Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Rebecca's Journey - 41

Dear Friends,

It is Wednesday evening, and I leave for the Middle East very early tomorrow morning. Rebecca and I wanted to get word, and prayer requests, to you before I leave.

Rebecca's permanent bed arrived the day before yesterday. Slowly we're getting settled into our new life. The painting of the kitchen will be finished tomorrow. Then we'll be done with all the major items of renovation - relief!

Rebecca has some thoughts: "I'm in my new room, and how beautiful it is. The door is automatic so that I can go in and out in my electronic wheelchair (which I should have within the next month). When the door closes, there is a thump. I am alone, and I am so aware of the Lord's presence filling the room. I am filled with gratitude. His provision is so kind; my heart is full.

Straight ahead of my bed is a sliding glass door out onto a wooden deck, and the garden beyond. On my left side are windows directly out into the trees. When we first moved into the house, the Lord spoke to me and said: 'I have planted you in a garden.' That has profound new meaning for me now.

I was reading in John where Jesus said, 'I am going to prepare a place for you.' It swept over me that if Paul would prepare such a beautiful room for me here, what must Jesus be preparing for us?

As I look straight out, through the glass door, I see my birds. Many of you have been interested in my 'bird feeding'. Well, be assured that we are well begun. I now have 4 feeders for the birds. They haven't found them all yet, but for those who have, it is a delight to see them flitting in to steal a sunflower seed, and flying away to eat it in the security of a high branch. I'll keep you informed as my bird feeding continues.

All of this is a constant reminder of the Lord's word in Matthew 6: 'Do not worry look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap, or store away in barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?' Once again, the birds are a reminder that if they are precious to Him, how much more precious are we. When I'm tempted to worry, often about silly little things, I look at my birds and I realize that He has it all in hand, and He cares for me. He cares for us.

The other morning Stephen left in the dark on his bicycle for school. I was praying furiously, 'worrying my prayer'. Suddenly I saw in my mind Stephen zipping along the side of the road with two huge angels on either side. Surely Father's care is perfect toward us."

Paul again! We want to ask you to pray with us about a specific need. Judy arrives next week and will be here a month. She'll then return to the US for two months. During that time Josie will be in the US for 2 weeks. Then Josie will leave in May for the next phase of her life. Stephen will move to North America for university sometime mid-July, after Susannah's wedding, which will take place here on 13 July.

So within just a few months we will be in need of additional help to carefor Rebecca. My travel schedule is increasing again, necessarily. So we face real need for assistance.

The Lord spoke to Josie last August to come for 10 months - and we had never even met her at the time. She has been a wonderful help and friend. We need to see who the Lord has for this next season, and would appreciate you joining us in prayer for this.

Answered prayer:
~Rebecca's spaciticy is significantly reduced.
~Last week we had meeting at Pellenberg with the medical team. They were
very pleased with Rebecca's continued global progress.
~Rebecca is experiencing new strength, and daily encouragement.

Thanks you for your continued prayers.

Our love to you all,

Paul & Rebecca

PS A friend of mine sent the following article. It moved me, and I thought
you might enjoy it.


On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you
have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no
small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he
has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him
walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an
unforgettable sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches
his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor,
undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other
foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his
chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.

People who were there that night thought to themselves: We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage, to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as we had never heard before.

Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to acknowledge that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.

When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done. He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone... "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the way of life - not just for artists but for all of us. So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have and then, when that is no longer possible, to still make music with all that we have left.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Rebecca's Journey - 40

Greetings, Friends!

A very Happy New Year to you all! We trust that in the season ahead we will all know Him, and His grace & wisdom, better.

Our children left late December after a wonderful Christmas together, so New Years was quiet - and early. We celebrated New Years on Uzbek, rather than Brussels, time. (That means we celebrated at 9:00 here.) We had several close friends come between 7:00 and 9:30. At 9:00, which was midnight in Uzbekistan, we prayed for and joined in spirit with our dear friends Erick and Elizabeth Schenkel who are in Tashkent, and saw the new year in. Then Rebecca and I were in bed by 10:00.

From Rebecca: "I love the beginning of months; April 1st, August 1st, October 1st I love that the Lord is giving us signposts along the way whereby we can learn 'to number our days aright so that we may gain a heart of wisdom'. (Ps. 90:12) So you can well imagine that I love the beginnings of years.

These last weeks I've been meditating on the good things that Father will have for us in 2004. I happened to be reading in Ps. 90. Verse 4 says: 'For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.' I have long given up on New Year's resolutions. I never can seem to carry them through. But I do love to ask the Lord what He is saying to me for the coming year.

The other morning Paul walked through my room, and it came to me that I 'get to do' this thing called life with him. Suddenly it all came together in my mind. The incredible brevity of my life, of Paul's life, and that we get to live at the same time in history - together. And then I thought of Judy, and Josi, Annie, each of you, that in the divine purpose of God we are all here in this brief 'wink of an eye' at the same time to share the great adventure called life, in Him.

I've thought about it each day since. I hope it will stay with me through this year, that we will finish our task together, completing His purpose for us, and seeing what He will do this year, this 'wink of an eye'.

We trust you have a blessed New Year, and that all of His good purpose for you will be fulfilled. May your expectation be from Him. He is good. He cannot be any other.

All my love, Rebecca

PS I've had a rough week. I think the week after Christmas left me quiet exhausted. This was followed by a urinary track infection and a too-strong antibiotic that made me more ill than the initial infection. I got discouraged, and it was a comfort to me to be able to rest in the reality that many of you are praying. I'm better now on every side. Thank you for carrying us."

Paul again: We're coming near the end of the work on the house. It has now been over 2 1/2 years since this transition began, and my soul is longing for completion. Tomorrow we begin the papering of the LR/DR, followed by the painting of the Kitchen. That will bring a termination to the major work on the house. We are looking forward to this being completed and heading forward to what the Lord has in mind in this next season.

Thank you so much for standing with and praying for us. "The future is as bright as the promises of God."

Love from Paul as well