Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Some pictures from our worship time this morning at the little children's home. The kids were dancing to Matt Redman and having a good time.

It's been busy, but we've needed additional devotional time just to be together and to process all that is happening.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Imagine yourself all alone, in a hospital, giving birth. You don’t have a single peso with you, and no way to even tell your loved ones where you are. That was Sarabell’s situation last night. She has delivered at Shiphrah Paanakan (Exodus 1 Birthing Home) twice before and this was her 5th child.

She told her husband the day before that she was going into labor, but she hasn’t seen him since. He might be at work, but she doesn’t have any way of contacting him there; can’t even direct us where to go to find him.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to birth at the birthing home, so we had to take her in to the hospital at about 11 o’clock last night. She was turned away from the first hospital we went to because they didn’t have room. And at the second hospital they were still putting an I.V. into her arm at the front desk when the head of the baby started to come out and they had to run her down the hallway on a gurney to the delivery room.

One of our midwives, Floribel, was with me, and we waited to find out if the baby was ok. The norm here is that a ‘kasama’ (companion) will ‘bantay’ (take care of) their own patient in the hospital, bringing them the medicine, food and clothes they need. So we stayed to help take care of her.

I have to admit that, besides praying for her and being happy that we were able to be there to support someone else through a difficult hospitalization right after we’ve had so much wonderful support in our own difficult situation, I was also watching the hours disappear before I had to pick up Jeri and Sara to take them to the airport at four. I ended up getting just a little more than an hour’s sleep, but mom and the baby are ok. Jeri and Sara made it safely to the airport, and then flew out after they had some problems with the plane and were delayed several hours. Please remember them in your prayers as they travel. For good rest and health.

Today was Pentecost Sunday, and we remember the way the Holy Spirit came to be our guide and comfort. Our advocate.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today is Auden's birthday. Wouldn't have needed to make him a cake (excuse me, pie); all we needed was whipped cream.

Hard to believe how much fun a two-year-old can have. What the pictures don't show is how many times we needed to relight the candle so he could blow it out again.

We love noticing and talking to our boys about the gifts that God has given them, and we often call Auden our little healer. He can barely talk to me without kissing better any 'owies' he sees. A couple of weeks ago when we were talking with a friend in Starbuck's, he found a container of lip balm in his mom's purse and went around the store anointing everyone we knew.

We were talking about that tonight and Aubrey said, 'God has given Auden the gift of healing, and he has given me the gift of love.' We are two very blessed parents.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A burst of energy today was 35 volunteers from the USS San Jose, at our birthing home painting the teaching area. They've done this once before, but it was many years ago.

The call came in during this busy and conflicted week, but it was really a delightful offer. We're a long ways behind in the painting we should do to keep things up, but there's never time and never money to do it. And they brought an aweful lot of paint and worked really hard for four hours this morning.

I had in mind a simple coat of paint on the wall, but they really went all out. Colorful and creative designs on the floor just to brighten the place up.

They were very considerate and delightful to have out. Thanks all!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The memorial services for Dennis Gunderson were times of deep com-munion...

...pain, joy and worship.

How can grief--so, so deep--be accom-panied by such joy?

We have been so well-cared-for by friends and family, church-mates and people from all around the world.

And there is no question that our pain draws us toward one another for comfort and comforting.

I want to include here an excerpt from an email we received from a friend who attended the memorial:

"I enjoyed every minute of the ceremony although I found myself in tears. It was so emotional not only because it is inevitably painful but also because the atmosphere in the church was overwhelming. The spirituality was at its highest culminating point. I had never witnessed that before and I thank you for being part of this wonderful demonstration of love. I admire your strength that obviously finds its source in your faith in God."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blessed is the man
who makes the Lord his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

(Psalm 40:4)

At 8:21 on Wednesday, May 16, 2007, Dennis Gunderson joined the object of his trust in glory. I do not know a man who has more thoroughly ‘made the Lord his trust,’ and I am confident of his reward.

It all happened very quickly and unexpectedly. On Friday he had some flue symptoms. Saturday he felt a little better, but then realized Sunday that he wasn’t out of the woods yet. Monday he started to have some trouble breathing, but Tuesday he thought he was doing a little better. We took him in for a check-up on Wednesday, and they immediately admitted him to an ICU.

He had pneumonia in both lungs. He was placed on a respirator, but because of the infection, we weren’t able to get enough oxygen into his blood. Still, it came as a surprise to us and to the doctors that he went into cardiac failure about an hour after we put him on the respirator.

He was resus-citated twice before he went into a deep coma and then passed away. As we tried to revive him, we committed him to the Lord with singing and prayer and with fond recollections of the life he has shared with us. Our pastor, Steve, was with us through the whole time, and so many people have supported and strengthened us. Barbara and Stephanie took care of the boys so that we could all be together and still attend to the things that needed attending.

I prayed with Aubrey in the hospital garden when Dennis went into the coma and he said, “Daddy, when you prayed, my heart broke. And what I mean by my heart breaking is that I tried to think about how much God loves grandpa, and I couldn’t.”

Indeed, as much grief as there is here for his passing, there is so much the more rejoicing there at his homecoming. Bless you on your way, Dennis.

(Viewing at the Loyola Memorial Chapel on Thursday, and memorial at Union Church on Sunday.)