By Fred Comella
When last we met on the pages of “The Good News” I was writing about a certain acceptance of the fact, that while we should control the things we can, when we can, in the end, “He’s” in control, always.
This fact has become my go to place when the world comes crashing in and my mind and heart are troubled by issues which appear beyond my immediate ability to reasonably affect. But after writing that article, (BTW, “He” actually writes the articles, I just punch computer keys), I thought some more about the bigger picture. I thought about how I came to find Christ as my Lord and Savior, and how I now benefit from having the security of knowing He’s driving. But I also thought about the frustrations of this life, and how for me, they were compounded by not knowing the truth. And I wondered how one communicates the simple answers to a world desperately in need of hearing them. Is it word or deed or both?
Well, what the heck have I been doing the last few years but talking to the very people who are on the front lines with the message of Jesus Christ as an answer to the seemingly overwhelming and limitless foolishness we human beings seem fairly adept at getting ourselves into. But ahead of addressing global Armageddon, doesn’t it make sense that we address the simpler and more immediate issue of the day, which in the end, is often the seeds of those dilemmas?
You see, (the message) is in fact very simple, and carries with it the full weight and promise of Christ’s one of a kind forgiveness and grace, all available to you free of charge. All we need do is to accept it as a gift and acknowledge Him as having purchased it for us. “Love others as I have loved you”. Wow!! I believe with all my heart, that if we all embraced this one simple concept, it would be the beginning of something truly world changing.
So many pundits and politicians of our time are out there as we speak claiming the moral high ground with nothing more than demagoguery and bags overflowing with false narratives designed only for their own purposes. Meanwhile, the helpless among us are slaughtered in the womb, elderly with no one in nursing facilities, and children left parentless by the conflicts of this world, or simply the neglect of societies plagued by the inability to prioritize in the name of humanity. I ask you again, how do we begin to pick our battles, hobbled by ignorance of faith, fear of accountability or both? The Christian stalwart knows, and he/she is quietly bringing up the rear, doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the kind of simple societal change so key to the longevity of this free republic and the revival of the world.
You know, He taught us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”, and in my mind those words specifically are the ones folks of all walks and conditions need to hear first, followed by the aforementioned “love others as I have loved you”. Inside the context of this one short paragraph are the essential first elements of the change we seek. The rest will follow. To that end, those called and/or committed to the work of spreading the Gospel to every corner and in every capacity to all who would hear it, have to be a pivotal and influential force for good. And what better place to begin, than the nursing facilities, shelters and orphanages. From those places we can ignite the power of Jesus Christ, and transform the debate to one of cooperation and love, opportunity and dignity for all mankind. Wanna change the world??? Start with one little corner…
John Robison is someone I’ve come to know and admire. A man of great energy and ambition for Christ, which at times borders on boundless. I’ve interviewed John a number of times now, about various efforts and ministries in which he is wholly invested, here and around the world. He even invited me to give my testimony to the local chapter of the “Full Gospel Business Men’s Association”, at which point I decided I should stick to writing.
Nevertheless, it’s always a pleasure to touch base with John and see what’s on the agenda. John and I spoke recently by phone about “Aware of God Ministries” (AOG), a group dedicated to many of the simple concepts in the previous paragraphs, and which are influenced by his desire to emulate and expand on the compassion of his late wife, who despite her own health issues dedicated herself to the spiritual and emotional needs of those in nursing facilities.
John, and his team at AOG are taking the Word to nursing facilities, places like the orphanages of the Philippines, and to the ears of those who are in need of the simple comfort Jesus Christ brings to the soul. They’ve been specializing in giving gifts and providing entertainment to patients in nursing care and assisted living residents. The organizations sole purpose is to give joy to those with no family or friends, and others who’ve simply been abandoned there.
In the vein of his late wife, John and his team are always first sensitive to the needs of the individual, and understand that blanket giving often lacks the direct one on one message necessary in certain applications. The facilities do provide the basics of shelter, food, and necessary medical treatment, as well as toiletry needs to their patients. However, this leaves much of what I like to call the human condition on the table.
John explained that Christ’s Love is where they step in, providing gifts like Night shirts, Slippers, Socks, perfume and cologne, lip balm, small stuffed animals, puzzle books, inspiration items/books, clothes, sneakers, etc. These things are not on the basics list but are so appreciated by those receiving them, that it simply can’t be overstated. Moreover, they’re just happy to know that they are thought of and remembered by their fellow man.
But AOG doesn’t stop there. John and his team also provide entertainment in the form of interactive music and performances which go a long way to breaking the cycle of routine and boredom which can permeate the day to day in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The “gift boxes” have only grown in size as well numbers delivered.
John tells me that some years back as many as 20 of 80 patients in one nursing home were without literally anyone to be there for them. And this is where AOG has stepped in to fill the need. John told me the message of Timothy 5:16 inspired both he and his late wife to do the work of the church for those truly in need. He related a story of how he asked to come back to one nursing home and was told no. When he asked why, he was told that AOG’s efforts were so appreciated by not only the patients, but that the staff decided to get involved and emulate AOG at their facility. I suppose there’s truly no greater complement…
The ministry has now grown to include the giving of Christmas boxes in the facilities as well as an international ministry with similar boxes being delivered in greater numbers to children in the Philippines who are thirsty for the kindness and love of God’s Word. And while John tells me that he and his team are careful to advise all of the nursing homes and places they visit about the contents of the gift boxes, including any spiritual books and periodicals, he’s quick to point out that the mission of AOG remains to proclaim Jesus Christ in every place and in every way possible. For it is in this message one finds all the others, and AOG may then put His love into action for those who need it most.
As John and I wrapped up our call, I thought to myself, much like a certain Christian Pastor of the Separatists time, this John Robinson is also committed to the principles of Christians living out the true values of their faith. Sacrifice of time and effort on behalf of those in need, and loving others as He loves us, are paramount to that cause. And when applied in small ways over a wide area and consistently over time, the results are obvious and dramatic.
So if you want to be a small but significant part of a much bigger effort, consider helping out the folks at Aware of God by volunteering your time or contributing monetarily.
You can contact them at: Aware of God Ministries, 405 Douglas Pike Rd, Smithfield, RI 02917 or call 401-231-0101 | Fax: 401-231-2360 | firstname.lastname@example.org Also connect with them on Facebook as well.