Last night someone called from another city about a lady in our town who needed a visit. The situation was that she was living in a senior’s home and had grown anxious about her personal affairs since she had no immediate family around to help her. She had come to distrust those who were supposed to help her but it seemed they were looking out for their own interests at her expense.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I prepared to meet with her this afternoon. When I found my way into her space in the new, well-provided facility, I found a diminutive woman who was emotionally alive and mentally sharp. Her major difficulty was that she couldn’t see very well. Expecting me, she greeted me with a glass of juice and a cookie which she had smuggled in for the occasion. It was clear she hadn’t much experience with clergy people so she asked me what she should call me. I told her it was fine for her to call me by my first name, and later she suggested that I could call her by the shortened version of her first name.
She shared a heart-rending story of a difficult life growing up in the vicinity of our town. Her parents had moved here from eastern Europe and worked hard to make a living on the land. She had an alcoholic husband whom she left after seven years because he drank continuously and spent all their income by that means. She also suffered the loss of her two adult children. Her loving, hard-working son died in a car accident at eighteen while his friend was driving, and her scientist daughter living in the US died of cancer at age fifty. It seems her daughter’s friend was taking care of things for her in her old age but somehow this had turned into an experience of exploitation for the old lady.
In the course of our conversation I asked about any church connection and she said she had minor instances of exposure to church but never really got into any in particular. I explained my own experience as one who had grown up in a Christian home and the church and early learned about Jesus as the one who came from heaven as God’s Son to die for our sin and rise again so that we could be forgiven. She was very interested in this and said no one had ever really told her about Jesus.
I told her that she could know that Jesus was her friend and that she could have a relationship with God through trust in Jesus. I said she would find Him able to help her in her situation if she had that connection. She wanted to know about how to pray effectively. I prayed for her and then led her in a phrase by phrase prayer in which she opened her heart to Jesus, asking Him to forgive her sins and come and live in her life.
It turns out that she has a cousin who is a strong Christian living elsewhere, and she had also been in touch recently with another Christian nearby who was helping her. She also mentioned another Christian couple in Prince George that had been very good to her some years ago. Evidently, God was sowing seeds of faith in her heart through these relationships and now, at 78, she was very eager to receive the gift of salvation.
I left a lady this afternoon who was radiant with the joy of having come to know a new friend — two actually. For she met me alright; but more importantly she had come to meet Jesus. As I left she gave me a warm embrace and thanked me so very much for coming to share this time with her. I told her I’d contact her Christian friend and be in touch with her myself and we would find a way to help her together during this time.
It was a verybeautiful experience in evangelism — practically sharing Christian love with her about her immediate needs and telling her the Good News about Jesus which she was more than ready to receive.
Great post Ed. Couldn’t help but connect with your experience. Your new 78 year old friend now has the most important thing in life. Continue to allow God to lead you.
Thanks for your encouragement by phone and by comment, Harry. Your life, testimony, and ministry are an inspiration to me. ED