New York Couple Reaches Comatose Patients with Music
JAF ministries - Aug 1993
John & Gail Wessells sing with a patient.
When John and Gail Wessells sing, the audience doesn't applaud. A member of the audience might tap a foot or shed a tear, but not applaud. The Wessells' audience is head-injured patients in hospital beds.
"The desire to minister to these patients came through prayer," John, a former minister of music, says about the beginning of Precious Oil Ministries. Neither John nor Gail knew anyone who was comatose but when Gail's brother mentioned to them that a cousin was in a coma, John says his "heart just started to pound. God has taught me that as long as a person is breathing, whether it's on a respirator or not, they have a spirit. And God's spirit is able to reach their spirit."
With John on guitar, the couple ministers to patients in hospitals and head-injury facilities near their home in Greene, New York. Now in it's fifth year, Precious Oil Ministries is a full time ministry funded by donations.
John and Gail have learned to look for small signs of response - a tear rolling down a cheek or a tightened fist which relaxes as they sing. Ralph, comatose for almost seven years, taps his foot in time with the music.
"One man woke up and he had actually given his heart to the Lord while he was in the coma. As I prayed out loud with him," John said, "he was praying in his heart."
Although discouraged at times by the tragedy they see, the Wessells acknowledge the source of their commitment. "Nothing keeps us going," Gail said, "except that God's put it in out hearts that he loves these people.
Many Times John and Gail are the only people who visit the patients as they have been deserted by their families and friends. "I can't help thinking that this is the story for most of these people." says Gail. "And I think: What if we were in their shoes? Wouldn't we want someone to hold our hand, to pray with us, to sing songs to lift us up?"
Through their unique ministry of mercy, John and Gail Wessells do just that.