The following account was written by Marilyn Coover, dorm mom for Storchenblick at Black Forest Academy, Germany. She recounts an opportunity some of her girls had to help a German senior citizen who had fallen.
Recently, several Storchies wanted to go shopping in Lörrach, a bigger town within 30 minutes of home. We enjoyed the ride and shopping. Some bought shoes. Some bought jackets. Some bought school supplies. Several enjoyed ice cream and other treats.
As we were heading home we were in traffic behind the first van full of Storchies when we saw an elderly woman face down on the sidewalk struggling. The first van driver immediately took a right turn onto a side street and our van followed.
Storchies to the rescue
When our van stopped I jumped out and headed towards the woman who was just around the corner. I heard a commotion behind me and looked back to see three girls jumping out, but one was on her hands and knees on the sidewalk having caught her foot on a backpack that was between her and the door. That didn’t slow them down! They ran to the woman and so did one of our senior students from the first van who said they had seen the woman fall.
We all felt terrible for this tiny elderly woman who was alone. The same Storchie who had just fallen out of the van ran to help. She is our only student who speaks fluent German. She and I placed our arms under the woman’s arms and lifted her to her feet.
The lady said in German that this never happens to her. As she stood shaking and dizzy we asked her if she was hurt and checked her over for visible signs of injury. We found none and she said she was OK. We decided we had to walk the woman home. The first van of girls headed back to the dorm and the second van waited for us. Yes, we just left our kind driver in the van, alone, around the corner without a clue when we were coming back. Welcome to dorm life!
Walked ‘Frau Johanna’ to her home
It turned out that “Frau Johanna” lived in a senior citizen home where she had her own apartment. It was at least a 15-minute walk across busy streets and then along a tree-lined path beside the river. She said she enjoyed walking by the river.
Our German-speaking dorm daughter walked with her and she was able to keep Frau Johanna laughing and smiling. When we got her to her apartment and safely inside, Frau Johanna wouldn’t let us leave without giving our German-speaking Storchie a gift for her help. She gave her two bananas and a yogurt from her kitchen, and tried to get us to take tulips from the vase on her table. I watched this sweet teenager repeatedly assure Frau Johanna that we were fine and that she didn’t need to give us anything.
We said goodbye and went to tell a worker in the senior home about the fall and that Johanna definitely needed to be checked. While standing on the sidewalk we looked up to see and hear Frau Johanna calling to us from her window. She was smiling and waving with the window open and another woman on another balcony was waving as well. We saw a senior home worker with Frau Johanna and were relieved to know she was being checked on. So many elderly men and women live alone in senior homes with very few visitors. It’s heartbreaking.
Our Storchies want to go back to visit Frau Johanna soon. The care and compassion for this woman by everyone (our sweet helpers/drivers and our Storchies) was so evident.
Counting our blessings
After sending our location to our van, our kind driver came to collect us. We rode home reflecting and talking about God’s provision. He provided two helpers to drive our vans to Lörrach and a dear helper mom to stay with Ken and the girls who stayed back at the dorm. God also provided our one and only German-speaking dorm daughter to communicate in Frau Johanna’s heart language, and the Storchies had me to walk with them as they took our new friend home. Being grateful means taking the time to count your blessings and see what God has done. Remember that old hymn?
It’s during reflection and counting the blessings that you remember that God is working! The challenge is counting your blessings when you’re surrounded by trouble and tragedy. If we can each still try to verbalize the blessings then it takes the hopelessness and despair away. We are not without hope. Ever.
God is good and He is always good despite our circumstances.
When you are thankful for God’s provision, tell someone!! Tell someone what He has done! Share those encouraging words. If you’re by yourself, tell yourself! There’s plenty of people quick to share how disappointed they are and how they don’t have everything they want.
Teenagers can be leaders in our community when they’re motivated by God’s loving kindness!
I was blessed to follow these teenagers along the streets of Lörrach yesterday and to count our blessings.
Will you pray for Frau Johanna to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior and for her to be cared for well in the senior living facility she calls home?