As the pastor who oversees life groups at our church, I try to visit the various life groups a couple times each trimester, but it is hard to "leave" my group to travel. I attend the group led by Michael and Crystal Brown, and one of the really cool things they came up with for our group is a monthly outreach. Right now, the plan is to visit a nursing home the first Wednesday night of the month.
Tonight was the first night our group was supposed to visit but "somehow" over half of the group could not make it. That left Michael, Crystal and me to go visiting! We had been told we could not go visiting room-to-room but could only talk with people sitting in the dining room or common areas. I thought it might be a good idea to take a game so we could find something the people there might enjoy doing and something that might strike up a conversation. I didn't think Jenga would be a good game (the wooden blocks that are stacked where you have to have a steady hand to try and remove the blocks one at a time without tipping over the stack), so I suggested dominoes. Michael and Crystal thought that would be a good idea so we took them.
We met some people in the front lobby as we walked in, so we asked them if they would be interested in a game of dominoes. They said "no thank you" but seemed up for a visit, so we hung around and talked. It was a pleasant conversation and at the end, we offered to pray with them and they took us up on the offer. That was pretty exciting.
But that seems to be where the "that went well" ended. While Michael and I were talking to these people, Crystal went looking for some ladies to talk to. The first lady she talked to asked her to go away, so she came back and hung out with us. After that, we split up again to see if there was anybody else who walked to talk. I saw one lady sitting in a wheelchair watching TV in the lobby. I was hoping she might want to talk, and since she kept turning around in her wheelchair to watch me, I walked up to say hi.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded in a less-than-friendly tone.
"I'm just here hanging out and meeting people this evening" I said. She stared at me.
"My name is Rob". Again, she stared.
About this time, Michael walked up. I said to the lady, "I brought my dominoes to see if anybody wanted to play, but nobody seems all that interested. So I'm just walking around meeting people."
"Well, you should take those someplace else" she informed me. "And take him with you" she added, nodding toward Michael.
We wished her a good evening and walked off. As I headed toward the water fountain, I heard her carrying on, but figuring it was not all that friendly, I ignored her, walked on around the corner and got my drink. While doing so, I heard Michal say, "OK, thank you" two or three times. As I came back around the corner, Michael told me she was saying, "Not that way, over there" as she pointed to the door! I guess she was ready for us to leave.
So it was an interesting night. Most everybody was heading to bed by that time, so we went by Braums and then headed back to the church to pick up our kids. It's kinda funny to talk about now, but a bit awkward earlier this evening. Guess we'll see what happens next month.