Beloved friends and family of God,
We’ve passed another bittersweet anniversary and begun our fourth year of enjoying “new Mike” while missing “old Mike”—the journey we call Mike Marathon. God is still hearing and answering your prayers, and I write to thank you!
In my last update, I asked you particularly to pray for Mike’s transition to adult daycare and for two fundraising events. I have good news to report!
First, Mike is thriving at Sender Retreat—that’s him on the first day above. What a huge gift that such a wonderful, happy facility is right around the corner and that Mike really enjoys himself there! It’s a little tricky, because Mike is truly unable to remember any details of his day (what did he do? what did he eat for lunch?), but he has one friend whose name he is starting to remember. I’ve gotten to meet Janice and to learn how happy she is that Mike has started coming to Sender Retreat. Because her eyesight is so poor, she can’t read the Bible herself. But Mike brings his Bible every day and reads aloud his four chapters (from the M’Cheyne reading schedule, his habit for many years), and Janice is God’s gift to Mike, who needs someone to help him with the vocabulary he has lost. The two of them walk the perimeter of the Sender Retreat property for exercise, something else Janice’s failing vision kept her from doing before Mike arrived.
- Please pray for Mike to remember names and details about the people with whom he spends his days and for him to be a friend and a blessing to them.
Second, two beautiful Mike Marathon events brought together people from across our 22 years in Florida to hear the story of God’s faithfulness on our journey and the plans made by friends to meet our family’s long-term financial needs. “Many legs, one race to run” was the theme. (If you’re interested, my remarks and a few pictures are posted here.) Oh me of little faith: to my amazement and delight, about $400,000 towards the goal of $800,000 has been raised! (If you are among these generous souls, thank you!)
- Please pray for the Lord to continue to astonish me in these last weeks of fundraising. The deadline for tax-deductible contributions through the Immanuel pastoral care fund is June 30 (more information here). Join me in thanking God for all that has already been given and for what is yet to come.
At the events, I talked about the comfort I found in the words of the “apostles” Paul and John: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” If the “real” apostle Paul thought it a good idea to write a letter asking friends to pray, it seemed a good tactic for me too:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Cor. 1:8-11)
(I recently found a sermon that Mike preached from this passage in 2007, so I posted it among “Favorites” and as a podcast on iTunesand Podbean. It’s worth a listen!)
Every time we meet people who tell us that they pray for us, I always say, “Thank you! Don’t stop!” For the fundraising and for Mike’s ongoing adjustment to adult daycare at Sender Retreat: thank you for praying and please don’t stop! Moreover, you have prayed a long time for many things which have gotten so much better, like our sleep and Mike’s pain. He is back to shaking hands and taking long walks and almost never complains of pain. This is a big deal! We get by with a little help from our friends. Thank you, praying peeps and thank you, Lord!
Mike’s severe amnesia, however, remains a hardship. One of Mike’s “miracle worker” helpers, Glenn, works on Bible memory verses every Monday with Mike (and it’s amazing!). When they practice Proverbs 4:5—Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth—they discuss how God is helping him to obey that verse as his recovery progresses.
- Please ask God to help Mike not forget. It is just heart breaking, on every level, that he can’t remember that he just showered, or the chapter he just read in the Bible, or the name of the person who just introduced herself, or that he has already asked her name a dozen times.
Allow me to close with Paul’s exhortation from earlier: You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many (2 Cor. 1:11). Three years after Mike’s heart attack and brain injury, we continue to pray for a full and complete recovery, and our need for you to “help us by prayer” remains. At the same time, the blessings “granted us through the prayers of many” are innumerable—truly and literally beyond our comprehension!
May praise and thanksgiving to our mighty and gracious God fill our mouths, our minds, and heaven!
Grateful for more-than-a-little help from our friends,
Maria for the whole family