“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15

I’ve known Joan for about five years now and have really come to enjoy our conversations together. Joan is a Native American women who has lived in the Phillips Neighborhood for over 50 years and is typical of many of the native people in this area; she is handicapped (in a wheelchair), she is humble and shy (always has a smile when we talk), and keeps to herself. Last year her best friend and travelling companion Bear, a chubby little brown puddle mix had to be put down and it was sad to see Joan alone without her ‘friend.’ However, there is now a new friend in Joan’s life, a little yorkie that someone gave to Joan and now we see Joan each week with her new dog wrapped in a blanket on her lap on her wheelchair.

Each time we talk part of our conversation always ends in me inviting Joan to our Saturday evening Holy Communion Service we hold next door at Trinity First Lutheran Church and she always smiles and says, “I’ll try and make it” however, she never seems to show. Than two months ago during the opening prayers, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a wheelchair moving down the side of the Sanctuary wall where it finally stopped in the back of the Sanctuary where many of our native brothers and sisters position themselves and there among them was Joan and her little dog wrapped in a small blanket!

After the service, all are invited for some snacks and fellowship and to my joy Joan joined the group. When the time had come for Joan to leave I caught her on the way out and thanked her for coming and she commented to me that although she had lived in this neighborhood for over fifty years, this was the first time she had ever been in this church and the first time that she had received communion since she was 19 years old! She smiled and thanked me for being so persistent, patted my hand and left (she is such a sweet soul). I’m happy to report that Joan has been a regular attendee ever since.

A few weeks ago I noticed Joan leaving right after the service and I went to see if everything was OK and she told me she needed to get home because she had some guests. I asked her if she wanted to take some food and she said ‘No thank you’ that she just received the Lord’s meal and she was satisfied!


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