My friend Andrew was afflicted with ALS a few years ago. Struck down in the prime of his life at age 42 he and his wife Kelly have 2 young boys Briggs and Quintin both of whom are under the age of 10. Andrew's only mobility is via a wheel chair. The manner and speed in which ALS ravages one’s body and their family is truly terrifying.
In the summer of ’08 I brought Andrew’s plight up to our Men’s Prayer Group, a group of 6-7 who meet regularly on Monday mornings. Peter, an engineer with GE who leads our group suggested that we pray not only for Andrew’s physical restoration and family but most importantly for his salvation. I did not know where Andrew had ever heard the good news of salvation or had asked Christ to come into his heart [life]. A few months later I purchased a Bible and asked our group if they would sign it for Andrew. I had no idea whether Andrew would want to read it but when I stopped by to drop it off his wife Kelly was most grateful . For the next year our group continued to remember Andrew in our prayers.
Last Thursday afternoon Andrew’s wife Kelly called me out of the "blue" to say that Andrew would like me to could come over and read to him from the Bible that I had dropped off the previous year; I said “yes”! On the way over I called Bo Matthews, Sr. Pastor of Brandywine Valley Baptist Church in Wilm DE and Peter Mason, Sr. Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Rexford, NY for advice on where to start when reading the Bible to someone for perhaps the first time - they both said start with Romans 8. I added John 3:16-17, Matthew 5 (first chapter of Jesus’ sermon on the mount) and two of favorite Psalms; 19 and 23.
After reading I asked Andrew if he would like to invite Jesus into his heart to receive the gift of eternal salvation and someday soon a whole new body. To do so all he would have to do is pray in his heart acknowledging to Jesus that he’s a sinner and to ask for forgiveness of those sins and believe that Jesus came and died on the cross to offer that forgiveness.
There was no formal religious ceremony, just Andrew and the Lord. I closed by praying with Andrew and asked the Lord to wrap His arms around Andrew and to hold him and bring him the joy, peace and hope that can only be found through a relationship with the Lord.
I can’t wait to go back and read some more.