" Reflections  2008 "

Dear Friends and Family,

Looking back on the past year, the one thing I think of is, “how fast it went and where did it go”. Am I all alone in thinking that way? Or are the years really getting shorter and shorter. It only seems as if the year just got started and here it is December already.

Two thousand and eight was designated as the year of new beginnings. As for us, our ministry started out at a fast pace, then out of the blue I found myself in the hospital with heart problems. I didn’t have any idea anything was going wrong with me until I started getting slight chest pains. I was advised to go to the hospital and get checked out. When I arrived at our local hospital they took two EKG’s and some blood tests. Everything looked as if nothing was wrong. They talked about sending me home and coming back after the weekend and have a stress test, but the doctor said, if I could cause the pain to come and go, it would be easier just to have me stay overnight and have an angiogram in the morning.

What a difference prayer makes. Lena called around and had people praying for me. The next morning Pastor Larry prayed over me while I was in the prep room. As the nurse was wheeling me into the surgery room I had a battle with the devil. I commanded him and his demons to get their hands off of me, that I would live and not die. I reminded him that he was defeated by the blood of Jesus and had no power over me. From that point on I had a peace come over me. During the procedure there were three precise times that the devil tried to take my life. I can remember a tremendous amount of pain three times, that was almost unbearable, but at the same time I had this peace come over me. In God’s word He said, He would never leave me or forsake me. He was with me all the time, and watched over me through the entire procedure.

I had three stents put in one artery that was over 90% blocked, and was told that I would still need another two stents within the next week. Normally after having stents put in, you are able to go home the next morning. But this was not the case. My blood pressure dropped and they were having problems regulating it. I ended up staying an extra three days in the hospital.

After I got home, I strongly felt impressed to have the second procedure done at Borgess in Kalamazoo. I sent a CD of the procedure they did at our local hospital to a doctor in Kalamazoo. He said that he would do the second set of stents. He told me that the stents that were put in at our local hospital were overlapping each other. There was also an artery missed that had a 70% blockage in it. One of the two arteries in the back of my heart had a blockage in the Y of the artery where it branches off, and if it wasn’t done right, it could put me into open heart surgery.
The doctor in Kalamazoo had me come to his office the next day. While at his office I started having chest pains again. They rushed me over to Borgess, and within 30 minutes I was in the operating room having the other arteries stented. The doctor was able to move the two stents that were overlapping. He then stented the artery that was missed. Then he stented the two arteries in the back of my heart. This time I was able to go home the next morning.

I went to cardiac rehab for the next three months, and six month later I had a stress test, and everything looked good. During the cardiac rehab I was able to minister to several people that were in the hospital, and to their families.

Lena and I have prayed for many people in the past couple of years, who had blockages in the arteries of their hearts, and God miraculously removed the blockages. The doctors were amazed and tried to come up with reasons why the blockages were not there anymore. Many times we find ourselves wondering why we have to go through things that God has healed other people of. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I get to heaven and ask God that question. We also have to remember that God uses doctors. Doctors can operate and rearrange things in our bodies, but God is the one that does the healing.

No matter what we are going through, God is faithful, and will see us through. We will continue to pray for people, with faith believing, knowing God is going to heal them.

If you find yourself going through some trying times, just remember that God is faithful, and He will see you through. We cannot put our trust in people. We have to put our full trust in God. It is God Himself, who holds the answers in His hand. We cannot look at our circumstances. We have to look past our circumstances and onto God, for He is the answer. He will give you peace where there is no peace. He will give you comfort, where there is no comfort. He will give you hope, where there is no hope. He will give you joy, where there is no joy. He is your friend when you have no friends.

God loved us so much, that He sent His only Son to save us from destruction. Jesus loved us so much that He gave His own life for us, so that we could have eternal life. No greater love has any man that he would lay down his life for a friend. He wants to be your best friend. He will be there for you and with you at all times. He will never leave you nor forsake you. There is no greater friend than Jesus.

As we approach the new year of 2009, we reflect back on all the good times we had, but we also reflect back on the things we should have done differently. It is not too late to correct some of those things. Just a short phone call saying you’re sorry can make a difference. Another thing that can make a difference is telling Jesus you’re sorry, and that you want to start the year out with Him in your life. It’s not too late, you can still ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord and Savior yet this year.

May God richly bless you and your families throughout this coming year.