A Father’s Love

My brother-in-law is a Chaplain with the U.S. Navy, currently assigned to the Coast Guard.  He has been deployed to Haiti to help with the relief efforts there.  What follows is a glimpse of what is happening there from his eyes; A view that most likely will never be told in the media.  This is directly from one of his emails to my sister:

…It may seem small in comparison but our little clinic has evacuated over 200 people.  I can’t tell you the number of lives that have probably been saved because of the efforts of our folks here.  Our Coast Guard helicopters pack in as many people as they can, sometimes seven or eight or more people.  What they can’t fit in a seat or on a stretcher, they put in their laps.

These people are so resilient.  For years they have been subjected to whatever comes their way, either man made or nature related and they survive.  I watched little children with sever wounds be worked on with no pain medicine or anesthesia and not even whimper.  One lady with a severe head trauma, along with multiple other wounds, have her scalp opened up and cleaned of gang green, she never flinched, and then when it was all done she got up and walked out of the clinic!  They are grateful for Tylenol…something we take everyday.  It is absolutely amazing.

They are so open to prayer and a kind smile or a look of compassion.  While most of our people wore a mask I couldn’t bring myself to wear one most of the time because I wanted them to see my face and know that I hurt with them and cared about them.  One boy about 8 or 9 came in with a bad head wound; when they were done working on him they asked who brought him in.  He said no one…his parents were killed when his house collapsed.  He sat on the steps for two days, I don’t know what happened to him after that. I can only pray a relative found him and took him in. An 85 year old woman was carried in over the shoulders of a 15 year old kid.  When we asked what happened he said the nursing home she was in collapsed…she was the only survivor.  He just found her and brought her in.  I didn’t think she was going to make it.  As I prayer over her I asked God that if he were to take her to do it quickly, but if not to begin restoring her health.  Three days later we were able to medivac her.  Part of me couldn’t believe she lived the other part just stood in amazement at God’s faithfulness.

One more I will tell you about.  A beautiful young woman in her early 20’s was brought in with multiple injuries.  She had with her a handsome well built man who looked to be slightly older then her.  After she was treated I watched for three days how this man sat with her, laid her head in his lap, helped her move around, find her food.  His gentle care for her was incredible to watch.  I eventually made it over to them and offered to pray for her…they were excited about this idea.  I assumed this was his wife so I asked him if I could pray for his wife and he said “no, no, this is my daughter.”  I was moved to tears at that point as I made the connection.  The love of a father has no limits, not age, not injury, not circumstances…

I am brought to tears thinking that just as this father stayed with his daughter, consoling, holding, helping, caring, moving and caring for her, how much more does our Heavenly Father do this for us and we take it for granted?  Take a moment.  Think about it.

Hmm…

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Just be a Parent!

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the discussion centered on the 9 year old boys in Georgia who had plotted to kill their teacher.  This led me to begin thinking about being a parent and I came to the conclusion that no matter what we do in raising our children, we will be wrong.  What?  Did I say that?  Hear me out.

THE RIGHT WAY: As we go through life, any decent parent will discipline their children as they deem fit.  For example:  I could be shopping at the mall with Kendyl or Logan and let’s say they begin to misbehave.  I give them a little slap on the hand or on the behind in order to bring them back in line.  They react with an “OUCH”.  Jimmy Bob, who happens to be walking by, gets out his cell phone and calls the police because he says I was abusing my children.  I get in trouble for disciplining my child and society says I was wrong for doing so.

THE WRONG WAY: On the other hand, I am shopping in the mall with Kendyl or Logan and they are running around like wild girls, tearing clothing off of the racks, spilling their drinks all over the floor, and acting like selfish pigs.  They grow up to be girls who believe they can do what they want, when they want and that they do not have to respect authority.  As they grow in life, they become what society would deem a failure and they are that way because I, as their parent, didn’t raise them (discipline them) properly.  I guess I was wrong in this case as well.

So are we really “damned if we do and damned if we don’t”?  Not necessarily.  Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  AND Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”

These verses tell us that we need to train our children properly and they will not wander from their ways as they grow older.  We are also implored to impart wisdom upon our children through discipline.  These words of advice are from God, NOT MAN!  As long as we are in harmony with God’s plan, we have nothing to worry about; we are not wrong!  WE ARE BEING PARENTS!!!

So… Just be a parent.

I’m Home

I’m home I think I’ve recovered.  Not a whole lot of jet lag to deal with – I think that has something to do with not sleeping on the plane, coming home and staying awake until the time you normally go to bed.

It was a long 2 days of travel.  Tuesday morning began with us getting our visa’s successfully and then running over to Nathaniel’s wife’s parents home to say hello.  From there we went back to Nathaniel’s house, loaded up the car with 3 people’s luggage, 3 djembes and 5 people – Me, Matt, Dr. Phil, Nathaniel and his driver.  The djembes sat on our laps in the car – a tight fit for all of us for about 3 hours.

We were blessed at the border crossing as we were met there by one of Nathaniel’s friends from Togo.  He assisted us in getting across but we still had to “bribe” several people along the way to make it through without having to pull all of the luggage out for inspection.  We had nothing to hide – we were just short on time.  Once through we also had to stop several times and change drivers – Nathaniel’s driver doesn’t have an international driver’s license and each time we came up on a “police stop” we would stop the car, they would get out a pretend they had to “pee”, and then switch places in the car. Call it God’s sovereign plan or whatever, but they both happened to be wearing white shirts and dark pants so that from a distance the police would not be able to tell what we were doing.  They could very easily change spots without getting caught.

We arrived at the airport and got through customs there with no issues at all.  In fact the customs agent was quite excited that I had purchased a djembe and was explaining how to take care of it while he threw stickers on the luggage.  The flights were ok.  Long flights, long layovers and glad to be home.

On the flight from Germany to D.C. I sat next to a girl from Daytona who had just graduated from Embry Riddle with a degree in air traffic control.  It was interesting talking to her about flying, directing traffic, etc.  She brought up that she had been on a 17 day tour of Europe and had purchased some rosaries from the Vatican.  That gave me an opportunity to share with her a little bit about the difference between salvation by works and the truth – salvation by grace through faith, nothing more and nothing less.

Upon arrival in Tampa, Matt’s wife Christie, Joel, Sarah, John & Kendra and the boys were all there to greet us.  It was like our own welcome home party.  Thanks guys for coming to greet us!  I really appreciated that since I was coming home to an empty house.

Yesterday was spent running errands, doing laundry and cleaning up my unpacking mess from the night before.  Today was spent with continued laundry, cleaning house, setting up a new pool and waiting – waiting for my girls to get home.  They should be home within the next hour or so.  I am very excited to see them.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at church in the morning and I really look forward to sharing with you all of the stories, photos, and experiences.  This is a trip that has been well worth it – even with the explosion included.  Everyone, yes EVERYONE, needs to visit a third world country in their lifetime.  We really do have it good here in America.  I will never again take for granted the MANY things I have in life – air conditioning, an enclosed home, 2 cars, 2 tv’s, 2 computers and hundreds more at the office, etc.  But the most important things that I share in common with my Ghanaian brothers & Sisters are these:  my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and my family.  If you have these two things, you need nothing more.  God saw it fit to give me each of these and I know that these are things he can never take away.

I’m sure that as I reflect over the coming weeks, I’ll have more thoughts to share.   Thank you all for your prayers and for those of you who have supported me financially in this venture – your money was not spent in vain.  Thank you for your contribution to this life changing trip.  Without your support I would have never been able to experience God in a whole new way.  I sincerely look forward to returning to Ghana & Togo in the future to continue what God has begun through Matt & I – “Africa, Computers, & Missions”.

Love to all,

Scott

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