Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Our good friends and partners in the ministry are Marco and Michelle Pellizzeri. Michelle’s mom had never been positive about church or studying the Bible.

Joy baptized in the hospital

Joy baptized in the hospital

But as she was dying in the hospital, she surrendered her life, studying the Bible while on life support, and was baptized. Marco and Michelle thought she would pass on right away, but God gave her another 14 months of life to live as a committed Christian. Michelle’s mom, Joy, passed away this last week.

Marco and Michelle had asked me over the week before to celebrate Joy’s birthday with them and sing some songs. (Joy had moved in with the Pellizzeri’s because she knew she was in her final moments.) Her birthday was a special time of sharing and music. After we had sung for a while, Joy requested one final song, the old tune, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” It was very moving singing the words of that song with a sister in Christ who knew she only had a few more days as a wanderer here before going home to be with God.

In our worship service yesterday Marco shared Joy’s story. I encourage you to listen to it. It was very powerful. It is posted below:

Story of Joy


Following the story, we all sang the song, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” We were reminded that we are all like Joy –with only a few moments on this earth before we reach our final destination. The words of the song had new meaning for us all after hearing Joy’s story.

We did the arrangement that Sherwin Mackintosh put together for the DPI songbook (song #710). I love the harmony parts in his arrangement. If you don’t use this song I encourage you to try it out.  A recording from our worship service is below.  (As you’ll hear, our timing wasn’t great, but we were all pretty emotional after hearing Marco share Joy’s story.)

Poor Wayfaring Stranger


Here are the chord changes from Sherwin’s arrangement.

dmin amin / dmin
gmin / A
dmin amin / dmin
Bb gmin amin / dmin
Bb / F
Bb gmin / A
dmin amin / Bb
gmin amin / dmin

And the lyrics to the song:


I am a poor wayfaring stranger,

While traveling through this world of woe.

Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger

In that bright world to which I go.

I’m going there to see my Father;
I’m going there no more to roam.
I’m only going over Jordan,

I’m only going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather round me;

I know my way is rough and steep.

But golden fields lie out before me

Where God’s redeemed shall ever sleep.

I’m going there to see God’s children,

I know they’ll meet me when I come.
I’m only going over Jordan,

I’m only going over home.

I’ll soon be free from every trial,

My body sleep beneath the ground;

I’ll drop the cross of self denial

And enter on my great reward.

I’m going there to see my Savior,

To sing His praise forevermore.
I’m only going over Jordan,

I’m only going over home.

One Comment on “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”

  1. Michael Aggabao says:

    Psalm 90:12 (New International Version)

    12 Teach us to number our days aright,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
    Seeing my daughter fight cancer everyday causes me to fall on my knees and be kind and loving and patient and merciful and forgiving and joyful. Enjoying every moment we share as long as it it called TODAY. Love never FAILS!

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