Editor’s note: We asked BNc correspondent Glenda Williams to share her and her husband’s experiences with you, after she shared some of them with us.
GENEVA, Ala. (BNc) — It all began when we finally accepted that we were old enough to start attending the local senior citizen’s center. We’d been enjoying the exercise room for a while, but one day they needed more people to stay and eat, and they invited us. We stayed. We ate. We loved it. All for just two dollars a day – one for my husband, and one for me.
One day when we were eating at a round table with other seniors, I overheard a lady behind us say to those around her table, “The church I go to is just like the church of Christ, except we have music.”
Immediately, I asked who said that. A little petite lady turned around and admitted it was she. When I asked her where she was going now, she answered, “Nowhere. I haven’t been anywhere since my husband died.”
“We would be happy to have you come and worship with us,” I told her. Her reply broke my heart.
“I don’t have a way to go, and I don’t drive.”
Mission field found! “I’ll be glad to come and pick you up,” I told her, promising that she could sit beside me on the pew where my mother used to sit.
Well, that sweet 89-year-old lady has been coming ever since, only missing one Sunday morning worship service, and guess why? It was, I’m ashamed to say, because I forgot to pick her up the second Sunday! When it occurred to me after Bible class, I quickly left the building and went to get her, but she had already made plans to eat out with her son.
Thankfully, my new friend didn’t give up on me, and today we have an agreement that she will call me if she can’t come. Otherwise, I promise to be there fifteen minutes before worship each Sunday morning. So far she has even gone out to eat with us after services, rather than go home and be alone.
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On the days my husband and I go to the Senior Citizens Center, we arrive around 10:30. We eat at 11:30, and they like us to be there a little early to know how many will be eating. We are trying to learn everyone’s name. I try to learn one new name a day.
One day I was visiting a nearby table, and I asked a white-haired lady her name. She told me her name was Barbara. When I asked about her weekend and was making conversation with her, she looked up and said, “I’ve been trying to find me a church to go to.”
Again, I said, “We would be happy to have you come and be with us.” I told her where our building is located, right next door to Subway, and told her the times of our service.
She said, “I think I would like to come at 10:00. I like Sunday school.”
I told her I would pick her up the next Sunday, and added, “You can sit with me on my pew.” For two weeks she has been hindered from attending on Sunday, but I called on a Wednesday afternoon to tell her about our ladies’ Bible class and asked if she would like to come. She said she would, and I went and picked her up.
When I called Barbara Saturday to see if she would be able to come to Sunday school on Sunday, she said that she couldn’t. She said she was trying to find someone to take her to a nearby city Monday to have an MRI. After asking her how she was working to find someone, she explained who she was contacting. I knew none of her children live in the same city, and because she lives alone and isn’t able to drive, it left her in a desperate position.
As I continued listening, I quietly whispered to my husband who was nearby, and asked if we had anything Monday.
“No, we can take her,” he said.
I told Barbara that if she would like for us to take her, we would be glad to do so. She was so happy! Her next comment brought joy to my heart.
“Since I don’t have to worry about that anymore, then I’ll be able to go to Sunday school in the morning with you.”
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Down the street from our house is a little red brick building. Monday through Friday approximately 50 elderly people meet to play games, put puzzles together, exercise, play Dominoes, quilt, read the daily newspaper, watch news on the television, or just visit with friends. Some of them ride the van each day to and from the center.
They love hugs, hearing their names called, a wave across the room, a smile, a compliment, a genuine sincere interest in them, and letting them know they are special. And indeed they are.
To some this building is known as the Senior Citizens Center. To my husband and me, it’s known as our mission field. To God be the glory.