- Faith & Family
“The one thing that I am most grateful for is the blood of Jesus,” said Levita Jones, a minister at the Bethel Church.
“What are you thankful for?” she asked.
The audience members who all sat in wheelchairs reflected before responding.
Jones oversees the nursing home ministry at the Bethel Church in Richmond Heights. The outreach ministry visits and ministers at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center and Coral Reef Nursing and Rehabilitation Center every third Saturday.
This month the ministry focused on gratitude. They sang songs, read Bible verses and preached the word of God, which all encouraged the nursing home patients to be grateful.
“I am thankful for my health and my life,” one nursing home patient said, with pride. “I am thankful for everything.”
Another patient asked for a Bible, while some sang along and showed appreciation of the ministry coming and speaking with them.
Mother Mary Crawford, 78, has been a part of the ministry since it started about 15 years ago.
She said she has been serving older people and people with disabilities since 1970.
“God told me some years ago: ‘If you take care of my people, I’ll take care of you,’ and he’s been faithful.”
The nursing home ministry brings joy, peace and life to the nursing home patients, according to Crawford.
“It’s good to be inside of the church worshipping, but this is what God wants us to do, take care of his people,” she said. “They can’t go to church so we bring the church to them.”
Betty Fields, 68, who has also been a part of the ministry since it started, said she enjoys going and putting a smile on people’s face. She said it not only benefits the patients, but it is beneficial to her, too.
“When I leave here, I am fulfilled,” she said.
Fields has taken her granddaughters to minister with her over the years. Ericka Fields, 8, her granddaughter who has been a part of the ministry for four months, said she enjoys playing her recorder, singing along with others in the ministry and reading Bible stories to the patients.
“I like coming here because I want to make people happy,” she said.
Mavis Hinson, 84, is another member who has been apart of the ministry since it started. She said she is a part of the ministry because she is drawn to older people. She watched her mother and grandmother both live to be older than 100.
Evelena Bradley, 59, said she believes God called her to the ministry.
“That’s my way of giving praises,” she said. “The people can’t go out so when we come in, sing and give praises that gives them a reason to praise God.”
Mekhi Belote, 4, who joined the nursing home ministry with his grandmother, Angela Wright, said his first “speech” to the nursing home patients this month.
“For God so loved the world, he gave his only son, Jesus,” he said to the patients.
By Malika A. Wright