CHINESE BIBLE CHURCH OF MARYLAND
As I mentioned in our last On Expedition update, Sharon had a brain bleed just before our return to Los Angeles from a speaking trip to the East Coast. Up to that point it was a wonderful trip. Our main destination was Rockville, Maryland where I was the missions emphasis speaker at the Chinese Bible Church of Rockville, in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
The Church is one of the larger Chinese churches in America, full of wonderful followers of Christ and led by a former student of mine at Columbia Biblical Seminar, Hugo Cheng. I spoke on “Five Practical Tools for Reaching Your Jerusalem” with the hope that those present will see more people in their networks of family and friends come to know our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus.
My messages were translated into Cantonese and Mandarin…I couldn’t figure out if the Chinese characters for the songs should be read from right to left or left to right. That aside, Sharon and I loved the people we met and were filled with joy at the prospect that these bright and connected Christians will have on impacting the D.C. culture and area.
FROM AUGUSTA TO ROCKVILLE AND BACK
Sharon and I flew into Augusta, Georgia at the beginning of our trip so that we could visit long time friends and speak at the Seacoast, Vineyard in Myrtle Beach, SC, pastored by good friends Tim and Karen Holt. We also saw fellow GTNers (Global Training Network) Doug and Joan Dorman, and former fellow Columbia Biblical Seminary Professor Roy and Pandora King, now church planting in Myrtle Beach. From there we made stops in Raleigh, NC to interact with pastor Doug Gamble and a Romanian pastor, then spent a night in Virginia Beach with long time friends Joe and Karen Johnson.
After the weekend at the Chinese Bible Church of Maryland, we made our way back to Aiken, SC and spent three nights with long time friend Carolyn Stone and with our goddaughter Penny and her pastor husband Drew. We take our godparent role in Penny’s life seriously and try to connect annually to encourage her and her family as they minister and journey through life.
Penny and Drew live next door to Carolyn (there are no better friends than Carolyn and her now in heaven husband Chuck). One of the joys of the trip was to take Penny and Drew’s four youngest children to the Dollar Store and let them pick out any six items, as belated (or early) birthday presents.
THE NOT SO GREAT ENDING
Aiken, SC is just across the Savannah River from Augusta, GA where we started our trip. We returned to the Augusta airport to fly to Atlanta with a connecting flight to Los Angeles. We timed our flights so we could make our granddaughter Sydney’s rehearsal dinner the next day, and then her wedding to Jordan the following day. Unfortunately, our Augusta flight had mechanical problems. Instead of leaving at 6pm we didn’t lift off until 10:35 pm, which meant we missed our connecting flight.
Upon arrival in Atlanta, there was great confusion as we didn’t know if the airlines had booked us a hotel (the agent in Augusta wouldn’t confirm this and said an agent in Atlanta would let us know). We were directed to a gate where we were told we would be helped by “an agent in a red coat.” There was no agent, so along with 50 or so other passengers who missed connecting flights there was a lot of confusion.
To shorten the story, we finally figured out with the help of other passengers how to work a machine that popped out hotel and next day flight information, found out what hotel were booked in, and made it to the hotel (also very confusing and stressful). We climbed in bed at 1:00 am and at 3:30 am I awoke to Sharon’s crying out for help. I found her on the floor. Her left side had given way and she collapsed try to go to the bathroom. I lifted her, got her on a chair, and slid the chair into the bathroom, put her back on the chair and slid it back and got her to bed.
I then lay awake, trying to figure out what to do. I texted her doctor and our daughter Kristin who was staying at our house. The doctor didn’t reply (I erroneously used the office number) so I decided to make our flight at 7:30 am and get Sharon to her doctor in Los Angeles, which is what she wanted.
I’ll spare you the details of her second fall in the bathroom, the effort to get her cleaned up and dressed, and the rest of journey home but upon our arrival, Kristin was waiting and we drove straight to the ER of UCLA. There, Sharon was diagnosed with a bleed on the right side of her brain, which affected her whole left side. The doctors said it was due to a spike in blood pressure (stress and chaos upon our arrival in Atlanta). The bleed occurred somewhere between 1:00 am when we finally crawled into bed, and 3:30 am when I found her on the floor.
After two nights in ER, Sharon spent another two nights in ICU, stabilizing her blood pressure and monitoring her brain function. She is now in the Californian Rehabilitation Institute doing therapy for the loss of strength in her left arm, hand, leg and foot, and a slight loss of speech.
Her mind works as normal and it is my privilege to visit her and bring her clean clothes every day. The food is not so great, so the other day she asked me to bring her a cheese sandwich (“on white bread with mayonnaise and mustard”). Is that contraband? I don’t know, but I enjoyed watching her take a few bites of it (I ate the rest, as I am scrounging for food with her gone).
GRATEFUL FOR YOUR PRAYERS…AND WHAT’S NEXT
We are so grateful for the prayers of so many from Europe to Brazil to the US. The prognosis is good for Sharon’s recovery. She is working hard at therapy, and I have been working to get our home ready for her return (hopefully this Saturday). I meet with her therapists this Thursday.
I cancelled my trip to Brazil but the Divine Expedition training is going on without me, as we have Brazilians and one of the Ugandans who we have trained doing the training. More on that next time.
We are grateful for your support and hope that you will continue partnering with us in prayer and finances as we seek to lift up Christ and bring the sweet aroma of His goodness and grace…both near and far…whatever life’s circumstance might bring.
Thank you dear friends for being part of our lives and ministry.
Because He is good all the time,
Linus (and Sharon)