May 29, 2013

Jack's Birthday Surprise

Yesterday was Jack's 59th Birthday. Often when people reach that age they will wake up in the morning and find 59 pink flamingos on their front lawn; but today we experienced something far better than flamingos!

We were inside having coffee with some family members but meanwhile, outside, this was happening.........

We heard quite a commotion out front and put Jack in his wheelchair and opened the door.....

 and this is what we saw!

All of the student body of Rehoboth Christian School was standing on our lawn, our driveway and the sidewalks. Then they started singing Happy Birthday while standing in the rain! About 350 happy, singing faces looking up at Jack as he sat beaming with joy. Marcel Verhey, president of the student council, presented Jack with a huge birthday card, signed by every student in the school.

I spoke a few words and then Ray Roth, the new principal, said a few kind words and read from 2 Corinthians 4:16 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."

A reporter and camera man from CHCH Channel 11 were also there to get a story for the nightly news. They interviewed myself and Ray Roth, the new principal, and two students.

As expected, the news report had cut out all reference to God in the feature. This was disappointing for us as we really wanted God to receive the glory, but we know that God is still on the throne and He will receive all glory.

As you can see by the following picture, Jack was very touched by it all and I'm sure he would say that it was the best birthday gift he's ever received; it certainly was the biggest one!

We ended by singing Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thank you Mr.denBoer, Mr.Roth and all the students of RCS for making this such a special day.

God is good.

If you would like to watch a video of the event, here is the link. Enjoy! (we sure did).  Click HERE FOR LINK.

May 27, 2013

Dental Work Needed

People often ask me what my needs are for prayer, and usually I answer that I would be faithful to glorify God until the end of my journey. But now I have something specific that I would like to ask you to pray for. On Friday, May 31st at 2:00 p.m., I will have a molar extracted by a dental surgeon. Big deal, you might say. Those kind of things happen every day. But for me, it is a big deal. I have great difficulty opening my mouth wide enough, and long enough for a dentist to work on me. Added to that, I worry about being able to breathe through the entire procedure.

I will have to stop eating by mouth until my gums heal up. In the meanwhile, I will have to be tube fed. My hope is that I will be able to eat again afterwards, as enjoying the taste of food is one of the last pleasures that I have left.

This week I turn 59 years old. I didn't expect to live to celebrate this occasion, but God has a different plan, and He makes no mistakes. He only does good, because He is good. Praise be His name!


May 21, 2013

ALS Walkathon

                                                    ALS Walkathon
Less than a month before the ALS walkathon but it's not too late to join our team. The Hamilton walk will be held on Sat. June 8th at Bayfront Park. Team Westerink is looking for more walkers. If you are not able to walk but would like to sponsor me, Lena, please follow this link


Looking forward to seeing you there.

May 20, 2013

Giving Into Despair

This is a post someone sent me from a blog called Always Learning written by Lori Alexander.

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Life can be very difficult at times.  For several weeks after surgery, it was very hard not to give into despair.  I even wrote on my facebook page these words..."When I am too weak to cling to Jesus, you {my brothers and sisters in Christ} cling to Him and hold tightly onto me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."  
 I felt too weak to pray most of the time.  I read these words in Streams In The Desert that describe what I was going through perfectly ~
Once you have come close to the point of despair, God's message is not, "Be strong and courageous" {Joshua 1:6}, for He knows that your strength and courage have run away.  Instead, He says sweetly, "Be still, and know that I am God"{Psalm 46:10}.
Hudson Taylor was so weak and feeble in the last few months of his life that he told a friend, "I am so weak I cannot write.  I cannot read my Bible.  I cannot even pray.  All I can do is lie still in the arms of God as a little child, trusting Him."  This wonderful man of God, who had great spiritual power, came to the point of physical suffering and weakness where all he could do was lie still and trust.
Just before going into surgery, my dear neighbor Uschi, came to visit and as she was leaving, she said, "Stop being so strong!"  I told her I needed to be or I would be in a mental hospital.  God taught me otherwise.  I don't always need to be strong for when I am weak He is strong.
 During those rough days, I depended on the prayers of all of you and the support of my family.  Ken was a huge comfort to me with reassuring words.  I can't imagine going through something like this without a supportive spouse.  
 I have learned through my many trials that God never does leave me nor forsake me just as He has promised.  I have learned that it is okay to be weak.  I have been very, very weak yet He has carried me through just like He always will.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

May 15, 2013

Joy Cometh in the Morning - Spurgeon

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." — Psalm 30:5

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for "Lo! He comes with clouds descending."

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until he reaps his harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." If you are never so wretched now, remember  "A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land thee on fair Canaan's coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares-it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then
"With transporting joys recount, The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future - to live on expectation - to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

- Spurgeon.

May 6, 2013

Comfort From the Word - A Post From Marg and Henk

This was a letter written by Jack's sister Margaret and her husband Henk, and they wanted to share it with you all here on the blog as well.

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Dear Family,

We have each experienced the ALS journey of our beloved, (husband, father, son, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend) in our own way. Your readers have followed along here on the blog. As sister and brother-in-law we continue to pray through the journey with our dear Jack. How fond the memories of love are of precious times we spent over the years we shared together while in excellent health. The spiritual times we shared these past few years in our brother’s home have been a deep blessing to us. We have shared in the love of our Lord together.

We are touched by Jack’s efforts to continue to share his heart with us along this journey. We are so grateful for the help and technologies the Lord has provided to assist Jack in remaining an invaluable member of our family. We can’t truly understand what he is suffering trapped as he is with a healthy mind in a deteriorating body. We grieve his losses without experiencing what Jack is experiencing. Recently we heard a sermon from Hebrews 2:17 & 18 that explains the comforting doctrine that Our Lord Jesus Christ is just like we are. You will be blessed by these words too, dear family (click HERE FOR LINK). The pastor explained the blessing that our Savior is now in heaven in human flesh and blood. We have a beating heart on the throne of the universe! He is the sympathetic High Priest. He understands what each of us is experiencing even what Jack is experiencing. No, our Lord did not Himself have ALS. He does, however know perfectly with experiential knowledge what His people suffer.

Another sermon you will each find helpful is on the anointing of our Lord. He is eminently qualified and completely willing to be our Lord and Saviour. These words come from Isaiah 61. CLICK HERE FOR LINK.  This message is so very encouraging for needy sinners. There are times when Jesus informs inquirers that He is not going to bless them according to their particular petitions. Think of John the Baptist, asking, “Is He the One who should come?” You may remember Christ’s answer – He told the disciples of John to tell him what Jesus is doing – the blind receive sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the poor have the gospel preached to them. Then the Lord says, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Why might John be offended? Read Isaiah 61 and notice what is missing from Christ’s answer. John did not receive the words, “Proclaiming liberty to the captive, the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” This is what John wanted to hear. The Lord had a different plan.

Often, we have prayed, Lord, change the circumstances. Heal our beloved brother. Give him back his speech. Let him walk again. The Lord has a different plan. May we each have our faith increased to trust that Our Lord has a better plan. The prophet Habakkuk expressed this no matter what faith. We need this so much. (Habakkuk 3:17-19) Our brother, Jack, has expressed this faith. May God give him and each one of us the grace to say and believe I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation- no matter what!

Our family is nurtured by the Word of God. How very grateful we should be for this undeserved privilege.

With love and gratitude Margaret and Henk

May 3, 2013

Rear-View Mirror

The saying is well known: "hindsight is 20 - 20". Looking back, things are very clear, but looking ahead, the way is unknown and foggy at best. This can be applied to many areas of life: health, finances, economy, business, employment, safety and security, politics, relationships, etc. The spiritual destination of every human being is abundantly clear. The road ahead leads to eternal life with Christ in heaven, or to eternal death with Satan in hell. There is no third option.

When I look into the rear - view mirror at the road behind me for the last two and a half years, then I see ups and downs, bumps and potholes, good days and bad days, joy and sorrow, the stuff of living with a terminal illness. But through it all, I have been upheld and sustained by my heavenly Father who has walked with me every step of the way.

Though the road ahead is unknown to me (good thing too), one thing I am sure of (two things actually), and that is my final destination and Who promised to go with me. "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)