By Dr. Melanie Schaafsma
Monday afternoon at 1 p.m., Evergreen Outreach was held back at our “home” spot, the First United Methodist Church. Our guests approved. Edith Simmons, from Brookstone, said, “It feels more like home, and we have more space here.”
By the same token, we are so grateful to Fayette County Hospital’s Long Term Care for providing us with a place to meet for the past few months. We couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks for being such gracious hosts! Even with the additional space, our meeting room was full of guests.
Pam Childers played the piano as the guests arrived. She played the songs everyone loves and remembers, like "Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah," "Down in the Valley," "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."
Beulah Brown led us on Monday. She welcomed everyone, and let us in on the numerous October birthdays. They are: Brian Eller (4), Patty Sprague (5), Betty Earney (7), Mary Williams (9), Sarah Johnson (10), Lucille Fico (12), Jack Logue (12), Panzi Blackwell (13), Barb Denning (15), Diane Hans (15) and Jeanne Witbracht (16). "Happy Birthday" was sung to all of our October birthday bunch. While all of the festivities were getting started, drinks and cookies were served, made by Sherry Schnieder and Jill Tarkington.
The Rev. Joe Lawson, of Rehoboth Baptist Association, gave the message, based on Psalms 34: 17-18. It reads: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Joe talked about a little boy who wandered into a construction area and climbed into a truck, only to get stuck on the tailgate. He couldn’t go up and he couldn’t go down! His father went to look for him, and heard him crying out for help. The little boy needed help. He needed to be rescued. His father rescued him.
Sometimes, we need to be rescued, too.
Joe said that we need to do two things in order for God, our Father, to rescue us. First, we need to be righteous in God, which means having a relationship with Jesus. And second, we need to rely on God to provide us with wisdom to help us out of our calamity. If we pray and ask for forgiveness for our sin and start a relationship with Jesus Christ and ask for help from God, he will rescue us. God wants to rescue us. We only need to ask.
Beulah told us we would hear some bad news and then some good news. She told us that Annie and Paul Ledbetter’s uncle, Forrest Jackson, passed away. Beulah said that Forrest was in his late 90s when he died, that he was a good Christian man, and was a man who always did things for others.
Then Beulah turned the microphone over to Phyllis Rames to tell us the good news. She had a letter in her hand, and told us that it was from Joan Kelly. Joan was from England, was very active as an Evergreen Outreach volunteer for many years, and moved to California to help out her daughter and grandchildren. Joan sent Evergreen Outreach some money to buy games for the guests to play.
A thank-you note went around to all of the guests to sign. There were so many signatures on the note that there was hardly room for one more! Eugene Marshall from Randolph House drew a great picture of a man in a suit with a yellow tie, and also another picture. Others there from Randolph House were Gordon Scholl and Debbie.
Bill Beard, with his magical balloons, was our entertainment for the day. He had made quite a few ahead of time, so that most everyone would receive a balloon that he had shaped into a poodle, bird or heart. Patty Sprague and Ginny Spratt handed out the balloon creations to the guests. We were lucky; none of them popped!
Eleanor McNutt played ragtime piano tunes while Bill created balloon wonders. She had the group singing "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" – her signature song. We then sang some sing-along songs that most of us remembered from our childhood Vacation Bible School, like "Jesus Loves Me," "I’ve Got that Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in My Heart" and "If You’re Happy and You Know It." Brenda Swiecicki of FAYCO led the guests in "Deep and Wide" and "You Are My Sunshine." We also sang "Amazing Grace," and it WAS amazing that so many knew almost all of the verses!
In the pinochle corner, we had Rosamund Hobler and Flo Lange winning three games to John Hunsley and Richard Kruenegel’s none. Jeanne Schlick and Mary Woolsey won two games to Shirley Locke and Peggy Lippold’s one game.
When I look over the crowd of guests at Evergreen Outreach, I see the faces of those who love each other and love getting to take a short trip out of their normal living environments to see a little more of the world outside the walls of their rooms.
Evergreen Outreach is a true ministry, based on scripture. The inspiration for Evergreen Outreach is found in Matthew 25: 34-40:
“Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ And the king will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’”