Convalescent Home Ministry

by Teddy Yu

WHAT is a convalescent home?

A question that I anticipate from many is, “What is the convalescent home ministry?” Well, in order to answer that question, let me first start with describing what a convalescent home is. A convalescent home is a residence for patients to recover from long-term illnesses or medical procedures. It is this additional level of medical care and attention that distinguishes a convalescent home from other regular nursing or assisted-living facilities. And while some of the residents of convalescent homes anticipate a return to their own homes after recovery, there are also some that remain there for the rest of their lives. So while the residents at a convalescent home may have diverse medical conditions, they all require some sort of constant medical attention.

WHERE is it?

The specific convalescent home that we visit is called ‘Mission Hills Health Care Center’ and is located in the northern downtown area of San Diego in a region called Hillcrest. Nearby the convalescent home, you can find the UCSD Medical Center – Hillcrest and Scripps Mercy Hospital – Hillcrest.

HOW did the ministry begin?

The origin of the convalescent home ministry can be traced back to the Hillcrest ministry. The Hillcrest ministry consisted of a group from LBC regularly going out into the streets of Hillcrest to conduct street evangelism to the homeless. One of the homeless people that we were meeting up with regularly through the Hillcrest ministry ended up requiring medical attention at the Scripps Mercy Hospital. And when they were discharged to the ‘Mission Hills Health Care Center’, we followed them to the convalescent home and continued to visit and to minister to them. In doing so, we started building relationships with the other residents at the convalescent home and saw God provide even more opportunities for ministry. We have been regularly visiting the convalescent home ever since.

WHO do we minister to?

Some of the residents that we are currently meeting up with have been with us since the very beginning. And we have together experienced many joys and trials through the years. In one of the residents we currently meet up with, ‘George’, we’ve seen his demeanor change from frequent outbursts of anger and foul words to an outspoken desire to read and to hear the Word of God. He has even asked that we read the Bible with him in the presence of others so that they too may hear. And ‘George’ is not the only resident hungry for the Word of God. ‘Cecile’ is another resident that has been meeting up with members of our ministry to have Bible studies in the Gospel of John. But we have also witnessed some of the residents take a little more time to respond to God’s Word. ‘Rachel’ was actually one of the residents that we had been meeting up from the beginning. But after some time, she expressed that she did not want to hear about the Bible anymore and that she wanted to live her own way. However, she recently has shared with us a desire to repent and live her life pleasingly before God. These are just a small sample of the residents that we have had an opportunity to meet with regularly and either share the Gospel with again or encourage them in their walks.

WHY do we do this ministry?

It is into this environment that God has provided us an incredible opportunity to be ministers of the Gospel to the residents of the convalescent home. By any worldly opinion, there would be no reasonable explanation for well-to-do people like us to spend time with people at a convalescent home. Some may choose to endure those times for the sake of volunteer hours or as part of a job. But as Christians we have a great opportunity to willingly go and joyfully serve as witnesses of Christ to the residents and staff of the convalescent home. There are three major motivations behind our ministry:

#1: We have a Divine Joy

Our ministry at the convalescent home is motivated by so much more than simple dutiful obedience to ‘Great Commission’ to proclaim the Gospel. While we do desire to share the Gospel, we do so for the purpose that others may come to know the joy of knowing and worshipping the one, true God. We know that there can be no repentance from sin and a relationship with God unless the Gospel is preached. And so we preach and share and minister of the joyful relationship that we personally experience in Christ.

#2: We have a Divine Example

1 John 4:19 says ‘We love, because He [God] first loved us’ and it is this model of love that we practice in the convalescent home ministry. Even though the residents may have little or nothing to offer in return for our time spent with them, we are not motivated by what we can gain or receive from them. Instead our ministry to the residents is motivated by an understanding that God first loved us with an even greater selfless love. Indeed, true authentic Christ-like love can most clearly be demonstrated when it can not be reciprocated and it is not deserved. The practical implications of this understanding mean that even when we are tired and feel disheartened from seeing little fruit, we can still go and minister because of our love for these people. And by exercising this sacrificial love, we can provide a visible testimony of the love that Christ exercised in coming to die for sinful and rebellious man.

#3: We have a Divine Hope

By no means is a ministry like this without difficulty because it involves sinful people interacting with other sinful people. One aspect of this difficulty stems from the necessity to continually present the Gospel to sinners and call them to repentance. Another aspect stems from being confronted from within by our personal short-comings in our motivation for ministry and the depth of our love for others. But we can be encouraged that despite the battle with sin outside and within, that we have a divine hope for our ministry. We are reminded that it is the power of God that saves through the faithful proclamation of His Gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit to convict sinners. This reassures us to remain faithful in clearly proclaiming the Gospel in every context and to simply trust upon Him for the results.

Without a doubt this type of ministry is challenging, but it is also extremely rewarding. Above all, it is a high privilege to share the Gospel with others and to see God at work in people’s hearts. I cannot begin to describe the joy that comes from knowing that you have faithfully testified of Christ to a dying and sinful world. And this joy is all the more enhanced when you can see Christ working through you to continue to personally minister to and encourage others as they progress in their Christian walk. And through these relationships, there is the additional blessing of being continually challenged to grow in personal sanctification, knowledge of the Word, and preparedness to wield the Word to better minister to others.

It is for these reasons that we can joyfully engage in this ministry. There is a great need for people to partake in this ministry. We are looking for people passionate to share the Gospel both in speech and conduct. We also require participants to be members in good standing at LBC. And since there will be many opportunities to share the Gospel and provide biblical counsel in a variety of contexts, training will be provided for those that commit to the ministry. We schedule weekly visits primarily on Saturday afternoons or weekday nights subject to other activities in the church schedule. Each visit typically lasts around an hour and a half. The content of each visit can vary from individual visitations to group craft activities to teaching and worship times. The responsibility expected from prospective members will be to participate and have a willingness to learn and develop relationships. The required commitment will be for at least school quarter (about 4 months).

All interested members are welcome to contact me. But regardless whether you participate in the convalescent home ministry or not, I do pray that you all will strive to grow in the joy of knowing of God and testifying of His grace.

Advertisements

About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

Subscribe



%d bloggers like this: