Tag Archives: ministry

MISSION: Dignity

You should know about this great program. Everyone should know.

The goal, the purpose, the very mission of this specific organization … is to allow retired pastors or their widows to live in dignity in the later years of life.

They spend decades serving in small churches. Leading ministries that often barely pay the minimum of basic cost of living. And asking them to put aside money for retirement is a monumental if not impossible task. Now, they didn’t go into preaching to get rich. Oh, media puts the huge money makers out there when they write about ‘pastors getting rich’ … but those are the rarity. But the public thinks that the norm. It’s not. Believe me, it’s not.

So, there is a vast amount of preachers, missionaries, ministers that serve and give of themselves and sacrifice for the higher calling. The go into tiny communities, serve in third world countries and give of themselves in communities stricken on poverty. And then … retirement.

It’s difficult, it’s stressful and it’s often impossible to make ends meet. And sometimes, it’s only the widow that survives and that can even be harder. They don’t want to be rich, to live off other people. They just seek to live with dignity.

My mother recently passed away. Though far from rich, she was able to take care of her self financially to the end. But not everyone has been in such a scenario.

Into this dilemma … Guidestone Financial has been making a difference for over 100 years. Since 1918, GuideStone® has been on a Mission to provide Dignity to retirement-age Southern Baptist ministers, workers and their widows. We serve about 1,900 households each year by providing needed financial assistance to help pay for housing, food and medical costs. Because of this help, these servants of the Lord continue to live with dignity, independence and, often, the ability to continue serving.

Through Mission:Dignity, Southern Baptist ministers, workers, and widows age 65 and older who qualify for financial assistance are eligible to receive between $225 and $600 per month; an annual Christmas check; and assistance for emergencies such as medical bills, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and house repair. Mission: Dignity was able to provide “double honor” to more than 1,800 retirees or their widows.
“It’s biblical. We are called to take care of widows, orphans, and our elders,” (Guidestone) says. “Seeing the difference it makes in their lives makes it all the better.”

At my mother’s passing, our family asked that instead of flowers, people could give to MISSION: Dignity. One huge part of donating to M:D is 100% goes to help, not a percentage but all of it. All administration cost are covered by Guidestone. We’ve taken in almost $800. That’s exciting.

Much of the information comes directly from the Mission: Dignity website. You can go to there website to read testimonials, learn more and even donate. Or, if you want to donate through my church … just reach out to me.

Ways to Help Seniors During Covid … even a year in!

I haven’t seen her for a year!

Covid. Shut Down. Quarantine. No Visitors.

Last March, the world started down a new path. My mother is in a retirement home about 170 miles away. Prior to that, I know I don’t see her as much as she desired. But 2020 … none at all.

But yesterday, I learned they just relaxed their guidelines so I woke up early, headed east, and took the 3 hour trek of over the hills and through the woods. And off to mother’s house (or small 500 sq foot apartment) I went.

I had to ward off the wild beasts in the woods (fellow drivers who drove crazy, work zone labyrinths, and the one 3 lane closure on 95 due to an accident). And of course, I stopped at the country tavern along the way (Cracker Barrel) where I filled my empty stomach with Parisian sweet bread (French toast) and restored my empty phone charge. I had to stop and feed my trusty heed once going there and once returning (gas at the occasional Sheetz).

The visit was limited to 2 hours. There were restrictions. But I did go.

She didn’t recognize me. She thought I was her brother. Not sure which one but I took it. We talked. I shared pictures off my iPad. She hugged the iPad when I showed the picture of my father (her husband she lost 25 years ago). We had the same conversation multiple times … but that’s okay, it meant I didn’t have to come up with new topics.

We avoided politics, mostly. But when it came up (the news was on a bit) she told me several times she shook Biden’s hand a few times. Apparently he played golf with my mother’s boss when she worked in Wilmington.

When I left, we hugged. She cried. And I solemnly exited knowing it would be a few weeks till we did it again. It was a good day. 7 hours on the road. 2 hours with mother. 1 hour stopping to eat and read.

It was a good day.

How can we continue to help? What can we do to help seniors and those in retirement homes continue to cope? Here are a few ideas I’ve collected over the past few months …

  • Teach them to use social media (too late for my mother, she can’t remember how to handle the tablet or other devices she has) but do this and stay in touch with pictures and more.
  • If she can’t handle social media (or even if she can) a digital photo frame is a great. I bought my mother a Nixplay (grandmother digital photo frame) where we could email pictures and they show up automatically. She misplaced it, but we tried.
  • Pick a Pen Pal. Letters and cards are special, especially for that generation.
  • Make sure someone contacts them daily. My sister calls mother nightly. My brother (closer to her geographically) visits regularly.
  • Print out photos and put together a little memory book.
  • Make sure they are fed and have the essentials. For my mother, in the assisted living wing, this isn’t an issue. But for those living alone … maybe grocery errands, take out meals, simple covered dish. Make sure they are eating and are taken care of.
  • Read a book with them. It doesn’t have to be together, but read the same book. Then you can talk about it. This helps with memory too.
  • Surprise them. Our church is going to adopt retirement homes and do “adopt a pet”. We are getting a variety of stuffed animals and then sending them to the retirement village so each resident will have a pet lion, tiger, puppy, armadillo, kangaroo, sloth, etc. Prayer cards added, adoption certificates, and more will be added. Imagine a pile of 50 zoo animals (each in a clear sanitized ziplock) brought to the community room.

What are you doing? What ideas have you seen done?

All for One … part 6 of 6

Oops … I never posted the sixth of the six part series. So for all you waiting on the edge of your seat this past couple of weeks, you can relax now, here it is …

It’s a community event. People are taking time off work … to work. And on this huge project, we have seen various types of responses to the construction project. So far in Nehemiah 3, we have looked at five types of people found in this important endeavor of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem …

  • Leadership is setting the example
  • Some people worked in areas outside their area of skill sets
  • Some people are willing to work in unappealing areas (the dirty jobs)
  • Some people are willing to work harder than others
  • There almost always some that just refuse to help and get involved

But this next group is one that might be missed in a casual reading of the chapter. Four words. The simple ending of a sentence about the efforts of a politician – yes, a politician getting his hands dirty at a construction site. Doing actual physical labor. That fact alone might be so shocking, so unusual that you could miss the final four words of verse 12.

Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.

Nehemiah 3.12

He and his daughters. Forget for a moment the fact this is the only mention of women getting involved – which is important. Forget the politician doing work angle. There is a great truth seen here.

Oops …I searched for work together, not work out together. But it was too cute

This verse shows us that Shallum took advantage of the mission endeavor to get his family involved. He took his kids to the wall rebuilding project, an important act of service to the Lord, and he made it a family event.

Dad not only set the example – he got his girls involved in the service project.

Dads – what a great lesson. Get your kids engaged. There is no age limit shown here, for there is really no age too early to get your kids helping.

  • Help deliver meals to those on need
  • Decorate cards to be sent to homebound
  • Visit the hospital together (back when you could get in – and obviously within healthy conditions)
  • Help change the oil or check the tires for a widow
  • Serve in a ministry together (cleaning between services at church, yard work, setting up for an event, play in a worship band)
  • Prayer walk together
  • ___________________ (add your own here)

What great memories can be made when a family serves together.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.