PLATTSBURGH - It is 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon and three generations of Wrays have arrived at Evergreen Valley Nursing Home in Plattsburgh. They have come to bring encouragement to their friends who reside there. It is a weekly appointment they have been keeping faithfully for over seven years.
It all started when two homeschooling families decided to start visiting the elderly at Evergreen Valley Nursing Home on a weekly basis. One of those families was Jay and Carrie Wray from Dannemora and their two daughters Elizabeth and Isabelle.
"The goal was to show our children how to share the love of Christ," said Jay.
The other family did not continue with the visits, but Jay, Carrie and their daughters were joined by Jay's parents Jeff and Jeanie Wray from Saranac.
At the time Elizabeth was four and Isabelle was three. "Two cute little blonde girls really got it all started," said their grandfather, Jeff Wray.
The residence enjoyed watching the preschoolers sing little songs. The girls would often bring pictures they had drawn to give to their elderly friends. After the singing the family would chat with the residents and sometimes they would do an arts and crafts project together.
About three years into the weekly visits, the Activities Director noticed a void in the scheduled activities. There was no Protestant Church service. She observed that the Wrays were people of deep Christian faith, and she wondered if they would be willing to incorporate a church service into their weekly visits.
The Wrays were happy to oblige. Jeff had attended two years of classes at The Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake after he retired from corrections in 200l. He began adding a short sermon into their visits followed by a time of singing hymns. Jeffs weekly sermons always focus on the simple gospel message. "Religion is man's attempt to please God man's way. Christianity is a personal relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that results from trusting His finished work on the cross as the only necessary payment for our sins. That is what we desire every person to know and understand," Jeff explained.