We began the morning by letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly and asking God that everything we do might be in the name of Jesus. Half the team then went to visit residents of St David’s Village, a retirement village and aged care facility. Judy and Susan are on staff and provide spiritual care for the residents. They shared great insights and brief us well on what the elderly residents were like, the significance of spiritual care in aged care, and how we could be most helpfully interacting with the residents.
During our visit, we soon discovered for ourselves the challenges in conversation. Sometimes we struggled to understand them, and sometimes they struggled to understand us. Some were unable to hear well. Others suffered from dementia. Many were finding things hard. At times we glimpsed an opportunity to discuss faith more deeply but missed them when they quickly disappeared. Yet there were many highlights as well – seeing the incredible perseverance of the saints, witnessing their joy at having visitors, exchanging stories and having the opportunity to mutually encourage in Christ.
In the debrief, Judy and Susan very thoughtfully and kindly helped us reflect on our conversations. The impact of music and old hymns really struck us, particularly when we heard about Jordan’s conversation. He was singing Amazing Grace when the woman who was often unresponsive and incoherent beautifully burst into song and surprised him. The song prompted a fond memory which she then shared with him.
After lunch, we were back at the Village with the whole mission team for a “Celebrate Autumn” outreach event.
After we sang a few hymns together, George shared his story on being the nerdy teenager who tried to figure out what makes a good life (in between watching math videos on Youtube!). Bryn shared his story on how he wrestled with being the good Christian boy and discovered it was actually about accepting God’s grace and forgiveness.
Bryn gave a short talk on how Jesus is the Lord of all creation (Col 1:15-23), emphasising how important it was to know Jesus for who he is, and to not remain enemies with him but to be reconciled with the Lord of all.
Whilst enjoying sweets and treats, we had good lengthy chats with the residents who attended. One of the newer residents in her 90s is still very independent. She said she hadn’t been to church in a long time but was keen to attend chapel at the Village, so please pray that she would!
Despite a hectic day, many keen beans hit the streets of Forestville for walk-up evangelism. Two of the guys had an intense conversation with a guy who thought the good news was primarily about salvation from illness rather than sin. Praise God for the good chat. Please pray that he would read the passage they suggested, consider the dangers of holding onto false promises of healing, and discover that the certain hope of salvation lies in forgiveness of sin through Jesus.