In the Fall of 2011 Barbara spoke often of how tired she was, how discouraged she was because she was unable to care adequately for her mother. For the past year Barbara had slept six nights a week at her mother’s to help her get to bed and get up in the morning. The one night a week off was not enough for her to recover.
It was obvious to me that the burden of being a care-taker had become too much. I could see that if we didn’t make a change soon Barbara was headed for an emotional break-down. The question was, what should we do?
Her mother had been on the waiting list for a single room at a local nursing home for ten years. It was not easy to find space in an aging society like Germany’s.
I went to see the director of the nursing home, who was a member of our church. He suggested I look at other options, including a new facility that had opened recently. Everyone said it was outrageously expensive, so I’d not considered it. But when I checked into it, the cost was literally only about a dollar a month more than the other one!
So I went, made application, and within a week Barbara’s mother was able to move into a large, spacious single room with a great view of pine trees in the back yard. It was God’s provision.
Barbara felt guilty because she had been unable to help her mother to the end, but I kept reminding her that I was the one who put Omi into the nursing home, not her.
Surprisingly, Omi was happier in there than she had been in her own home. She didn’t realize this, but we saw how after the move she no longer had before her all the things she longed to do but was incapable of: her sewing, cooking, cleaning, yard and garden work. Now she was focused more on the routine of the nursing home. She also now had many more visitors to keep her occupied. Her home had been in an out of the way place, while the nursing home was in the center of town where relatives and friends came to shop and would stop by.
The next big task before us was to clear out Omi’s house and put it up for sale. Being in a foreign country, there were a lot of potential pitfalls for me here, but the Lord brought along the aid needed to steer us through the process.
One great help was a “Russian-German” church. These folks had been born and raised in the Soviet Union, descendants of Mennonite farmers that Katherine the Great (a German princess who became Queen of Russia) invited to move into the Ukraine to develop farms there. After the advent of Communism, these families had been moved by Stalin to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Then in the 80s and 90s many were allowed to leave and resettle in Germany.
They were fine believers who had a heart for those left behind in the poverty of the former Soviet Union and would send supplies back to them. At our invitation they came and took lots of useful items from Omi’s house to send to those in great need. We were thrilled with the help and with the fact that things weren’t thrown away, but were going to be used again.
In the meantime we made plans to move back to the States so Barbara could recover from her debilitated state. That meant closing out our apartment, too, which turned into a bigger job than we’d guessed.
As the deadline of our departure drew nearer, Omi’s unsold house hung on us. However, the Lord reminded us of the need to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, which we did, willfully trusting Him. With only two weeks left before our departure date, the Lord brought along a Russian-German who expressed interest in the house, wanting to buy it for his parents. Although he was ill, he was able to complete the necessary formalities shortly before we left. We were so thankful for God’s provision. He sometimes makes us wait til the last moment so the wonder of His provision is greater!
Picture: Omi’s birthday about the time we left, Nat and his son Simon along with us.