About 30 years ago I had a vision while in prayer. The picture I saw was a multitude of mostly older women sitting at the windows of a home for elderly. I was able to come around to the front of their faces and they all looked like they had broken hearts, which were lost and lonely. This vision was in 1985 when I gave my life to Jesus and turned from the darkness I was living in. Shortly after that, I got a clear call to go and help my distant great Aunt in Germany from going into a nursing home. I left the USA May 16th of 1986 and stayed in Germany just shy of 20 years. During that time, I made an effort to love on my great Aunt and she went peacefully home at 87 about 5 years after I moved to Germany. The Lord then blessed me with Bernadette my wife and 4 beautiful children, David, Stella, Marie-Claire and John-Paul.
It was around 1994 after moving to the Bonn, Germany area to be closer to both my wife's family and my distant relatives from my mother’s side, that I became an elder of a Catholic Church in our community St. Anna in Hermerath, Germany. It was on that board that I started a nursing home ministry around 1995-96. A good friend of mine Kurt Lohse and I would tag team later. I sat there at Haus Tusculum in Ruppichteroth, Germany many times playing from my song sheets and sang my heart out. I started to realize the positive effect on the guests and residents through guitar and song. No matter how severe the illness, loneliness or handicap, everyone seemed to benefit from the music in one way or another. People were tapping their feet, moving their lips or tapping a finger. I could tell it was reaching them. This inspired me even more and I kept developing that call by practicing more everyday to be better when playing the guitar and singing. Later in my career as a salesman, my family and I were given an opportunity to move to Atlanta, Georgia. We decided to take that step and come back to America after almost 20 years of living in Germany. It was a major culture shock, for everyone including myself. Singing in homes to the elderly kept burning in my heart and on occasions I would find a place to play. Sounds like the guitar man doesn’t it? About 5 years after I settled into Kennesaw, GA with my family, I made an investment and bought a sound system with a vision of reaching a larger crowd and knowing that some elderly have hearing problems it could enhance my efforts. It was really an investment to start the ministry. I believed that this would be a way for me to begin my journey singing to the elderly and the handicapped. The sound system is great for larger crowds, but most of my efforts developed into smaller personal settings and has become a prayer and worship session in smaller rooms where anywhere from 10 to 50 people are gathered.
Some 7 years after playing here and there around Kennesaw, Georgia on an irregular basis, I was prayed for by family and friends into increasing my efforts and creating a route in my community. Several people prayed over me and saw a vision that I was carrying for a long time. These good friends and family spoke into me and suggested I step into this call. September 2017, I began to start building a route by calling homes and offering this service. The response was enormous! The activity directors were very interested in someone who can pray and worship with the Elderly, since most entertainers often play secular music and do not offer worship and prayer. I am asked to play secular music occasionally, on larger events to get the legs moving. I try to mix worship songs into the event to keep our eyes on Jesus. I have a special event where I play for 1-2 hours and have a raffle in the middle. All the residents present get a number and we call it out so they can all win a stuffed animal. It is an awesome moment when you see these lonely tired people wrap their arms around that stuffed animal and have someone to snuggle with. It is also a time for prayer and healing. I try to encourage people to come with me to lay hands on people and pray for their needs. The love flows and people really are healed in their heart and often in their body.
I’ve been called the guy who saves the unwanted stuffed animals! So if you have a nice stuffed animal and your kids are grown up, consider donating it to me and I will get it into some loving arms. We wash and dry them getting them like new and smelling good before we do the raffle. These events usually happen on holidays or special events. I just told the Lord, when I get 50 stuffed animals, its time to setup another one of those events.
I am up to 10 homes now and growing. The response is amazing! My dream is to do this full time as God wills. I love to play music and the guests respond well. I know this from the request to come back. Once I am on the schedule in these homes, they are waiting for me. If I miss a day they are really sad. I already got a taste of that and I do not want to ever go there ever again. So I want to try and raise money to bring some peace and joy to this lost community, (our elderly) This is truly an epidemic. Will you help me? I promise the money with go to free me up from my everyday job so I can spend more time in the homes where God has called me. I hope you can help me. These lonely old and sometime lost seniors will get some loving music and I will worship over them from my heart. God Loves you and I know he wants me to step into this. This is my start to really help and give back to this community of elderly in a weak society.
I also worship and pray in the advanced memory care units where the dying in their last stages are laying. We ask if we can pray over them and pray that God comforts them in the final phase on earth before they go to see him. Some are cognitive and some not, but we know there is soul in there and I just want them to know that someone loves them and cares about them.
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