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No One Is an Island

By Mike Toth

Meet Grandma Jean

Psalm 92: 12-15: The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.

Jean Ireland was saved in November of 1947 at Bethel Chapel in London while attending a service with her future husband Ray. She and Ray had been attending Central Baptist together (where she first heard the Gospel) and were married in August of 1948, embarking on more than a half century of marriage. After spending most of her life with Ray losing him to a heart attack around a decade ago changed her entire life.

“My daughter was so gracious. She told me she had an apartment set up at her house and she would take care of me,” Jean says. She graciously refused. “I told her I needed to be with people my own age. I knew I needed to let my children have their own lives.”

Ray had been a leader his whole life, and Jean had depended on him throughout their marriage. Although she admits that sometimes she depended more on Ray than on God, since Ray’s death she has had to be totally dependant upon God.

Psalm 126:3: The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

This dependence has led “Grandma Jean” along a different path than what most of us anticipate for our Golden Years. Rather than winding down and relaxing Jean has been getting more and more involved in London. This path started with her participation in the “Grief Share” program at her church, Community Bible Church in Lucan.

“I went to three different sessions. The first time I went I couldn’t get out of the car to go share, but soon I was able to start praising the Lord for His grace. I started to pray for Him to show me something new.”

The “new” that Jean was shown starts with her own family, which number three children, eight grand children, and twelve great grand children. She is in constant contact via phone and email with this brood, providing love, advice, and encouragement.

Jean’s outreach ministry now includes the Bibles for Mission’s Thrift Store, New Life Prison Ministry, and University Hospital where she volunteers in physiotherapy department, tidying, setting up supplies, and encouraging patients. She is also involved in a bible study with a group of Filipino Christian families she met at a McDonalds, a monthly International Students Ministry potluck and Forest Cliff and Pioneer camps (where she assists her grand children).

“Being saved to serve is what it’s all about,” says Jean. “We receive a double blessing, both from them and from God. I get to forget about myself and think of someone else.”

“We need to comfort people right where they are. We need to be an encouragement, even in a small way.”

2 Cor. 1: 3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Thank you, Grandma Jean, for your example of love and service to the community and to Christ.