Monday, May 7, 2012

Intro/Outro?


As you may be visiting this blog for the first time, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed as to who we are, what we’re doing and where we’re going.

We are the Netteburgs. Danae (gynecologist and mother), Olen (ER doc and father), Lyol (three-year-old) and Zane (ten-month-old). We are American Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to Tchad (or Chad, if you prefer), Africa. We all take turns writing blogs (even Zane) and Olen happens to be writing this one.

Danae spent a year in Zambia. I spent a year in Korea/Africa. We decided that we wanted to be missionary physicians to Africa before we ever met. I fell in love with Danae before I ever knew she wanted to be a missionary physician to Africa. Danae fell in love with me... sometime after that. But fall in love with me she did.

We arrived in Tchad December 12, 2010, a date that is now part of the very definition of our family.

So why do we write?

I wish I could give some noble reason, like... We write to inspire, or We write to give spiritual lessons, or We write to raise awareness of the plight of the Africans, or We write to create the next generation of missionaries, or We write to... well, pretty much any reason would be more impressive than the real one, but...

We write because there’s no psychologist in Tchad. Writing blogs is cheaper than flying back to the states or talking it over with a shrink on the phone. It’s also cheaper than taking medicines, so we write blogs.

If you talk to a shrink and you’re not honest, you’re just throwing your money (or your insurance’s money) out the window. So we are honest in our blogs. Always and completely honest. Which means our blogs aren’t always uplifting. Not all of our blogs leave you feeling good about the state of the world. In fact, I dare venture that few of them will. The simple truth is that when we’re most in need of writing, it’s because we’re ticked off at the state of affairs here. When do you most need to talk to your shrink? When you’re in a bad place, mentally or emotionally or spiritually. (If you find yourself telling your psychiatrist how very happy you have been, you either don’t need him anymore, or you are being forced to see him, likely by state-ordered legal decree, and you’re not really all there just yet.) Thus, our blog has a similar bent.

So you, in effect, have become our psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health professionals. Thank you. But be warned. Don’t read on unless you’re ready to take on that responsibility and are prepared to share this burden with us. Because we will take no shame nor hesitation in thrusting it at you.

Our complete honesty has drawn us a hefty amount of criticism. Don’t feel free to continue this. There are those who feel it’s our responsibility to be more cheerful and uplifting and God-glorifying. There are those who feel that we should withhold some honesty for legal defense purposes. There are those who feel that... well, anyway, there are people who don’t like our blog and don’t want us to continue it in it’s current form, but it is what it is and it will follow our family’s spiritual thermometer as it climbs and falls in season.

We will share with you our successes (really God’s successes), our failures, our feelings of abandonment and our feelings of inadequacy. If you have been in the mission field before, it will sound familiar. If you have thought about the mission field, it will bring those thoughts home and make you second-guess them. If you’ve never thought about the mission field, it will force you to.

But the honest truth is that we’re not the world’s most talented writers. And even the best writers out there, the best orators in the annals of history, the best actors of screen and stage, the best playwrights not named Shakespeare, could not make you understand what Tchad is. You have to live it. Whatever you think it is, it is worse.

And that is why we chose to come. Nobody sent us here. Nobody ever even gave us the option of coming here. We ended up visiting this place in 2009 because our visas for Cameroon were nonexistent and it seemed like more fun than staying in the capital for a week. We saw the need and saw that we could help. So we asked the church for permission to come to Bere, Tchad.

We work in a place where the only person who speaks my language is my spouse. And where very few of our patients speak French, the language we learned before we came. We work where virtually none of the tests we’re used to ordering in the states are available, where very few supplies are available and where most of the medications we prescribe from day-to-day are medicines that we never gave in the states.

We come home to a house that is 103 degrees at the coolest point of it’s 1000 square feet, where our children don’t understand what it’s like to be normal because all the other children just stare at them all day long. And the adults.

We live in a district where we are the only physicians for 200,000 people and there are no paved roads, no public water or sewer, where there is no electrical grid and no cyber cafe.

And we’ve become accustomed to death. Two other Adventist missionary families have lost their sons to malaria in Bere, Tchad in the last three years. Another lost a 20-plus-week pregnancy. We’ve learned that babies, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly die, and we’ve had the opportunity to hold them all as they breathe their last. And we’ve become attached to many of them. Perhaps you’ve read the story of Emmanuel. Perhaps you’ll read the story of Zeke, a little boy who lived in our house for a short 19 days. They each represent a fresh wound in our mind and on our heart and that scab is torn away and starts healing every other day, which is how often a child dies in our hospital.

And we like our jobs. No, we love our jobs. We love these patients, our patients. They are our friends and our neighbors. It’s hard to understand and impossible to explain. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world and the most rewarding thing in the world. While we beg and plead for your prayers, we don’t want your pity. We don’t even deserve your pity. We’re doing what we love to do, what we were called to do, what we were created to do. We know that we are doing exactly what God wants to do, where He wants us to do it and when He wants us to do it. How many people can look you in the eye and say that? We are blessed beyond measure.

We agreed to come to Tchad for six years, although we’ve always said that we’d stay until God took us elsewhere. We were prepared to stay longer. Dr Hart, a man I deeply admire and respect, once said to me, ‘Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the career missionaries.’ I want to be that.

We came here thinking long term. We’ve had plans drawn up for new buildings and expansion. We’ve built walls. We’ve built buildings. We’ve raised money. We’ve invested thousands of dollars of our own money. We’re now ready to build a private ward, an OR/delivery room/lab buildings and a house for the physician we recruited to come (my father-in-law, not exactly selling snow to an Eskimo). We’ve drafted plans for a nursing school and recruited a nurse to come start the school. We’ve helped bring in a volunteer to create a radio station. We’ve started a $10,000 public health initiative. We have plans to build health centers. We have plans to build housing for more staff. We have plans to build entirely new patient wards.

We’ve had a lot of plans. They all seemed like God’s plans. This all seemed like God’s leading. This all seemed like God’s guidance.

And we seemed immune. Our family seemed insulated. We seemed healthy. I’ve had malaria several times. I’ve passed out from it and come to with IVs in my arms and crowds hovering over me. Danae’s had malaria. Lyol’s had it. But we didn’t care. We got better.

We had our dream jobs, our dream family, our dream life.

And then Zane got sick. And didn’t get better. After a fever for over a month, refractory to more medications than I care to delineate for the millionth time, Zane and his mother went home. Home home. To the states. Where he magically got better. Without intervention. For a month. Then he returned home. Home home. To Bere. And six days later, he got a fever again. And now he’s had a fever for a week.

And now we’re tired.

We’re tired of Zane being sick. We’re tired of worrying about him. We’re tired of being up at night with him. We’re tired of the hospital nurses banging on our door all night, every night. We’re tired of people coming to our house all the time. We’re tired of neighbors stealing our mangoes. We’re tired of people saying, ‘You’re white. You should give me money.’ We’re tired of people lying to us. We’re tired of people trying to take advantage of us. We’re tired of nurses not following orders. We’re tired of nurses lying on the nursing forms. We’re tired of essential, life-saving equipment disappearing from the hospital. We’re tired of local church politics. We’re tired of national church politics. We’re tired of union church politics. We’re tired of division church politics. We’re tired of general conference church politics. We’re tired of our local district medical officers. We’re tired of the heat. We’re tired of the dust. We’re tired of the dirt. We’re tired of sweating.

All this has been here all the time, and we’ve been enjoying the challenges, until Zane got sick. Now everything is turned on its head. We did all the right things. We tried all the right treatments. We took him to the states and got all the right tests. They were all negative. And now he’s sick again. Will it ever end? Are there any options? Is there anything we haven’t tried or done yet?

Yes. We haven’t left. Yet. We haven’t yet tried leaving. Permanently. Yet. We haven’t yet moved to a place where he’ll always be healthy. Yet.

We have many friends and relatives who have gone to the mission field for six or nine months. One year. Two years. Three years. We laughed at them. You can’t make a difference in that short of time. Yup, we were going to be long-termers. Six years was just going to be a start. We would be the people truly accepted into the tribe we served. We would be the missionaries that changed the world. We’d be the missionaries they wrote books about.

I know we’re not the first missionaries to have a sick kid. In fact, most missionaries have stories about their kids being deathly ill. I know, because I’ve heard all these stories in the last two months. I know there are hoards of missionaries who have lost their children. But that’s different. That’s not my kid. Zane is my kid. This is my son you’re talking about. Not just somebody else’s kid. My kid. My son. My sick, beautiful son. My fragile ten-month-old son. My son I can do something about. My son I can cure by simply taking him away from here. This is my son.

The good missionaries say things like, but even if I lose a child, think of all the other lives we’re saving and all the other souls we’re winning. You’re right. And I know you mean it. And that’s great. I wish I could say the same. But I can’t. This is my son.

I am not God. I did not send my son into the world to die to save many. No, He did that with His Son. Voluntarily. I don’t recall ever volunteering my son to die. No. I don’t care how many people could be helped along the way. I’m selfish. This is my son.

We always thought we’d have more kids. But we don’t think we will now. Do we really want to go through this each time? Or should we do like the Tchadians and have lots of kids and just plan on several of them dying?

God and I had a deal. He keeps my family healthy. I’m a missionary to Tchad. I’m still holding up my end of the bargain.

So what does God want from me now? Does He want me to stick it out? Is He going to end up taking away my son? Does He want me to go home and take care of my family? Try it again later in a few years when my kids are older and less fragile? Try it again in a different place that’s not as hard as Tchad?

Do we leave the place we just recruited my in-laws to? Do we leave the place we’ve invested so much of our time, energy, talents, money, tears, blood and sweat into, the place we moved all our earthly belongings to? Do we accept that we just couldn’t hack more than a year and a half in this place?

I don’t know.

But what will I do if something happens to my son while I’m playing the world-saving missionary? What will I say to all the second-guessers who ask why I came? Why I didn’t leave? What will I say to my wife? What will I say to Lyol when he’s old enough to ask why I didn’t love his brother enough to take him away from the riskiest place in the world? What do I say to Lyol when he asks if I would have taken the same risks with him? When he realizes that I did take the same risks with him?

But we’re still here. For now. We haven’t left. Yet. As for tomorrow, I don’t know. God still wants us here, so it’s the safest place in the world for us to be. But the moment He says, ‘Go,’ I’m out. I’m not the missionary-hero. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong blog. And that’s the honest truth.

44 comments:

  1. Bless you for all that you do for the people of Bere and your family. I have prayed for you and your family and will continue to no matter what your decision is in regards to your missionary work. My heart goes out to you for the burdens you carry. May God lift some of them soon. Blessings, Marci Freeman

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  2. I hope to follow your path one day in the near future. I thank you for your candid posts. I admire your family and I pray for you. I am praying for you.

    Isa 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

    Be encouraged. Keep posting. Keep trusting.

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  3. I appreciate your honesty. It is rarer than you know... especially among "churchers".

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  4. "And even the best writers out there...could not make you understand what Tchad is. You have to live it. Whatever you think it is, it is worse."

    So true. And only truly understood from those of us that have lived there.

    Thanks for writing from the heart.

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  5. Hi Olen~ Hard to find words to respond, only hearts full of prayers, admiration, questions, wishing we were psychologists, wishing we could help! At least we can continue praying & trust you & your precious family to God's care & leading. Isaiah 43:1-3. Keep looking UP, Carol & Gary Dodge (not really anonymous)

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  6. Your blogs are inspirational because they're honest.
    You'll be heroes no matter what you decide in the end--not many can comprehend how much you've been willing and continue to sacrifice for strangers.
    Stay strong

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  7. Honesty doesn't mean uninspiring. I've been reading your blog for a while, and I really appreciate the fact that you're honest. I'm hoping to be a missionary someday, and I've grown up reading lots of awesome mission stories where most things turn out very well. So thanks for sharing the truth.

    "All things work together for good to those who love God: to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
    Your family is in my prayers.
    Sarah

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  8. Thank you for your honest words. The Lord has lead and is still. Yor are in our prayers. May you feel the prayers of many,
    Ruth and Ray Roberts

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  9. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  10. Just bare with me for a second here, I just had a thought. After 12 years of catholic education in Australia I struggled to understand what in gods name was the benefit of priests not having partners or the chance to have children. I understand now that it was a decision made of a political and financial nature, however when I read about your predicament I believe now I have stumbled across the "only" benefit.Having to decide between Gods will and your son. Ive heard a saying a lot lately, Im pretty sure ive seen it on a few coffee mugs too " Plans are something we have until life gets in the way."
    I have read your post twice, and I keep seeing your plans, plans plans. Maybe something is steering you towards "life" I do not envy your position that is for sure. Please do not spend all of your time and effort trying to conquer Tchad at the expense of being able to live with yourself. Takecare and best wishes.

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  11. Keep writing. Keep using this blog for therapy. Don't ever apologize. Do what you have to do.

    And the rest of us can just suck it!

    Because that is what a true support does. We are there for you whether we know you personally or not. And we support you the way YOU need to be supported and not just how it makes US feel on the comfort scale!

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  12. I appreciate your willingness to share the real details and struggles that you face each day. It gives me specific ways that I can be praying for you. I'm sorry that things are so tough right now (maybe most of the time). Please know that someone in Texas is praying for Holy Spirit power and endurance and courage for you today. (With 3 little ones of my own--4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 9 months--I am also especially praying for Lyol and Zane.)

    2 Corinthians 4

    Amy

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart. That is inspirational in itself. I will keep your family and the decisions you have to make in my prayers.

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  14. Thanks for being real!!!

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  15. I understand where you are coming from... and thanks for being honest! You have a large family of readers that feel your pain... and support you! Even in His time of need, Jesus needed to know people were praying for Him. You have that! YOu have so many people, that you may or may not know, lifting you up for wisdom and comfort!
    And please forgive me... as I am probably the millionth person to ask... but have you had your little one tested for allergies? Environmental or food? The only reason I ask is because my husband is allergic to spinach and lettuce (basically leafy green things) and he didn't know it until just this last year. It would present with a fever and severe abdominal distress, hot sweats, and flu like symptoms every time. Could it be that during his and Danae's stay in the states, he went without eating something and that is why he got better... or if still breastfeeding, Danae went without eating something? Again, I apologize for asking... but could it be that simple?
    You are in my prayers!

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  16. Got no answers...Only prayers for you all. Prayers for health-mental and physical. Prayers for wisdom. Prayers for physical safety. Prayers for the work there in Tchad. Hate to see the ole devil continue to "throw you under the bus." So much positive change must really stir him up. Life really does get messy. Rest on Jesus. Hugs, Juanita

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  17. Olen,
    I pray for you and your family often. I shed tears and get inspired about helping those closer to me because the way you help those close to you. May God's hand especially touch Zane as you try to figure out what is going on.
    Carla

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  18. Please be honest. It's uncomfortable for us, yes - why? Because you are doing something...and most of us are comfortable in our houses, with our health, and safety features for our children - like carseats. We have our personal air-conditioned cars, not to mention houses. We have comfortable churches with real floors and windows and backs on the pews. We can drive to a grocery store and buy anything we want - without bugs in it. We can turn on a light any time we want, we can put leftovers in the fridge...and we aren't stared at or misunderstood 24/7. We visited Tchad in 2010 - and I pray God never sends me/us there. We too have a baby, she'll be 1 year this week, and I cringe thinking of taking her there. Do what you need to do. I like the phrase "What other people think of me is none of my business". The only caveat I have to that is what God thinks of me... You have already made a difference in people's lives, if God calls you to somewhere else, it's just part of the journey, if He calls you to stay, then we'll be right here praying for you. Alison

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  19. This little group replying is just a small percentage of those praying. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. For wisdom and strength and energy. Thank you for using us, as your support team needs to be needed! Thank you for entrusting your emotions to words and allowing us to see into your heart. We cannot see the answers, but we know The Answer. And, He knows, too. Blessings on you as you work and wait and WORK. And, thank you for sharing your dream for Tchad with us! That little medical compound is going to continue to be a LightHouse for God. Praying that God will surround you with all you need for everything.

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  20. If you are considered selfish for looking out for and protecting your family, then God bless your selfishness. You and Danae are the most selfless people I know, and I pray that you make the best decision for your family. Love you all and praying as always!

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  21. Olen and Danae,

    Thanks for always being honest in your blogs. As a parent who has struggled with the ups and downs of a chronically ill child, I know what it's like to have few or no options for improving your child's health. God understands your frustration. He was not angry with the prophets of old when they cried out in grief. David was not punished for writing out the joys and sorrows of his heart. Keep writing. Keep praying. Always remember that God is there with you. He will let you know when it's time to leave. This is a time for you to quiet your own plans and listen carefully to the voice of God. I pray Zane gets better soon and remains healthy for the rest of his life, whether that be in Tchad or the US. May God continue to bless your family. Here's a hug for all of you. We're all praying for you back here in 1st Springfield church.

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  22. God is speaking through me. You have permission to bring your son home until he is healthy.

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  23. I came to your blog after reading about Emmanuel. My heart goes out to your little family, and to those who are part of Bere. We have no answers; we pray and try to be faithful. Know that your heartaches are shared, and that you are in our prayers, especially Zane.

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  24. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life." (Mark 10:29–30)

    Eternal life with the God the upholds the universe by the word of his power.

    Be encouraged, Olen!

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  25. Andrea SutherlandMay 13, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    Olen and Danae, you and your family are in my prayers. I pray particularly that Zane will recover speedily and be in good health. In this world we are confronted with sickness and suffering and it tests our faith in God. The Bible says "God is love" 1 John 4:8 and we can only cling to this truth as our source of comfort. God loves Zane and each of us "with an everlasting love" Jeremiah 31:3 and "he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men" Lamentations 3:33. With our finite understanding, there is much that is perplexing in life, but hold fast to what the Bible says and pray for grace (power and strength) to endure to the end. "The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him" Lamentations 3:25 "The Lord is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" Psalm 84:11. We are caught up in the great controversy between Christ and Satan and we cannot see all the issues involved in the conflict, but "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28 You have dedicated your lives to ministering to those in need as we have been commanded by Jesus - "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" Matthew 22:39. Therefore, Satan, the enemy of souls, is not pleased and he will try to discourage you. Thank God, that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1

    May God give you the courage to do His will is my prayer. I am writing from Jamaica in the Caribbean, and I pray that God will continue to bless you. I have never had to endure such harsh conditions as you describe and I praise God for the work He has wrought in your lives that you are willing to go where you are needed.

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  26. olen and danae, i will remember to pray for you guys. you're both super amazing, and i think your blog is awesome. i wouldn't want you guys to change it for anything. it's real. and God is using you. i will be praying:-)
    --tanya

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  27. Yours is the only blog I read specifically because you are completely open and honest. I respect that, it's hard, it sucks, your faith is tested. This is what we ALL feel at some point or another (even in our cush American lifestyle!), but you all have enough chutzpah to admit it and admit your frustrations and weaknesses. That, I respect.

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  28. Wow, Thanks for your honesty of the reality of missions. It seems that nobody here thinks that you are in the middle of a "Spiritual Warfare" you a Christian will be attacked by spirit demons and "demonic territorials spirits of Tchad and are going to give you a hard time or even kill you etc for you to live and not share Jesus message in this place." Satan wants you dead and defeated. Satan attacks when you are weary and sure Jesus is stronger and can take care of all of this but the thing is that you must have specific words in prayers, bind the evil spirits in prayers, and cover your family and home with Jesus blood and Holy Spirit.

    Here are some articles that my help

    http://www.withoneaccord.org/assets/images/freedownloads/STonTerritorialWarfare.pdf

    http://www.withoneaccord.org/assets/images/freedownloads/Spirit_War_Kids.pdf

    As a baby Satan tried to kill me with a strange illness too and many times after that...The Lord has kept me alive and perform miracles that even hospitals and people had to acknowledge! I am a SDA.

    Nobody should judge you or criticized you and the Lord is there to protect you and your family. Don't loose your focus that you are indeed a nasty strong "Spiritual War" against many demonic identities that you must have the Prince of Peace fight this battle and in prayer must be specific!

    May you find peace after the storms and If you need to save your child's life and leave is OK The Lord will be there and will appreciate all you have done and do...We are under Grace.

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  29. You will know at each point what you should do. God's instructions for today may not be the same instructions as for tomorrow, but as long as you follow Him, you'll be right where you're supposed to be.

    Stay or go, no matter what you choose and when, there will always be someone telling you that you should have done it differently somehow. Keep God first in your hearts, and each step will open when it's time.

    Had to chuckle just a little at your "happy critics". Spend a little time with Jeremiah, and everyone else will seem like a ray of sunshine by comparison. :)

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  30. I wish I had the right words or wisdom. I don't. I'll just say this - in my darkest moments, there were only three things people could really say that meant anything to me:
    1. I'm so sorry.
    2. This just stinks.
    3. I love you.

    So I'll say those three things to you and just remember, "I love you more than everybody loves Raymond."

    You sis.

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  31. I love the honesty. Do keep telling the truth....it sets you free.

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  32. Real is good. We all need more real. Holding you up in prayer. Praying for strength and light to see the one next step.

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  33. Nobody's business but your's what you decide. People keep saying how great the honesty is, I have to heartily agree. And tell you that from a non-christian reader's point of view? You do a great job of living what you believe. Nobody is at peak moments all the time. And politics can ruin anything. The fact that you share your thoughts here to the anonymous and not so anon people is great. I am glad that your boy is getting better, and that you are being REAL about how you will move forward. No one can tell you the right way. Because it's your family. And your choice. Thanks for sharing with all of your readers. ~ from the northwest US

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  34. God always comes first....think of Abraham and his son.

    Genesis 22

    God's way is not our way. What does God want from this? Where is he taking you? What is He telling you?

    Praying for you... from Florida.

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  35. Keep being honest, in your blog, in your heart in your walk. He will lead you and He is the only one you need to answer to. Not the local church, not the conference not even your father in law :-) I have buried a child, in my heart i fear i wouldn't bother to listen for His voice if I was in your situation, I would grab my family and go. I know this, your words on not volunteering to let your son die are so true, you didnt sign up for that and while some may say think of Abraham I would counter with unless He directly tells you let your son die by staying here then choosing to leave isn't going against him. I hope that makes sense. I will pray for you as you continue to seek Him.

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    1. Abraham put God first, his child continued to live, and they were greatly blessed. But He chose to follow God (what God had instructed him to do) and put Him above all. You are not 'countering' what the person above said, you are in fact, agreeing.

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  36. Jessie Brodis BrownMay 23, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Your honesty is one of the things that makes you a missionary hero. I wish I had some better way to help but for now; I pray for your family daily and offer my listening (reading) counseling services for free. You and Danae inspire me beyond belief. Your honesty, willingness, and faith will guide you in His will.

    Praying for peace and guidance.

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  37. Before I became a missionary in Nicaragua, I found this blog and the Parker's blog. I remember wondering about how honest you were about your experience along with Tammy's honesty. I have to confess I though it a bit negative at times. This was until I went into the Mission field, your honesty inspires me. I wish more people would write about their experiences like you do. Being in the mission field can be so challenging. There are so many blessing but one doesn't become some super Christian overnight because they left the comforts of North America. Everyday I'm humbled by the condescension of Christ, His grace and mercy and most of all unwavering love for the people He ministered to on earth. I pray that God gives you the peace comfort that only He can give.

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  38. We need more honest Christians if we are going to bear one another's burdens. God knows we are frail as dust, we might as well admit it.

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  39. Dear N'bergs , God is greater than all the problems you face , He is greater than all your burdens , inconsistencies , stronger than the fevers , more powerful than 3rd gen cephalosporins - thats why He is God and thats why we are His children , I pray ernestly that you all find meaning in all this and that you hold on , all my love from > 4000 km away

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  40. I'm a writer and journalist who runs a unique web magazine at viewzone.com I recently started a new approach at shoveling against the bad in a section called "verbatim" where people tell their stories, describing the reality that people seldom experience. Let's talk. (Gary Vey, viewzone.com, myristicin@hotmail.com)

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  41. My heart aches for you. I had my class at church school pray for you. I have been praying for you too. If us mere humans are so moved with sympathy for you, I know Jesus who died for you is infinitely more sympathetic for you. He loves you. I suspect all heaven would love to hug and encourage you. We do not always understand things in this world; but be assured you are loved.

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  42. I've often wondered what I would do if I were put into a situation where I had to choose my son's life over the life of someone (a stranger, even) else's son. I would, ideally, choose the son of a stranger to live (knowing full well Who holds the future for my own son, and also knowing that 80 years of mine and my son's temporal pleasure can't register against the measure of eternity). But practically, what would be my REAL decision? One thing is certain, "He gives beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning". I'm waiting to read the end of your story.

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