Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dear Levi

Dear Levi,

I thought I would take this occasion of your 21st birthday to tell you a few things about how much I love you and how much God has used you to work in my life. I remember so clearly the little boy that would scoot along on his bottom with his arms and was always so incredibly happy to see me. "Boy! Boy! BOY!" Thomas the Tank Engine, and Barney. I remember how you would always ask for a "new toy" and how you made the motion that showed how the Space Ship Enterprise would zoom off into warp speed. I remember watching movies with you and your family and "Good Moomoo!" When it was done. I remember how much you cried at the sad parts in the movie.

I remember how sick you were from time to time and remember taking you to the hospital one night in the ambulance. I stood outside the emergency room after we were all done and cried and cried because I was so sad that you were so sick. God used your sickness to bring us close. He used your sickness to bring you close to so many people. Your simple faith in Jesus has been such a blessing for so many years. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me and I thank you for being such a good example to all of us on how to trust God in the midst of unimaginable difficulties.

I really remember the day that your dad came walking over to our house to tell us that it was time for your first kidney. I remember how much you changed after that first surgery and how big you grew and how grown up you were. I remember when your mom called us from Children's Hospital when she told us that you were going to need a second kidney and how hurt we were that you going to have to go through all of that again. We hadn't seen each other for awhile, but when we did finally get to see you again, there was the same old Levi, just grinning from ear to ear and calling me "Boy!" and believing, just like last time, that Jesus was going to see you through all of this.

We now know that Jesus would indeed see you through that battle, just like He did the first time - but I think you believed it before any of the rest of us did. You knew. You showed us all how to have faith.

I remember "Walk By Faith" and I remember that darned dialysis chair and how you thought you were done with it and had to go back and face it again. You've taught me how to walk by faith and how to face problems and fears that I didn't think I could face. You taught me how to have faith when it didn't seem possible to have any faith.

My biggest memory, though, isn't of any of the bad stuff. My biggest memory is the day that I was so privileged to baptize you. I feel so blessed to have been with you that day that you showed the whole world that you were dead to the world and alive in Christ. That day, you showed the whole world that though although the outer man wastes away - you are a new creation in Christ Jesus and you will always, always, always be with Him. I can't wait until the day that I praise God with you in heaven and I see you in your new body playing basketball and soccer. But until that time, I want you to know that you have a very special gift from God and that you have a very special assignment from God. Your gift is faith. Trusting in God is your specialty. Your assignment is to show the rest of us how to do it. And you're good at it. Please remember my dear, dear Levi that walking by faith is the most important walk of all. Please walk in such a way that you show the rest of us how it is done.

Happy 21st Birthday and we love you very much. Boy, Mo, Mariah and Benny.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Miracle \ˈmir-i-kəl\

Here’s what Webster says about the word miracle:
"An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs"

On Thursday July 30th 2009, I got to see Chelsi again and now her recovery can only be described as a miracle. There is just no other way to characterize it. In August of 2008, I was fortunate enough to be in the car with Chelsi, her mom, and Norma Hunt – chief of nursing for Hospital Loma De Luz – as we rushed her to the hospital in San Pedro. To say that her condition was grave would be an understatement. We didn’t even know if she would survive the car trip. She was bleeding from the mouth and nose. Her sclera (the white part around your eyes) looked like a giant blood blister in both eyes. Her platelets were at zero and her white blood cell count was elevated to around 50,000. During 42 days in the hospital, Chelsi received 12 units of blood and 7 units of platelets.

In October, I updated with a good report on her condition and a picture. Now, one year later, she has just returned from her three month checkup in San Pedro in which she was told that there is nothing wrong with her and that she has returned to normal health!

Webster was right when he called it “divine intervention”. God intervened in little Chelsi’s life in a way that is rarely seen. In a sea of stories where God doesn’t seem to intervene or at least His intervention isn’t obvious to us – this story stands out. At a time when everything I know about “missions” is being deconstructed and re-written by God, at a time when spiritually, physically, and emotionally I feel exhausted – God knew just the right medicine to administer. Enter one five minute visit from a miracle. A few pictures were taken, tears quietly shed after their departure. A little girl that will never know the role she played in God reminding His child (me) that miracles still happen. Keep going, keep praying, and keep standing. The gates of hell shall not prevail………
Thank you father.