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Blue Heron in the botanical gardens of Norfolk, VA

Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

March 2015


Dear Brothers and Sisters:


Greetings to all our friends and supporters of the ministry of Christian Concourse with enthusiastic "Halleluiah’s" – "Glory be to the most high God!" Blessing, glory and honor, power, and might and dominion be unto our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ!


We trust everyone survived the deep-freeze this winter in good shape. Other than a few stray pebbles of rock salt on our walkway, we are pretty much back to normal here in Norfolk, Virginia.


"Back to normal" sure is an interesting phrase, isn't it? What is normal? What's "normal" for one person may be way out of the norm for someone else.


Take a simple cup of coffee for example. If you travel much at all outside the United States, you will find that what is considered a "good" cup of coffee to folks in one country is nothing like what the people of another country think makes a good brew. The caffeine lovers of one country like their coffee boiled down to the consistency of Karo Syrup. In other countries when they offer you coffee you will be served what is actually a thick, very bitter liquid with chunks in it. For that matter, you really don't have to go overseas to find an unusual cup of java: just ask any Navy Chief to bring you a cup from their pot on the ship in the Chief's Mess and you may gag on it!


I guess you could be wondering what the point is about coffee. Well, what we are really talking about is the different ideas of what people consider "normal." It may not be a coincidence that "change" and "strange" rhyme. We are creatures of habit. A shake-up of our routine can throw us way off kilter. If you lived in Hampton Roads you would see this phenomena played out regularly at our downtown tunnel – every time the new management closes a lane for a few hours it is a major item of discussion on the nightly news.


Our dear friends who live in local care centers have had their lives turned upside down by an illness or injury or the ravages of age. In any case, they are dealing with a level of change that is easy for us "outside" to take for granted. To us, it is often a matter for our sympathy, but to them the changes imposed on them can be emotionally shattering and psychologically devastating. And this devastation is not the only component of their suffering.


Imagine going out to feed the neighbor's cats one afternoon and you fall off the back porch, tripping over the big tabby weaving affectionately around your feet. You lie in untold agony on the ground for four hours with a broken hip until your neighbor sees you when he lets his dog out for the night. Then you endure a three hour operation to pin your bones back together followed by a drug resistant infection that keeps you in the hospital for 20 days. When you are able to leave, you are sent to a local nursing home for rehab because you live alone. There you discover your roommate has dementia and constantly screams obscenities. After six weeks you are told you cannot go home because you will never walk again as a result of the damage from the infection. Your daughter visits when she can but it is not often because she lives an hour away and can't miss work; she's a single mom with three children still at home. This is what we mean by a nursing home resident having their life turned upside down.


This all may sound far fetched, but if you visit nursing home residents very often you will discover more than one story like this in every facility. Most of us cannot imagine what their "normal" day is like now. It is a far cry from what average folks would consider tolerable. It is to these suffering people that God has called many of us to minister.


If you feel a tug in your heart to volunteer in a local long-term care facility, please prayerfully consider the Lord's will in the matter. Though you may feel helpless to provide any real relief to such tragic circumstances, if God sends you, He will use you in many wonderful ways. Just make yourself available for nursing home ministry and watch Jesus do the rest!


Dar and I know that not everyone is called to this mission field. There are many avenues of ministry open to His children. We deeply appreciate each one of you who may not go to nursing homes but you see what we are doing in the ministry of Christian Concourse and want to help us with your prayers and your financial support. We thank you and bless you in the name of Jesus Christ.



Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson


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