Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Granted Dying Wish To Be Baptized: 'He Wanted To Show He Believed More Than Anything'


A hospice care program in South Carolina isn’t able to grant every wish from its patients, but when Jenis James Grindstaff told the chaplains that he wanted to be baptized, a team of nurses, transportation staff and others rallied together to make sure his wish could come true.

“I thought, ‘We’re going to make this happen,’” Chaplain Terrell Jones said, according to a media release from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

Grindstaff, who lives with his son Craig and daughter-in-law Pam, receives in-home treatment from the hospice program at the South Carolina-based hospital.

“The hospice team is wonderful,” Pam said.

“They’re very kind in the way they talk to him. They make him laugh.”

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Spartanburg Regional says on its website that through hospice service, it aims to care for the “‘whole person,’ not just the illness.”

While talking with a chaplain, Grindstaff expressed his desire to get baptized before his death.

The news initially came as a surprise to his family, according to the hospital’s media release.

“He’s always read the Bible, but he had never been baptized,” Grindstaff’s other son, Jim, said of his father.

“He wanted to show he believed more than anything else.”

Jones met with Grindstaff in September, and the two discussed what he’d like his baptism to look like.

“He wanted full immersion,” she recalled. “He said, ‘I don’t want sprinkles.’”

Due to Grindstaff’s medical issues, however, the staff had to creatively plan how to ensure his safety.

Thankfully, a facilities team member remembered that the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home had a 60-gallon tub specifically designed for patients unable to step in and out of a traditional bathtub.

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Patients are able to step into the tub through a door that then seals and quickly fills with water.

The cost for the transportation from Grindstaff’s son’s home to the hospice facility was at least partially paid for by the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Hospice Special Needs fund, according to the media release.

On Dec. 11, Spartanburg Regional posted a heartwarming video of the baptism, which has since gone viral and encouraged thousands of people.

Jones prayed over Grindstaff while nurses helped support him in the specialized tub.

Family members were also able to be there to support him during such a monumental moment.

“My beloved son, Jenis James Grindstaff, I now at this time, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and of the Holy Ghost, and in Jesus’ name,” Jones said as she baptized Grindstaff.

Tameka Irvin, the hospice home’s nurse manager, said she sees these moments as precious blessings.

“I look at it as a ministry,” Irvin said. “Being able to honor wishes like this baptism is heartwarming.”

“Seeing that smile on his face fills my heart with joy.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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