December 12th, 2011 at 3:00 pm
When I first started looking into those sweet, old eyes, it wasn’t long after I my husband and I moved to Allen. We came to First Baptist Church in Allen in September of 2008. After we had moved from Houston to be near our only son and family. We had one grandson, Jake, who was five, and Jett, who was on the way.
I have attended Baptist churches all of my life, but there were lapses from time to time. We feel God sent us to FBC Allen, and we knew the minute we stepped through the door that we were home. We have never been in a church like this. It offered so many possibilities for ministry. We joined the church the second Sunday we were there. Then with much praying and searching, each of us looked for that one special ministry the Lord had waiting for us.
I have always loved the elderly and felt a tugging at me for the homebound ministry. Our lead pastor, who is a dear friend, was over that ministry. After a lot of prayer and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I asked him if I could take over the ministry, and he graciously said yes. We met the following week to discuss the ministry. He gave me a list of 20 elderly members of our church who for different reasons could no longer attend services at the church. Some could no longer drive, while others were not able to get on the church bus.
I went home and began to organize these names with unknown faces, people I felt were just waiting for someone, anyone who would care. At that time I was the only one in this ministry, so I set out with high hopes that I could just work miracles in their lives. Off I went with my clipboard and all the information I thought I needed. As it turned out all I needed was a large smile, a friendly hello and many hugs.
The first lady I visited was so special. She opened the door and said, “Come in and tell me all about you!” I will never forget that sweet face, and I still appreciate how welcome she made me feel. All of my nervousness was gone, and from then on, it was full steam ahead!
Another precious lady who was blind loved nothing more than to just sit while I read the bible to her. Each person had a unique, sweet story. There are so many things that are so special, and they are people I will never forget. It was such an honor to be in their presence. Each person was different and special at the same time and gave to me so much more than I could ever give to them.
Some live in their own home or with family; others live in senior communities or nursing homes. I tried to set a schedule for visiting so that each one would be visited at least once every two or three weeks. After the first year, another lady joined me in our ministry, so we were able to visit more often.
Our church has a ministry fair once a year, and each ministry leader sets up displays, has brochures or pictures and we just tell others about our particular ministry, trying to enlist volunteers. As time passes, we had several other ladies join our ministry, and they all still are working in this ministry.
These precious people grab your heart and become part of your life. I just wish every church would see the value of their homebound members and just start visiting and watch how fast you are completely won over.
Most of this group had already left the church before we arrived, so they were all unknown to me, but not for long. By the first meeting, I fell in love with each of them. I only had one grandmother growing up, so all these ladies became my grandmothers! The more you get to know them, the more you love them. You soon are so attached that there is nothing you would not do for them.
As time passes, you get to know their life stories, some were such fun with exciting, wonderful, happy lives and some were so sad and down you just wanted to cry for them. I have always had a heart for the ones who are sad and lonely and the ones it seems time had forgotten. I guess that is why I have always loved the old folks. Most of them cannot control their circumstances and they are just at the mercy of others. Those are the ones I love the most.
The Lord has shown me so many things on every visit. I have tried to become a friend where some had no friends. I have become a mother to those that needed mothering. I have become a better person because of those that have shown me their strong character. I have become stronger because of those who show no weakness.
Most trust in God and just want to be remembered as someone worth loving. I just pray that I have as much strength, intelligence and love to spare that most of these dear people have when I reach that age.
Here I thought I could bring something into their lives, but what I have received from them is immeasurable. I visited with the desire to make them all feel good and happy and loved, but I gave nothing compared to what they gave to me.
My life is richer and fuller because of these wonderful people. They taught me how to grow old gracefully. They are all unique, and when old age and illness come, they are all similar in so many ways. When God takes them home, they are truly missed, but each one made a lasting impression.
I thank God for this ministry and for all the special souls who have touched my life and have made me a better person. This is the most rewarding and heartbreaking experience of my life. I would not trade one moment of it for anything in this world. I am so blessed just to have had this wonderful ministry.
By Robbie Boone, member of the homebound ministry at First Baptist Church in Allen, Texas.