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Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 


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Dozens from Evangel serve during spring break

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 - 3:37 PM CST

Evangel

Dozens of Evangel University students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in international service trips during spring break, March 3-11, 2012. Seven groups traveled to seven countries on four continents to minister to others.

COSTA RICA
Dr. Jeff Fulks, professor and director of Evangel's graduate and professional studies, and Daniel Noah, junior management major, led a group of six students to San Jose, Costa Rica. The team partnered with Latin America Childcare to serve local schools in and around the San Jose area.

CROATIA
A team of seven, led by Michelle Grubaugh, senior elementary education major, traveled to Croatia. The team performed a children's play called "The Puzzle" throughout several Croatian cities. This group partnered with the organization Save Europe's Children.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Jeff Burnett, Evangel's director of admissions, and Christy Rowden, Evangel's student activities director, led a team of four students to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The group provided a message, special music, dramas, testimonies and service to the church and community. The team worked with AG missionaries Berly and Jamie Bello, who founded Ministerio de Adolescentes. "This trip was an amazing opportunity for us to see what God is doing through missionaries and local churches in the Dominican Republic," says Rowden. "We were blessed by every person that we met and were extremely proud to partner with them in their work for Christ."

ENGLAND
A team of nine students and two sponsors traveled to Birmingham, England, to work with Sheldon Community Church. The team spent seven days holding assemblies for elementary children from five schools. Jeremy Harris, assistant professor of computer science, Jesse Tucker, junior English education major, and Christa Smith, senior biology major, led the trip.

ETHIOPIA
A team of 10 traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to work with the Ethiopian Assemblies of God Missions Department and the Addis Ababa Bible College. The team cleaned and painted dorm rooms at the Bible college, ministered at schools, orphanages and chapel services and also participated in door-to-door evangelism. Josiah Pennington, senior art education major, Elisabeth Kilsdonk, senior government major, and Evangel '89 alumnus Kirk Spain led the trip. Spain is the administrator of Africa's Hope, an organization that facilitates training for churches in Africa. "The fellowship and ministry was greatly appreciated by the church in Ethiopia and the Evangel students were blessed in return as well," says Spain.

GREECE
Dr. Steve Smallwood, assistant professor of biblical studies, led a team of four students to Thessaloniki, Greece. They worked with missionaries Tony and Jamie Sebastian at their coffee shop, iHeart, which is located near Aristotle University. The team also worked with children at gypsy camps and served with a human trafficking awareness project. Alicia Doran, senior biblical languages and biblical studies double major, is the student leader of the trip.

JAMAICA
Heidi Bartels, a 2011 Evangel alumna, and Rebecca Clark, junior music major, led a team of five students to Kingston, Jamaica, to work at an orphanage in Content Gap. The team presented a vacation Bible school and a sports camp to local homeless children. They also presented devotionals in local schools, led music and worked on repair projects for the orphanage. The team worked with missionaries Steve and Kim Puffpaff.

For additional information regarding service trips, contact Allison Fontaine at 417-865-2815 ext. 8526.

For more information about Evangel, click here.

Authors: AG News

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