What an eclectic group of people. And they arrive at our house every Wednesday evening as part of what our church calls a “Care Group”.
Betty and Norma are the octogenarians of the bunch. Both single ladies, they are full of vim and vigor. Yet they both have reasons to be “stay-at-home” senior citizens. Norma’s heart does not work well. She has been known to sneak a pill during our meeting because of the angina pain. Her arthritis has caused enlargement of her joints and constant pain. Her love for the Lord shines through it all.
A few years ago, Betty wasn’t feeling well. She put off saying anything until it became an emergency room trip and admission to the hospital. She was prepped for surgery, but the bile had already leaked from the duct and when they opened her up, her abdomen was contaminated.
Her coma lasted for days. The doctors and nurses advised her daughter, Connie, to “pull the plug”. Connie’s response was “You don’t know my mother”. The family gathered. Our group took food, prayers and hugs to them.
Betty survived. She is now as active as she ever was.
Roy is retired. But he is busier than ever. As head of the local Christian Motorcycle Association, he travels a lot…sometimes from one coast to the other…always sharing Christ at rest areas and restaurants. Once a year he goes with a group of men to take motorcycles to South America and deliver them to the pastors who have to travel many miles to visit outlying villages.
Bruce and Betty used to be regular attendees. Then Hurricane Katrina arrived. They loaded up their RV and headed to the devastation. As a retired insurance adjuster, Bruce was hired back to help with the overload. Even though they have a beautiful four-bedroom home here, they have continued to live in their RV and have now moved their efforts to Florida. Sometimes they have as many as 40 people eating the wonderful food Betty loves to cook. We still consider them one of us.
One member of our group, Sharon, a single lady whose profession is nursing, lost her job and we helped her through those months of depression and fear until she could get on her feet again.
Rich is a high school teacher who rides the 30 miles back and forth to work on a motorcycle. He and his wife, Jennie, live on the edge of town and have various animals from horses to goats and chickens. We’ve helped them pray through the issues of being landlords, changing jobs and children growing up. Recently, we got to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild.
Lori is a single lady who moved here from the L.A. area, because she wanted to live some place that was safer. As a baby Christian, we got the pleasure of watching her blossom into a “Christ Follower” that eagerly shares her love for the Lord with others. As she now works full time and is attending college, she has moved to a group that meets on Sunday evenings.
John and Thora used to be a part of our group. They had already adopted one daughter from China…named Grace. Then they chose to do it again, only this time for a “special needs” child. When they came home with “Joy”, we moved our gathering to their house to give Joy time to adapt in her own new environment. Recently, they decided to move their time for gathering to Sunday night, which worked better with their schedule.
Linda and Loren joined us a few years ago. He was the quiet, steady one and she was full of energy and questions. She delighted in making flower arrangements for weddings and was developing a thriving home-based business.
Then came the day in August, 2005, that she and their daughter were murdered in their own home.
Our little group was in shock. But we gathered around Loren and his family. Due to the circumstances, the funerals had to be postponed until the bodies were released. That meant a long time of waiting for the family. We took food and warm bodies to sit and grieve with them.
And then, three days after the tragedy, Loren gave back to me. Sitting on the patio, talking quietly, he said the words that I will never forget. “I have Jesus”.
That’s what a “care group” is all about. Taking care of each other and “having Jesus”.
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