Exceeding Expectations

“Rise & Shine” is a series of articles highlighting current ways West Church members are “shining brightly” for Christ on the North Shore. The Holy Spirit enables believers of all ages to share the gospel in varied and creative ways. The groups and individuals featured in “Rise & Shine” have responded to the Spirit’s prompting and serve as encouragement and motivation for us to “go and do likewise!”

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

(Matthew 5:15-16)

West Church Nursing Home Ministries

Phil & Marge

“This isn’t the way we dreamed of spending our retirement.” Marge and Phil wrestled with this and many other emotions during Phil’s transition to long-term care at Rosewood Nursing and Rehab 10 ½ years ago. In sickness and in health, Marge has tended to Phil’s daily needs, often becoming an ambassador of good will to staff and residents. Marge and Phil’s prayer is that God would use them to meet specific needs around them. While praying with one nurse’s aide working toward her LPN, Marge discovered she had been a helper at West Church’s VBS. Marge enjoyed encouraging another aide struggling as a single mom and caring for her own elderly mother. Marge presented her with a Bible and learned she reads it daily! “Some days you don’t think you’re doing anything, but God shows me I don’t have to do much to make an impact. You just have to be faithful.” Marge discovered that even a simple smile goes a long way. Phil prominently displays a devotional about God’s promises. With his hand pressed to his heart he testifies to experiencing the Holy Spirit’s comfort. They are shining witnesses of how to rely on God’s strength for patience and stamina. “God has brought us through so much. I trust in His timing and strength.”

In Beverly’s Essex Park Rehabilitation Center, 4 ½ year resident Sue may struggle physically, but her spirit is strong in the Lord! A recent room change tempted Sue to be “angry and have a pity-party.” “God told me He had more work for me on the 1st floor. God is sovereign and knows what He’s doing. I had to keep remembering that!” Sue never expected the outreach opportunities her corner room would create. “Everyone has to pass my room on the way to dinner and all activities!” “I tell people to look in and say hello.” Staff and residents alike stop in to “tell me their problems,” or just chat. When able, Sue counsels each with scripture and using her life experiences, she challenges them to “take the high road Christ would want.” Sue also contributes during a new monthly Bible Study started by a Christian Activity Director. “I’m here to glorify God in everything I do.”

Despite a confined living space, Marge, Phil and Sue have learned to think big. Their heart desire is to “rise and shine” each day to declare the goodness of “Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20.