Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mabel

Mabel is a tiny lady who has inspired me and changed my life and reinforced my faith, yet I have never met her. And I will never get a chance to meet her in this lifetime, not until Heaven.

For those of you who don't know, Jamie and I started a nursing home ministry in our church, and we visit a local nursing home one to two times a month, holding services and singing and that type of thing. We have been doing this, I guess, 8-9 months now. Volunteering there has opened up a great opportunity for our pastor, whom they asked to be one of their spiritual staff, so to speak.

So, last week, our pastor got a call and they said a lady named Mabel wanted to see a pastor because she was nearing the end. I guess she had cancer and a broken hip, and was just very sick. He went in to talk to her, and come to find out, she was a Catholic and wanted her last rites. Instead of just saying, "well, I don't do that and have a good day" type of thing, he took the opportunity to talk with this lady about the condition of her soul. I don't know everything that happened, but I do know that he asked her, "do you know what the requirement is to get into Heaven?" And then he proceeded to walk her through the simple plan of salvation. When he had finished explaining it, he was about to ask her if she wanted him to pray with her so she could receive Christ as her Saviour. But he didn't even get that chance, b/c as soon as he was done talking, she bowed her head and began praying and asking the Lord into her heart to save her! Needless to say, he was so excited! She continued praying and told the Lord that even though she was going to spend the rest of her life on this bed, that she wanted to give her life to Him.

The next day, Mabel's daughter called our pastor and said, "what have you done to my mother? There is such a change in her!" Apparently, when her daughter had come in to visit, Mabel was all smiles and said to her, "I've received Jesus as my Saviour and you should, too!" Our pastor was so glad, b/c he had been praying for some reassurance that she had really given her life to the Lord, and there it was!

Five days after Mabel got saved, she entered into her eternal rest with her newly found Saviour. In fact, she passed away during the time we were there having a service with the other residents. The next day, Mabel's daughter called up our pastor again and asked him if he would mind speaking at her funeral. Well, the Lord was just working in amazing ways at opening so many doors in this situation. It was the kind of thing that just made you sit back and say, "Wow, God, You are awesome!"

The funeral went well, and our pastor spoke about receiving the Lord Jesus into your heart. Most of the people there were Catholics, and were a little stunned that there wasn't a traditional mass. However, there was one lady in the back, who kept nodding her head in agreement as our pastor was talking. After the service was over, this lady came up to him, and said that she was a born again believer. She had been Mabel's nurse for several years and had often spoken to Mabel about her need of a Saviour. Every time in the past when she had tried to witness to her, Mabel would become angry and tell her to be quiet and that she didn't want to hear it. When she heard that Mabel had passed away, she was reluctant to come to the funeral, but did so anyways, and thereby received one of the biggest blessings of her life.....that lady she had witnessed to for all those years had finally become a Christian!

This whole story encouraged me in so many ways. Our God that we serve is just incredible! It really helped me to know that God can still save elderly people. Sometimes, it can get discouraging going to the nursing home week after week and seeing little outward response. You wonder how much some of them understand, if they understand at all. You wonder what your purpose is there, and what God is doing here. And then you hear one story about one lady trusting Christ as her Saviour, and suddenly everything makes sense. We can't always see everything, we don't know everything that will happen, we certainly can't see the seeds we are planting. Just like that nurse who planted seeds with Mabel for years and finally saw results now.

Some plant, some water, but it is God that giveth the increase. "He must increase, but I must decrease." All glory be to Him for another soul who has safely entered His fold!

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