Memorials and reunions, God’s amazing

I made it to Miami, Florida on Saturday, January 8. It was totally uneventful. The only problem that I had was the fact that I had left my coat in my car. I didn’t think I’d need it in Haiti. But, I did need something waiting in the cold jetway.  But that was only minor.

When I got to the Miami airport, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to my hotel. I was told there was a shuttle, but the signs were not very clear. I went outside and believe it or not — I actually ASKED someone. They told me to go back inside and up a floor. So, I did that. Some really short lady pushed the elevator button, so I just walked in. Said something smart — and this woman said, “Greg Yoder.”  It was Kathy Redmond, with Compassion International and Dan Woolley, the Compassion guy who was trapped in the rubble of Hotel Montana, in Haiti.  I couldn’t believe we ended up in the same elevator.

We had a good dinner, laughed a little — okay, a lot. In the middle of dinner I get this strange call from my daughter. She told me that my wife had fallen, hurt her knee and hit her head and she thought she needed to go to the E.R. I couldn’t believe it. Long story short, the neighbor took her to the E.R., everything checked out okay, but she’s really sore. Pray for her.

I hit the sack after watch the football game. I woke up in plenty of time. Truth is, I couldn’t sleep much. I get pretty anxious when I travel. I don’t know why. I love flying. I love adventure. Maybe I can’t sleep because I’m excited about it?  I don’t know. I was told we needed to get the shuttle to the airport at 7:45am. So, I went down to the lobby early to get a cup of coffee and something to eat.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t watching closely enough because my team left without me. No big deal, I just caught the next shuttle and made it to the airport in plenty of time.

When I got there, I was told Dan Woolley’s passport was set to expire in March. Typically, you’re not supposed to travel on a passport with your expiration date so close — six months is typical. So, Rich Van Pelt told me if Dan doesn’t go, the team’s staying home. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. My last trip to Haiti was memorable, but not for pleasant reasons. However, Dan made it through to the gate, security and on to the plane. He even made it past customs in Haiti with no trouble.

We arrived in Haiti Sunday, January 9. It was a partly cloudy day. Temp was about 80. A far cry from the 12 above in Michigan. From the airport we went immediately to the new Compassion Village. Wow, what a nice place. It’s certainly different the the Haiti Hilton last year. I was in a tent on the parking lot of the Compassion Haiti headquarters. This place is beautiful. It’s three two story homes all in one gated community. It has a generator, air conditioning (when the generator is running), hot water and great cooks.

Dan Woolley at Hotel Montana

Dan Woolley with Luckson Mondesir at the rubble of Hotel Montana one year later.

After our arrival, we quickly got ready to head to Hotel Montanan where Dan Woolley had a couple of interview scheduled with Reuters and AP. In case you’re not familiar with his story, he works in the website department at Compassion. He and his friend, David Hames, were taking a look at Compassion’s Child Survival Program. They had just been let off at the lobby when the 7.0 earthquake started. According to the driver, he thought the hotel collapsed. He looked for survivors, but couldn’t see any. David was killed. But, Dan — by God’s grace — survived with a badly cut leg. He used his Iphone to get his location and managed to find the elevator shaft. There he was trapped for 65 hours. Had he not made the decision to move, he would have been killed in the resulting aftershocks.

While trapped, he realized he wasn’t alone. Mondesir Luckson, a hotel employee was also trapped. They were able to encourage each other. They talked, sang and Dan shared the Gospel with his new friend. They were both rescued together.

On Sunday, January 9, the pair reunited at on the rubble of Hotel Montana. They shared stories. Dan showed Lukson his new book, “Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Hotel Montana” It was an emotional time for Dan. Making it even more difficult, the media following the two around. AP, Rueters, MNN, and the local press all wanted to know how he was feeling. At one point, Dan just knelt near where he thought the elevator shaft was in the rubble and appeared to pray. It was very moving.

Personally, It was strange standing there, knowing the dozens of people who died in the rubble of Hotel Montana. People from all over the world perished there.

I interviewed Dan at the hotel. I asked him, “One year later, could you have ever imagined that God would have allowed you to share the Gospel with so many people by way of television, radio and print?” He said, “For me, there was an opportunity to witness in the dark. And [I’m grateful] that God chose to use me in that way. After that, there was a wider stage that I didn’t expect. I have a little bit of a dramatic story, but God wants us all to testify to His goodness in our lives. It’s just a matter of what does that look like for us.”

Click here to listen to the interview.

It was an amazing first day.

Day number 2 was equally as amazing. We traveled to a the Berea Baptist Church in Port au Prince for a service celebrating what God has done in

Teen singing

Teen sings, "Hallelujah I have Jesus" one year after losing his mother in the earthquake.

the lives of Compassion children, families and staff. The morning was full of praise and worship, testimonies and God’s Word. One young lady shared how she was trying to get out of her house with her sister. The building came down on both of them. Her sister died. She was also trapped. The beams had pinned her head to the ground. After much pain, rescuers got her out. She is a part of the Leadership Development Program, Compassion International’s program to develop new leaders. She took a year off to recover, now she’s decided to become a Christian school teacher so she can have an impact on her country.

Another young man got up in front of the church. He said, “I lost my mother. She meant everything to me.” Then, he and his friend began singing a song with the lyrics, “Hallelujah, I have Jesus” in the most emotional, convincing way. The day was truly a blessing to me.

Unfortunately, I had to excuse myself from a meeting tonight. I’m not actually sure what the whole purpose was. I will find out when the rest of the team gets back. I had to write stories for Mission Network News and Remember Haiti with Compassion special that’s airing Wednesday on stations around the country.

By the way, you can catch my Mission Network News reports at http://www.MNNonline.org.

Because of bandwidth issues, I haven’t been able to upload any video. So, you’ll have to wait for that until I get home.   More reports tomorrow.

Christmas, a time to tell THE story

It’s 10 days before Christmas and I just got a strange feeling in my stomach.  I have been so excited about celebrating Christmas that I have not be strategic in telling people about the WHY of Christmas.

So, I’m being VERY strategic in the days ahead.

Many of my friends on Facebook and around me in West Michigan ARE Christians — they have a profound relationship with Christ. However, a few of my friends don’t really KNOW the meaning of Christmas and why it means so much to us as Christians. So, I’m starting to tell them.

It’s amazing the media that’s out there to help tell the story. I just ran across a cool video from Ron Hutchcraft. So, I posted that on my wall. Do a search for Ron Hutchcraft on Facebook if you’d like to post the video on your Facebook wall.

Without the most important story — the story of God becoming man — a perfect man to be with us on earth — he wouldn’t have become our sacrifice on the cross.  That’s truly Amazing Grace.

Greg

MNN/Way-FM Orphan Outreach in Russia – August 20, 2010

A little girl gets ready to do her craft

A little girl gets ready to do her craft

The final day of ministry in Russia and everyone’s wishing we could stay longer. August 20 was a great day for everyone. We basically did the same thing we did Thursday. We went to the special needs children (Orphanage 40) camp. This day, I started out with the craft group with the less challenged group. I wasn’t feeling all that great and I thought this would be a good start to the final day.

Today, they were decorating picture frames. The story was, “While man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart.’ So we wanted them to make picture frames and then we were going to take pictures of the kids. We were going to print them out and let them frame them in their frames. It would have worked great, but the printer never worked.

Nicole Latimer with Oxanna

Nicole Latimer with Oxanna

From there, I went over to the ‘difficult’ area. One of the girls in particular, Anna, was a biter. Thursday, she bit me on the hand, arm, twisted my neck, bit someone on the nose, threw someone’s glasses and was just a little terror. For whatever reason, she was so pleasant. I sat with her. Bounced her. I gave her a ‘trot-trot’ ride. Swung her around and she only ‘tried’ to bite me once. Others of the team were able to spend some quality time with her.

Many of the guys just played ‘boy games’ with the boy. We rough housed, ran, threw them in the air, climbed the monkey bars with them, tickled them — just had ‘guy time’ with them. They don’t get much male attention,

Chad with boys

Chad Klumpstra with boys at Orphanage 40 camp.

so this was great.

After our morning, we again went to the beach along the Gulf of Finland. It was very close — right across the street from Orphanage 40’s Camp. We simply crossed the street because we wanted to get a team photo.

MNN/Way-FM Orphan Outreach Team

MNN/Way-FM Orphan Outreach Team

After lunch back at the hotel, we traveled again to Orphanage 14’s camp. Today, however, the director was there and he handled things quite differently. After lunch, they were required to come to attention outside the dinner hall by dorms. Each dorm had a dorm leader who was responsible for their campers being there. When he called them to attention — not a sound was heard.

Greg plays basketball with girl

Greg teaches girl how to shoot basketball

Following that, we got back to work. I stayed in the recreation area this time to try to help keep the kids interested. It didn’t work. However, we did keep a few kids around to play a few games. When it was the girl’s turn, most left — but a few came over to see what was going on. I was actually able to have a great conversation with a few of them and was even able to coach a couple of them on how to shoot a basketball.

One of the girl who came over was a gal who didn’t want ANYTHING to do with us. She looked like she was only interested in being an athlete and didn’t have time for anything we had to offer, until someone told her I was coaching girls how to properly shoot a basketball. She has lots of natural ability, but couldn’t shoot well. By the time I was done, she was shooting a jump shot and making most.

Thursday, August 19, 2010 – Orphanage 40

Kristin Plummer

Kristin Plummer befriended by a little girl at camp.

Thursday, August 19 was a challenging day for the team. Many team members were coming off a high coming off the camps Monday through Wednesday. So, going from those two groups to the new groups was a bit difficult for a few, including me. The first group we visited was Orphanage #40. These were special needs children. They were kids with physical or mental challenges ranging in age from 3 to 12 (guessing).

We weren’t able to do everything we did at the other camps. When we arrived the kids were SO excited. They

Autumn Gilbert with girl

Autumn Gilbert attracks this girl's attention. They kind of look alike.

rarely get visitors. So, they were so pleased to have people pay attention to them. The first group I visited seemed to be moderately affected by fetal alcohol syndrome. They seemed starved for attention. When we gave positive attention they laughed and screamed. But, when we moved to someone else, they would lash out in anger to get the negative attention.  This girl with Autumn just loved to be tipped upside down over and over and over again.

The camp was set up by cabins. Some of the severe issues were in one cabin. Less severe in another cabin. And, the even less severe in another cabin.  The team split up into three groups. A group for crafts, which only worked with one group of kids. A story group. And, a recreation group. Mostly what we did is played with the kids. We ran, bounced, tickled, gave piggy back rides, held and did more of the same. The kids just loved the attention.

Little boy at Orphanage 40

A little boy looks over his shoulder at me.

I’ll be honest. This was a difficult place for me because I knew many of these kids have no future. The ‘system’ will marginalize them, institutionalize them and mostly forget about them. For the caregivers, it’s a thankless job. For the kids it’s utter hopelessness. For God, it’s great way for Christians to show the love of Christ and be an example of unconditional love to kids who are forgotten, but also show their caregivers what a difference they can make in these special little ones lives.

After a brief stop at the beach and then lunch, we traveled a camp for Orphanage #14. This camp was different, too. The caregivers seemed cold. The kids seems distant. And, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Few of the kids actually participated. The ones that did, opened up a bit. Katie Johnson presented chalk art along with a Bible story about David. She told me that at least one boy seemed to connect with the story. After she finished the story about David and his unlikely choice for king, she talked to them about the ‘marks’ of life and

Katie Johnson's chalk art

A boy looks at friend and smiles as Jesus' face comes to light.

how God can remove them. As He does, Jesus is left behind. It was a beautiful picture of Jesus in the black clalk.

At this camp we split up into four groups. The story team. The craft team. The memory verse team and the recreation team.  Many of the boys watched Katie’s art, telling her “you have to be a professional to do that, don’t you?’ (she is, by the way) The girls loved the craft for day one — friendship bracelets. But, we had trouble keeping the interest of the young people doing recreation. We tries basketball. American football. Soccer. We tried strange games. Nothing seemed to work.

I went back to the hotel a little discouraged about the day. However, others were encouraged. It just goes to show that everyone’s different. Many thought they were able to get through to the kids.

We’re praying that’s the case.

Orphan Outreach – VBS Day One August 17, 2010

Nastya and Sasha play with 'clay'

Nastya and Sasha play with 'clay'

Tuesday, August 17 was the first day of vacation Bible school at the camp in Zelenogorsk, just outside of Saint Petersburg, Russia. We arrived at around 10:30 am to teach the little children at the camp for orphans about the Potter and the Clay. We sectioned the kids off into three groups. And, simultaneously we would hold story time, craft, memory verse and recreation, then rotate throughout the morning.

The kids seemed really receptive to hearing the Bible story. Olga, the Orphan Outreach Director in St. Petersburg, has done a great job teaching these kids. Many of them already knew the songs, Bible verses and at one point even helped us through the days of creation.

Zyna is new to Orphanage 2

Zyna has only been in this orphanage for a few days.

Following our formal VBS, we just PLAYED with the kids. It is truly amazing how spending a little time with a child who feels worthless can pick up their spirits. There are three kids that seem to be ‘hanging out’ with me. Nastya, Alena and Sergey. These little ones so want to feel worth. The want to be loved. They want to be important. That’s been my focus all week. Just to give extra attention to a few kids who don’t get one-on-one time with adults.

Today was an emotional day for a few in our group. They haven’t verbalized why there have been tears. I’m sure they’re processing everything.

Chelsea stands with Elya

Chelsea (left) stands with Elya (right) as they listen to verse together.

Perhaps they’re feeling badly that these little ones have no where to turn, no one to love them, no one who cares. Perhaps they’re feeling guilty because they’re going to leave and then these kids will be right back to where they were before we came.  Or, maybe they are concerned for their souls.

We got a taste of what’s it like in the orphanage when a fight broke out between two boys. These two boys were sitting in craft time when one tried to take something from the other. The other objected. The one got up, stood above him and (before we could do anything) cold cocked him right in the face. It had to hurt. That drew MY attention obviously. As I stood to get him off this unsuspecting kid, he took off. We tried to get the situation under control. The next thing we knew the ‘victim’ took off after the boy.  That’s the picture of orphan life — looking out for self, because nobody’s looking out for you.

Officially, there are about 800,000 orphans in Russia. Many of these kids have been abandoned at birth, have

Teen girls orphanage

Teen girls get their name tags before VBS starts.

been taken away from parents, or both parents have died. A few of the teenage girls look so hardened by years of institutionalism. One teen, 16, has been in the system for more than 11 years. It’s heartbreaking to hear that many of them have no dreams — other than leaving the orphanage, getting an education and find a job. They can’t tell you specifically what they’d like to do. The reality is most of these kids will end up selling drugs, other organized crime, prostitution, or dead by the time their 18.

These girls listened to every one Emily’s testimony. They appeared to connect with her. Then, Katie was able to share the Gospel through chalk art — telling the girls that our sins put black marks on our lives, but God removes the marks through His blood and changes our ‘marks’ into a portrait of Jesus. They just LOVED watching her do this. Rather than being cold and inattentive, they became warm and open.

Wednesday, we’ll be doing ‘Part 2’ of our VBS with this same two groups, (Orphanage 2 and 60). More posts to follow.

Disappointment, but progress made

April 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s kind of MY official beginning of Spring. It’s also a day that’s full of practical jokes, which is quite fun. This year I wasn’t able to do any practice jokes because of my knee surgery. However, I was able to accomplish a couple of things today.

Today also marked my second post-op doctor appointment. Today I was hoping to get word that I could start physical therapy on my reconstructed knee. However, the appointment didn’t go completely as planned.

Since I still can’t drive, my wife took me to my appointment. We were on time.  But, the doctor office WASN’T on time. That’s a great way to get me irritated. We sat for nearly 30 minutes waiting to get in to see the doctor. With no where to put my leg up, it was very uncomfortable.

However, I finally made it back to see the doctor. First, they removed my brace. Then, the staples that have been in my knee since March 17. Then the doctor came in and gave me the news. He told me the healing is looking pretty good, “But, let’s go another 10 days. You can start putting a little bit of weight on your leg. Don’t throw away the crutches yet, but start putting weight on it. And, by the time I see you in 10 days, hopefully you’ll be able to put all your weight on it.”

I asked, “Can I start doing leg lifts?”  Doctor Dean said, “No, not yet. That’ll put too much pressure on the repair. Just start putting a little weight on it. Don’t bend it yet. And, we’ll get you into physical therapy after that.”

That’s NOT what I was hoping for. I was really hoping I would be able to start therapy. I actually teared up a bit. I was so ready to start working hard a my recovery. Now, I just have to do more waiting.

Then, I thought to myself — “Self, why don’t you just start working hard to putting weight on your leg. Work hard at that and NOT over do it.” That was all I needed to get me motivated and out of the dumps.

I’ve found this whole process has been a roller coaster of emotions. When I first started out, I was bound and determined that I was NOT going to feel sorry for myself. When I did, I was going to focus on others who were worse off than me. I was going begin reading the Bible and try to make it all the way through the Bible in a month. I was also going to be encouraging to as many believers I met on Facebook or other social media websites. You would think those would be easy goals, right?  Well, I haven’t been very successful.

In the first three or four days of my recovery,  I read all the way through Numbers. But, for whatever reason, I just STOPPED. Every time I started feeling pain, or emotionally uneasy, I would start praying for friends who were worse off than me, or Christians who were facing incredible amounts of abuse because of their faith in Christ. But, when I started thinking about WORK and politics — I just stopped. I feel like such a failure.

Then someone pointed out to me, “Greg, God gave you a great gift. He gave you the desire to seek after Him. You had four successful days. Four days you hadn’t sought after Him before. Now, you just need to start over.”  He’s right. I never thought of it that way.

So, what does all this mean? It means I’m two weeks into my recovery. It sounds like the doctor believes it’s going to be at least another six weeks until I’m not feeling much discomfort. I have four days of searching after Christ, under my belt.  So, that mean I’m WAY ahead of where I was.

If you want to see what went on at the doctor’s office, watch this YouTube video below.

Recovery March 23, 2010

Well, it’s finally hit. Self pity. Depression. Concern. Worry. Pain. All of it seemed to hit today. I’m not really sure why. I’ve been doing everything I can to try and keep my gaze toward Christ, but today I just started doubting EVERYTHING. Not about my walk spiritually, or how I’m trying to focus on learning something through the pain. Now I’m asking stupid questions.

They really are stupid, too. Questions like: What if the surgery didn’t work?  Will I ever be able to bend me knee again? Am I getting a blood clot? Am I doing little enough to give myself a fighting chance when I finally start physical therapy. See?  I told you they were stupid questions.

The day started off bad. I woke up at 6:30 with pain. I didn’t take any medication and I think my foot may have slipped of the pillow, so my knee may be bent a little — no easy task when you’re in a full knee immobilizer. But, it was enough to start my day on a negative note. When you’re in that much pain, you really don’t want to get out of bed. I popped a couple pain pills and waited for them to kick in. I finally got up and manage to turn my day around by reading the Bible. I started in Genesis and plan to read all the way through the Bible. Believe it or not, I did get a lot out of my reading this morning.

Because of the uneasy feelings I was having I decided to put them out of my mind by just going outside and watch the little neighbor kids play in the warm spring weather here in Michigan. I was up on my crutches about 30 minutes. It was good. I felt good. My leg didn’t hurt that much. The interesting thing about my pain is the knee pain isn’t that bad, it’s the associated swelling in my foot and the lack of circulation there that’s causing me the greatest discomfort.

If I’m upright for very long my foot literally turns a unique purple color. I think it’s because the wrap around my knee is pretty tight (compression wrap for the swelling), plus the knee immobilizer is causing a bit of a circulation problem. But, if I move my foot around while I’m hobbling on the crutches, it seems okay.

When I cam in from outside, I was pleased because I didn’t have much pain in my foot. However, I had to go out tonight for a family appointment this afternoon. I sat most of the time, but when I returned, my foot was purple again.

So, my uneasiness is based more on the pain in my foot, than the pain in my knee. Silly isn’t it? I guess I’m battling the fear of more blood clots. So, I’ve placed my trust on something OTHER than Christ.

I know better. Why do I do this? Is it lack of faith? It is a lack of a complete relationship with Him. What is it? Why do I question Him so often? I know God does this for my good. I know He’s not surprised by any of it. (sigh)

It’s almost midnight and I’m sitting here wondering what I’m going to do about it. Ultimately, I’m going to end my writing, pray and ask God to change my attitude and understand that my ways are His ways and the other way around.

Bottom line? Took a step backward today with the way my knee feels. I don’t feel like I made any ‘healing’ progress today. But, perhaps this was a day God wanted to cut me down a couple notches to make sure I ‘hear’ Him. “Lord I’m really trying to listen. Help me listen.”

Knee Surgery – Post Op

Day two brought me home. It’s what I wanted. However, I wanted that to be a pain free experience. It wasn’t. The pain block gave me incredible relief. However, I had now idea how much pain it was blocking. The nurses told me the pain block typically lasted 12 hours. By 2:00pm Thursday, March 18 I was WELL past the 12 hours and my knee didn’t hurt that much. My mind was telling me, “This isn’t so bad.”  While at the same time it was saying, “If it hurt so bad just out of surgery, why doesn’t it hurt that bad now?”

In just a few hours my mind lost the battle with pain. I started home at about 6pm. By the time I got home the block was just about done doing its work because when I arrived home I couldn’t find a comfortable sitting position and the pain was POUNDING. I couldn’t situate my knee into any position that would give me relief. The enemy — the thing I had been fearing — was now alive and well.

I kept remembering, “Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you allowing God to work in your pain?” Then, I knew Satan had won and I had lost. So, at 1:45 in the morning, March 19 I wrote the following email to everybody I could think of to write to:

“Dear Friends:

A few of you may know that I injured myself playing basketball on February 26th. I love the game, actually. I’ve been playing three times a week for years. Yes, even at my age. It’s something that’s help me keep the weight under control and help keeps me healthy. On Wednesday, I went in for surgery to have my knee repaired. The last 36 hours have been interesting.

My knee surgery went well. My doctor did a patellofemoral ligament repair. Basically, he repaired the ligament that kept making my knee cap go out of place, and performed a technique called a lateral release. Immediately after surgery I had incredible pain. It was off the chart painful. So, the doctor gave me a ‘block’ which basically numbed my whole knee. It was amazing how comfortable it made me.

The doctor kept me in the hospital to help manage my pain that was supposed to hit as the block wore off. For 26 hours I couldn’t feel my knee, which was a blessing. On the way home from the hospital, however, the pain block gradually stopped working. Now, I’m home. Flat on my back and the pain is really intense. I am on pain medication. But, it’s not doing much to help give me relief.

However, as I write this I know there are many of you who are going through something so much worse. You’d gladly trade places with me. Perhaps you’re struggling with cancer, or you’re facing another health issue where time is your enemy. When I think about that, my request for prayer seems so selfish. So, while I’d love for you to pray that the pain would go away, could you do something else? Please pray that God would use this time of pain in my life to teach me something and that He would position me in such a way that I can’t help but understand Him a little better so I can serve Him even more. Yes, my knee hurts — but as we all know good things come from our hurts.

I Love you all and thanks for your prayers and support.”

The response I received from that email was almost immediate. First, as I turned off my computer hoping to sleep, my knee pain almost immediately eased to where my body could sleep. Then as I checked my email that morning it was amazing. Here are some excerpts.:

“I’m Yvon, a 41 yrs old french pastor based in the North-Eastern France.  I 10 yrs ago I broke my hip. (I fell down from a 4 meters high ceiling). They screwed my hips, but my dislocated right leg needed an extension and to be stretched during 45 days. I was flat on my back for 2 months… asking God : Why ? It eventually shew me the Love in each christian coming to visit me. How I consider now the grâce of God, showing me how it was important to stop my activity and find the essential : GOD INSIDE PEOPLE, and GOD INSIDE ME. It was really an opportunity for me to find the relief of God and hear his voice thru his word. After 2 months, my surgeon told me, he was not sure about my ability to walk and to carry things. My pastor often praid for me, as my wife and my kids. 1 Months later I had physiotherapy, difficult thing but God was with me. In 1 month I could walk, run, carry my 3 kids. The Lord is our uphold. Let me share these verses that empowered me during the period of my recovery : 2 Cor. 4 : 17-18”

“The Lord has already heard your humble prayer and I’m sure the prayers of many who have received this email.  Perhaps this special teaching from the Lord is already complete; you now have just a touch of the extreme pain the people of this world are experiencing.  May the pain be completely lifted so your mind remains clear to continue sharing His truth through your writing.  May your passion be even greater and may the Lord be given glory through all of our trials.  May His mercy be upon you even this morning.”

There are many others I may share later, but what a blessing it was to see the dozens of people who prayed and even responded to this request. I can only imagine how many people respond to the needs of our broadcast.

Day three at home was a bit easier. I woke up after a few hours of sleep and felt refreshed. I had to go to the doctor for blood work. Then, I came home and managed pain the rest of the day. However, it wasn’t too bad.

There was another bright spot, too. Our little neighbor girl, Ema, came by the house. She’s six and just learning to read. She decided to come over and  read to me, to keep me company. What a joy it was to see her little heart just giving and giving. What six year old would be courageous enough to knock on an old dude’s door and ask if she could read to me to keep me company. I sense God’s going to use this girl for something really cool.

Greg

Brit Hume on Tiger Woods

Tonight, sitting in my living room, I couldn’t believe my ears. The tease on Fox News suggested Brut Hume, on national television, told the nation the Tiger Woods needed to convert to Christianity to get forgiveness. I HAD to tune in to find out what this was about.

Here’s the context, on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked about what they called, ‘the biggest sports story of the year’ the Tiger Wood fall from grace. Here was Brit’s response:

Here’s the text:

“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'”

I decided to look into his comments. Does Buddhism allow for forgiveness of sins?

Let me quote Barbara O’Brien, a Buddhist blogger: “Buddhism doesn’t offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense is meaningless in Buddhism.”

She goes on to say, “Destructive behavior is understood to be driven by tanha, thirst, which the Buddha explained (in the Four Noble Truths) was the cause of dukkha, unease or suffering. Buddhism itself can be defined as a path of practice that helps us see through the delusions that give rise to tanha.”

Unfortunately, Buddhism requires the individual to travel down the path to see through the ‘delusions’ that give us the desire to do bad. I’m guessing Tiger was already ‘on the path’ and on his own jumped off the path. If he can’t stay ‘on the path’ on his own, how is he going to see ‘the delusions’ on his own?

Now Brit Hume is receiving an incredible amount of hate mail, which I think he expected. Just suggesting that Jesus is the only way to forgiveness, will bring the wolves out in full force. With the world yelling, ‘tolerance’ that goes out the window when it comes to Christianity. Here are a few of the negative comments:

“This guy doesn’t think that Christians sleep around? How forgiving are Christians? They are the most judgemental group of people on this earth. They say one thing and do another. The hypocracy is too much.”

“I am so tired of pompous “Christians” recruiting and, in the process, demeaning [other] belief systems…Tiger needs to take an inward journey – under whatever guise he chooses – to figure out why having it all wasn’t enough. That’s a private journey and his privacy – in ALL areas – should be respected. Brit Hume needs to take the same journey to discover why he feels superior to others when he has no credentials to support that belief.”

“Typical Christian arrogance – to say “our religion is better than yours” just proves that there is a lack of respect for anything other than Christianity. If Christians were such moral people, they’d show respect for those who are of different faiths!! Of course christians claim that you will be forgiven for everything you do – the NEED to be forgiven themselves for their own actions and bigotry!”

It’s amazing the amount of intolerance in their tolerance.

Be praying for Brit Hume. I’m sure he’s receiving LOTS of hate mail. I’m also sure he’s receiving some positive comments, too. I’d like to encourage you to send Fox News a note of appreciation for allowing Brit Hume to talk about his faith — freely. That’s true free speech. Some many times Christians have been silenced.

Brit has it right — in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Hume said, “Just mentioning the name ‘Jesus Christ’ brings with it a lot of passion.” He’s right — negative and positive. Some HATE Christ, because they know what He stands for. Others LOVE Him because they know what He stands for.

Let’s pray Brit’s comments will do more to point people to Christ, rather than push them away.