Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meals as Ministry: Around THEIR Table

I spent most of the past three weeks at my parent's house taking care of my mom after her hip replacement. While I was there I, the chairman of our church's "Meals on Wheels" program, learned a lot about ministering to people through the ministry we received!

How can you help someone who is sick, has a sick or hospitalized family member, has had surgery, a new baby, or a death in the family? It's not that hard. Here are ten greatly appreciated help ideas:

  1. Bring a meal -- The first few days I was there, starting the day before surgery, we had people bring us meals for 5 days. I had thought that wouldn't be a necessary, but going to and from the hospital (an hour away), getting Mom settled at home, picking up prescriptions, etc. took all my time! I was so glad to not have to think about making meals, too!
  2. Use disposable dishes -- Some people brought the meals in disposable containers--foil pans, old whipped topping containers, (or those ones that are cheap and called disposable, but we still wash out and use again!) That was wonderful. There was enough to do without thinking about getting pots and pans back to their owners. 

    Chicken and Rice Casserole in disposable pan
  3. Stay and eat with them -- Now that I'm gone, Mom is lonely. (Dad's quiet personality combined with memory loss doesn't make him much of a conversationalist these days.) So some of the people who are bringing a few meals now are staying to eat with them. That makes the meal so much more enjoyable! And they can... 
  4. Do some light chores -- whether it's load the dishwasher, change a light bulb, or sweep the back patio, this is such a big help. Of course while I was there I could do that, but now that I'm gone, there are a lot of little things that they can't do and a sincere and insistent offer of help is such a, well, help!
  5. Call -- Someone just taking five minutes to say, "Hi, I was thinking of you and wondering how you are," brightens a day, chases away loneliness, and is an extra protection for their safety and health. My children talk about how "cool" my mom is, because Grandma can text or Facebook, too! If you have time you could...
  6. Offer a ride -- to a doctor's appointment or just an outing. Or you could offer to...
  7. Run an errand -- do they have enough milk and bananas? need a prescription picked up? I'm so grateful that a dear sister in the Lord is taking care of this for my mom, now, but it reminds me to make the offer to others.
  8. Visit -- If you have the time to visit for half an hour, that's another great ministry. Someone different to talk to is like a change of scenery. Just remember to do number 5 first and maybe offer to do number 4 while you are there.
  9. Send a card -- At least one card arrived almost every single day I was with my mother. Some had funny comics, one had "drawings" by her great grandchildren (my 2 1/2 and 1 year old grandchildren), all had good wishes and promises of prayer. What fun to get "real mail" when you are stuck at home!
  10. Pray -- It's not the least we can do. It's the most we can do!

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  1. I think these are all good suggestions. I've been on both the giving and receiving end of this.
    Thanks for posting. I'm visiting from Friendship Friday.

  2. Thanks for the tips! My neighbor is sick right now, and I try to be a good neighbor to her....
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

    1. And it's a huge testimony, Crystelle, to help others! Go for it!

  3. Wonderful suggestions! Both my parents have passed, but my in-laws have several medical issues and have been in and out of hospitals and rest homes over the last couple of years. We have been blessed by the help of friends and neighbors.

    1. I live 2000 miles from my parents, so it is a huge comfort that the people from their church are caring for them.

  4. Thank you for these lovely suggestions that are well thought out!

  5. What a great list. I would add that you don't need to know the person well to stay and visit. Having been in the position of shut-in I can tell you a visit from anyone is welcome, whether old friend or new aquaintance.

  6. This should be printed in everyone's church bulletin every week. And of course it's not just for church-goers! :) You don't (completely) realize how important and appreciated these things are until you are in the position of needing them- thank you. Visiting from the Grand Social!

    1. Joy, well, you have my permission to print it in your bulletin--just attribute it to me and put my blog address on it! :-) I'd love a copy, too. (Although, I don't think it would be noticed if it were in every week!)

  7. Lovely post with great ideas. I would add, tho, that there are times when you *shouldn't* stay and visit. I remember times when my Mother (of Blessed Memory) was very ill, and visitors would stay too long & weaken her. Sometimes a person isn't well enough for any visit at all. Mom wanted to be polite & hospitable, so wouldn't hint that she couldn't handle the visit. Leaving a meal on the porch is sometimes the MOST helpful thing you can do.

    Keep in mind, too, that some people have impaired immunity (such as some chemotherapy patients) and cannot have visitors with even a minor cold.

  8. Really good ideas! It's so easy to get busy and forget that others need our hearts, ears, and time. Thanks so much for sharing with the Thrive @ Home Thursday link-up!



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