October 20, 2011


I am often asked the question whether or not I have any pain. Each time I have to answer “No.” The only discomfort I experience is at night. Sometimes I have difficulty with muscle cramps in my feet, legs, and hands. The Doctor has pescribed a drug called Baclofen, which is a muscle relaxant. It helps reduce the cramping and muscle tightness. I don’t really like to take this medicine because it has the side effect of making me feel weak and tired the next day, thus interfering with my plans. Which is better: enduring the cramps and having a good day, or relief from the cramps and feeling tired? So, if at all possible, I avoid taking the pill.
The most painful thing for me is saying goodbye or farewell to friends and family you know you will never see again. Last week we spent a wonderful week with two “cousins”, Hanneke and Amanda from Holland. They gave us so much love and care, and we laughed and cried together. Today I had to say farewell to another two visitors from the Netherlands who spent 6 days with us: Rev. J. Westerink and his son Marnix from Urk. Rev. Westerink is a retired minister from the CGK denomination in Holland, currently living in Urk, where he last served as their minister. His son Marnix is an elder from the same church, and he works for a company that buys and sells fish to customers worldwide.
We enjoyed ‘sitting at the feet’ of Rev. Westerink so to speak, as he told stories and experiences from his 45 years of ministry. In a very gentle, fatherly way, he ministered to us from the word of God and in prayer. Marnix did the same. It was painful to say goodbye. I almost don’t want to say ‘hello’ because of the inevitable ‘goodbye’. But as Alfred Lord Tennyson said in his poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.


  1. Hi Jack, Lena and family,
    Thanks again for the nice evening we spent with you and Amanda and Hanneke.
    We found that Rev. Westerink's sermon on Sunday evening very comforting. During the sermon, we couldn't help but think that you too, must have been comforted - surrounded by angels - imagine! Rev. Westerink has the gift of love and comfort, a man gifted with much empathy. Praying for you all.
    Love, Garry and Marietta

  2. Dear Jack and Lena,

    Today I attended the FRC in Chilliwack. It was there that I heard about you and your struggle with ALS.One of our friends emailed your blog to me and as I read it my heart rejoiced for the fact that you know that Christ died for your sin and that through your illness you can rejoice in Him. I can only encourage you Jack to continue on in telling everyone about Jesus.
    Jack, I was totally amazed how that we share not only a similar battle but also many other thinks. I am also 57, married this month for 34 years, 5 children, 6 grand children, diagnozed with cancer in March 2011. The doctors have told me that I should expect to live no longer than 1-2 years. The road is diificult at times, yet my hope is in Christ alone. And for you Lena,I will pray for you too. The seperation will only be temporary and a glorious future awaits you and Jack.
    I attend HRC Chilliwack and also laid down my office as elder this spring.
    I too keep a blog for the same reasons you do, however this blog has turned into a mission field, something I had always wanted and prayed for and God has granted my request.
    Stay strong looking to Christ. We will be praying for you and follow your blog.
    In Christ,
    John Van Woerden
    Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us