Make Sure Gary Is Not Alone This Holiday Season
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Latest Journal Update
We don’t know if anybody still checks this, but we thought that we’d post an update and our warmest Christmas greetings for those of you who are still here :) Advance warning – this is a lengthy update, as it’s the first time we’ve posted anything in about a year. Well, here goes!
Another year has passed, and looking back, our hearts are full of gratitude and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are still living in the same house in Wenham, MA. The boxes we packed a couple years ago are still sitting in the basement, as we still do not know where we are supposed to be. We still would like to move out of the house to a smaller and more manageable place, but we really do not know where. Gary’s recovery, we are told by therapists, has “plateaued,” and we wrestle with the question of what that means for us, both practically and spiritually. Though our lives are still full of uncertainties, we are moving on and learning to live and “live fully for the Gospel sake,” as Gary puts it.
To report on Gary’s recovery progress – Gary has been involved in physical, occupational, and speech/cognitive therapy each week. Around mid-year, rather than continuing to travel to Boston, we moved all the therapies to near our home, which eliminated much travel time and allows us to be more engaged in other things.
Gary has been very stable and content emotionally and has adjusted very well to decreased medications. He has made improvement in both his cognitive ability and his memory. He is able to remember more and more Scriptures that he had memorized, he navigates through cyberspace much better than Holly can (though that doesn’t mean too much :) and his writing is also improving. He has become much more independent at home (though he still needs someone to assist him when out), and Holly is able to leave the house for a few hours at a time.
Along with improvements, there have been some obstacles. His mobility has experienced some setbacks, as the right side of his body – both upper and lower – has increased spasticity, which makes him less stable in walking. He has tried several gadgets to aid him, both a brace and electro-stimulations, without marked improvements. Gary’s speech has become a bit slurred and rapid, and his voice is often weak. It seems that some of the bad habits that have been formed since his brain injury are not easy to correct.
All in all, we praise God for His continued healing of Gary, and we continue to hope in Him for His purposes and will in our lives as we live each day in Him.
We have been involved in prayer groups both at church and with some groups at the Seminary. Additionally, we have had opportunities to open our home for different gatherings for fellowship, worship and prayer. We count this as a huge milestone, as we feel our life has finally moved on from taking care of our own crises to being able to look after others in need.
Another milestone was that Gary, for the first time in more than three years, took part in a class at the seminary on Catechesis with his close friend Steve Kang. Though his part in the class was minimal, we believe it was a blessing and encouragement for both Gary and the students. Gary taught a hymn or two each week with some devotional thoughts, and was very encouraged by his interactions with the students.
Holly took part in a course called Partners in Ministry at the seminary this fall, and enjoyed building relationships and interacting with the women on campus. God has also opened doors for her to speak at different gatherings. Since the accident, Gary’s and Holly’s roles have changed somewhat, but we have taken steps to live for God and His people whenever doors open, both together and independently.
We also took several trips. In the spring, we went to Thailand with Asian Access for their biannual leadership summit. For about a dozen years, Gary travelled to Asia for ministry through this group and was actually on his way to fly to Sri Lanka again when his bus accident occurred. Through their gracious invitation, we had a wonderful time of reconnecting with old friends and seeing a part of what God is doing in Asia.
This was also a time to reflect upon God’s faithfulness in our lives since Gary’s accident. We flew through Incheon airport on our way to Thailand and stayed in Korea briefly after our visit to Thailand. The whole trip offered much healing by reminding us of God’s faithfulness. We had come full circle, and went back looking at a tragic and fear-filled time of our lives and we were okay – only grateful. Especially for Holly, remembering the agony of the last flight, not knowing whether Gary would even be alive by the time she arrived, made her realize what a miracle it was to have Gary sitting next to her, holding her hand.
In June, we traveled to the San Francisco area to attend and celebrate Alisa’s graduation from Stanford University. We were again reminded of God’s faithfulness in her life and also in ours to have such a wonderful young woman as our daughter. Having gone through what was definitely a traumatic and life-altering experience with Gary’s accident, Alisa has become a stronger person with deepened faith and commitment to Christ. She is now working for Dropbox and lives in San Francisco, and so far she seems to enjoy her work very much. She is home for Christmas…barely… way too short of a time for the parents who still can’t get used to having her 3000 miles away. Well, again,it’s the time to release our child to God and submit to His will.
Come, Lord Jesus, to redeem us from our foes and from our fears.
We await the hand of mercy that will wipe away our tears
We have labored long in darkness, even now our hearts grow weak.
How we long for Your appearing and Your great salvation seek.
(Rev. 21:4; Rom. 8:23; 2Tim.4:8)
Come, Lord Jesus, true and righteous, bring Your pure and piercing light.
For we know when You appear, Lord, ev’ry wrong shall be made right.
You will vanquish all the proud ones; You will fill all those who thirst.
O, the first shall be the last, then, and the last shall be the first.
(Rev. 16:5-7; Matt. 19:30; 20:16)
Now prepare a path before Him: in the desert make a way.
Take the Gospel to the nations and proclaim His coming Day.
Ev’ry mountain must be leveled; ev’ry valley must be raised.
Then all flesh shall see His glory. God shall be forever praised!
(Isa. 40:3-5; Matt. 24:14)
Raise the cry of “Maranatha!” We shall soon behold our King.
To the Alpha and Omega, this one prayer and plea we sing:
joining voices with the Spirit we, the Bride of Christ, say, “Come!”
Come Lord Jesus, come and free us from this death and bring us Home.
This is an Advent hymn written by Gary many years ago. In these days, the promise of the Lord’s coming again is especially meaningful and hopeful to us. Although God’s grace and healing power have been so evident in our lives, Gary’s recovery is far from where we wanted it to be, and there are many uncertainties and challenges still ahead for us. This “already” so blessed but “not yet” experience of Gary’s recovery is a part of that “already” set free but “not yet” completely being free from the sin and death in our life’s journey. In the meantime, as we raise the cry of “Maranatha” and await that day when “every wrong shall be made right,” we shall take today and live it fully for the Gospel sake. Amen, may it be, Lord!
As we look back upon 2013, we have a resounding confession from our hearts – “God surely has been good to us!!!” May God be praised forever and ever!!!
May all of your hearts and lives be filled with the praise to our God for His goodness and blessings, this Christmas and throughout the coming year!