Praise God!

I just got off the phone with my Mom and Dad and the news “couldn’t be better.” Mom’s visit with the wound care doctor revealed that she will NOT need to have an amputation. She is going to heal. It will take time, (weeks, maybe months) but there is no blood poisoning. She will begin physical therapy tomorrow to help strengthen her muscles.

Thanks for your prayers.

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Continued Prayers for Mom

Thank you all for your prayers for my Mom. She has been back in Illinois since Saturday and was able to see her primary doctor yesterday. She is seeing a wound specialist today. While in Turkey Mom developed a number of sores on her body due to being in bed for so long. Those sores have become infectious. It is not a good thing for a diabetic to have leg sores, and Mom has several of them. Her dad lost his legs due to blood poisining that developed in his legs. We are fearful that Mom could be headed towards a similar path. We’ll find out later on today. I’ll keep you all posted. But, we’d sure appreciate the prayers.

Last Post From Istanbul

It’s happening. It’s really happening. I think each one of us have taken turns over the past couple of weeks wondering if we would ever be leaving Istanbul. And now, it really is happening. We’re sitting in Mom’s hospital room with keen awareness that sometime in the next couple of hours we’ll be leaving this room.

So, we thank God.

Thank you God, for a miraculous healing. Thank you that what we were told was Legionella, and then were told was pneumonia, really turned out just to be a severe lung infection; an infection that you chose to heal. Thank you for healing Mom’s encephilitus too.

Thank you God, for friends and family. We’ve been told so many times throughout this ordeal about how strong we are. But, God, you know we were weak. And, it was the prayers of our friends and family that sustained us. So, thanks for strong friends. For, godly friends. Thanks for their love and support.

Thank you God that you are still the God of miracles. You are still the God of mystery. You are still the God who will do as You please. Thank you for being You.

Thank you God for Turkey and the Turkish people. Thank you for allowing us to be in this land that so desperately needs You. Thank you for allowing us to get a bigger vision for what this world that you created looks like.

Thank you God for health. We so often times take for granted that tomorrow will come. Thank you that you sustain us day by day. Help us not to forget that our lives depend not upon us, but you.

Thank you God for grace. We don’t deserve it, and You have lavished it upon us.

Thank you God for home. We are excited to go back where you have allowed us to live. We’re thankful for the friends and family that are there. We are thankful for the lives that you have given us there. We are grateful for the homes that you have provided. We are excited to get back.

Thank you God for provision. You have taken care of our needs. We are grateful for the way that you take care of your children.

In the Precious name of Jesus,

Brian (for the rest of the family).

We’re Coming Home!

The good news just keeps getting better! Mom has had another great day at the hospital. The doctors have given clearance for Mom to be released tomorrow. Jennifer asked for prayer earlier today that we would all get flights home on Saturday. God has answered that prayer! I’ll be flying Air France home and be in Minnesota on Saturday evening. Mom, Dad, and Jennifer are all flying Turkish Airlines. They have a direct flight from Istanbul to O’Hare Airport. Our flights are just 30 minutes apart.

Our final prayer request is that a doctor from International SOS will be able to fly with Mom. We have yet to get confirmation on this.

Thank you again for all that you have done. We value your prayers and e-mails.

In Him,

Brian

Worship His Majesty!

As my mom and I sit in her fifth floor hospital room eating lunch, the window is slightly ajar and the gentle breeze cools the room. Shortly after we bow our heads and thank God for our meal, we hear the call to worship Allah ring out through the city of Istanbul. A man with a beautiful voice chants Arabic phrases that declare the greatness of Allah. Few people in Istanbul understand Arabic, but they dutifully file into the mosques dotting the landscape of this city.

A few moments ago, my mom and I were singing praises declaring the greatness of our God. Our clarion call is not heard across an entire city; it simply fills the sterile walls of her solitary hospital room. But the greatness of our God–the God of the Bible revealed in and through the person of Jesus Christ–surrounds the Turks. His majesty is proclaimed in the white, fluffy clouds that pepper the sky and the birds that sing of His glory and the faces of Turks who have been made in His image and are stamped with the fingerprint of Almighty God.

And so, this afternoon, we want to first and foremost offer praise to our God for what He has done. Here are some of my mom’s most recent accomplishments through the strength and power of God:

1. She was able to walk around her room today, taking slow, but steady steps.

2. All of the tubes have been removed from her body. Even the IV port has been extracted!

3. She has not needed any nebulizer treatments today.

4. The doctors have said my mom is stable enough to fly back home this Saturday! She will need to be accompanied by a medical professional in case of an emergency.

Our greatest prayer request right now is that we can obtain five tickets on the one and only non-stop flight this Saturday from Istanbul to Chicago. My mom and the medical professional will need to fly business or first class, but my dad, brother, and I are more than content to fly coach. This is a lot to arrange and request in a very short amount of time, but I am confident that God will work out all of the details if it be His will. And we will worship and extol the majesty of our great God regardless.

Thank you for your continued prayers and all of the encouraging comments that you leave. You are all such a blessing to our entire family.

Our Gratitude,
Jenny (on behalf of my brother, dad, and mom too)

She’s Walking!

It’s been another good day for Mom. She slept through most of the night and has been doing her physical therapy. The therapists are working on helping her walk. The pulmonologist tells us that Mom’s lungs are now clear. Mom has been in great spirits throughout the day.

Thanks for your continued prayers. We are still expecting that Mom will be able to fly home on Saturday!

Dad spent another night at the hospital with Mom. He stayed with her through lunch and is now back at the hotel. Mom continues to listen to WMBI via the Internet. I think all of the doctors and nurses like the music that they hear as they walk into the room.

God is good.

In Him,

Brian

A Walk Into Church History

Istanbul used to be known as Constantinople. According to Wikipedia, “Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις, Constantinopolis, or Πόλις, Polis) was the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine/East Roman Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). It was officially renamed to its modern Turkish name Istanbul in 1930.”

I told you in an earlier post that the city is literally full of mosques. It is also the home to Hagia Sophia. This beautiful church, constructed by the Emperor Justinian in 537 AD is one of the most important churches in the world. It was here that so much of what we affirm as church doctrine was debated. The early church fathers wrestled with key doctrines like the deity of Christ, Christ’s divine and human wills, and creeds at this very church. It was here that the Nicene Creed was reaffirmed after many sought to discredit it. It was here that the doctrine of the Trinity was upheld.

Jenny and I had a chance to take the tram to this beautiful area of the city tonight. We stood inside the outer court of the Blue Mosque that stands across the street from the Hagia Sophia. It was constructed to show that Islam could produce a mosque more beautiful than the Hagia Sophia. It was actually modelled after Hagia Sophia, but built more than 1000 years later. It’s larger and looks more impressive on the outside, but can’t compare to the beauty of Hagia Sophia on the inside. Justinian had the architects of Hagia Sophia fill it with beautiful mosaics. It was lit by thousands of candles at night. The mosaics were of famous stories from the Bible. It’s said that when you were in the church at night, it was as if the mosaics were moving when the candle light hit them. Hagia Sophia was captured by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. He ordered that it be converted into a Mosque and that the mosaics be covered up. It remained a mosque until 1935.

So, why the history lesson on Hagia Sophia tonight? Well, as I get ready for bed, (it’s 12:05 AM here), I am struck by the fact that the same God that we have prayed to all week long for mom is the God to whom men and women have been praying to from the beginning of time. We are in a country which has only 3000 known believers in it. There are 72.6 million people in this country. We’re here for a reason. Many of you have shared that in your posts. If we could bring just one person closer to Jesus (He whose divinity was upheld by church councils in this very city) through Mom’s illness that would mean the world to us. We’ve become close with many people here. From the doctors and nurses to the families of other patients that we waited with together for days in the ICU waiting rooms, from the store owners whose businesses we frequent for bottled water, to the restaurant workers we see often at our favorite places, from the hotel staff to the people we see on the Metro, God has allowed us to rub elbows with so many who need his touch. Please pray that God will give us wisdom, and that he will give us courage to stand for Him in this wonderful country, no matter how tough things may be.

We continue to praise God for Mom’s health. She continues to long to hear from you. To all of my cousins, relatives, long lost friends, and those so close to Mom, thank you for writing. She prays for each one of you as I read your comments to her. She really does love all of you. And, your comments and e-mails have been like manna from heaven for us.

In His Love,

Brian