Monday, March 10, 2008

March 04-10

There has been a lot to keep us active this week. On the home front,
we had to make a trip to Valencia this week to see a heart specialist.
It was last year this week that it all started. I was in a doctor's
office for an ultrasound on my heart. When he finished, he informed me
that it was time for open heart surgery. Wednesday, almost exactly one
year later, we spent the morning in Valencia at the pediatric heart
specialist center. But this time, I wasn't the one on the table, it
was David. Let me fill in some of the details.

Back in September, we signed him up to play soccer on a team. He was
so excited to get his uniform and start going to practice. We took him
to a doctor to get a physical exam. Maribel was with the other kids,
and I stayed with David in the doctor's office. It seemed strange to
me that he was taking so long with the stethoscope. The thought
actually entered my mind, "What if he is hearing some problem in the
heart?" Of course I dismissed this as silly. When David was born we
were very concerned about whether or not he had a heart problem. But
the doctor told us that his heart was completely normal. And no doctor
along the way had noticed anything strange. However, when this doctor
finished listening, he told me that he couldn't sign the form because
David has a heart murmur. The news hit both of us like a load of
bricks. I had been out of the hospital for only three months, and
David had just seen everything that I had gone through in my surgery.
We walked away from there in silence, father and son immersed in our
own thoughts. I still remember very well my doctor's visit at 14 when
they told me that I had to stop playing sports. At the time it seemed
like crushing news. And now I could see it rolling over my son, but at
the age of 9.

Well, they told David that he could practice with the team, although
he couldn't play in the games because his physical was not signed yet.
And we started working on getting an appointment with a heart
specialist. At one point, we even went to a different doctor who
listened to him, didn't hear anything, and thus signed his physical.
That allowed David to play at least in a few games with his team. But
there was still something there. The only question was how severe it
would be. Last week they gave us an appointment to go to Valencia.

So on Wednesday morning we got the kids up at 6.00 am so we could make
it to the hospital by 9.00. When we arrived and checked in, they
started doing all of the tests: electro, chest X-rays, and then
finally ultrasound. The doctors have rated his condition as moderate
to severe. His valve seems to have the same basic problem as mine had,
but just the opposite: mine didn't open well, and his doesn't close
well. Mine affected the aorta as the blood shot out through a smaller
opening, causing the aorta to expand. David's valve does not close
well, causing the ventricle to receive too much blood, and therefore
expand. The doctor told us that his ventricle is roughly the size of
an adult ventricle. This means that they are looking at doing surgery
to fix this problem. The heart specialist will see him again in eight
months and then they will begin to talk about dates for surgery. Her
first comment was that it was a question of months. But then she said
that it could possibly wait a year or maybe two.

David has been taking it very well. I sat down with him and talked to
him about it. His only answer to me was, "Daddy, I know God wanted it
this way." We are praying for God to do something special, if it is
His will. Please pray with us too about this.

For church we had a slightly smaller service this week. It was
election day, and it turned out that Maria Eugenia was still
registered to vote in Torrevieja, so she took Sergio and went to vote
and spend the day there with family there. Lorenzo and Ana María were
in the service. We talked about the fruit of the Spirit as compared to
the works of the flesh. Our liberty in Christ is not an occasion for
the flesh. It is an opportunity for the Spirit to produce fruit in our

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February 26-March 03

One of the big highlights this week was a young people's meeting in
Elche on Saturday. More than 60 young people came from Murcia,
Almería, Alicante and Valencia. I was able to preach to the group in
the evening. The theme was separation, so I spoke on the Spirit's role
in transforming our lives so that we can be different from the world.
The young people were attentive and several commented on the message.
One young man in particular came and asked me to pray for him with
some of his struggles.

The other activities of this week were the normal ones. I continued
on with the Bible study with Sergio. Maribel met with the ladies again
for their study. Yesterday we had good services. I spoke from
Galatians 3-4 about how the Law leads to Christ. It is a tutor which
prepared the way for faith. In the evening we met at Lorenzo and Ana
Maria's house for our study on the church. During the next two weeks
we will be getting ready for an evangelistic activity. Lord willing we
will be holding an evangelistic Bible study at the public library
right before Easter. We need the Lord's blessing on this activity.

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February 19-25

This past week was normal enough, but we had a few extra activities
over the weekend that made it special. I did the Bible study with
Sergio on Wednesday, and things continue to go well. We've been
talking about reading the Bible daily. He tells me that he doesn't
have time to read, but I am encouraging him to find the time! Maribel
met with the ladies this week for their study as well. The first
special activity of the weekend involved a question answer session
with a group of young people. They sent me their questions and then on
Friday afternoon I spent two straight hours with them answering
questions. Many of them asked very good questions, and the time spent
with them was a real blessing. Then Maribel, Ana Maria and Maria
Eugenia spent Friday evening and all day Saturday at the ladies'
conference in Elche. That meant that I had to take care of our kids
and Sergio. But the ladies all gave testimony on Sunday of the
blessings received in the conference. Maribel gave her testimony as
part of the conference.

On Sunday morning I preached from Galatians about the reason for the
Law. I was only able to cover part of the topic, so I will come back
to it again next week. But in part, God gave to law to reveal His
character and ours. The Law reminds us that we are sinners and that
God is holy. In this sense, the Law is what leads us to Christ, our
tutor. In the evening we had our study at Maria Eugenia's house. We
looked at the activities we see in the New Testament that individual
believers carried out. This is designed to keep before us what we
should be doing on as individual members of the church. We cannot just
sit back and be content with what the church does. We must be actively
and individually involved in praise, prayer, witnessing, offering, etc.

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