An Unexpected Season of Serving
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Phil 2:1-5
Greetings once again from the home of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros! Yes, you read that right, a team from Houston not only won a title, but I also happen to be in town right now. Though I would prefer to be in town for better reasons, it has been a joy to be here and serve the Lord in this "unexpected" season of service.
Why I am in Houston
I guess it would be good to first start with explaining why I am in Houston right now. In early October, I received a message from my sister that our dad had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. The stroke was in the frontal right lobe of his brain which caused him to suffer partial paralysis on the left side of his body. After spending a few weeks in the hospital and inpatient rehab care, he was finally released to go home. Going home meant that he was going to be in need of 24/7 care for a season as he recovers from the effects of the stroke and continued his rehab outpatient. So, in mid October, I found myself flying to Houston instead of heading out on our planned outreach with our Discipleship Training School (they left a few days later). Because of the severity of the stroke and his condition, Juli decided it would be best to temporarily stay back with the kids with the plan of joining me in mid November.
I have been here for almost 3 weeks now and have experienced a lot of ups and downs as my sister and I have walked through this process with my dad. Before this, we knew absolutely nothing about the effects of a stroke, much less how to care for someone who had recently suffered of one. We give praise to God because each day he seems to improve on some of the most basic things that we normally take for granted in life. Things such as taking showers, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, brushing your teeth, shaving, signing your name on a check, getting a snack from the cupboard, and just walking around the house; we never think twice about these things, so to have to re-learn them at age 75 has been quite the humbling experience for him. It has also been a great honor for me to help him in this difficult process. Overall, despite the occasional “bad days”, he has done very well. He currently has a goal from his physical therapist to walk without his walker as soon as possible. This is extremely important for him as the longer he goes with the walker, the more his muscles on his left side are being trained to depend on it as he walks. He also has his own personal goal of returning to work sometime in January. This is a bit of a lofty challenge for him, but with hard work we believe that this goal can be accomplished.
What does this mean for us?
Once Juli arrives this weekend, our plan is to stay here with my dad through the holidays and for however long he needs our help. One of the things I felt as we prayed about me coming was “How can we spend all of our time taking care of other families and leave our own suffering in need.” So right now, getting my dad back to his “normal life” is our number 1 priority as we close out this year. We have currently set a goal to return to our ministry in Guatemala sometime in January, though it could extend out a bit longer into February. We believe that with the progress he has been showing over the last week or so, that this is a very realistic expectation for us.
We would like to thank you all for your continued support in this difficult season. We have received so many encouraging emails which have strengthened us and encouraged us enormously. We would also like to invite you all to join us in praying for his continued recovery and for us to continue to have wisdom and grace as we serve him and minister to him in this season. We know that with God "All things are possible" and we also know that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective". So join us in praying!