Skip to Content

Sharing Life Stories: Baton Rouge Ministry Empowering Terminally Ill Individuals

A discussion with her father persuaded Dianne Miller to transform her aspiration of a distinctive ministry into a tangible endeavor.

In 2019, after recording the dialogue with her then 96-year-old father, Miller took steps in 2020 to establish Jewels of Remembrance, a non-profit ministry offering complimentary videos, known as “a legacy of life,” for individuals facing terminal illnesses to leave behind for their families.

Describing it as a gift, Miller, a chaplain and bereavement coordinator at Life Source Hospice in Baton Rouge, shared, “By videotaping my dad, I realized the importance of this endeavor. He was an exceptional lay minister and a tremendous influence in my life. That’s how this initiative began… It started as a dream of mine, but I didn’t comprehend its significance until it materialized.”

A member of Parkview Baptist Church, Miller recounted that her father was grappling with atrial fibrillation and other health challenges during the recording. He passed away at the age of 100.

“I told him, ‘Dad, I want to capture your life story on video. I want to hear about your journey,’” she reminisced.

Inspired by her father’s dedication as a lay pastor, Miller found her calling in chaplaincy, grief counseling, and women’s ministry. Having embraced Christianity at the age of 9 and accompanying her father on his visits to nursing homes, she sought to learn about his spiritual journey.

“I was eager to delve into his Christian experiences,” she expressed.

The heartfelt conversation with her father left a lasting impact on Miller.

“Despite our families’ presumptions of knowing us completely, I was astounded by some revelations about his life. It was truly remarkable,” she shared.

Witnessing families undergo similar revelations with their loved ones brings Miller immense joy.

“You get to hear some truly extraordinary stories. It’s a profound experience. I hope to continue this work until I reach 100. The satisfaction it brings to families is unparalleled. I feel incredibly fortunate to partake in this,” she reflected.

The preparation process entails obtaining written consent and conducting at least two preliminary visits before the final recording. Miller initiates the sessions with fundamental inquiries about the individual’s upbringing, family dynamics, and potentially their spiritual beliefs.

“Given the ministry aspect, I always delve into their backstory, whether they are followers of Christ or not,” she explained. “If I sense a lack of spiritual connection, we discuss life lessons… Some may profess their knowledge of God. I respect their narrative and listen attentively without judgment, as I aim to understand their story in its entirety.”

While the sessions may not exclusively revolve around prayers, Miller endeavors to incorporate moments of prayer.

“It’s crucial to reassure them of my prayers during their challenging times. We must acknowledge their pain,” she emphasized.

To conclude the video on a personal note, Miller opts for a heartfelt gesture.

“I express gratitude for the privilege of being with them and then, I hold their hands,” shared Miller, a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a recipient of chaplaincy training at Touro in New Orleans.

The name “Jewels of Remembrance” for the ministry draws inspiration from Malachi 3:16-18, underscoring the concept of believers being treasured by the Lord.

“If we belong to Christ, we are His precious jewels,” Miller affirmed. “This thought brings solace, and I often share it with others.”

Miller credits Christ for empowering her ministry work, citing her guiding verse from Philippians 4:13.

“I draw strength from Christ, believing that I can overcome any challenge with His support,” she declared. “This verse resonates with me deeply, guiding me through life’s myriad phases and emerging stronger each time.”

In addition to her work with Jewels of Remembrance, Miller facilitates Alzheimer’s and grief support groups in the Baton Rouge vicinity and at Parkview Baptist Church.