Thursday, November 27, 2008

What We Are Most Thankful For

Dear Beloved in Christ,

Happy Thanksgiving! All kinds of memories come flooding back as I think of thanksgivings in the past….apple cider and pumpkin pie, my Uncle Norman’s corny jokes that he and my Dad got such a kick out of, playing touch football with my cousins, washing tons of dishes, turkey sandwiches with gobs of mayonnaise, more dishes, the smell of burning leaves, holding my grandma’s hand to pray and playing with her veins that protruded from her thin skin. I don’t remember when the tradition of sharing what we were most thankful for started……but we do that each year now here in Honduras. I wanted to share with you that for which I am most thankful…………having passed through the valley of the shadow of death, not alone, but with my dearest Friend who never ever let me down. He used His body (the Body of Christ) here on earth to show me His love in a way that I have never before experienced and He manifested His healing power which has totally stretched my faith. I am so thankful for Him and for all of you.

Next week Elvia and I are flying to New York City to visit the doctors and caretakers who were such a blessing to us. I want to witness to them of God’s amazing power. I think there is at least one doctor who will be quite amazed by the fact that I am even alive! Please pray that we will be faithful witnesses to Jesus and His miraculous ways.

On the last blog I made a boo boo in reporting the lab results. I reported the same results from the previous lab tests instead of the current one. Since that time, I had more blood work done and each time the results are better. Total bilirubin is down from 9 to 4.5 and the most recent lab results show 2.6 as the total. Normal is below 1.1 so this is exciting news. I can do more now, without getting exhausted, and I continue to sleep through the night which is a huge blessing. The whites of my eyes are actually white these days instead of that lovely shade of mustard that I had been sporting around. And the belly….well, it’s still got a bit of a bump to it but it is definitely concealable.

May the Lord bless you and yours richly as you stop to thank Him for His goodness and mercy.

In His amazing love,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Blessed Thanksgiving

Dear Beloved Family and Friends,

This is just a quick (ok, not really so quick) note to let you all know how God is answering your prayers!

Last week I was able to attend a half-day conference at Pastor Francis’ church. He asked me to share my testimony of God’s healing power to encourage his leaders. I had a marvelous time there receiving so much more than I gave. The Holy Spirit touched people visibly as we thanked Him for His miraculous power. This Sunday I will share again at our church during the sermon time. Please pray for God to anoint this message so that those who hear it will be encouraged to trust Jesus in times of suffering. We are praying that many will come to Christ as a result of this wonder that He has performed.

I wanted to let you know that the lab results were good. The total bilirubin is down from 20 to 9 in just one month. Normal is under 1 so there is a way to go but daily I can see that the whites of my eyes are really more white than that lovely shade of mustard that I has been present for so long.

I cannot thank God enough for hearing our prayers for rest. For the past seven nights, I have slept well and it has been such a blessing to let go of worrying about whether sleep will come or not. Thank you so so much for praying for this! Please pray for God to eradicate the all over itching and the burning and pain in my feet.

We had an amazing week out at the Villa with a small team (Terry, Bill, Kathie, and Meredith) from St. Luke’s Hilton Head Island. We laughed so much as we shared life together….truly that was medicine for all of our souls. They played with the children, planted banana trees, baked yummy things, helped prepare meals, knitted prayer shawls, but most importantly just blessed us with their love and laughter. Thank you, dear Jesus, for the body of Christ.

We will celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow out at the Villa since Hae Young is going to Korea on Monday for two months to visit family and friends and we wanted her to be a part of the celebration. We have so much to be thankful for… the midst of so much instability, we have a Rock to stand upon who is More than enough!

I am thankful for each of you….please know that. You came through with God’s love for me when I needed it most and I will never forget that…ever. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

He loves you and we do too!
Betsy and the JM gang

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ariel Found ... Ariel Found

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Answered prayer brings such joy and tonight I want to share with you the answers to the prayers of two of our little girls, Leslie (12, top) and Susana (7, bottom).

They were kneeling beside the bed and their eyes were squinted in deep concentration as they prayed. For about a month each night they had been praying a similar prayer: “Please Jesus, save and protect my brother Ariel who lives on the streets.” Both girls started life with an absentee father and a mother trapped in prostitution. As Providence would have it, both girls ended up in the Jericho Family. And last but not least, both had a brother named Ariel lost in all the ways one can be lost. As I heard them pray, I never imagined how seriously God was taking in their heartfelt prayers.

Last Saturday Elvia and Candy (a Jericho teacher) and Candy’s husband went to visit the neighborhood where we have been reaching out for the past several months. As Candy and her husband sang and shared with the women and children, Elvia became aware of a young boy (9 yrs) who had a high fever and was obviously very dehydrated. She said a quick prayer and scooped him up ignoring the visible head lice and pants covered in dirt and feces and transported him in the busito to the local teaching hospital. She knew that he was Leslie’s younger brother Ariel, because he had come to Jericho before to visit Leslie. Two days, two long nights, and many bags of IV fluid later, he was finally diagnosed as having encephalitis. God had used Elvia’s compassion and quick action to save his life.

Elvia stayed with him (Marlyn helped too) and while they were with him in the emergency room, another boy named Ariel (14 yrs) was admitted due to wounds from a drug related fight. Marlyn was the first to notice the resemblance to Susana and her brother Juan Carlos, though it wasn’t easy since he had been stabbed in the side and had sustained blows to the head that grotesquely deformed both sides of his face. Miraculously he had no broken bones and the stab wound had not touched any vital organs. Elvia related that his appearance was repulsive and while she wanted to ignore him, the Holy Spirit began to speak to her of how much He loved this lost child. She began to feel God’s divine love for him and went to speak to him of Christ’s love. As she spoke tenderly to him, he began to sob and asked Jesus to forgive him. The Holy Spirit had totally prepared his heart and he willingly asked Jesus to come into his life. Elvia discovered that his parents had “given” him to his uncle and aunt when he was quite small and so he didn’t really know his siblings. But he knew their names ... Susana, Juan Carlos, and Miguelito and that they were a part of something called Jericho Ministries. You could have knocked Elvia and Marlyn over with a feather when he shared that bit of information! What were the odds of the brothers Ariel arriving at the same hospital at the same time, both in such tremendous need? We all knew that the only explanation was God’s answer to the prayers of two little girls who at a young age are learning to believe God for the impossible. Thank you, dear Father God, for Your salvation and protection.

Susana’s brother was released from the hospital and before he left he expressed what seemed to be a sincere desire to leave the streets to go back to live with his Aunt and Uncle. Please pray for him. Leslie’s brother (above) is still in the hospital receiving treatment for his encephalitis and JM staff members are taking turns staying with him. We are praying now about his mother’s request for us to have him live at the Villa.

Again I want to thank you for praying for me during this time of waiting upon the Lord for full restoration. I had blood drawn early this morning to check the liver enzymes so I will write soon to let you know those results. I can’t sleep much at night so often I try to work when everyone else is fast asleep. We are seeing God move in a major way out at the Villa, so I’ll share that report in the next blog along with the lab results.

With love and thanksgiving for each of your lives,