Dorothy has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH - a rare and serious lung disease) and most likely has Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease (PVOD - an extremely rare lung disease with no known treatment and doing a lung biopsy to confirm PVOD is dangerous to someone with PAH). Dorothy is on oxygen at all times and is unable to walk more than short distances. The Hazards are working with a specialist care center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. There are no plans for them to return to Africa or take on other overseas appointments for now.
Dwight is using his gifts and skills to minister in the SIM USA Office. He has joined the Information Systems group to assist in the setup of SIM USA's internal intranet, training returning missionaries in the risks and proper care in dealing with e-mail and Internet risks, documentation of policies and procedures and other duties while Dorothy's ongoing medical needs are being addressed. They are still on missionary support with SIM and plan to continue to minister through SIM as the Lord leads.
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Lord, often You are so close
I hear Your voice
Speaking to me
I sense Your presence
I receive Your love
But there are other times
When you are far
I pray and feel no connection
I read Your Word
But they seem to be more a barrier
Than a love letter from You to me
What is the difference?
Is it my lack of faith?
Have I lost my focus?
Is my sin so great?
How have I quenched Your Spirit?
But how can that be
Because it is all about You
And not about me.
It is Your faithfulness
And not my fickleness
It is Your steadfastness
And not my half-heartedness
Lord, when You are silent
Help me to trust
When my theology is threatened
May I continue to believe
And when I don't feel Your presence
Give me the power to receive
To receive Your love
To perceive Your goodness
To conceive Your plan
To believe Your power
For I know I am in your care.
In His care, Dorothy
1 Thessalonians 5.18 In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
TOO MANY TVS (2021-03-24)
Well, it has finally happened. What I have not wanted to happen. What I thought would never happen. We now have a TV in our bedroom. Ok, not earth-shattering, and for most people, not even so much life-changing. But, for me, it is! Our entire married life (41 years next month!) we have only had one TV. Period. One. In Liberia and Nigeria, it served as a way to watch movies. . . on VHS. We didn’t even have a TV in Kenya, using a projector to watch. . . wait for it. . . DVDs! And then in South Africa we actually had live TV. Wow!!
Then we moved back to the U.S. and bought a large screen Smart TV. While I don’t really know that it is all that smart, I have to say I have enjoyed it. Not being able to do much of anything leaves a lot of time to fill during the day. I went through the HGTV phase, the Food Network phase, and some game shows. And then I found the Game Show Network. But, my favorite has been different movies and series on Amazon Prime.
At some point in the last year, Dwight and Beka changed things around in the office, moving the elliptical machine (rescued from a curbside in our neighborhood) to the garage. After it was out there for a while, they decided to add a small SMART TV. And then the black couch I loved went out there to make room for the wonderful lift recliner friends bought for me. So, for the first time, Dwight and I were up to a two TV family. But that didn’t really impact me because (maybe you guessed it) I don’t use the elliptical and therefore don’t watch that TV.
Last week brought us to a new phase in my illness. I am finding it more and more difficult to go from the living room to our bathroom, 32 steps. . . one way. I have a prescription for a diuretic and when I take it, I make that trip multiple times an hour for three to four hours. And it just became too much. So, Dwight and Beka moved the black couch into our bedroom. This was no small feat as it had to go around two sharp corners and only happened after prayer. Dwight wanted me to have a TV back there, but I told him I was very content with the tablet, which is hardly used for anything else. I really watch very little on live TV and what I do watch tends to be more in the evening, by which time my bathroom visits are few and far between.
But Dwight observed that watching shows on the tablet was more of a challenge than watching them on a TV. And the stimulus check came. And he went out and bought a SMART TV. And he mounted it. And I love it. I love the flexibility of being able to stay in the bedroom. With the couch there, Dwight and I can actually sit together next to each other to watch something, or someone else can be back there and watch with me. And the bathroom trips are only seven steps one way.
So, the Lord gave me another challenge. Was I going to just accept this blessing from my very loving and caring husband and enjoy it or was I going to feel guilty, focusing on conspicuous consumption and wreck the joy? God reminded me of what He said through Paul, “. . . I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength." (Philippians 4.11-13, NIV 1985)
I have over and over relied on our Lord’s strength to help me in times of need. Now it is time for me to learn to rely on His strength in a great plenty. And believe me, my cup is not only overflowing, He keeps giving me a bigger cup!
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.DOUG (2021-03-07)
My younger brother, Doug, died this last week without family or friends present. Not because of Covid, but because of choices he had made throughout his life.
Doug was my half-brother. He and I have the same mother, different fathers. We were taken away from our mother after neighbors repeatedly found us alone without adult supervision and adopted when Doug was 1 and I was 4. It makes me so sad to say that I don’t have a lot of good memories of time spent with Doug. I do remember being told that I would wake him up in his crib when I woke so that I would have someone to talk to. I can definitely see myself doing that.
From a very early age, Doug made decisions that made it hard to be around him. I know our adoptive mom fasted and prayed on Wednesdays, with the majority of those prayers for Doug. My parents tried many ways to get Doug help through the years, but none had more impact than those faithful prayers of our mom.
I really had very little contact with Doug throughout my married life, first in Minnesota and then in Africa. I would see him for brief moments if we both happened to be in Minnesota at the same time. When we came back from Africa to the States in 2017 because of my health, I wanted to be more in contact with him. He was living in Arizona and we were in South Carolina.
We talked on the phone almost weekly. I listened to his version of growing up, his memories, his take on his life. In every conversation, we talked about the Lord. I asked him if he knew where he was going when he died and he did. I asked him how he knew and he repeatedly told me that he knew he needed a Savior, that Jesus died for his sins and he knew that Jesus was the Son of God. I made contact with a church in Arizona that sent someone to visit with Doug and to share Scripture with him. This ended when Doug moved without giving his contact information to the man visiting him. Every couple of weeks I would send a card to Doug, just sharing what the Lord was teaching me. And sometimes we would talk about what I had written. I wanted to have a Bible study with him, just read the Bible together, but he wasn’t up for that.
He had been in poor health for years. He had surgeries that wouldn’t heal, including his foot being amputated. Last Fall he just stopped having contact with me or our older brother, Dave. He no longer had a cell phone. Dave offered to buy one for him and pay for it so we could stay in contact, but he chose not to. Dave received a phone call Sunday, February 28, that Doug had been admitted to the hospital with a blood infection that had gone septic. Doug was not able to make medical choices for himself and that difficult task fell to Dave. Doug was turned over to hospice Tuesday, March 2 and died Wednesday, March 3. We had not been given any indication he would go so quickly.
Never have I felt my limitations like I have this past week. My mom died when we were in war torn Liberia and I was able to get back to Minnesota to be with family. My dad became critically ill when I was in Kenya and I was able to get back to Minnesota to be with family. And here I am, on the same continent and unable to go and support Dave. I wrote very large in my journal, “You are on Your throne!” I needed to be reminded of this over and over and over again. Our pastor preached from Matthew 14 this past Sunday, the passage about Jesus walking on water. He made the point that our Lord strategically orchestrates things to showcase that He is I AM, as well as His tenderness towards us. He highlighted that Jesus crossed the gap in Peter’s faith with His touch.
I believe Doug is now in heaven. No, he did not make Jesus Lord of his whole life, but he knew Jesus was the Son of God and that he needed him as his Savior. Jesus crossed the gap in His faith with His touch. And my mom is rejoicing at the answers to her prayers!
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
FEEDING UNTIL I AM SATISFIED (2021-03-01)
It has been yet another challenging week of difficult news threatening to steal my peace and joy. It seems like as soon as I have victory by allowing my knowledge of God and trust in His goodness to dictate my view of my circumstances, another challenge rears. I rather feel like I am playing “Whack-a-mole” trying to keep my focus on the fact that God is sovereign and He is good.
Our grandson’s health remains extremely fragile as he needs blood transfusions twice a week. My younger brother has a blood infection that has gone septic and is actually in his bones. The doctor talked with my older brother and told him there are two option. To aggressively treat the infection by amputating his leg or having him go to hospice. Doug is unable to make this decision for himself. And in the midst of all this, I am getting increasingly tired with declining energy.
Our pastor preached from Matthew 14.13-21 this past Sunday, the feeding of the 5000. As I was literally sobbing, trying to cry out to the Lord in my grief, my anguish and my fears, I felt like the Lord used this Scripture to point my way back to Him.
The disciples knew there was a great need. 5000 men (plus how ever many women and children) were hungry. I know there is a great need. Our grandson needs healing. Our son and daughter-in-law need peace and freedom from fear. My younger brother needs healing. My older brother needs strength and guidance in making decisions. I need His peace.
The disciples knew they could not meet the need. I know I cannot meet the need. I cannot heal my grandson. I cannot give my son and daughter-in-law what they need. I cannot heal my brother. I can give input, but cannot make the decisions for my older brother. I cannot summon up peace on my own.
The disciples did not realize the One Who could meet the people’s needs was right there. I do realize Jesus is the One Who can provide all and He is right here through His Holy Spirit. I even know and trust in God’s will, His ways, and His whens.
Then I thought about the people Jesus fed. They had to span the whole range of faith – from none at all to absolute trust in the One feeding. The Bible says in Matthew 14.20, "“They all ate and were satisfied. . .” This eating and satisfaction was not based on their faith, but on Jesus’ power. The verse goes on to say that the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. What that tells me is that no matter how great our need, Jesus’ provisions will not run out. He has more than enough.
More than enough for our grandson. More than enough for our son and daughter-in-law. More than enough for our other three grandchildren. More than enough for my younger brother. More than enough for my older brother. More than enough for me.
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.