Editor’s note: How can we share the gospel with an elderly person, especially one who suffers from dementia or another condition that limits the clarity of the mind? Doug Nichols, Founder and International Director Emeritus of Action International Ministries, has found a good way to share the gospel with such senior citizens. He and his wife Margaret read aloud “The Lamb” and managed to share a clear gospel with a group of elderly folks. Now that’s inspiring! Read on as Doug shares the story:
My 100 year-old father-in-law resides in a home-care facility with five other residents (Dad calls them “inmates!”). Even though the facility owners are Christians, we have been praying about how to share the gospel and minister to these elderly residents. Many have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or are otherwise slow in their thinking. Recently, my wife Margaret began reading the children’s picture book, The Lamb to six residents after lunch. They could hardly wait for each session. It was excellent!
Stuart* levelled his eyes steadily at his father Frank. He took a breath before asking one of the most difficult questions a son could ask: “Dad, are you ready to die?”
Frank had been in and out of the hospital over the past few months with a series of problems. First there was a fractured hip, then the cancer and now there was fluid in his lungs. The doctors had run tests and determined the problem—his kidneys had failed.
We received an amazing call at our office just this past week from an 89 year old lady, Martha*. She wanted to order a few copies of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus”. She told us that she had just completed a long-distance study of the book with a friend. How did she accomplish this? Well, Martha and her friend would read a chapter on their own and then they would get on the phone with each other. Since Martha’s friend had better eyesight, she would read aloud the same chapter and the two of them would discuss it as a way to review the material. They did this routine over a number of weeks and finally they finished the book! Martha told us that her friend—who was not doing well spiritually—now had a much stronger foundation for her faith.
In Quebec, two retired professionals decided to lead a course teaching other retirees the main message of the world’s all-time bestseller: the Bible. This was the write-up they had for the course which was advertised in an academy for retirees: