A Nursing Home Story
Judy raised her hands and hummed along to most of the songs I played that day. I noticed tears coming down her face as I was finishing my concert with the song, “How Great Thou Art”. She was so blessed by many of the classic Hymns of the faith that when we finished, she just started singing a song herself.
She sang, “…a million angels could not express, the gratitude of all you’ve done for me…” It was beautiful. It is such a privilege to share so many moments like these with residents in nursing homes on a daily basis.
“Not that Song”
I was playing a show the other day at an assisted living place in Stevens Point and just as I had started playing “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, I sensed the Lord tell me, “not this song now, play something else.” “But I’ve already started it” I thought. “Just stop and play another.” “Ok.”
So I did. I just stopped playing and made some excuse. Then I started playing a song I wrote based out of Psalm 139 and started talking about the Lord and his love for us.
I told them, “Did you know that in Psalm 139 it says that the Lord thinks about us more than there is sand on the seashore? He sure must love us a great deal to think so much of us.”
As I was singing the chorus, “And when I think of your great love, it moves me, it moves me…” In walks a group of kids. They had come to spend some time with the folks there that day. After the song I started sharing about a song that had been on my heart all week. In fact I had been singing as I woke that morning. “If there’s such thing as too beautiful, if there’s such thing as too wonderful, if there’s such thing as too marvelous, Jesus it’s you, Jesus it’s you!”
This idea really excites and encourages me – that Jesus is so far more beautiful, wonderful and marvelous than we could possibly imagine, there is so much more to Jesus – he is our endless treasure. There is a journey to better and brighter things as we grow in love with him and deeper in relationship to God.
So I was sharing some of these thoughts and all the while, these kids were in the back listening. Then I realized that this was why Jesus had me stop playing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” to a song and message that would bring life. Pretty awesome!
I found out later that my wife had been praying for me earlier that day that God would lead me song by song.
thanks for listening,
Well Get On With It!
One of my favorite stories is when I had my very first heckler. As I was playing at a facility in Green Bay one very loud lady up in the front would yell out whenever there was a few seconds break between songs, “well, get on with it!” And then when we sang Amazing Grace, she sang out real loud, ” Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like you…” Lovely woman.
It was at that very same facility, perhaps that very same concert that a man decided to join in playing his harmonica. The only problem was that his harmonica was in the key of “C” and none of my songs were. Once I asked him what key his harmonica was in, I changed a few songs to that key so that he could play along.
Did She Just Say That?
This is a story about a lady who was nicknamed “Corky”. She was suffering from some debilitating illness that affected her mind and her ability to communicate. After the concert I went up to her to shake her hand and she said to me, “Thank you very much for coming, I really appreciated it.”
The manager of the place leaned out of his nearby office and asked, “did she just say that?” His surprise told me that this was very unusual for her to make a cohesive sentence. Was this the healing effect of music or something more?
When I was first getting started doing concerts there was a particular place I would frequent here in Appleton where I met a man named George. In fact, it was at that very same facility where I had played for “Corky” in the above story. George loved to read and always had a book in his hand every time I was there. We would talk about whatever book he was reading or have conversations about his past.
He told me that he had had a hard life – haunted with the pain of his divorce. He was a teacher from an area near where I had grown up. He taught in a little town in Idaho called Priest River. While growing up, my family and I would drive through Priest River every year as we went up to Priest Lake and the surrounding mountains to pick huckleberries. He said that his passion in life was not in teaching a larger group but more so when he was able to mentor a student and to really connect. And he mentioned that he saw the same enjoyment and passion in what I was doing. George passed away on Fathers Day. When I learned of his death, I remarked to God, “well, he is in your hands now.” But then I realized that he always had been.
He’s got the little bitty baby!
This next story is one that really touched my heart recently. I was playing a concert out in Wild Rose and had played the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. A few songs later I see a man struggle out of his wheelchair in the back of the room and hobble up to where I was. With tears in his eyes he blurts out, obviously very distraught, “He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands! He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands! ”
When I had done that song earlier, I had not sung that verse of that song, probably to shorten it up a bit. But he wanted to sing it. So he stood up there with me and we sang it together. It was such a beautiful moment.
As many of you know, for the past couple of years I have been performing spiritual concerts for the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Northeast Wisconsin. My goal has been and still is to be a blessing and an encouragement to the faith of those who no longer can get to church. I bring a bit of church to them through the familiar hymns and spirituals and sharing of God’s word. I see now more than ever that what I do is not just a job but a ministry.
It is clear to me that God has called me and has given me the grace for this ministry. Jesus created me. And this is something that he created me to do. As of August 2009 I had been going it alone and was on my way to burnout, but I recently sought out some prayer and was amazed at the night and day difference in the attitude of my heart and the tone and atmosphere of the “concerts”.
I have a strong sense that God is once again at the helm, leading and blessing this venture. This is something that He wants to continue to expand and grow, and most important, to include the rest of His body in.
I need the body of Christ to support this ministry. I need prayer, not just to keep me going, but to see God move, to see God save, and to see God bring comfort and encouragement to those who need it.
So here is what I am asking: Will you pray?
In your conversations with God, will you please remember to lift up this ministry?
Please pray that God will:
- Open doors of ministry and bring the increase as He sees fit
- Move on people’s hearts – that they will hear Him calling them into relationship and answer that call.
- Keep me fresh and encouraged and that God will continue to pour into me so that I will have something to give.
- Inspire me with words of encouragement, life, and hope – the He would give me the right words in the right time for the right person.
- Grant me favor with the nursing home staff.
- Inspire me with new songs of ministry.
- Provide all that is needed for all that He is calling
Recently I received back this report about how the Reflect Hymn project is being used:
Having a chance encounter with an old friend who works the night shift at our local nursing facility, I wanted to share with you her comments about your music.
She told me that a copy of your music on CD; Reflect Hymns, appeared at their nurses station, and that they had been playing and enjoying the music. However, she said the greatest benefit seemed to come when your music was played exclusively in the rooms of those patients who were experiencing their last days. She told how the staff all remarked that such a great sense of peace seemed to envelop the room and the people in attendance, that they have a policy of always playing this music for such times as this as it provides such comfort.
I thought you might want to know this, since I know you send out these CD’s as a sample of your work when booking concerts at various Nursing Homes. Even though this facility has never had you there in person, your music is being used and valued, which I just ‘happened’ to find out a few weeks ago during my ‘chance encounter’.
Thanks for listening, and thanks even more for praying.
2010 was one of the busiest years for me with a total of 368 nursing home concerts!
My favorite concert of 2010 was the very last Christmas concert I performed out in Wittenberg, WI in a dementia unit. To tell you the truth, those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are some of my favorite people to perform for. The nurse was concerned that some of their outbursts were bothering me. I told her I didn’t mind at all. Jesus loves them so much!
One of my favorite artists, Glen Hansard once said that his favorite groups of people are the really young and the really old. I would absolutely agree. It’s why I love what I do. The “elderly” are so gracious, so appreciative, and so delightful.
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Thanks for listening!
Daniel & Catherine
Want to be a part of blessing someone in a nursing home this year? Will you help me provide provide Gospels of John to nursing home residents?
I have about 30 concerts in nursing homes this Christmas season and I would love to give each of the residents a Christmas gift of a Large Print Gospel of John. I think that people’s hearts are more open to the good news of Jesus this time of year. What an opportunity to bless them.
If you’d like to help:
<– Click on the picture or visit Biblica.com to order some Gospels for this ministry. Contact me for my address. Or just Donate to this ministry and we will order them:
Thank You! Daniel & Catherine Lovett
The Lord put it on my heart to start passing out Large Print Gospels of John in the summer and so far I have distributed about 1000. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Many who have received them were very grateful and I have heard back already from several who say they have read them or read them every night.
Thank you to all who have given toward this ministry for making this possible! For 85 cents you can put a Large Print Gospel of John into the hands of a grateful someone who will read it and grow closer to Jesus. This is the best possible gift I can think to give someone – introducing them to Jesus through God’s own word. This will change their lives forever!
I always want to be able to provide these Large Print Gospels of John at every ministry concert that I do to everyone who would want them, but as I told my wife, at the rate I have been handing them out, we need to raise some funds! Will you help us? I believe in this ministry! So much so that I have been donating my time, money, and resources into this.
I just need some more of my brothers and sisters in Christ to catch the vision for what the Lord is doing through this ministry and lend a helping hand.
Here are a few things you could do:
- Please pray for us!
- Donate to our ministry:
You can download this song at www.reflect.bandcamp.com