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.
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.