The life of Christ dwelt within the heart of Haig but we missed it for many years. Haigie was a mentally and physically disabled Armenian man, without family, who lived with the elderly at the Armenian Nursing Home. Culturally vibrant and lively, this ‘nursing home’ was a beloved Armenian community for Haigie, even though he wasn’t elderly. Since my husband and I live 200 miles away, our visits were infrequent and our attention was spread over several residents.
After many years there, Haigie was evaluated by the state for placement into a residential group home for the mentally and physically disabled. Now in his sixties, leaving his aged Armenian community was a crushing blow, many tried to circumvent this move but in the end it was a ‘God move’, a tremendous blessing for us all.
My husband and I began visiting Haigie at the group home, which did not have 80 residents but under 10. With Haigie our only focus, we grew closer and the Lord soon revealed his living faith in Jesus Christ. As a brother in the Lord, visits with Haigie became times of scriptural sharing and worship, including Armenian and English hymns.
However, within two years, Haigie’s health begun to fail.
For his memorial I wrote, in part,
It was clear that Haigie had a living faith. We hadn’t realized before, that in his broken body was a vibrant love for God…In spite of longsuffering, he was ready to worship and expressed his love for Jesus Christ. Haigie was a true believer whose faith greatly encourages us. It will be a joy to worship the Lord with Haigie one day in God’s Kingdom.
I believe that ‘living faith’ doesn’t die.
During our last visits with Haigie, a woman wheeled herself into his bedroom as we were singing. Mentally and physically disabled and mute, Adrienne somehow communicated to us that she was Armenian and friends with Haigie. Another Armenian in this residence? Adrienne joined us and we soon learned that she cared deeply for Haigie, his death would be a great loss to her.
SO following Haigie’s death we continued to visit this group home, Adrienne seemed to cherish this fellowship. We sang songs and had scriptural reading in the ‘sun room’. It was different. But I soon saw the Lord doing a new thing.
One day Linda was in the ‘sun room’, her wheelchair parked by our sitting area as she worked on an art craft. We hardly knew her but she seemed happy to have us there. We socialized a bit with Adrienne then we opened up fellowship with singing (accompanied by much needed YouTube songs online!) and Bible reading. Although Adrienne is mute, Linda is not and we soon found that she had faith and something to say about it!
We came to know the other residents and the staff as well.
This Christmas our visit moved from the ‘sun room’ to the living room, the common social area. A group seemed to form around us, including a Jewish resident! The ball started rolling with Linda’s request for the all popular ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. We sang out Christmas songs in every pitch and tone that perhaps only the Lord could love. We even sang a Hanukkah song before sharing God’s word about Christ’s birth. The story highlight became the shepherds and God’s choice to miraculously announce the Savior to simple folks huddled around sheep.
This is the best part…there was a time of prayer before leaving. With joined hands and bowed heads I looked up, and saw residence staff come and join in!
Was this church? I think so!
Lord, speak to the heart of every resident and staff member in that home, water every seed of faith. Open our eyes to value and seek the childlike faith of Matthew 18:3, humble and dependent upon you. Press upon our hearts the kind of fellowship You desire, in the places that You ordain to make Yourself known.
I pray for each reader that visits this site, whet their appetite for more of You, Jesus. Speak to their hearts and encourage them as they walk through each day, no matter how heavy the steps. I pray for every writer that visits here, anoint them and inspire them with Your Holy Spirit. Let Your seeds of living truth come to fruition through their work.