding inhouse care buildings as well as short term rehab facilities. But when the average person mentions nursing homes, their mind inevitably turns to memory care. The residents in these places are the most vulnerable, needy and yet forgotten of all. Today’s video gives a hope filled glimpse into the lives and faith of my most special friends. I encourage you to take a second look at what part you may play. Jesus Loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Will you join Jesus in loving someone in memory care this week?

Thursday Morning Sunshine

Thursday Morning Sunshine is a revised version of The Sunshine Newsletter which three of us who are involved in Nursing Home outreach publish weekly. Our writers are Pastor Janice Burnett, who is a Nursing Home chaplain in Western New York as well as my friend Rob Keller who is both a graphic designer as well as the writer of some of the devotionals. Our free publication goes into about 9 different long term care facilities in Florida and New York. Each We purposely are not copyrighting the material so as to make it freely available to as many people as possible. If you know anyone in the long-term care community including, staff members, family, residents or volunteers, please feel free to either contact me for future issues or copy and share our weekly issues with people you know.

God Loves You! By Peter Caligiuri

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 ESV

Marie* wants to see you in the cafeteria after the message” they told me. As I went in to sit with Marie, she began to cry and took hold of my hands saying, “God hates me!”  Marie suffers from Parkinson’s and that afternoon she was so depressed that she hadn’t come in for our song and prayer time at her nursing home.

She felt isolated from the world outside because no old friends ever came to visit, no family came for her birthday or Christmas. But there was still good news to share with her that afternoon – “God loves you Marie! Because the Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” I told her as I struggled to communicate the love of Jesus in a way that would touch her at that very moment.

As we head towards the holidays this year, remember that just as God has not forgotten Marie, He has also not forgotten you. He has not left you alone. You may not be the richest person in the world, but if you know Jesus as your Savior then you have the best hope in the universe because you have received God’s gift of love and His promise of heaven. Now we need to remember that there are people named Marie or Betty or Bob or Joe all around us. They need the hope that only God’s love can give and in the same way that He has helped you to hope, why not pass that hope of Jesus along to them?

The most thrilling thing about heaven is that Jesus Christ will be there. I will see Him face to face. Jesus Christ will meet us at the end of life’s journey – Billy Graham

Every Christian who keeps looking up, stretches their heart’s capacity for Heaven – Joni Eareckson Tada

Thanks-Living  by Pastor Janice Burnett

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV

Many years ago a friend and I travelled to New York City for a wedding. One night on a whim we decided to treat ourselves to dessert in a restaurant in one of the World Trade Center buildings. The driving directions to get there were fabulous; we arrived with no problem. We enjoyed our dessert and cup of tea – that is all we could afford! Then it was time to drive back to our hotel. Little did we know that the way out was different from the way in. We didn’t have a map, and this was in the days before electronic GPS directions. Yes, you guessed it – we got very lost. Late on a Saturday night we ended up in parts of town that were – well, let’s just say we didn’t belong there.

This would be one of those circumstances where living and breathing with a thankful attitude doesn’t sound normal, does it? Can you think of other situations where you wouldn’t naturally feel very thankful? Go ahead and name them. God and our friends are not put off by our honesty. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he told them, “In everything give thanks!” in other words – LIVE THANKFULLY!

Wow, notice the absolute words related to an action on our part – Evermore – Without ceasing – Everything. I guess that we cannot shy away from God being definite about this point! Not sometimes – when we feel like it or when things are going great. It is true that we need to remember to be thankful when good things happen and throughout our average daily life. I know I do, and this is a reminder not to take anything for granted.

Also, to be thankful in the sad, scary or painful times goes against what we feel like doing. Yet, not only is this God’s will, but it is healthier for us to live grateful lives. Remember our trip leaving NYC? Yes, we made it out safely, obviously. This was with help from a couple of helpful people and God’s provision of safety. Not to mention that or one-hour drive going in took three hours for us to get out! We may have forgotten in the thick of the moment to be outwardly thankful, but you can be sure we thanked God each time we met helpful people and especially when we had reached our hotel! Let us set a goal to think and live more gratefully in the midst of our circumstances! And, let us get practical and make a commitment to thank God OUT LOUD for three specific things every day!

Sunshine News – It may be hard to believe but we are only six weeks from Christmas! I am excited to say that this year our small prayer group has helped with the purchase of over 50 large-print Christmas Devotional books to give to residents at the three communities which I visit. I would love it if someone could come when we give these out and are also in need of people to help sing Christmas carols. If you can help let me know.  We have song books and will sing easy traditional songs. I would also ask if you could to pray that God would provide one or two other volunteers to help throughout the year. If you are interested we need help with serving communion, singing, visiting, writing for the newsletter and filling in when I am away. Have a blessed week all! 

For more ideas on Nursing Home Ministry, you might find this 2021 edition of New Frontiers in Nursing Home Ministry a helpful resource. This is available on Amazon in both a print and eBook format.

Getting Ready for Christmas in 21

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 KJV

“What in the world are these guys thinking?” I have often said, when I turn the corner in a store and see people stocking Christmas merchandise right after Labor Day. While it might seem silly to me; the dollars cents that those stores rake in over the holidays show that their Christmas preplanning works and today’s verse tells us that God is into early planning too. Remember that, He sent first angels, then shepherds and finally wise men, to tell people that something amazing was happening in Bethlehem. Why shouldn’t we, who do ministry in nursing homes do some early planning as well? Though Christmas is still seven weeks away it is time to begin planning and putting together a special event for the seniors in those communities that we visit. I began weekly visits into long term care facilities thirty years ago and a lot of things have changed, especially since Covid. Sadly, one thing has remained constant – most seniors will be alone for Christmas. With the old statistic of 75% of residents not receiving a visit over the entire year, made worse by the pandemic, it is more urgent than ever that we prepare as far in advance to make this Christmas different. Let’s mobilize all our forces to share the love and hope that Jesus came to bring to as many as possible!

“Where do I start?” you might ask, and for each of us the answer may be slightly different. Over the next week I will be sharing a variety of practical ideas that we have used over the years and I would love to hear from you any of yours. Please share because what you have learned could be a blessing to others who see the need and wonder how they can make a difference in their city.  Today I have included a video showing what our small prayer group has done this year. We are just a group of 12 people who share an urgency to do what we can, with what we have, to reach our community for Jesus Christ this Christmas. I really would love to hear from you if you are doing outreach into long term care communities (Including prisons) as to what has worked for you and what you have planned for this year. Stay tuned tomorrow as I launch into a nuts and bolts “How to” session on program prep. God bless and have a wonderful day!