A Valentine's Day of Compassion Testimonial


Written by a senior at Koinonia.

This past Valentine's Day, members of our group laid aside hours of their own time to focus on sharing the love of God with the residents of various nursing homes and youth centers. Despite having to sacrifice time to that could be used to further prepare for exams or get ahead in their studies, many students joyfully laid it aside in order to prepare themselves to love the many wonderful people they had yet to meet.

The days leading up to VDOC were full of crafts, praise rehearsals, message preparation, and so forth. I found it refreshing that on a day that's seemingly over-saturated with romantic love, that we could instead take time to put aside the worries of school or work and just be there for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who otherwise may have spent the day like any other.

This VDOC, I was given the opportunity to prepare a message to be given in front of the residents. To say that I was anxious, would be a bit of an understatement. Finally, I decided on the encounter between Jesus and the hemorrhaging woman (Luke 8:43-48). I felt that with the residents' many years of experiences, that perhaps there would be some parallels conveyed in the lives of the residents and the life of the bleeding woman.

The days leading up to VDOC consisted entirely of preparing my message. I had spent the greater half of the first night deciding on a passage and now I had to come up with fifteen-minutes worth of content, let's do it. Initially, I was worrying more about how my peers and the elderly would receive my message, about what they would think about how well I wrote, etc. that I had forgotten the message had nothing to do with me, my delivery, or the articulation of my words. Once I came to the realization that it was God who would do the work, that I was merely the vessel he would use to reach his beloved children, the writing process became much easier and I could focus more on loving the residents I would meet.

My roommate mentioned there were times when he had gone to visit some of the residents, only to find they had passed since his last visit...That hit pretty hard, more so when we had arrived at the nursing home before the faces of those whom we had been praying for. There were some residents that were strong enough to get around on their own, but such wasn't the case for the majority of them. Moreover, many suffered from dementia and other neurological ailments which made speaking with them a bit more difficult.


As I gave my message, I noticed a woman in the front row crying, I would later learn from her and other residents that Jesus' encounter with the bleeding woman was personally significant in that it helped many of them get through difficult times. Another woman shared with us that she went over this passage several times before a surgery that her doctor said she would likely not survive, she later went on to say that was over 20 years ago. Another incredibly zealous woman stood up and shared with us her experiences of when she had traveled to Vietnam, Laos, and many more countries doing missionary work and working in her mother's food pantry in Cambodia. This admirable woman went on to pray for us and thanked us for taking time out of our day to come and share God's word with them.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
— Romans 10:14


I have witnessed with my own eyes God's love and ability to do great works in my life and in the lives of others and I'm sure you can say the same. It's in light of this truth that we should feel convicted to share his love with others so that they too could receive his grace.

If you would like to read some more testimonies from other students, please continue reading below.

This year’s VDOC was surprising to me. I had pretty low expectations going in to it. I knew we were going to a nursing/rehabilitation center so I wasn’t expecting to have many coherent conversations or understand many of the residents...The first woman was very lucid and very thankful for the simple service and gifts we brought. After I read the verse on the gift to her (John 1:12) she shared how her favorite verse was John 3:16! I was very thankful I got the chance to talk with her about her life and got to pray a prayer of blessing for her as well. The second woman came after our service and I offered her one of the gifts we brought and ended up talking to her for the rest of the time there. We talked about her life, how she accepted Christ, and her different struggles throughout her life including her first husband dying and her estrangement from her four children. She even offered me advice and exhorted me to believe God is faithful no matter what. As everyone else was leaving, I got the chance to pray for her as well. Overall, I was surprised by how God can work even though I have a doubting heart and I was thankful to be blessed by the faith and positivity of the residents.
— Senior
At first, I wasn’t sure if I should go to VDOC, as I had three tests in the two days after VDOC, but I remembered a verse from our DTs, Luke 12:22-23 which said “And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” I was pretty struck by this and decided that tests come every other week, but VDOC was only once a year. I was really glad I went because I got to know and love on foster kids! I was especially glad that I got to know two girls that both came from tough households. One girl, in particular, had separated parents and an abusive dad, but I was so encouraged to see her genuinely interested in the message. At the end of the night, I’m really happy that we got to give each of the kids a bible, and I got to pray with her. I’m really thankful that we got to be used in God’s mission in this way!
— Sophomore
During VDOC, I had the opportunity to get to know one of the residents. On the outside she was a happy resident and would often crack jokes; however, after sitting and talking with her, she quickly opened up about a lot of the pains she had in her life. She still bore scars of a father who was not present in her life and children who have since passed. As she was a professing Christian, I was grateful for the opportunity to remind her of the truth of the gospel, and that Jesus loved her. It was truly a privilege to have the chance to pray for her. That day I was reminded that behind a smile, many people hold real wounds, and everyone is in need of the love of the Father.
— Senior
While I felt that it was such a blessing to be able to show God’s love to many of his beloved children, I left our VDOC experience feeling burdened for the residents living there and only wanting to be able to go back. One of the residents I met there shared with me the daily, physical and emotional pain she faced and expressed how she wondered what God’s role was in her life in light of all her pain. After her sharing I felt so burdened for her as I saw the need for Christ’s love in her life. I was able to pray for her and she asked me to continue to pray for her and her family. After this experience, I became very thankful for our elderly care ministry who continues to share His love on a weekly basis as I saw the need of sharing God’s love to these residents. My prayer is that the Lord will send others to continue to share His love not only on special occasions but more on a regular basis. And who knows, maybe he’ll send some of us. :)
— Senior