Archive for the ‘FBC Update’ Category

The Beautiful Sound of Laughter

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This was written by my father-in-law (I say Father-in-LOVE) who is the pastor of a large church in Montgomery, Al. for the newsletter to the congregation. The guy he calls Jason, I call Jay. He says Jason which literally means Jay’s Son. (He is also Jay).

I think the most special part of celebrating the 4th this year was recognizing where I have come from. As the Wolfs reminded me, it was only the 4th last year when I was in REALLY bad shape. I am thankful to see all the progress I am making. Pastor Jay always calls me the SLOW-MOTION MIRACLE. I really am.

Last week, Mary Ruth, Alex and I went to see the California Wolf Gang and lend a helping hand. Our precious daughter-in-law, Katherine, has now traveled over 14 months from the day she brushed death after a massive brain stem stroke. The comparison of Katherine’s current progress to her status last July makes us glorify God! After 11 months of not eating, God restored her swallowing; and while it is not at full strength, she has gained 26 delicious pounds!

I went with Katherine to 15 therapy sessions while Jason diligently prepared for the California Bar at the end of July. I marveled as Katherine walked on a treadmill for 8 minutes with the assistance of a watchful therapist. She did water therapy along with a wide-array of exercises and did battle with her deficits. Katherine’s stroke and ensuing surgery resulted in a small portion of her brain being removed. Consequently, she has lost balance and coordination on her right side so she is working hard to transfer those vital neuro functions to her left cerebellum and it is slowly happening. God is creating a slow-motion miracle and I watched its progress with extreme joy.

The highlight of our visit came as I observed Jason and Katherine and their 20 month old son enter a swimming pool to continue her therapy. I sat in the cool California breeze, in the golden glow of dusk and watched them carefully descend into the water. Alex held baby James and Jason guided his slow-moving but strengthening wife into the sparkling water. I placed the bitter backdrop of July 2008 behind this sweet scene. One year ago, Katherine could barely speak. She had little control over her neck. She could not sit up. She was moved in a special elongated wheelchair. Her shoulder, tailbone, blood pressure and respiratory system were awry. She had received nothing by mouth in 3 months. Her tracheotomy was a mess. Against the dark colors of a year ago, I watched Jason move out to the deepening water, tenderly sweeping Katherine up in his arms. Alex placed their baby on Katherine’s lap and Jason began to twirl his family around in circles and they joyously laughed through the watery dance. As Jason swirled his treasures, my eyes filled with tears of gratitude for the miracle God has been performing and the privilege of participating by faithfully praying Katherine up the mountain of restoration.

Divine Appointments

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Below is Pastor Jay’s eDevotion from January 21, 2009:

Last week our Single Adult Mission Team flew to Canada to meet with our kingdom partner Rick Lamothe. I was seated beside a young lady named Maria. As we flew north, I was reading my Bible and Maria asked, “Do you believe God still performs miracles?” Our conversation led her to tell me about a terrible tragedy. Maria was from Brazil. This bright young lady served on the staff of the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. A couple of years ago she met a handsome Canadian named Michael from Montreal. Their friendship blossomed into a romance and on November 30 in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro they were married in a magical wedding. Tragedy struck ten days after their wedding when Michael suffered a catastrophic brain injury linked to an accident and he descended into a dark coma.

Michel’s parents chartered a Medical flight to bring their precious son to a hospital in Montreal for attempting new avenues of care. Maria was flying to Canada to be beside her wounded spouse. I told her that God arranged a divine appointment because my daughter-in-law, Katherine, had suffered a near fatal brain injury in April but she was miraculously recovering. Hope glowed in Maria’s face. Then we turned our conversation to her greatest need of making God her guide by connecting to Jesus as her personal Savior. We read our ABC’s Booklet which contains God’s simple plan of salvation and Maria asked Jesus to be her Lord, Guide and Forever Friend as we neared the airport of Montreal.

My Friends, be on soul patrol! Look for divine appointments with the hurting people around you. Then be prepared to share the love, light and liberating power of Christ with your version of Maria!

Jay speaks @ FBC 11AM Service on December 21

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Thursday Morning Update

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

(From Katherine’s father-in-law, Jay):

Our sweet daughter Sarah will marry Jeremiah Sizemore on December 20. Against all odds, Jason and Katherine are coming!!! Two months ago I would have placed the likelihood of their attending the wedding to be very near zero. In God’s kindness, all the moving and complicated pieces of the puzzle have snapped together and they are coming! Jason and Katherine will arrive in Atlanta today (12.18.08) and stay in Montgomery until December 24 when they transfer over to Athens to be with Katherine’s wonderful family til January 2 when they return to California to continue the arduous rehab journey.

Standing firm and Seeking to See Jesus Everywhere,
Jay
Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday Update

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

From Jay Wolf (Katherine’s Father-In-Law):

Katherine and Jason can condense their primary prayer request to “swallowing and walking.”

Katherine’s battle with the dragon of a neurological crash has stretched into 5 months. We praise God for her remarkable progress and passionately pray for more. She has navigated some of the most treacherous months and miles and there is still much to go. This is a hard stretch of the recovery road so prayer, patience and perseverance are required in massive doses.

Katherine’s latest swallowing evaluation on 9/26 revealed some progress, but she still can not swallow. How we wish that a swallowing deficit was not a feature of Katherine’s excruciating journey. The damaged nerves heal slowly so we must keep interceding and cheering for her.

Here are a few high points from the last days:

  • Katherine went to a nearby mall and with the help of her physical therapist our champion stepped on and off an escalator!
  • Katherine’s right side is strengthening and she can stand by herself for a brief moment. This constitutes a great victory because two months ago she could barely sit on the side of the bed. She is working tenaciously in physical, occupational and speech therapy.
  • On Sunday, September 21, Jason, Katherine, James and Sarah returned to Bel Air Presbyterian Church for the first time since April 20. After an elongated process, Jason wheeled Katherine into their Young Married Class of several hundred people. When the class leader saw Katherine and Jason, he began to weep and the place erupted with more cheers and tears along with a spontaneous ovation. Jason said the visit overflowed with the spiritual electricity of encouragement and became a living demonstration of the authentic compassion which should trademark Christ’s Body.
  • Katherine sent out one of her classic emails indicating that she is planning a fun party for James’ first birthday. Her title for the gathering is “Life’s a Zoo” because their current status is equivalent to wildlife management!
Let’s continue to emulate the four friends we encounter in Mark 2: 1-10. Those believing brothers ripped up a roof in their passionate quest to place their hurting friend in the presence of Jesus. With consistent prayer we are placing Katherine at the feet of King Jesus and humbling asking for God’s merciful and healing touch to raise her up in His time. In the meantime, know that we thank the Lord for your love, friendship, support and faith-filled intercession!

(Photo Courtesy MontgomeryFBC.org)

Friday Update

Friday, September 12th, 2008

By Jay Wolf (her father-in-law)

I had a deeply encouraging visit with Katherine, Jason, James and Sarah last week. Katherine is making some significant progress in most areas. Her secretions are down, her right side is strengthening and her walk with the King Jesus is rock-solid.

We treasure your prayer support. Pray that she will be able to swallow and walk.

For me, the most exciting feature of her current progress is emailing! Following her day of intensive therapy, Jason brings her to their home adjacent to Casa Colina. She is now using a laptop computer to create some emails. She wrote:

Hey Family,

Casa Colina is great. Baby James and I are hoping to come home soon. Today was a really full day. I had my swallowing evaluation, met with my doctor, and had a Chest X-RAY that revealed there was no pneumonia!

I wanted to let you know I failed another swallowing test. PLEASE PRAY for this. It seems that my body is once again not keeping up with my mind. I am so hungry.

I love you all and wish this never happened, but I know God is working it for good (Romans 8:28).

Love,
Katherine
Hebrews 12:1-3

P.S.  I typed this email myself! YAY!!!

We are traveling this road by faith and asking the Lord to be glorified every step of the way as He continues to raise up Katherine and raise up the Body of Christ.

“But the Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

Wednesday Update (FBC)

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

By Jay Wolf (Katherine’s Father-in-law)

Katherine started this terrible voyage 135 days ago when a neurological storm nearly took her earthly life. She and Jason are navigating the storm’s aftermath with grace, courage and faith. Your prayers and support are priceless. This is a tough, long and heavy stretch of their recovery journey.

I made my 8th trip to LA this week and I have been very encouraged by Katherine’s progress. Her left side is doing great. She can see much better with her left eye and that enables her to read small amounts. Her left hand is strong and well coordinated so she can slowly text message on her phone. She even composed her first email on 9/2/08!  Katherine sent a short note to family requesting continued intercession for her swallowing because her latest evaluation revealed through the scanning process that she continues to improve in the swallow mechanism but the liquid is pooling around the esophagus and it is not actually traveling down the food tube to the stomach. The inability to swallow is frustrating so we invite your continued intercession for this important point of healing. Also, intercede for her right side to keep recovering in all areas including strength, coordination, balance, vision, hearing, vocal cord – and all of the shortcomings linked to the right side cranial nerves needing restoration.

Another victory came through the revelation of a chest X-ray that brought the good news that Katherine does not have pneumonia and additionally a strange shadow in her lungs that has been present since her time in ICU has disappeared!

On Monday Jason gently helped Katherine get into their car and we took a driving excursion! Each step of progress, each exercise and each prayer creates another piece of paving on Katherine’s road to recovery.

In summary, on Labor Day Katherine, Jason and I talked for about six inspiring hours. I asked Katherine to identify her main prayer request and she simply said, “Ask people to pray for me to swallow and walk.”

Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount with a warning that storms will come to everyone. Hurricanes Gustav and Hannah devastated the lives of many good and Godly people. So be prepared for the coming storms by fully connecting to Christ and His Church. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 that if your soul is anchored to the rock of an eternal relationship with Him, then you will have God’s resource to stay stable amidst wicked weather!

Saturday Update (FBC)

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

By Jay Wolf (Katherine’s Father-in-law)

Participating in God’s Slow Motion Miracle

Katherine’s vicious battle with a traumatic brain injury has now extended to four months. We thank God for her remarkable progress. We can quickly enumerate a long list of amazing occurrences the Lord orchestrated that saved her earthly life and continue to facilitate her climbing out of the pit of a near fatal injury.

Sometimes I feel like the guy on the Verizon commercial who is followed around by a huge “network!” Our network truly works! Your intercession, love and countless tangible expressions of support have paved our excruciating path with resuscitating blessings. We deeply appreciate your accompanying us on the journey of God crafting Katherine’s slow motion miracle. We look forward to the day when we look back on these events as a distant memory.

Katherine has been at Casa Colina for 12 days. She has made a good adjustment to their rehabilitation routine. She awakens each day at 7:00 AM and works to prepare herself for the day. Her agenda consists of physical, occupational and speech therapy. Jason attends the sessions with her to lend encouragement and learn how to best assist her in the future. Katherine is in a group of about 12 people. She is one of the younger patients and has one of the steeper mountains to climb. They are working aggressively with her swallowing by using an electrical stimulation device on her neck and the right side of her face which is designed to prompt new activity for her nerves and muscles. They are using creative techniques to help her deeply impaired right side to regain strength, coordination and balance.

Around 4:00 PM Jason wheels Katherine to their wonderful rental home which is adjacent to the campus. She greatly enjoys watching James play in the spacious backyard or viewing movies with the family. She then returns to her quarters by 9:00 PM.  I talked with Katherine on the phone twice last week and while her voice is not in the normal range yet, she sounds marvelous to me!

PRAYER REQESTS:

  1. For God to continue to fuel our slow motion miracle of Katherine arising (Mark 5:41).
  2. For the cranial nerves to grow back together and restore their functions ( Joel 2:25)
  3. For Katherine to swallow (On Wednesday the therapist let her have a tiny taste of yogurt and it did not aspirate into her lungs.  Katherine feels that her swallow is strengthening so keep praying!)
  4. For Jason and our families to stay faithful and focused on King Jesus as we run beside Katherine on this grueling marathon of climbing the mountain of recovery. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

“He has delivered us from such deadly perils and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10

Monday Update

Monday, August 18th, 2008

By Jay Wolf (Katherine’s Father-in-law)

The New Phase of Casa Colina

Six days ago, Katherine moved from UCLA to Casa Colina (which means “House on the Hill”) in Pomona, CA. This “world class” rehabilitation resource center will supply Katherine with a massive amount of facilitation for her grueling assignment of climbing the mountain of recovery. Jason, James, Sarah and Mary Ruth are staying in a rental home adjacent to the campus which is allowing Katherine to spend a lot of time in the normalcy of a home environment which is good medicine!

Her therapists are well-trained and caring. Jason has attended all the sessions with Katherine to lend extra encouragement and to absorb their methods so he can function as her therapist in the future. They are using many creative techniques for rebuilding her strength, restoring her balance and re-starting her swallowing. Katherine has miles to go but she is solidly on the road to recovery and we solicit your prayer support for her continued success.

The challenges are daunting, but we are standing in faith on God’s goodness and claiming His promise of hope, help and healing! We are keeping activated the comforting truths of Romans 8:28-29, Hebrews 12:1-2 and Matthew 11:28-30.

In Luke 11:1-13 Jesus invites us to continually pray with humble faith. So ask our heavenly Father to recreate and restore Katherine’s right cranial nerves and cerebellum which in turn will facilitate the restoration of her swallowing, balance, coordination, full vocalization, hearing and other diminished right side functions.

May God’s presence, peace, power and provision be yours in abundance as you intentionally serve the Cause of Causes and the King of Kings!

Wednesday FBC Update

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

By Jay Wolf (Katherine’s Father-in-law)

Yesterday, Katherine moved from UCLA Medical center after 112 days on what felt like a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride. We are most grateful for the excellent care that Katherine received at UCLA. Their church family has been a living demonstration of Christ’s love. On Sunday afternoon, their Young Married class conducted a service of praise and prayer in the hospital courtyard to celebrate God’s miraculous provision. On Tuesday morning at 10:30 AM, after a tearful and well-photographed farewell, Katherine departed her acute rehab sanctuary and traveled by ambulance east on Interstate 10 for 40 miles to Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center in Pomona, California which is a “state of the art” facility that is designed to help “God’s Miracle Continue.”

It seems that Katherine’s Restoration can be divided into 4 sections:

1. ICU—40 days to save her life
2. Acute Rehab—72 days to get her stabilized and started
3. Transitional Living Rehab—Two to Four Months to get her strong
4. Keep climbing—the ongoing efforts to attack her remaining deficits

Casa Colina will provide Katherine with 7 hours of therapy per day in an inpatient setting. They have all the tools to facilitate the hard work of her recovery. Jason and James have secured a three bedroom, furnished rental home owned by Casa Colina at the edge of their beautiful, 20 acre campus. Sarah and Mary Ruth will continue to care for Sweet Baby James.

The Wolf and Arnold families treasure your support and intercession. Keep Hebrews 4:16 activated, “Let us boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and His grace to find timely help.”

Katherine’s new address is:
Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation
255 East Bonita Avenue
PO Box 6001
Pomona, CA 91769-6001

On the web @ www.casacolina.org