By William Fisher
I worked at a certain nursing home for about eight years as the activities director and was later designated as the facility’s chaplain. My wife and I both witnessed some awesome moves of God over the years that would cause even the hardest skeptic to take a closer examination of Christianity.
One day while conducting church services, I noticed an unfamiliar face in the small gathering. She was a lady in her late forties who was wheelchair bound, yet cognitive and demonstrated a great interest in what I was preaching. After the service she introduced herself and shook my hand. I will call her Olivia to protect her privacy.
She commented on several points I had made on biblical topics which led to a great friendship between us. We respected each other as well as just feeling comfortable together. She began to take an interest in the activity program and was faithful to come to almost every activity that she was physically able to take part in. She seemed very excited each morning when I arrived, anticipating the day’s activities and would ask me in advance what they were and at what time they would take place.
Our friendship grew stronger and stronger and we had many wonderful discussions on God, religion, relationships, her childhood--the whole nine yards. As time rolled by, I learned she was a lesbian and so were some of her sisters. Although she was unable to be a practicing homosexual, her heart and mind were still active in the practice. She never discussed this with me and I never brought it up. I felt as though she had enough to deal with being partially handicapped and thrown into a nursing home environment that limits one’s freedom. She was practically isolated from friends and family and that left her feeling quite lonely.
I awoke one morning and I was moved by God in a special way. I cannot describe it so I won’t even try, but I did know something good was going to happen and that I’d better be prepared for it. I arrived at my office on time, which was a miracle in itself, and sat down to prepare for the day. It wasn’t long before Olivia rolled into my office with a stern, yet pondering look on her face. I asked her if she was feeling okay and she nodded yes, but something was troubling her. I said, “Come on girl, you know you can tell me.” Her lips cracked into a half smile and asked; “Does Jesus really love me?” I told her yes and that His nail scarred hands were open right now to welcome her into His kingdom.
She began to cry and I explained to her that she must be born again and repent from her sins and must give her heart, soul and life to Him. I asked her did she believe in the Son of God and did she understand why Jesus came. She was not fully aware of it all and I explained it to her by the authority of the Word I was holding in my hand. I asked Olivia was she ready to commit herself to a loving God who would change her life forever and she would be a new creation and she replied yes. I closed the door and locked it and took authority in Jesus’ name so that no one would bother us until this was complete. We said the “repentance prayer” together and immediately afterwards I actually saw peace in her eyes. It was flowing like a fountain over her and you could visibly see it take place. She hugged me and praised God with joy and tears. We talked some more and she left my office. What a day! I lived for those kinds of days.
A couple of months passed and Olivia came and stopped me in the hallway and stated she wanted to ask me some questions and of course I made myself available. We went into my office and she asked about baptism and we read scripture together concerning this. She told me she desired to be baptized, but realized that it may be difficult to perform in her current physical condition. Also there were certain governing rules of nursing home residency and policies that hindered baptism by immersion. There could be lawsuits, etc. etc. and all kind of legalities involved if anything went wrong. Anyway, I asked Olivia, “What do you say. . . want to do it right now?’ She replied “yes!”
I took her to the social worker''s office who was also a Christian. The three of us prayed together first and then read scripture on baptism and I explained to her the reasons for it. I took a few towels and draped them around her shoulders and soaked her down in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I laid my hands on her shoulders and prayed. There was not a dry eye in the place, as a matter of fact; we could not distinguish which was water and which were tears on Olivia''s person. We sang and praised God and she gave me a bear hug so tight I thought my bones would crack at any moment. The social worker said she was blessed to be a part of it and that we used her office to do it in. We were blessed beyond comparison.
When we all regained our composure, Olivia said this; “Bill, when this was going on I was lifted out of myself and when you touched me I could feel the warmth and love and power of God flowing through my entire body. I am grateful to you and eternally grateful to God. And I will never forget it. I love Jesus and I love you too! No one has ever been this loving towards me. I know I am changed.”
It has been over two years since that day and I visit the nursing home quite frequently. I visited a few days ago and saw Olivia and some of the others and each time she sees me. . . I get that bear hug!
In a previous visit to her room I noticed that Olivia had posters of lesbian stars and activists on her wall, but months after her conversion I visited again and the posters were off the wall. She has truly been a blessing to me and I hope this testimonial has been a blessing to you too. Olivia struggles sometimes, as we all do, but she will never forget what the Lord Jesus did for her and she truly experienced a change of heart. Amen and Amen.