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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Interior of one room Amish schoolhouse 9/2/15 (Click to enlarge)
Interior of one room Amish schoolhouse
 (Click to enlarge)

"When Burdens Are Heavy"

Note: Due to an early start and projected long chaplain service day a podcast was not prepared for this message,

"Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

We have met a lot of people through the years just through Daily Encouragement. For many "meet" may consist of merely an exchange of emails or a phone call. But in some cases we actually meet readers in person.

Many years ago we started hearing occasionally from Jim, an elderly man retired from the military, in addition to many years of ministry. He had served as a pastor in Village Missions churches, a ministry we were familiar with due to the support of Christian Women's Clubs, which Brooksyne has been involved in.

Last year, during our trip to San Antonio area to see Brooksyne's sister, we met Jim and his wife De who live in New Braunfels. He invited us to his church. We enjoyed the service and the brief visit afterwards. Jim is a thoughtful man of stalwart faith and I have come to appreciate his periodic comments to our messages.

Several weeks ago I received a prayer request from Jim and actually briefly shared it here on Daily Encouragement. His daughter had fallen, struck her head, and due to other health issues was in deep trouble.

I could sense the burden of a caring father when I read Jim's request.
I called Jim and he gave me an update. His Village Missions director Jack Canady, wrote a touching newsletter article describing the painful journey the Scanlon family is on and their need for prayer support as they endure this trial. It really touched me with the compassion in the letter. We obtained permission to republish it here since I think many of our readers will benefit by it. Their story below is painfully true and still unfolding. (Newsletter article is posted below.)

"Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). The Benson Commentary states, "Sympathize with and assist each other, in all your weaknesses, grievances, trials. The apostle alludes to the custom of travellers, who, when too heavily laden with their baggage, relieve one another by bearing the burdens of the weak or fatigued, and in that manner show their good disposition toward each other."

We consider all today who bear heavy burdens. Surely some of the most intense are the burdens we bear for our children. Today we pray for all our readers who bear these burdens as well as Jim and De and their current trial.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, You have instructed us through Scripture to bear one another's burdens so that we fulfill the law of Christ. The law is fulfilled in one commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself". This compels us to express loving compassion toward our brothers and sisters as they undergo trial helping to bear their burden as they bear our burden as well. The Scanlon family is in need of the prayer support of their brothers and sisters and are symbolic of the many others who are trusting and waiting as You make Your will known to them. So we place their lives in Your hands as we uphold them in prayer. Amen.

Jim and De Scanlon 4/27/14
Jim & De Scanlon during our visit in 2014
Yesterday Jim sent an update that their daughter is now in hospice.

The following newsletter article regarding the Scanlon family, and their current ordeal, is written by Jack Canady, Jim's former mission director:

“Are her parents coming?”

“Yes,” the nurse said to the trauma doctor. “They are driving and should get here in a few hours.”

“As soon as they arrive, notify me.  I want to meet with them immediately.”

His patient was 56 year old Christine. She had been rushed to the hospital after she had taken a fall and seriously injured her head. The lady who was her friend had found an empty bottle of Vodka in her room and gone out to look for her. She had called her parents. They had jumped in the car for the ten hour drive to be at their daughter’s side.

The doctor saw deep concern written all over their faces when he met with them. His news would not be good.  In fact what he was about to tell them would tear their hearts apart. He was as gentle as possible but direct as he revealed the horrible truth to them. He had done this before but never could he get used to it.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “This is irreversible.”

“You mean…”

“Yes”. De, the Mother, began to cry softly. Tears flooded Jim her Father’s eyes.

“She has complete live failure. Toxicity has settled in her brain. Dementia has set in. Her kidneys are not doing well.”

Things had not always been this way.  In her early teen years Christine had come to know Jesus Christ, held Bible studies. One of the girls she witnessed to is now a believer herself.

But, when a junior in high school, she got seriously involved with a man who was bad news, the worst kind of all. They say “love is blind”. There is truth in that. She rejected the standards of the home she had grown up in; left her parents, three sisters and a brother to move in with her lover.

From then on it was liquor; soon drugs entered the picture. Marriage DID come, but so did divorce. For months, even years no one in the family would know where they were.  They would disappear on purpose.  Was it bills? Enemies?  Something else?  They would never know.

In time Christine even alienated herself from her sisters and brother. The two middle ones did keep some contact with her through emails and phone calls as she allowed. Now she was dying. Her three sisters flew in and were able to spend the weekend with her. In fact they got there before her parents.  Her brother didn’t come. “Dad, I’m sorry.  I hope you all understand.”

The girls laughed and cried together as reconciliation took place. Then they had to leave. They had jobs and needed to get back.  It will be the last time they will see each other down here.

The doctor talked with Jim and De about Hospice which has an area on the fifth floor of the hospital.  Now that she is divorced her parents are the next of kin.

“Jack”, (silence), “signing that paper was the hardest thing I have ever done.  At eight o’clock yesterday evening they moved her there.  From here on out, (another silence), they will keep our Christine as comfortable as possible.  No more life supports.  We visited with her today.  She seems okay.”

Jim, De, Norma and I, are old friends.  We served in Village Missions together for many years. When I got the email telling what had happened I did what most of you would do; an email would not do.  I had to call.  I needed to hear his voice; know they were okay.  Pray with them The last words of his message to everyone about what is going on reveal the heart and character of this couple.

“We are not angry at anyone, or anything, but very sad to see our daughter in the last stages of her Earthly life. We are fully trusting the Lord Jesus in this and pray for His Divine Will to be done.”
Thank you for reading this.  Thank you too for your prayers as things wind down.

In His love,

Jack & Norma

Back To School photos

Yesterday we had some items to drop off at an Amish school at the request of some friends. The Amish schools are very simple one room structures with children in grades 1-8 all in one room. The teacher is an older teen who has remarkable control over the class and th children are very attentive and respectful.

One room Amish schoolhouse exterior 9/2/15
Brooksyne is handing paper towels to the school teacher. The school is of course privately funded and families contribute needed items. The Lapp family asked us to pick up a case of paper towels and toilet paper at Costco. Of course we were the center of attention as we arrive in our van for the delivery.

Swings at Amish one room schoolhouse 9/2/15
These little girls are playing on the swings before the bell rings at their Amish one room schoolhouse.

Amish cart after dropping kids off to school 9/2/15
We saw this Amish cart after Mom dropped off three of her kids at school.

Tall corn on Amish farm 9/2/15
Jesse has harvested his field corn for silage (feed for cows) and told me his silos are full! He still has a harvest for the grain but offered me some decorative ears and stalks. As he took my photo I think he was quite pleased to show off his tall corn, about 11' tall!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary"  Video  Doug Oldham and Homecoming Singers

"Lay Your Burden Down"  Video  Chuck Girard

"Slow Down"  Video  Chuck Girard

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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