It was cold, dark, and damp, and as we pulled up in front of the small Catholic nursing home, our thoughts were centered more on hot chocolate and popcorn than on Christmas caroling. We missionaries had spent a wonderful day singing in hospitals and nursing homes throughout southern Dallas. But now it was late, and our voices were tired. We were glad to arrive at the last stop of the day.
Inside it smelled musty. We huddled for a few minutes in one corner of the foyer while the Catholic sisters brought their patients in wheelchairs to hear us sing.
As we started the first carol, a remarkable thing happened. In spite of our hoarse throats, our singing sounded more clear and true than at any of the other performances we had given that day. A feeling of warmth enveloped us. We were filled with a sense of peace and reverence.
After we finished the last song, the nurses asked us to wait while they returned the patients to their rooms. A few minutes later, the sisters came back to thank us for coming. Sensing that they didn’t want us to leave yet, we volunteered to sing one more song for them. Rather than a traditional carol, we softly sang:
I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my everliving head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives, my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need. …
He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same;
O sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
(Hymns, no. 317.)
With tears in their eyes, the nuns, who were selflessly spending their lives serving others, rushed forward to thank us. One sister, the supervisor of the others, took my hands in hers and said, “You’re the future of the world, do you realize that? You young men are the future of the world!”
As a young missionary, I sensed her sincerity—and the new hope and faith we had brought into her life. For a moment our differences disappeared, and we all received a witness, borne by the Spirit of God, that Jesus Christ does indeed live.