We are blessed. The folks who live and work at Baptist Village Communities (BVC) encourage all of us every day. They encourage one another! The mission of BVC is more important than ever.

The 12 Baptist Village campuses across the state are displaying the same powerful message: STRONGER TOGETHER! Joshua 1:9. COVID-19 is the greatest challenge long-term care has ever faced. We are heartbroken for those who have lost loved ones in our state and across the nation. If you know someone who works in senior living, thank them. They are true heroes serving on the front lines.

Many weeks ago, with a heavy heart, we asked loved ones, children, spouses and friends to stop visiting in order to help prevent the spread of the virus. Communal dining was discontinued as were gatherings in community spaces. The temperatures of residents and staff are checked three times daily. We are very thankful for the courage and commitment of residents, families and staff during this extremely challenging time.

What have we experienced on our campuses in these weeks? We have experienced the presence of God. We see love and joy even during a battle with one of the deadliest threats to face senior adults across our world. We are not “waiting out” the quarantine. We are carrying out the BVC mission, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and serving one another in love.

I am thankful for those who live and work at BVC! Throughout these weeks, I have constantly been encouraged by wonderful stories and selfless examples of love from our campuses. There are so many wonderful examples of Friends Team members (employees) and residents going above and beyond to serve one another—too many to mention.

Chef Lesly at Baptist Village Lake Texoma cooked a delicious Easter Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. She personally delivered a meal to each apartment, where residents were greeted with a smile, a wonderful meal and an encouraging word.

Residents appreciate the Friends Team so much and are finding ways to say “thank you”—straight from the heart. Led by Baptist Village of Okmulgee resident Kathy, residents created posters and beautiful handmade books filled with inspiration and scripture. They presented these words of encouragement to the Friends Team.

Baptist Villages have played host to multiple car parades. Baptist Village of Oklahoma City hosted three parades in one week. Dozens of cars drove through campus with signs of support and encouragement to residents and team members. Residents, in turn, were prepared with signs of sweet sentiments to greet the guests. In addition, Baptist Village of Cleveland resident Jean celebrated her 95th birthday in style with a family car parade of her own.

I am thankful for technology. My mom lives in the health center at Baptist Village of Owasso. Even though I haven’t been able to visit her for many weeks, we are connected. We chat every day through text, telephone and FaceTime. BVC also has Skype available, and many families connect daily with loved ones this way. How wonderful to live in an age of technology that makes this possible.

I am thankful for the many friends of the BVC ministry. Amy Cordova, Oklahoma Baptists missions and women’s ministries partner, has mobilized volunteers throughout the state to sew masks. Many people and churches have stepped up to assist in these efforts. Thousands of masks have been delivered to BVC campuses. We received much needed help from Don Williams and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. Praise the Lord! In addition, our friends at Ben E. Keith Company have partnered with us in a weekly food distribution program. A number of residents are being served, and we are hearing many expressions of gratitude from them.

We have a great opportunity for you to show appreciation for the BVC Friends Team. You can send a positive and encouraging video message of emotional and spiritual support. We encourage you to make and send your video today. Visit baptistvillage.org/encourage for more details.

We know that our Lord is with us. We are stronger together in the presence of God. The Lord spoke to Joshua and said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We love you!