But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seth's health and our first step to PNG!

Seth's pulmonology appointment on Monday was excellent! His doctor was very pleased at Seth's progress (it's been three months since his last visit, I think), including his having weathered two colds without any problem and successfully discontinued all oral medications. He appears to no longer needs his "rescue" inhaler as his lungs don't seem to close up and need to be re-opened. In April, if Seth is continuing to thrive, the pulmonologist will take him off his anti-inflammatory inhaler. That will be the last! We PRAY that Seth truly no longer needs/will need these medications and that he can thrive in Papua New Guinea as well as he has here the past few months. His lungs will continue to grow in the coming months, and we continue to pray he makes it through the winter without any problems. 

In addition, Seth has gained five ounces in the past few days! He hasn't been tube fed at all for a week-and-a-half, so that makes his weight gain extra exciting! He eats SO well, often better than the other kids. He also drinks really well, something I cannot take for granted, especially since I met a lady whose son is two years old and still can't drink even though he eats food. She was giving him a drink through his tube in the waiting room at the pulmonologist - and he had been born past 30 weeks gestationally, plus he was a single baby! We are so awed and humbled by what the Lord has chosen to do in our situation, through absolutely no merit or action of our own. As the pulmonologist said, for us to have had quintuplets prior to 28 weeks gestational age (i.e. 3 months early) and for not one to have any lasting health issues or require medication (besides Seth's remaining inhaler and Nexium), it's just astonishing, humanly speaking. I know other quints have been as healthy or much healthier than ours, but they were born later than ours. I was hoping and praying to carry our babies a lot longer, and God's answer to that request was "no." He had other plans for us and our kids; hard plans, but GOOD plans. He saved Seth's life, but He would have been good even if He had said "no" to that request. Goodness is His very character. God was good during Gavin's battle with leukemia as a kid, during my miscarriage and ectopic rupture, during my years of infertility, during every other trial and grief that has filtered through His fingers into our lives, and He WILL be good for the rest of our lives and for all eternity.  All the glory for the blessings He has showered on us is His alone, including the blessings that at the time were a "severe mercy," (e.g. the peace that passes understanding that I felt when we were driving to the hospital in late October, thinking we would be saying goodbye to Seth that day). We can never say thank you enough to those of you who have prayed for us, especially for Seth! 

To those of you who don't know the God of the Universe as your Father, the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord, and the Holy Spirit as your Comforter, Counselor and Seal of salvation: I can't not tell you that God's goodness demands a response. Non-responsiveness is equivalent to a "no" answer. We are studying Matthew 13 in Bible Study Fellowship right now, and I have been struck more than ever by the decision Jesus requires.  He does't mince words when he gives this warning, not once but twice in that chapter (which means it's REALLY important!): Accept Him as Savior and Lord and become part of the Kingdom of Heaven and live forever. Or ignore/reject Him,  refuse to allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord/Ruler of our lives, deny that we need a Savior (or insist that we can somehow save ourselves or find an alternate way to God, or just choose a false god), and be cast away into outer darkness, a fiery furnace where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Horrible, terrible, awful, horrendous thought, the idea of eternal torment! But God's warning and His loving promise are both crystal-clear: All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and the penalty for sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 6:23) He loves us so much He sent His Son to deliver us from our sin. It's the only way we can approach the infinitely perfect and holy God, and each of us has to make the decision: believe Him and be saved, reject or ignore Him and be destroyed. Those who know the truth can't keep silent if we love those around us who are lost and heading for hell. It would be like running away from a wildfire but not warning loved ones living in its path! Please accept this "letter" as proof of the love I have for those of you precious people who follow our blog! I feel like we've been on an amazing journey together, and I'd love for that journey to continue - I think it's fixin' to get even more interesting when we head back overseas! ;) 

As for my authority regarding the truth about Heaven and Hell, of course it's the Bible, the most accurate and singularly reliable Book of all time. It's truly miraculous, if you look at the number of the most reliable ancient manuscripts of books of the Bible and how they agree with one another! Read Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell if you are interested or need more proof. [By the way, the "new revelations" of certain religions or sects proclaim a Jesus who is only "a" son of God, and their bibles or holy books are not the true Word of God but a "new translation."] This is why Gavin and I are passionate about the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea and around the world. The True Word brings LIFE everlasting! We can hardly wait to rejoin our colleagues in PNG and contribute in some small way to God's Kingdom advancing there.

A blurry but kind of fun photo of us at the passport office in Grand Prairie. My brave parents helped corral kids until they could be "sighted," photographed, and all the paperwork could be completed and signed. The kids ended up in the lobby during the wait, running around, playing on the janitor's cart any chance they got (fleeting, at best), and trying to escape out the door. It was chaotic! 

14 comments:

  1. What an awesome and powerful blog post tonight! I am just thrilled beyond belief that Seth is doing so well. That little one has been in my prayers since the day he was born as all the babies were (and are). To see that little one's smiling face just does my heart good when you post new pictures. They are all such beautiful children, such wonderful gifts from God Himself to not only your family but to many of us out here that have gotten to "know" your children. Isaac with his quiet strength interacting with his siblings and taking on the "yoke" of big brotherhood so well and seeing the life and personalities of each baby develop over time. It's been a miracle that has unfolded in front of all of us. Bless you all and I'll keep praying for your family, all your children and that you return to your beloved PNG and your mission family very soon. God needs you all there, He'll see you get there soon. Blessings, love and peace.... ~Melana

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  2. I'm pretty sad that you took the time to insult my religion today. I've loved following the story of your babies from the beginning, but it's pretty hard to swallow when I, too, have prayed for your little ones.

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    1. Hi CraftyGirl, Thank you for following and caring about our babies. I do truly appreciate and treasure it! It was never, ever my heart's intention to insult you or any religion. What I wanted to do was warn people of this: If the Bible, the most reliable ancient book of all time, is the gold standard, then all Mormon books and The New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses (i.e. new "translations" by founders of these comparatively new religions) or any other teachings that contradict true Scripture, are false. I CARE DEEPLY that those who are seeking the Savior not be led astray by false doctrine, and that those who have been deceived by such false doctrine might be set free by the true God-in-flesh, Jesus, of God's true Word. It's tragic that there are so many out there hoping and working to be saved, but unable to have any real assurance of their eternal destiny because their "bibles" or books teach something other than salvation by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible teaches that even our faith is a gift of God! Our good works are the fruit of our salvation, not the means to obtain salvation. Our Triune God does it all. He redeems us from the pit; Jesus's death as God in flesh paid the full penalty of all sin for all time for those who accept Him; and the Father brings us to Himself through the infinitely precious value of His Son's death and resurrection.

      While I'm sad that you were insulted, in love I can't keep silent about the truth of God's Word. The stakes are too high. The choice people make now: (1) Accept Jesus for Who He and His Father said He is in The Bible - God made flesh, who dwelt among us - or (2) reject Him; will have eternal consequences. You're right, that truth and anyone sharing it is hard to swallow if you don't believe it yet. Lovingly, and praying for you, Carrie.

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    2. Hi again, CraftyGirl, I wanted to say that I re-read my original post and realized it truly was antagonistic (not at all my intent, again) and I came across much more offensively than I should have. I have edited it. Please forgive me for naming names and pointing fingers; I could have been more gracious. Love, Carrie

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  3. Dear Carrie and Gavin - I am not sure you read comments - but here I go anyway. I have prayed for you, your babies, and Isaac. I have donated money to you in the beginning. My heart continues to wish you G-d's divine grace and mercy on your journey. I too understand as evangelist you believe in your heart and mind that your way is the only way. There are many of us out here who do not believe as you do, do not want to believe as you do, and are offended that you feel the need to tell us that we are less worthy than you are.

    While I 100% respect your right to exercise your freedom to practice your religion, I do not respect your need to speak derisively of others. My G-d hears the prayers of all that pray with sincerity - perhaps you could look to the Pope Francis as a model of a man with strongly held beliefs who says that 'who is he to judge'. Only our G-d can judge us.

    If you would like those of us who do not follow your faith, but rather have found and follow other paths to no longer read and pray for your family let us know.

    I have ignored your other religious posts and views, because they stated what you believe. Even when Gavin felt the need to slag those who have had to struggle with the question of abortion, I ignored it. This last post however is truly offensive.

    One last point - I am not a Christian (in any flavour) but I am devout, religious and a firm believer in G-d's infinite mercy, grace and wisdom. So if that isn't the kind of person you want reading and praying for your family. Please let me know now!

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    1. Dear MotherOf5, (part 1)

      Thank you so much for your sweet thoughts all these months, for following our blog, and for even giving to us at the beginning. That is truly touching to me. Thanks also for your kind wishes, even while you were offended by what I said. Praise Yahweh [God], we are indeed very richly blessed by His divine grace and mercy, each day and for all eternity, as promised in His Word.

      Note: I am using the name Yahweh for God because your comment referred to "G-d." The God of true believers in Christ Jesus invites us to come to Him and reveals Himself to us, including giving us His name for us to use reverently. (There are many names God calls Himself, each describing an attribute of His.) I am attaching a link about the meaning of Yahweh in particular. It's a beautiful article. http://solidjoys.desiringgod.org/en/devotionals/10-things-yahweh-means

      I do try to read comments, and while I don't always have time to respond I think yours definitely deserves a response. Thank you for writing and speaking as honestly as I have in my posts, particularly in this last one.

      I want to say first off that I never said anyone was less worthy than I. It would be impossible for anyone to be less worthy than I, because I have absolutely no worth in and of myself! Apart from Christ, I am nothing. All my righteousness is like filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6) which is why I so desperately need Jesus Christ's righteousness to cover me. Because I have been bought with the price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) of Christ's death on the cross, I have worth as my Father God's child. (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26) That is my only worth! And this imputed worth is available to ANYONE who comes to to God the Father through Christ Jesus, His Son, God-in-flesh.

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    2. (Part 2)

      Pope Francis was certainly right in saying we are not the judges. God is the only judge, and He makes the standard for and means of salvation crystal clear in His Word. Jesus Himself will judge all mankind at the end of time (Matthew 13:40-43 and 47-50). One of the greatest tragedies is that some who think they belong to Him and call him "Lord" will be told "Away from me, I never knew you." (Matthew 7:21-23) That's why I mentioned the false religions - naming just two, but in my response to CraftyGirl I emphasized that any teaching that contradicts Scripture is false. (Obviously, for those who deny the authority or reliability of God's Word and choose other religions or documents instead, the arguments I make aren't going to hold water. Again, to any seekers out there, I recommend reading Evidence that Demands a Verdict by McDowell)

      Regarding your offense at what I wrote, the truth is that Jesus, as revealed in His Father's Word, IS an insult to those who do not believe that He is Who He said He is: the Only Way, Truth and Life, and the ONLY means by which anyone can come to the true Father God (John 14:6). Jesus Himself warned His apostles that the ultimate choice - belief in Him vs. rejection of Him - would bring division, even within families (Matthew 10:34-39). But the truth of Scripture - The Holy Bible, if accepted as Yahweh's Word - is that there is no other way to our Father God and Eternal Life but through Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, sealed by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. As the infinitely merciful, gracious and wise Ruler of the Universe and Creator of everything and everyone, Yahweh has the absolute right to say what, or rather Who, is The Way to Himself. When you think that He provided the way through the death and resurrection of the Son, that's pretty incredible! I love that our God loves His people so much He would sacrifice the most precious thing imaginable for us!

      As far as the other paths you mentioned, Jesus said, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) He even tells His disciples, "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved." (John 10:9)

      Jesus doesn't leave any possibility for other paths. Instead, He makes THE path abundantly clear! How infinitely loving, gracious, and merciful of Him!

      Let's say I am holding multiple exact copies of the builder's blueprint to a burning building from which there is only one clearly marked exit. If I see people around me heading deeper into the danger zone because they are holding completely falsified blueprints made by those who don't even know the building, wouldn't it be unloving and dishonest of me to tell them, "Sure, you all go follow your own path! You'll be fine!"? I would be waving them off to their doom! I couldn't live with myself. . . which is why I am compelled to share on our blog. I believe the Bible is the only true blueprint, the only true Word of God. So while I have the chance, I want to point to the true "blueprint" and the true Door, Jesus Christ. As I said to CraftyGirl, too much is at stake for me and other true believers in Christ to keep silent. I wouldn't do this if I didn't care, if I didn't love those who haven't received the truth yet. In Holy Scripture triune Yahweh God has clearly delineated The One and Only Way to be saved. And it's infinitely His right to do so.

      Love and prayers,
      Carrie

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  4. Got it - I will sign off then - you live in a narrow minded bigoted world that is too small to allow for others. I am sorry for you, your husband and for your children. To have been so richly blessed but so absoloutely poor is truly sad. When the end of days comes, as it surely must you might find yourself surprised to see that G-d is not as judgmental, unforgiving, or narrow minded as you are.

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    1. I'm sorry to see you go. Thank you for reading our blog for so long, and for your concern for our family. Love, Carrie

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    2. Hi MotherOf5 (just in case you're still there), Please read my apology to CraftyGirl above. I know it doesn't make me any less narrow-minded, but I was ungracious to her and others who subscribe to those particular religions. I have edited the specific names out of the post. Please forgive me.

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  5. So sorry that last person said all those mean things to you. You answered with grace and kindness. All glory to GOD!
    With Love and God's Peace,
    Abby.S

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    1. Thanks, Abby, you're so sweet and encouraging. I fear I WAS ungracious, though, in pointing the finger at and naming specific religions. You can read my apologies to the other two ladies who commented. As far as anything good I said, All glory to God, indeed (and please keep ME from getting in the way of your message, Lord!)! :} Love, Carrie

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  6. Just want to say that I truly appreciate you sharing your heart and what God has done in your life and your kids life. It blesses me to read others that are very firm in their faith and do not bat an eye to defend it as it is an area that I am still very much working on growing in. Thanks for sharing :D

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    1. Thank you, Evrain! That means a lot. :) I definitely need lots of wisdom and grace as I am growing a ton, too! This is not easy for me by any means, and I feel like I'm far from where I would like to be. His grace is sufficient for me, and His power is made perfect in my weakness - 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones