|What's up with this photo?|
Although many people might pity them for their situation, the residents were (for the most part) happy and content. One day I served up a sloppy joe to one of the ladies, and she spent the next half hour thanking me profusely for the delicious crab. Another women didn't remember her children, her grandchildren, or even her own name, but when her husband came to visit her she showed an incredibly three-second display of lucidity and told us all, "That's my baby."
Every once in a while, I tried to tell the people I cared for about the Lord, which also led to some hilarious conversations.
"Do you know Jesus?" I asked one lady as I was helping her take a shower. I didn't consider myself an exceptionally bold believer, but my husband and I were preparing for the mission field and I figured I needed the practice.
"Who?" Estelle croaked.
I had to repeat the name four times until she heard me. "Oh, Jesus," Estelle replied, "yes, of course I know him."
"So how long have you been a Christian?" I questioned.
"How long have you known Jesus?"
"Oh!" Estelle laughed and seemed delighted at the memory. "I played with him when I was a little girl. He was the little boy who lived next door."
My husband and I shared some pretty good laughs at my feeble evangelism attempts, which were made all the more humorous since I had to shout at most of the residents so they could hear me, and even then -- as my conversation with Estelle exemplifies -- I'm not sure how much they understood. As funny as the stories are though, I admit that sometimes I got frustrated. I was telling the residents about Jesus, or at least trying to. But what was the point if they thought I was just talking about the boy next door?
And then I realized something. Without God's help nobody can understand the good news of salvation, no matter how lucid they are at other times. Maybe I just needed to keep on sharing and leave the results of to God.
I didn't end up working at the assisted living home for all that long, since I got pregnant with our first son only a few months after I started the job. I sometimes wonder about the residents there, if anything I said really made a difference in their spiritual lives.
I guess I'll asked Estelle when I get to heaven if the boy next door is still there.
Random Fact #9: I earned $5.15 an hour at my first job.