A few weeks ago, our group that regularly visits a nursing home was not able to hold our regularly scheduled service time due to the Thanksgiving Retreat schedule. Instead of canceling our visit altogether, we decided to go there for a short visit right before the retreat session, to go room to room to talk with the residents, to sing hymns for them and to pray with them over the passage from Matthew 20, about the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Ahmi and I had paired up together to go visit Gina’s grandmother. When we got to Gina’s grandmother’s room, she was unavailable so we looked into other rooms to visit while we waited for her to get back. We saw Grandpa P in his room, sitting in his bed, awake, so we went in to talk with him. He looked tired but he didn’t turn us away when we introduced ourselves as visitors from a nearby church and asked if it would be okay to share a short message with him and to sing him some hymns. Before reading through the passage in Matthew 20, Ahmi asked Mr. P if he had gone to church in the past, he nodded and said yes but when he was asked if he had ever accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior into his life, he became a little quiet. We read over the passage of the 11th hour workers receiving the same wages as those who were there from the very beginning and how that was all out of the desire and grace of the owner of the vineyard. When Ahmi asked if he would want to make the decision to receive this gracious gift for himself, Grandpa P remained quiet and said he would need to think about it. We sang two hymns for him (Count Your Blessings, All the Way My Savior Leads Me), prayed for him and left.
The following Sunday we went back to visit Grandpa P after our regular service time in the main room. This time, he was dressed and sitting in a chair and he looked much better than the previous week. We asked him if he remembered us from the previous week’s visit and asked if he had a chance to think about accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Ahmi then went over the day’s message, which covered the story of the ten lepers who were healed from Luke 17, how ten of those lepers were healed yet only one came back to thank Jesus for what had happened. When Ahmi asked Grandpa P again about receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior after she finished reviewing the message, this time, he said yes! I was amazed and surprised at his response since it was clear that he had actually thought about things from our last visit. He repeated after the prayer that Ahmi led him through and even tried to sing along to the hymn The Solid Rock. Right after we finished singing, he thanked us and said that he appreciated that we came by to visit with him. … It was amazing to see how the Holy Spirit was quick to move in Grandpa P’s heart, to prompt him to simply come to accept the gift of salvation as that 11th hour worker.