Friday, October 31, 2008

Quick Update

After taking another look at Benjamin and talking it over with us, Dr. Digoy went ahead with the procedure to take out some of Ben's rib cartilage and graft it into the ring of cartilage around his airway so that it would be open wider. He also injected the Botox into Ben's muscles in that area so that they wouldn't compress the graft, which means Ben won't be able to vocalize for the next two to three months. Ben went into surgery at 11:00 and was finished a little before 5:00. All seems to have gone well, and he is being given morphine so it has been relatively easy to take care of him so far. We're hopeful that he'll be released from the hospital some time over the weekend. Many thanks for all of your prayers!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Audio Dictionary

I don't know if this has happened to you, but last week the fan on my laptop just stopped working. My computer would only stay on for fifteen minutes before overheating and shutting down. After further investigation, I found the cause to be a gigantic computer hairball which had been developing over the past five years. The clog was so big that no air could escape out the back of the computer. It had never crossed my mind before that electronic devices could have gastro-intestinal disorders.

Anyway, here's a promised video and some photos of the Benjamite. His surgery starts tomorrow morning at 10:50 and will last for several hours. Ben will lose his voice for a few months because of this procedure so this will be his last "talkie" for awhile. 

video

Books and girls...I'm have serious deja blog.








For Fall Festival, Ben dressed up as a small child being eaten by Elmo.


He can't stand the sight of seeing another child suffer the same fate.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Finally

I want to apologize to all of you for my long absence from the blog. So many of you have stood with our family in prayer over the past two years, and for me to disappear like that is not fair to you. For those of you who still come by here occasionally, thanks for sticking around.

It has taken some time to process the things I've seen overseas and figure out what is worthy of sharing with you.  I had the privilege of filming interviews with many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.  I listened as an Iranian man who was training to be a Muslim mullah told me how he started questioning his teachers, was forced out of the country, and then was imprisoned in Iraq for 3 years for coming into the country illegally.  When he was released, he came across brothers from the church who told him the good news, and he became a follower of Christ.

I listened as an Iraqi engineer in his sixties told me how he had been abducted in Baghdad and held for ransom.  When the money didn't come fast enough, the kidnappers shot him in the side of the head and dumped him out of the back of a van onto the street.  While he was lying in the road, he had a vision of Jesus standing on a milky white sea.  Jesus came to him, held him in his arms, and told him he would not die. When he awoke, a man picked him up off the street and got him to a hospital. The bullet had gone through his optic nerve and passed out his cheek on the other side. He lost sight in one eye, but after 40 days in a hospital, he was able to go home. I saw the scars on his face.

I listened as an Afghani actress in her fifties told of her arranged marriage to a forty-five year old man when she was only 13. While she was still a Muslim, she had several dreams of Jesus coming to her and giving her comfort in her difficult situation. Now she is a follower of Christ and goes around the country speaking out against the drug lords who are corrupting her nation. She puts her life on the line every time she speaks.

I met European missionaries who had such intimate relationships with God. They talked and wrestled with him about coming to serve in Afghanistan, but God clearly revealed to them that Afghanistan was the place they needed to be. I was floored by their fearlessness in finding ways to share the gospel in a country that is basically 100% Muslim. They are truly preparing a field so that others can reap the harvest of their hard labor.

Before I left for Iraq, I started reading The Shack, and I just finished it this evening. As many of you know it's, a book about a man who has a vision of God after his daughter is violently kidnapped and murdered. The writing style of the book annoyed me some, but the story blindsided me with how powerful it was. I highly recommend it.

All of these things put together have made me sick of my own cynical attitude about God using dreams and visions to reveal himself to people today. The faith of these Christians makes me ashamed of the half-faith I have in God - the kind of faith that calls out to God when I need help but doesn't really want him to be intimately involved in my life the rest of the time. I'm tired of limiting God's influence in my life to Bible verses and distress signals. Maybe I'll never see a vision of Christ before I die, but I at least want to be able to say that I lived my life like Christ was always living in me and with me.  

There are many other things I could say about my time in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I'll save those for a venue other than a public blog. I know that I owe many of you a reply on Facebook.

Concerning Ben's next surgery, it's coming up on the 30th of October. The doctor will be going in and widening Ben's airway with a piece of his rib cartilage. What a privilege to live in a country where this is even an option for us. I'll try to put some more Benjamin pics and videos out here in the coming weeks, but thanks for stopping by. I'll be back soon.