Tuesday, July 17, 2007

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.

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.

Friday, July 13, 2007

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).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

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,


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)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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,


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

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,


Another Good Day

It's been another good day with Mom. We are sitting in her hospital room with her and she is talking a mile a minute.

When we arrived at the hospital today, Dad was sitting next to Mom's bed, and the two of them were listening to WMBI Radio from Chicago on my computer. They were listening to the live feed of "Songs in the Night." The program designed for insomniacs in Chicago was bringing peace and calm to mom.

Asking you all to leave mom comments has been the best medicine for her, except for when you all are sleeping:>) She's continually asking us this morning if there are any new e-mails or comments. We've been saying, "Mom, it's 3:30 in the morning there. No one is awake." Then 15 minutes later she'll ask again. She has done this all morning.

Mom has also been enjoying reading her Bible. She had Jenny read her the book of Colossians. Then she read it aloud. Then she wanted to hear it read from the Bible I have on iTunes.

Mom also began physical therapy today. She has spent time sitting in a wheel chair. She has also stood on her feet twice. This is a big part of the recuperative process.

Mom continues to talk nonstop. She is realizing some of the things that she did in ICU were less than appropriate. She can't believe that she pulled out her own ventilator and feeding tube. She's enjoying looking out the window at the Seagulls and butterflies. She's also enjoying the hospital meals.

Thanks again for your prayers! And, please keep those comments coming. After all, Jenny, Dad and I have become Mom's news bureau.

In Him,


Message from My Mom

My mom had a quick message she wanted me to publish on the blog. She is so eager to thank you all for your prayers in person.

"Thank you, my dear prayer warriors. I'm getting ready to come home soon!"

We will write a more detailed update later. Thank you, again, for all of your comments!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Leaving Mom and Dad

Jenny and I are leaving American Hospital . . . and, we're so happy!

We couldn't have had a better day with our Mom. She is now in her own private room. She has a door that can close. There is a couch for Dad to sleep on. There is wireless Internet in the room. (I'm leaving my computer with Dad so that he can continue to read your comments to Mom). We are a little bit jealous because the hospital room is about 10 steps better than the little European Hotel that we are staying in. But, we are thrilled. Mom has worked so hard. She has earned this.

As we leave we again thank God for you. Your prayers have been our encouragement day and night. Randy, I played Mom the song that you sang in an Octet at church last year. Yeah, I know, crazy, but I've got your song on my iPod. Proud brother. Randy, that song was such a ministry to Mom today. Who knew that when you sang and recorded that song that it would be played many times at a hospital in Istanbul. The truth of the words of that song have been an encourgement to Mom. Mom was enjoying listening to these words and looking at pictures of family on my computer.

As we leave Dad is sitting next to Mom's bed, reading an article from Reader's Digest to his wife of 45 years. He is so happy. It's fun watching him serve her in this way. He is happy to spend his evenings with Mom on an uncomfortable couch.

To God be all the glory and praise.

In His Love,


Sacrifice of Praise

Throughout my life, whenever I faced a trial, my mom would quote Hebrews 13:5 to me. It reads, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise...." While she lavished her love and compassion on me, identifying with my pain, she would not allow me to wallow in self-pity for too long. Though I always expected it, I did not always enjoy having her gentle rebuke from Scripture. But she was always right, and those words renewed life to my weary soul. Real, genuine praise always requires a sacrifice. Praise is God's antidote to the pain.

I have never understood that difficult truth more clearly than I have in the past two weeks, and I have never seen it embodied more fully than I have in my mom's life as she lays in her hospital bed.

After witnessing the fear and confusion that bombarded my mom's mind and body last evening, we decided that we needed to spend today singing hymns of praise to God, reading Scripture passages, and reading all of your blog comments. My mom was in some pain, though she couldn't quite articulate where. She kept her eye tightly shut through our worship service. Her mouth was slightly open, and I could see the words of the hymns form on her tongue and lips ever so tenderly. She gave an almost imperceptible nod of her head each time I asked her if she would like me to sing another hymn to her. I read all of the Scriptures you have been leaving in your blog comments or sending me through e-mails, and her thirsty soul absorbed them like a sponge.

As Brian read aloud ALL of the comments you have left over the past several days, my mom verbalized "praise Jesus!" and "thank you, Lord!" She repeated each of your names, recalled her connections to each of you--from our physical family and our church family, to Wheaton Academy and Wooddale connections, to our personal friends from many years--and her heart soared as her smile grew wider with each word we read.

A fragrance sweeter than perfume was released from the ICU today. It rose above the Amerikan Hastanesi, soared higher than Istanbul, Turkey, reached beyond the earth, and transcended the heavens until it landed at the feet of Jesus. This fragrance is the beautiful sacrifice of praise.

Thank you for interceding on our behalf. My desire is that you may know the glory and greatness of our majestic God as a result!

With Love and Thanksgiving,

We're Watching God Answer Your Prayers

What an awesome day we are having with Mom.

I'm sitting next to her bedside right now. She has been talking for the past 5 hours. She listened as I read each of the comments that you have left and she wanted to tell me wonderful things about each one of you. You all have lifted Mom's spirits today like you wouldn't believe. Isn't the Body of Christ a beautiful thing?

We're still waiting for Mom to be moved to her room, but the doctors assure us that this will happen by the end of the day. She is looking so well today, that Mom's lung doctor told us that she will most likely be home by the end of the week! How is that for an evacuation plan?

Praise be to God for His amazing work in Mom's life.

I just asked Mom if she wanted to say anything to you and she says, "Thank you! I love you!"

A Room of Her Own!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have been praying and leaving comments for mom. Dad had a great night with mom last night. It's 10:45 AM here and I'm typing in the hospital dining room. When I arrived this morning I found Dad sitting by Mom's side with a smile on his face. The doctors had removed Mom's medicine tubes over the night. We've been told that Mom will be transferred to her own private room today! She is now taking all of her meds orally, and she's cooperating with the doctors and nurses. What a change from yesterday.

Jenny and I have been talking to her throughout the day. She is very tired and not very responsive, but she's sweet when she does respond. She has loved hearing the comments, e-mails and the Bible verses that so many of you have shared with her. We are all encouraged to hear from so many people. You are ALL gifts from God in our lives.

I'll post again later today with an update from the rest of the day, but I had to get this out quickly after yesterday's tough post.

God bless,


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Toughest Day Yet

It's 10:40 PM and Jenny and I are just getting back to the hotel. This has been a long, hard day.

This morning I went to the hospital while Dad and Jenny went to the Union Church of Istanbul. They had a wonderful time being encouraged spiritually. The pastor spoke on the Rich, Young, Ruler. (Mark 10:17-31) While they were there, I went to the hospital to see mom. I had some good conversations with her, but her mind is just playing such tricks on her. She is convinced that her doctors and nurses are trying to kill her. These paranoid thoughts both cripple her and make her defiant. She refuses to take her medicine. She refuses to trust people. It is soooooo hard. She also refuses to eat solid food. The doctors have told her that if she would just eat her food, take her medicine and cooperate that she could be released to a private room. With her mind as confused as it is, she just can't cooperate. Please keep praying. This is a scary thing to watch, and it causes such pain.

Dad and Jenny came by after church and took turns spending time with mom. She was just as defiant with them as she was with everyone else. Although, she did let Dad try to feed her some dinner. And, she agreed to take her medicine when I gave it to her. But, these are just momentary victories. She'll eat a couple bites one meal and then skip the next. She'll take her medicine one time and then skip the next dose.

Now, Mom is wanting to pull out her final tubes. If she does, she will hurt herself. In her agitated state, the doctors felt it best to sedate her. Dad just couldn't bear to leave mom another night, so he talked the ICU staff into letting him stay. He'll have to sit up in a chair the entire night with her. He insisted on doing this. Jen and I will leave for the hospital early tomorrow morning. We'll catch the metro and go relieve Dad. We've become quite the experts on the Istanbul Metro System. If you ever visit the city, we'd be happy to be your tour guides.

Dad has decided that he wants to do whatever it takes to get mom home as soon as possible. He's been in contact with the doctors from International SOS. The SOS doctors will contact us sometime tomorrow or Tuesday with an evacuation plan. Please pray that if it is in Mom's best interest that God will open the door for this to happen very soon.

Mom has really enjoyed hearing about the people who leave comments on the blog. I'm going to print up all of your comments tomorrow and read them to mom in hopes that it will help her snap back into reality. (Randy and Lori, she's looking forward to those Michigan Blueberries!) Thanks for your love and concern!

Tired, but still trusting...

Jenny and Brian

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Bye Bye Feeding Tube

I'd love to write that all of your prayers have been answered and that mom is now in her own hospital room. I can't do that. But, I can say that her feeding tube is out and her voice continues to improve. We were with mom from 10:30-4:45 today and she was awake the entire time. Mom enjoyed talking with us. She continues to experience great fear about her doctors and nurses, but we are able to reason with her.

Mom pulled out her own feeding tube about an hour before we entered her room today. She has been quite the stubborn patient. We have asked mom to not pull out any other tubes. She was able to have some soup today for lunch, and she's looking forward to dinner tonight.

Please pray as she continues to struggle with such intense fear. We are hoping that tomorrow will be the day that she moves from ICU to her private room, and we believe that this may really happen.

The doctor told us that mom does NOT have legionella. She had a different type of pneumonia, which responded very well to the medication. He says that we are very lucky that her lungs have healed so quickly. We know that this has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with the power of God as demonstrated in answered prayer. Thank you for your prayers. He believes that she does have encephalitis and that the encephalitis is contributing to the confusion.

We had a good time reading Scripture to mom today. She enjoyed what you have shared. I let mom know everyone who posts comments to the blog and e-mails us about the fact that you are praying. This has been a HUGE boost to mom. She enjoys hearing all of your comments. I even tell her about the people that she doesn't know that are commenting, and she loves hearing from you too.

Tomorrow morning Dad and Jenny will be going to the Union Church of Istanbul while I go to the hospital to be with mom. They will join us after church. Dad and Jenny could sure use encouragement from the body of Christ. All of your e-mails and comments are a blessing to them too.

Keep praying!

In Him,


Friday, July 06, 2007

Breakthrough . . . and Disappointment

So many of you have been praying that we would have extended visiting hours with mom. Today, that finally happened. Apparently Mom was quite agitated with her doctors last night, and very uncooperative. In frustration, I think the doctors finally decided, "What could it hurt to listen to the family?" They agreed to let one of us be with mom at all times from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. And, wow, did Mom respond.

For about the first hour mom was under heavy sedation. She did not respond much to our words. By 11:00, mom was awake, and she was trying to talk. By 11:30 the words were flowing. I bet mom talked for over 4 hours today. For the most part, she made sense. We talked about what was going on in the hospital. We told her about her need to cooperate with the doctors. We asked her about her care and her worries.

We were so excited. And then, at about 4:50 the nurses wanted to do some therapy with mom and she asked that my dad be in the room with her when this was being done. They refused her request and we think she went into a panic attack. Ten minutes later when we went in to see her she was unresponsive and sleeping again. This had us quite worried, however a subsequent call from a doctor at International SOS, after consulting with the American Hospital Doctors, assured us that mom was doing fine now. They thought that she was just exhausted from a lot of hard work and excitement. The doctors are now saying that they don't think she'll be moved from ICU until Monday. We believe that if she could just keep fighting, and be like she is with us when we are not around, they would let her out and we could be with her overnight.

Dad took a fall at the hotel tonight. He was carrying his computer when he fell, and it is no longer working (His computer with all of the pictures that he has taken from his time in Turkey). He hurt his hand, but says that it is feeling fine now. He's more upset about the computer not working. He is ready to leave Istanbul and never come back. Please keep Dad and Jen in your prayers as they have been here well over two weeks and are seeing no end in sight. It is just so disappointing.

We're hoping to have a full day of encouragement with mom tomorrow. Thanks so much for all of your prayers.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 5 Report on Mom

Yesterday was another long day. Both Dad and I had trouble sleeping on July 4th, so we went to the hospital exhausted. I think that between the two of us we had an hour's worth of sleeep. We arrived at the hospital and Mom was still in ICU, resting. When we let her know that we were in the room, Mom wanted to sit up. When her bed was propped up, she started coughing and having trouble breathing. But, she did eventually calm down. She was not able to talk and kept her eyes shut most of the time. She really just wanted to have us near her.

Mom's doctor told us that there would be no way that mom would be moved from ICU on Thursday, and after seeing her, we agreed.

When we saw mom at the 4:00 visiting time, she was at peace. Her eyes were shut, but she knew that we were there. Jenny spoke quietly to Mom and calmed her down enough for the nurses to be able to brush mom's teeth. Then we sang some of Mom's favorite hymns for about 30 minutes. Mom loved this. She would mouth the words as we sang them, and she had a smile on her face. We could still tell that it was tough for Mom to breathe, but she was doing better.

The breathing difficulty is happening because the infection in her lungs is clearing. The doctor told us that the lungs actually looked really good.

Keep praying that Mom cooperates with her doctors. Pray for her fears about being in ICU. We're praying that she will be well enough to move to a regular room today.

I am going to extend my stay in Istanbul to be with Mom, Dad and Jennifer through next week. Pray that all the logistical details work out too.

Today is Friday in Istanbul. This is the holiest day of the week on the Muslim calendar. I am told that Istanbul's many mosques will be full of faithful followers of Islam, on bened knee praying to Allah. On this Friday, please keep our family in your prayers. It's tough to be in a strange place with customs and languages that you don't understand. It's also tough to be away from home for so long. We are starting to be very familiar with the transit system in this city of 11 million people. It's always a challenge to get around here, but God has been faithful. We appreciate all the prayer and offers for help. You have been great!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th Report on Mom

It's been a long day. It's 11:15 PM Istanbul time and we are just returning to our hotel. When we arrived at the hospital today, we were told that we'd have to wait a few minutes before we could see mom. When we got into her room, she was sitting up in her bed and appeared very alert. She had written several pages of notes throughout the night to her doctors and nurses. She wrote a lot about how she was feeling to us, had a big smile on her face, and looked better. Her nurse told us that she was going to get her ventilator out today, and Mom asked if Dad could be in the room with her. She was told yes, but that promise was broken.

Then she asked if Dad could be with her when they wash her. Again she was told yes, but ultimately the promise was broken.

After about 20 minutes with Mom, we were told that we had to leave the room. Dad was going to be allowed to stay in the room, but my sister and I were to leave. Jenny and I went downstairs to meet the State Department Official who works in Istanbul. He turned out to be a great guy. A few minutes later, Dad came downstairs. He was told that he had to leave for a few minutes and they would come back to get him. They never did. Dad shared his frustration with the American official, and he found a patient relations representative to meet with us and hear our needs. We told her about our frustration, and how mom really wants dad to be with her when the tube is taken out and when she is washed. The patient relations representative went to ICU and spoke with Mom's doctor. The doctor told her that she would meet with us in 45 minutes.

45 minutes turned into 2 hours. It is so difficult to wonder what is going on in the time that we cannot be in the room. We would soon find out that Mom became agitated, and pulled out her own ventilation tube. (She seemed pretty proud about the fact that she pulled it out).

Dad, Jenny and I were waiting outside the ICU waiting room doors, with frustration in our hearts when the head of the department came out, angry at Mom for pulling out her ventilation tube. Mom also felt like the hospital staff was trying to poison her. (The meds that she is on are making her delusional). So, the head of the department asked if Dad would come in to calm her down. All this time we were saying that what mom needed was a family member and she would calm down. Every time we are with her, she is at peace. When we aren't she is upset. The doctors and nurses assured mom that she would be able to see Dad, Jenny and me. When I walked into the room she asked me to run and get Jenny. When I did Mom said, "Hi Jenny, Goodbye," and she was content. She just wanted to see us. As we left she called me back and whispered in my ear to pray for her. She said that she is under intense spiritual warfare and to pray for her like never before. She also said, "Whatever you do make sure that you, Dad and Jenny are always together."

So, I'm sad. Mom is going through a lot of fear. But, I'm happy that the ventilator is out. Please pray that over the next 12 hours she proves to be able to breathe fine without ventilation. If she can do that, she will be moved from ICU to a regular hospital room. If that happens, one of us will ALWAYS be with mom. She won't have to be alone any more.

The "carte blanche" on visiting hours that we were praising God for a couple of days ago proved to be an empty promise. We are only getting about 45 minutes of the 2 hours that we are supposed to have with mom. So, we really want to see Mom moved. Her doctor assures us that as soon as mom is past the point of danger (12 hours breathing on her own) she can be moved. They also need to get one more test result back.

The doctors still do not have any definite diagnosis. They are continuing to treat her for the "Legionella Pneumatosis" and for encephalitis.

This evening we joined the entire Turkey team (several churches, from all over the states sent English teachers) for a boat cruise on the Bosphorus Sea. The students from the English camps joined us and we had time 100 people or so on the boat. It was nice to get away from the stress of the hospital, but our hearts are always with Mom. We've been invited to join the State Department Official and his wife and a few friends from the Consulate to watch the recorded Fourth of July Celebration from the Washington Mall. If we can be with Mom, we'll probably skip this invitation, but if not we'll plan on going. We're praying that we have to say, "No," to this invitation.

One other cool note; one of the churches that we are working with is the church in Colorado that my Senior Pastor, Leith Anderson, used to serve as Senior Pastor. The people from Colorado have been wonderful. It's so amazing how even here in Turkey we are surrounded by the body of Christ.

Thank you to all of you who are praying. And, thank you too for all the offers for help. I think we've had at least five offers for help from people who know people in Turkey who can serve as translators or advocates for us when it is difficult. We appreciate it so much. The doctors feel that mom will be in the hospital at least one more week.

This evening, while on the boat, I spent some time downstairs, singing Chris Tomlin's song Forever. We do give thanks to the Lord, our God and King, whose love truly does endure forever. For He is good, He is above all things. His love really truly does endure forever.

Until tomorrow . . .


The Fourth of July in Istanbul

It's the Fourth of July and that means it's just another day in Istanbul. We're getting ready to head over to the hospital to see Mom. We're praying that on this Independance Day that Mom receives independance from this sickness that has impacted her so much.

We'll be meeting a U.S. State Department official, and fellow Christian, at the hospital today, and that is very encouraging to my Dad.

Continue to lift us up.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Pleasant Diversion From Hospitals

While at the hospital today, I got my Mom laughing. It was great to see her respond this way. If it's true that laughter is the best medicine, I think you'll enjoy this YouTube video. Check it out:

An Encouraging Day

I wanted to give another update on Mom, because so many of you have been praying for her. Today was a good day. When my Dad, sister and I were at the hospital yesterday we had to fight to see mom. Finally, in the afternoon, God answered prayer, by opening doors that seemed locked shut, and allowed us to come to an understanding with the hospital staff about seeing Mom, communicating about what was happening to her and building relationships with the doctors and nurses.

I shared in yesterday's post about the difference that we saw in the afternoon. The doctor's began treating mom for a rare disease called "Legionella Pneumonitis." Our prayer yesterday was that this treatment would indeed make a difference. Mom was very unresponsive yesterday.

Well, what a difference a day makes. When we visited mom at 10:00 this morning, she was excited to see us. There was a twinkle in here eyes as we talked. She still couldn't respond other than nods and to show us expressions with her eyes, but she was clearly there.

This afternoon, everything changed. Mom wanted to write. I gave her a pen and paper and she began to share about some of the fears that she was having. All of her fears were understandable, and we were able to assure her that she was getting great care. Then she wrote about how hot that she was and how she wanted ice chips. There was no ice at the hospital made with pure water, so I ran to Starbucks and had them put some ice in a blender for her. She enjoyed that soooo much. She also wanted a cool rag to put over her head, arms, and legs. The nurses caught on and began filling up some bags with ice and cooling mom down. She was finally feeling peace.

She wrote about how she can't wait to get home. She knows that she is in Istanbul, and looks forward to returning to Chicago. She even mentioned wanting to take a trip to Minnesota to see our family, to California with Dad in the winter and to Nashville with Dad in the spring.

We're praying that this improvement continues. Mom had a similar day the day before I arrived in Istanbul but then regressed the next day.

The doctors are hopeful that her ventilator can be taken out in two days. When that happens we expect to see some rapid improvement.

Here are a few of the cool things that God is doing:

1) He has provided us with great interpreters who have opened doors at the hospital.

2) He allowed Mom to laugh and smile today.

3) He allowed Mom to communicate her feelings with us.

4) He has provided a new contact that works for the United States State Department in Istanbul. He is a friend of one of my Mom's cousins. He will be meeting us at the hospital tomorrow. He is a delightful Christian brother. We may even spend some time on the Fourth of July at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul.

5) God gave my Dad some sweet moments with Mom today. She repeatedly told Dad how much she loves him.

6) God helped us find out about this rare disease through an Infectious Disease Specialist. This is a teaching hospital and the best in Istanbul. We really do have a peace that Mom is getting great care.

Thanks for your continued prayers and for spreading the word about mom to your friends and relatives. Prayer really is making a difference.

Please pray that:

1) Mom would continue to have the peace that passes understanding as she lies in the hospital bed.

2) Mom specifically asked for prayer that she would be able to get a good night's rest. She is sooooo tired and the constant noise of ICU is tough on her. She asked that she would be able to sleep through the constant poking and prodding the doctor's must do.

3) Pray that the ventilator will be able to be removed in two days.

4) Pray that we will be able to get a flight directly from Istanbul to Chicago when this hospital ordeal ends and that a doctor will be available to fly back with Mom.

5) Pray for clarity of mind for mom as this illness has made her delusional from time to time.

Thank you prayer partners!

In Christ,


Monday, July 02, 2007

Update on My Mom

Here is the latest update on my mom from an e-mail that my Dad sent today. (The picture on the left is from yesterday right after I arrived at American Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. The couple in the picture with my sister and me are counselors here in Turkey. He is a 2001 graduate of Denver Seminary. God used him in an awesome way to open up doors for us to be able to spend time with mom today.)

This has been a day of some breakthroughs in her medical care, but it started out difficult. We were unable to visit with my mom during the first 1 hour visiting hour period. Cultural and language barriers have made communicating with Turkish hospital officials difficult, but we finally have an understaning with the officials. We have now been given carte blanche to visit mom's room whenever we want, and have clearer understanding of what is going on with her body. She was largely unresponsive today, although she did open her eyes and smile when I talked to her. Within about a minute her eyes were closed again as she held my hand. It's tough to see her in this condition.

Thank you for your prayers. Her condition is too unstable to evacuate her to another hospital. We are working with an infectious disease doctor, a pulmonologist, a neruologist, and her ICU doctor and feel satisfied that the care she is receiving is satisfactory.

One cool thing is that many of you have been praying for clarity in identifying what is going on with mom. When I arrived last night and went to my Dad's room, I smelled this foul odor. I believe that it is mold. We immediatley got Dad moved to a new room. It is possible that this mold may be a contributing factor in what is going on with Mom.

Here's Dad's e-mail:

Hi Everyone,

I'm sorry to send this is a blanket email, but I hope you understand under the circumstances. The following report accurately describes what went on today with Bea's prognosis and her current condition. Subsequent to this report Brian, Jenny and I met with the Infectious Disease MD at American Hospital. She told us that they have found bacteria in Bea's lungs and that
she has a type of pneumonia called "Legionella pneumonitis". It is
caused by airborne mold and sometimes is called "Travelers disease".They are treating it with two types of antibiotics - Tavenic and Rifampin. In addition, they have not ruled out Encephalitis. It appears that we will be staying in Istanbul for at least 4-5 more days, but are at peace that this is the best place for her to be at this time. We are getting excellent
cooperation from the doctors and their staff and in spite of the
language difficulties, they are bending over backwards to work with us for which we are grateful.

Please continue to pray for Bea's condition - that she may come to
complete health and that she will heal quickly. Thank you for your many prayers, concerns, emails and phone calls.

God bless,


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pray for My Mom

My mom is sick. She's in intensive care at American Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. The doctors believe that she may have encephalitis, which can be very serious in people over 50. My mom is 65. Thanks to my brother Kevin, I had the opportunity to fly out here today to be with her, my sister and my Dad. I arrived this evening and visiting hours were over at the hospital. You only get two hours per day to visit patients. Our prayer is that she becomes stable enough to be transferred to a hospital in the States or in another part of Europe. Please pray for wisdom for the Doctors, a miraculous healing, and peace for my Dad and the rest of the family.

I never thought I'd be in Istanbul, Turkey. I found some pictures from some other web sites to give you an idea of how modern, yet ancient, this city is. It's really a remarkable place.