I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ because He has saved me from a life of selfish self-centredness and sin. I am grateful that He has given me a heart for the hurting, and gifts of mercy and helps that fuel my passion to come alongside those who need love and support. I am grateful to God for giving me the parents He did; two individuals who knew how to give and receive love, and were examples to me of a loving, caring God. They made it easy for me to trust His promises and to be able to surrender to His Lordship.
I am grateful for Stephen Ministry and the Stephen Ministers who give many, many hours of their life to care for and support hurting people in need of a comforting word and shoulder to lean on in difficult times. I am especially grateful for this ministry and the Stephen Minister I assigned to my father four years ago when he was facing the increasingly difficult care of my mother with Alzheimer’s disease.
Tom faithfully visited my father every Wednesday evening for four years, winter and summer, with only a few weeks for vacation. Every Wednesday, my father would eagerly anticipate Tom’s visit where they would talk about whatever dad wanted to talk about and play a few games of Cribbage. As my mother’s health deteriorated and she eventually went into care, Tom was there every Wednesday evening to comfort dad, to remind him that some things didn’t change and could be counted on, and to play a few games of cribbage.
When dad’s health and mental abilities declined and his driver’s license was taken away against his will, Tom was there to listen to dad’s disappointment and pain of loss, and to provide words of comfort and a game of cribbage. When dad’s health eventually declined so much that he joined mom in continuing care at Tabor, Tom continued to visit every Wednesday evening at 7 pm. This had to be more difficult for Tom as dad’s increasing dementia made the conversations rambling and difficult to follow, but Tom was faithful. The day before dad passed away, he was asking where his buddy was and Tom showed up even though it was a Tuesday and not the Wednesday of his usual visit.
My sisters and I also were so thankful for Tom’s faithful commitment to support, comfort, and be the hands and arms of Jesus to our father. There were Wednesdays when I was feeling guilty that I hadn’t seen dad and wouldn’t be able to get there, and then I remembered Tom would be there and I was relieved.
I thank God for His love for His children, for His provision of ministries like Stephen Ministry and for people like Tom who selflessly give of themselves to share their love with others.
Interested in becoming a Stephen Minister? Your gifts and skills are needed for just such a time as this. A new training session will be offered in 2015 on Thu Feb 5 to May 21, 7-9:30 pm at Bethany. Sign up with Kendra Broadley at 905-937-2024 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Stephen Ministry at stephenministries.org.