Thursday, May 14, 2015

Can the Demented be Reach with the Gospel?

My father had three brothers and two sisters. They were born and raised in Clinton County, Kentucky.

One brother, Marvin, was killed when his vehicle overturned when he was in his early 20's. One sister, Ruby, moved to Louisville with the family and remained there all her life.

My father's parents, Martin and Delia, one sister, Bonnie, and two brothers, Willie and Payton relocated to Miami, Florida where my father, who was in the Coast Guard, was stationed.

My mom use to take me to see my grandparents. They were good to me.

Uncle Payton was good to my mom when she was separated from my father because she was filing for divorce. He was a big help to her when she was bed-ridden during her pregnancy with me so she wouldn't miscarry.. Aunt Bonnie was the sole testifier at my mom's court hearing.

Aunt Bonnie and my mom were good friends. She was there for my mom when she needed help. I was her favorite niece. She was my favorite Aunt.

My mom took me many times to her house for the weekend so I could be with her and play with her four grandchildren.

My Aunt Bonnie and Aunt Ruby were the only siblings that had faith in God. They were raised Nazarenes. Aunt Bonnie switched over to the Baptist Denomination in Miami and even at one time taught Sunday School.

Aunt Bonnie was married to a man named Neil. Neil was her second husband. Neil was Catholic and religiously attended Catholic services on Saturday night.

Uncle Neil wasn't much for talking, his voice was low volume, and he constantly had a cigar in his mouth.

Uncle Neil was good to me. I liked sports and he taught me some methods to improve my game.

Back in the early 80's Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Neil sold their Miami house and bought a house in Albany which is located in Clinton County, Kentucky where she was raised. They moved to their new house from Miami during Thanksgiving that year. It was bitter cold that evening when they went to go inside their house from the car and Aunt Bonnie got frost bit on one of her toes.

The toe became infected. My Aunt was diabetic. The doctor could not heal her of the infection.

Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Neil lived in Albany for approximately three years. Twice I took vacation to go visit with them and stayed one week each time.

Uncle Neil had digressed mentally from when I knew him in Miami. He had a moderate form of dementia that left him not wanting to talk much, and not wanting to do anything other than watch TV occasionally.

My second visit I was down in the basement trying to scrape clean the wood burning stove that was used to heat the house during the winter because it had rusted when the basement flooded..
God spoke to me and told me to go upstairs and talk to Uncle Neil about Jesus.

When I did I found Uncle Neil watching a Billy Graham service. Uncle Neil was bothered by what he heard.

For about an hour and a half I talked to him about Jesus and gave him the gospel. I asked him if he wanted to invite Christ into his life. He told me that he was Catholic. He showed me his baptismal papers that he got when he was baptized as a baby. He told me that he was confirmed in the Catholic Church when he was twelve years old. He was certain that he was saved.

I was going nowhere with him. So, I just accepted it. I asked him if I could pray for him. He said, "Yes". After I prayed we both went to bed.

Nothing more was said about Jesus for my remaining time with them.

I went home. Less than a year later my Aunt woke up one morning and the infected frost bit toe became gangrenous and the gangrene spread up her leg. She was rushed to the hospital where her leg was amputated above her knee.

My Aunt had two sons from her first marriage. The youngest son, Buck, a Pentecostal believer, went to be with his mom. He was concerned for her relationship with Christ and wanted her to pray the sinner's prayer again so she would be right with God and for sure when she died she would go to Heaven.

He asked his mother if she would mind recommitting her life to Jesus. She said, "No, I don't mind doing it at all."

Buck asked if she believed that Jesus died for her sins. She said, "Yes." He asked her if she forgave everybody that had wrong her in life. She said, "Yes."

Uncle Neil was also in the hospital room. He was standing by the door.

Buck led his mother in the sinner's prayer.

When doing so he heard some weeping and some mumbling behind him. He turned and saw that it was coming from Neil.

Buck went to talk with Neil. He said, "Pop, do you want to ask Jesus to save you?" Uncle Neil said, "Yes". Buck led him in the sinner's prayer.

Uncle Neil changed.

Pippin, Buck's wife, said that his mind was being renewed everyday.

After Aunt Bonnie prayed the sinner's prayer God manifested Himself to her for the remaining time she had before she died. Aunt Bonnie died three weeks after her leg was amputated.

My brother Earl and I attended the funeral. I noticed Uncle Neil was different. He no longer wanted to smoke cigars or anything even when he was offered one. He didn't drink alcohol any more either. He was a gentleman. When I entered the snack room at the funeral home he got up and offered me his seat at the table. He seated me at the table when I went to sit down. This he never had done before. His demeanor was different. He didn't cuss any more.

Buck and Pippin did not want Neil in a nursing home. They took him into their home. He lived the rest of his life with them.

After Uncle Neal went to Buck and Pippin's house I called Pippin. I asked how he was doing. She said he was doing good. He didn't smoke the cigars anymore. He helps around the house. His mind is renewed everyday. He went to Church with them. He did as everyone else; he stood up when told too and he sang the songs from the hymnal. He certainly was a changed man.

Uncle Neil died three years later.

God saved Uncle Neil because that was the desire of his heart. God changed his life. He is now in Heaven.

You may have family, friends, or acquaintances that have some form of dementia. You may think that they cannot be reached with the gospel because of it.

I most assure you they can be.

Pray for their salvation. Share the gospel with them. Invite them to receive Christ as their Savior or recommit their life to Jesus.

God can reach them with the gospel and save them if that is the desire of their heart.

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