Man in hospice care gets final wish to be baptized

Posted at 4:06 PM, Dec 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-22 05:21:17-05

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (TODAY) — A patient in hospice care knew he had one last dying wish: to get baptized.

When his team of nurses and doctors found out about his wish, they did everything they could to make the elderly man's dream come true. Now, video of his hospice baptism has gone viral, garnering more than 215,000 views on Facebook.

Jenis James Grindstaff always loved Jesus but never had the opportunity to be baptized.

"The rest of his family, his brothers and sisters, have been baptized, and for some reason or another, he just never got around to getting it done," his son, Craig, told NBC affiliate WYFF.

“He’s always read the Bible, but he had never been baptized,” his other son, Jim, said in a statement. “He wanted to show he believed more than anything else.”

A team at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System arranged for chaplain Terrell Jones to baptize Grindstaff in a medical bath tub. Because of Grindstaff’s medical issues, he couldn’t be lowered into a traditional baptismal pool and his tub at home was also deemed unsuitable.

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

So, with the aid of a special needs fund, Grindstaff was transported to a Spartanburg Regional facility.

RecommendedPETSPolice therapy dog hilariously busted for stealing donated toysTV'This is Us' fans, see a sneak peek of Kate and Toby from upcoming episode"One of the best things about transport is that you see everybody,” emergency medical technician Nicholas Hagood said in a press release. “Over time, you get to see their progress and hear their stories."

But Hagood admits that this was a first. “When we read ‘baptism,’ we said, ‘Whoa. We rarely see that,’” he said.

After Grindstaff's family flew in from all over the country to bear witness to his baptism, the chaplain read a prayer over Grindstaff as his nurses stood by.

“My beloved son, Jenis James Grindstaff, I now at this time baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and of the Holy Ghost, and in Jesus’ name,” Jones said. “Amen. Come on and let’s celebrate, family. Hallelujah.”

"It's about our patients' wishes," Jones told WYFF. "We're grateful to honor Mr. Grindstaff's wishes."

"If I reach one person, it's a great deal," Grindstaff said. For now, Grindstaff explained that he may pass the time drawing and imagining heaven. "Streets of gold and all that," he described.

Sounds pretty good to us.