Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Minnie From West Virginnie!

Over the past three years, I've been visiting my uncle who is living in a nursing home in the area. He is in good shape and spirits, but has trouble walking due to complications from diabetes. Because of his complications, he needs full-time nursing assistance. While visiting with him over this time period, I've had the opportunity to meet many different people who are living in the nursing home with him. Most of these people need full-time help and are approaching the end of their lives. I knew a couple of the people who passed away and know how difficult it is on my uncle when he has become friends with them.

Recently while visiting with my uncle, I began talking to a woman who lives at the nursing home. This woman's name is Minnie, and I have talked to her on many occasions in the past and knew some of her personal history. Minnie is from West Virginia and has been at the nursing home for quite a while. She is limited in what she can do, but she gets around the nursing home in a wheelchair pretty well. She is near 90 years old, but has a lot of spunk and a very humorous wit about her.

While we were watching a Tiger ballgame together, the topic of conversation turned from Tiger baseball to music. It seems that Minnie loves music and quickly launched into her favorite song, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. Since I knew the song also, I joined Minnie in an off-tune version of the song. As I began singing with her, her face lit up with joy! I must confess that I have never had anyone's face light up with joy when I have sung with them or for them! Old Minnie and I just sang that tune over and over again until she tired out. When she was exhausted from singing the song, there was an expression of joy all over her face. She just sat there in her wheelchair and smiled. She told me that she used to sing that song all the time as a little girl and how she loved going to church. In fact, one time when her church service concluded by singing that song, the pastor fell over at the song's completion and died of a heart attack! I guess the roll was being called up yonder, and he was now there! What a way to go into the next life! As I sat listening to Minnie tell her church-related stories, I thought to myself that I had to get Minnie a CD with her favorite song on it so that she could listen and sing with it all day.

When I returned from my summer vacation, I had a CD made for Minnie at the church. The songs I included on the CD were all old-time Gospel songs sung by famous country artists. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and the Gaithers were just of few of the recording artists I included on the CD. When I presented the CD to Minnie the next time I saw her, she was overwhelmed with the simple gift. She sat in her wheelchair thanking me over and over for the music with tears coming down her cheeks. Her face lit up again as she began thinking about the music on the CD. When I told her who some of the artists were on the CD, she started to laugh. It just so happened that most of these people were her favorite singers. I was afraid during my vacation that Minnie might pass before I could get her the CD. I was more blessed by her reaction to receiving the CD than she could ever know!

I tell this short, touching story because of the impact these people and their simple songs made on a young woman who lived in an obscure coal mining town somewhere in West Virginia. It had been many years since this woman had heard these songs and, when she did, they reminded her of years past and good times that were very precious to her. It dawned on me how something so small and insignificant to us might mean the world to someone else. I also reflected on the eternal mark that remained on this woman's soul and the reaction from her after she heard these songs.

Next week at the church, we will be sponsoring the Vacation Bible School outreach to the city of Melvindale and the surrounding communities. We have been doing this for years and the entire week is quite an event for the children! There will be many "Minnies from West Virginnie" in attendance and this could be a great opportunity for each one of us to make an eternal impression on some future servant of God. We never know how God can or will use us, but the seed we sow may change the direction of someone's life for the glory of God! The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 3:7, "It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow." (LT)

May we plant some valuable seed in a young generation at the upcoming Vacation Bible School, trusting that God will bring forth a harvest of souls resounding in His glory. And in their future, when the roll is called up yonder, they'll all be there!

Stay holy my friends!

Pastor Don

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