Nothing went as planned. The crewmembers had to travel by public transport and the journey ended up being a lot longer than they expected. Once they arrived at the base of JUCUM (Youth With A Mission, or YWAM, in Latin America), they learnt that they had less than an hour before visiting time would be over at the residential home for elderly people. Indeed, when the team arrived, it was too late for them to be invited in.
The JUCUM volunteers knew another care home and suggested that, even though they would only have half an hour, the elderly people might like to receive a visit. As it turned out, the team was allowed to stay a little longer and enjoy some quality time.
“The day was challenging,” says David van Rietschoten (Canada). “I was feeling apprehensive and uncomfortable, but it actually went very well.” Together, volunteers from JUCUM and Logos Hope painted some of the elderly women’s fingernails, gave them hand massages, played the guitar and sang some Christian songs. “There were some tears and people came alive, listening to songs they grew up with or maybe knew from the past,” David says.
David and the other crewmembers were able to encourage those who were believers that they can still serve God even in old age; even by sharing their stories with their fellow residents who may not yet know Christ.
A woman, whom they were told always looks very serious, ended up singing along to the worship songs. A crewmember noticed another of the residents, who didn’t look happy at first, eventually joined in too. One of the elderly women told the team, “You have to come again!”
“We should always be flexible because in ministry, we never know what’ll happen,” says David. One thing he took away from the outreach is not to forget about older people and those who live in residential care, away from their family. “The message we have is for everyone,” he reflects.