Every Wednesday, minister Ronald Ingram of Ringgold rises early to map out the Fort Oglethorpe nursing homes he will visit that day to lay hands on, pray with and read scripture to the residents.
People can hear him coming down the halls because the song in his heart escapes his lips. He sings "Victory in Jesus" and "How Great Thou Art" as he greets residents in the hallways.
"I'm glad that God has been able to use me as a vessel of encouragement," said Ingram, 76. "One lady, Lola, asked me to pray for her because she had a stroke. Another lady asked me to pray for her because her feet are turning black."
Ingram is quick to point out that it's not about him, it's about Jesus, and he promotes the Bible as the word of God. He is starting his 21st year this spring of ministering to nursing home residents in Fort Oglethorpe.
"I gave my heart to Jesus Dec. 2, 1956 in Sumter, S.C.," said Ingram. "Cecil Grant was preaching. I failed the Lord many times in my 57 years of Christianity, but Jesus never failed me."
Ingram is no stranger to adversity; he has had many obstacles in his path since age 16. When he first started driving, he was behind the wheel of a car transporting his sisters and mother when a drunk driver hit them, totaling the car. In one day, his mother, who was expecting, and his sisters were gone - Ingram was the sole survivor in his vehicle.
Many years later, in 1977, a few months after he moved from Michigan to North Georgia, Ingram was driving a motorcycle up Lookout Mountain and fell asleep. He punctured his spleen and broke his shoulder blade, collarbone and seven of his ribs. He was in a coma for five days and in the hospital for 10 days, but recovered remarkably. Then, seven years ago he broke his leg. Lastly, three years ago he was working on a roof and slipped off and broke his tailbone and pelvis in two places.
"I'm glad I'm saved," said Ingram. "The Lord has never failed me. I can see his hand in it all. I try to love my neighbor as myself. I look forward to going home to be with the Lord when he calls."
In the meantime, Ingram said he will continue traveling to Heritage, Parkside Nursing Home and NHC of Fort Oglethorpe every Wednesday to preach to the residents.
He will also continue to lead worship services at NHC Fort Oglethorpe every third Sunday of the month at 2:30 p.m. He is preaching on the topic of "Fear Not" this summer. Ringgold Church of God pianist Donna Allen plays the piano at the services, while Ingram sings hymns along with NHC residents.