Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas at the Nursing Home and "Church"

We started a tradition a couple years ago where we wanted to do some type of outreach on Christmas Day.  We felt led specifically to try to reach out to a local nursing home because that is something our entire family can do and because those residents are often so very lonely and many do not ever have visitors and some do not have any even on Christmas Day!  It really is such a lonely life for them at times.

After moving here, we wanted to continue that and were very happy to find a local family that we already knew of (more about that below) that ministers to a local nursing home on a weekly basis.  We were so excited when we contacted them and they said we could join them on Christmas afternoon.

The kids prepared a couple of carols and Connor worked on a song to play for the residents there.  The residents were very sweet to the children.  They seemed excited to see little ones there and we received such a blessing from just being there with them.

The kids singing their carols to the residents.  The younger 3 were a bit shy, but they all sang (even Grace!) and were really chatty about it on the way home.

Connor playing "Go tell it on the Mountain"
(you'll have to click to enlarge)

{my thanks to Sarah for taking these pictures...I did not get any that day}

In moving here, one main concern was about a church to attend.  We were looking for a family integrated church where our entire family could worship together without being split up into different classes or groups.  Also, we love to serve and wanted to be able to serve in a ministry that we felt strongly about.  We were specifically praying for a church that had a nursing home ministry or at least some other type of local outreach in which our whole family could be involved. 

After searching many places online and visiting a couple, we decided to do another search online for a family integrated church in the area.  When we did, we found the website of this family who has a homeschool/family ministry that we already follow, have several of their books, and read their monthly articles.  They hold a family integrated church service weekly.  And they live right here in our town!  Somehow, in all of our reading we had missed that..or had forgotten in all of the chaos of our recent move. This family holds their church service IN a local nursing home weekly!  Lastly, but certainly not least as we feel this was very, very important: we also wanted to be sure that the church would be one in which we were preached the Word of God and challenged in our walk with the Lord.  We know from reading their articles and teachings that is the case here.  They have several children that are quite a bit older than ours that we feel are excellent role models for our children as well.

We are praying for the Lord's Guidance, but for now, we feel strongly that we will be joining this family on Sunday mornings for church as they minister to these precious people. As I said, many of these sweet people do not get to leave the home to go to church or even to visit family.  Some, do not have many visitors at all. It is such a lonely life for many of them.  And, many, if not saved already are running out of time to be taught the Word of God and to receive His Saving Grace.

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.." 
James 1:27


Corina said...

Cool!!! I'm so thankful that the Lord has led you to a place of worship where you can serve Him.

Always an Adventure said...

Kathy, what a neat story about finding the church! Where did you go when you were in Lawton? Can you think of any other ministry besides nursing home where a family of varied ages can serve?

Our Army of Six said...

Jenn, we went to Cameron Baptist in Lawton. While we loved it at the time, I am most certain it would not be where we would go now considering that we have older children now and considering all we've learned about what "church" should be like. That said, it is still a fairly conservative SBC and we love the people there. I would recommend it if someone were looking for that type of church.

I don't know of a lot of ministries that would be easy to do with small children, but I know Meals on Wheels is one that is good and your whole family can do. Visiting a nursing home regularly is another. Working with the Bus ministry at a church or some other kind of 'visitation' are another. I've never done it, but possibly working with something like Angel Food ministries might be another idea. Corina might chime in with a few others because I think they've done a few and she also has all boys that are younger.

If not for this ministry, we had searched conservative churches that had outreach ministries such as those. Southwest Baptist in OKC (North of I-240) was one that we wished we had visited while in OKC. They're not family integrated, but have LOTS of outreach ministries and they are very conservative but not legalistic.

Our Army of Six said...

Oh, another thing Andy did with the boys while we were in Yukon is that there were a few shut in elderly couples in our church and they went and mowed their yard and visited with them occasionally. They loved to see him and the boys. I've read (though I can't remember where right now) of families who forego Sunday School or Wednesday evenings and will go visit a shut in regularly for the evening instead.