“His goal is to tell everybody about Christ. That is what he is passionate about"

By Adam Carlson
October 30, 2019 11:50 AM
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Fourteen stitches couldn’t keep Jimmy Carter from helping build houses for Habitat for Humanity and a fractured pelvis on Oct. 21 wasn’t going to keep him from teaching Sunday school.

The oldest living former president, 95, will return to Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, to teach this coming Sunday, about two weeks after his injury, the church announced on its website. He has been a regular Sunday school instructor at Maranatha for years.

“President Carter said that it was important to him and I will do whatever I can to support him,” Pastor Tony Lowden told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “His goal is to tell everybody about Christ. That is what he is passionate about.”

Carter was released from the hospital on Thursday.

“He is looking forward to continuing to recuperate at his home in Plains, Georgia, and thanks everyone for their kind well wishes,” The Carter Center, the humanitarian organization he founded after leaving office, said in a statement last week.

He had been admitted “for observation and treatment” after falling at home last week, though a spokesperson described the pelvic fracture as “minor” and said Carter was “in good spirits,” as he usually is after such incidents.

Former President Jimmy Carter in October at his annual volunteer project with Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International/
Former President Jimmy Carter in April
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty

Carter was injured in two other falls this year: He had to have surgery after breaking his hip at home in May and required 14 stitches — and suffered an ugly black eye — after falling in early October.

The latter injury occurred just before Carter was set to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, with wife Rosalynn Carter for their annual building project with Habitat for Humanity. But President Carter was undeterred and spoke with other volunteers the same day as his fall, stitches and all.

“I had a No. 1 priority and that was to come to Nashville to build houses,” he said.

Speaking with PEOPLE in Nashville while on the Habitat construction site, he said, “It’s hard to live until you’re 95 years old. I think the best explanation for that is to marry the best spouse: someone who will take care of you and engage and do things to challenge you and keep you alive and interested in life.”

“One of the things Jesus taught was: If you have any talents, try to utilize them for the benefit of others,” President Carter told PEOPLE. “That’s what Rosa and I have both tried to do.”