Tommy Thompson Bio 15 Hospital Visitation

CHAPTER 15

Hospital Visitation

Hospital visitation has been a reaping place for me at times, too. In 1979, while Pope John Paul visited Anchorage, I was visiting patients in the Roman Catholic Sisters of Providence Hospital. Passing one room, I heard a man who was watching live coverage of the papal visit, let out a curse against the pope. I stopped and went into the man’s room. He introduced himself as Lou.

“Are you an Ulster man?” I asked Lou. “Many of them do what you are doing.” Lou said he was not from Ulster. Then he told a sad story about sexual abuse by a priest. That was the reason for his anger. He welcomed my visit, although he asked me, “Are you a priest?” I replied, “No, Lou, I am only a sinner saved by grace.”

Lou said he was scheduled to have heart by-pass surgery. Bev Sullivan, a nurse in our assembly told me that the doctors could not find a good enough vein in his body. Late Sunday night, before his operation on Monday morning, I visited Lou. I had shared the gospel with him many times. Suddenly he said, “Tommy, I am scared of this operation. I might die.” Getting down beside his bed I prayed aloud that God would show Lou that He loved him and would bring him safely through. At my “Amen” Lou said, “Tommy, I just got saved. I’m not afraid to die now.”

He came through the operation. Two days later I was permitted to visit him. He was sitting up in a chair and doing very well, the nurse assured me. Lou became a greatly changed man - this was confirmed by people I knew from Kenai where he lived.

Beverly Sullivan is an experienced nurse in assembly fellowship. She has worked many years at Providence Hospital, and often alerts me to people that might benefit from my visits. Once I met two Christian ladies in the hospital’s elevator. They were carrying a bouquet of brightly-colored balloons to give to their friend, Virginia, who had lost her foot because of diabetes. “But,” the ladies told me, “She is so hard to witness to.”

They gave me Virginia’s room number. When I finished visiting the people I was there to see, I came to Virginia’s room. “Do you know you can enter heaven without a foot?” I said loudly upon making my entrance.

“How do you know?” Virginia said immediately. I opened the Bible and read Matthew 18:8. “Wherefore, if thy hand or thy foot offends thee, cut them off and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” After several visits, Virginia professed Christ as Saviour.

Ceal was a cancer patient and a highly-educated woman. Her husband refused at first to permit me to visit her. One day I saw that he was not there. I knocked and entered Ceal’s room. She wanted me to read the Scriptures. Soon she was to be discharged and asked me to visit her at home. Her husband also told me to feel free to visit anytime. During these visits, Ceal accepted Christ as her Savior.

We had sweet fellowship with her until she died. Her husband asked me to take the funeral and help him with all the affairs of it. In the course of the funeral arrangements, the funeral director suggested he could place things in the casket for her to take with her. “I have told my family to put my fishing rod in with me in case I go to hell!” the funeral director said. I strongly rebuked him. “Sir, there is no water in hell,” I said, reminding him about the parable of the rich man in hell described in Luke 16:24. Many upper-crust educators and local leaders attended Ceal’s funeral and heard how Ceal was assured of a home in heaven.

Later that year I traveled to speak at a conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. In my message, I referred to the “no water in hell” episode I had with the funeral director. One young lady who was just visiting at the conference with friends became so disturbed by that statement that she refused to drive home until she had peace with God, and she got saved. A little seed brought much fruit.