Update from Lud and Mur, February ’21

February 5th, 2021

As we closed out 2020, a year where everything changed because of Covid-19, we took a trip for a brief respite. After a couple of weeks we cut the trip short and were led to drive 13 hours to get home. I wasn’t feeling well so Mur did most of the driving. On January 7 we got essential personal banking done as well as for our ministry. Late afternoon we went to an emergency room for Lud to get a Covid-19 test, Mur had to wait in the car. When he tested positive they kept him there until they found an available room in another hospital. He called Mur and said she couldn’t see him, so encouraged her to go home. Lud waited 8 hours in the holding room until at 1am they transferred him to another hospital. His first room was a regular room until an ICU bed was available. He spent 7 days in ICU to get his condition turned around. From there he was transferred to another hospital where he started recovery therapy for 11 days. It was amazing to see how our kids pulled together to support Mur and set up a way of communicating how things were going, since no one could visit me. Mur and I want to thank all of you for your faithful prayer support for us and our family. You are a great encouragement to us as we seek to do the work Jesus has assigned us to do, while we still can. “Night is coming when no one can work!” (John 9:9) On January 19 Lud joyfully returned home. Whew, what a fascinating 3 week adventure!
Let me, Lud, explain why I call this a fascinating adventure.
The first night, when I settled into the hospital bed I didn’t know how badly I needed oxygen. For the next 4 days I was slowly going downhill, waiting for an ICU bed. When a bed in ICU was available they immediately moved me in. The technician on duty the first night suggested I try wearing a mask to get a stronger flow of oxygen rather than wait until they put a breathing tube down my throat and then maybe go on a respirator. I took his advice, even though the process of breathing with the mask on was tough, because I also had the hick-ups. I struggled through it for three nights. When sufficient progress was achieved they slowly cut back the amount of oxygen, and together with attacking my condition with a variety of medications, that was the beginning of a turnaround. After 7 days in ICU I was doing well enough for them to transfer me to a hospital that provided recovery therapy. 11 days later I returned home. PTL!
Earlier in this update I called the experience a fascinating adventure. Here is why. Massive amounts of prayers were offered in behalf of me and my family. In the midst of all that was going on I felt content and confident in Jesus. I hardly turned the TV on. Fortunately, over the years I’ve memorized large portions of Scripture, so when isolated, I spent my time reviewing and meditating on it. I spent a lot of time praying for others; my family, friends and those God brought to mind. When nurses tried providing other things to pass the time I shared what I was doing. That opened some opportunities to share that because of Jesus I felt secure and confident in Him, no matter what the outcome might be. During the first 4 days, as my condition was worsening, I had a brief conversation with my 75 year old room-mate, who prayed with me to receive Jesus as his Savior. In the ICU room I had many conversations with staff, and again, one night one of the nurses prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior. A number of others made time to talk about spiritual issues. Then, in the final room where I was beginning the slow climb out of where I had been, one nurse came in one morning obviously heavy hearted. As I shared how Jesus could make a difference she started wiping tears from her eyes. Within minutes she was ready to pray, asking Jesus to be her Savior.
Each day I began asking God with a smile, “What’s up today? I’m available. I realize I’m on assignment. Enable Christ’s light to shine through me.” I began to feel like what Paul wrote while in prison in Rome. Paul felt, according to Philippians 1:16, he was put there to share the Gospel. He didn’t choose his confining circumstances, but made himself “available,” and considered himself to be “on assignment,” to be “an ambassador for Christ.” He knew the prayers of fellow Christians were making a difference. He concluded in verse 27, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” That perspective changes everything and allows God to work in and through us to reach hearts He brings our way.
(I encourage you to prayerfully read Philippians 1:3-30)