I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful tool
and horrendous weapon
this technology-filled world we live in, is.
To be able to message with people all over the world about COVID. To answer their questions about treatments or vaccines. To provide a source for those in our circle (and the rings that permeate out from that circle.) It's a gift. A wonderful piece my husband, and subsequently me, is able to give right now.
My husband and I are a team. He is the knowledge, obviously. He fields many questions from some of our friends who are even in healthcare themselves. Being a doctor right now doesn't guarantee you an inside seat to this pandemic But working in an emergency room or an ICU ... especially in an area rocked by COVID ... does. John is watching this transpire in real time.
He just got home from a shift as I type this. He said it a personal record for him. Although not really the type of record you want to set. He admitted or transferred twenty patients in his twelve hour shift. These are patients that are so sick, they require hospitalization. Normally, he'd have a few of these every shift.
And I am his gatekeeper. I message people back and answer questions and then I come to JB and discuss them and try to get answers for people. One afternoon, just a few days ago, while he was building our Arabelle a whelping box for her impending litter, I came to him with my phone and six different questions. He kept drilling, giving me answers while he kept working on his farm. If we see a certain trend in questions, he then pens a full post. John decides to write posts when he sees a question coming in repeatedly in order to present a central hub of information.
One of the reasons we have specifically felt called to speak is because of who John is. There are a large number of doctors in our country and throughout the world. Probably as many scientists. However, generally, the medical field isn't one where Christ is front and center. But for us? He is and always will be. He is a sold-out Christian who loves the Lord fiercely. He is also a family man. Family has always come before work to my husband. He cares for people. He is kind. He is pro-life. He is also pro-environment. While we always considered ourselves Republicans, we have as of recent felt a bit "non-political." We have felt the Lord saying to us: "Focus on your 96-acres. What can you do for me there?" We have chosen to focus more on what we can control: Our farm, the people that visit us, the peace it brings, and our local community.
I got on Facebook two days ago just thinking I could NOT go on with what God has called us to. I truly, totally, want to shut down my Facebook (I could do it ... EASILY!) and not communicate anymore with anyone. John could do his work. And then he could come home. And we wouldn't field questions or put ourselves out there.
But folks, Jesus won't let me go. He just won't. He won't let John go either. We truly feel that being in the epicenter of this pandemic right now in a small, rural ER that is being beaten down with this horrible virus, means that John needs to speak. There is too much misinformation. He needs to say what he is seeing.
When this virus is tied up with a bow and sent off on its way, I know for certain we will step away for awhile and hunker down and rest. And heal. And rejuvenate. But not right now. Right now, we are in a battle. It is a war. It isn't a war for everyone. But for us in rural TN with John as the co-Director as the county's only hospital, it certainly is.
And I tell you what. Here's how I know I am doing the right thing. Because every time I start to feel like I can't do this, my socks are knocked off by encouragement from the most obscure places.
Yesterday, we received a voice message from a cousin of my cousins. In other words, I have first cousins. They have cousins on the other side of their family. At a wedding about 15 years ago, we hung out with a brother and sister who were my cousins' cousins as we toured NYC. We got to know them. And I've stayed in touch with the sister every since.
But I lost touch with the brother. I honestly didn't even know he was on Facebook even though, at some point, he's been added as a friend. And it was this guy, about my age, a missionary, married with two children, who reached into my heart and said words that I know Jesus breathed inside of him.
It was a ten-minute voice message, but I transcribed parts of it because I really wanted to SEE and REMEMBER what it was he said to us. I listened to it. And then, as the gatekeeper, I sent it to JB and told him he HAD to listen to it too. It deserved ten minutes of his time. Afterwards John said: "That was amazing. Like really, really amazing." John doesn't compliment things that aren't really good.
Here are some of his words:
I just really felt in my heart to send you guys a message. I've been able to read some of your posts on Facebook, and my heart just really goes out to you guys. I know everyone is going through some difficult times, but especially you guys, being on the frontline day in and day out with COVID-19. There's been plenty of opportunities to get discouraged and get hurt by just the different things out there from people and you guys are doing an amazing job all around. It is really remarkable to just have the opportunity to hear the life changes and the things that you are doing for people even in the midst of some great tragedies that you guys have seen up close and right before you.
I really wanted to encourage you that despite all the things that are going on, you guys are really making a difference. Just reading some of your posts, it encouraged my wife and I to take certain precautions and put things we were doing into consideration. I think part of us "getting it" was the message you have been putting out as strong Christians and believers. You have taken the stance of what is really going on and encouraged us to talk to the people we work with at the ministry to help keep some of our vulnerable staffers safer.
I just want to thank you for all you are doing. When you put yourself in the kitchen, you are going to experience some heat. And you are doing it. Willingly. Whenever you get into some sticky political ideologies, there are always going to be naysayers. But just know you have way more people in your corner, rooting you on, supporting you, praying for you. We have your backs. I am sure there are a lot more people like me that have your backs.
I can't relate at the level that you guys are experiencing things. But with my wife and I doing mission work, I feel I can relate somewhat. We live in America but we travel to 5, 6, 7 countries a year as we work to get the Bible to unreached people groups. We take the gospel message to those people so that they can hear all the things that God has accomplished through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We travel a lot, and we see some amazing victories. So we see these amazing things happen as we minister to people have never been told about Jesus. Even though we experience these great victories, we are just a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of people on the planet who haven't heard the gospel. Often, we don't encounter a lot of other missionaries. There are a lot of opportunities to have our hearts broken. There is so much more darkness that needs light.
And then when we get home to America, we try to express this in just a small way. Oftentimes we are approached by people while we are talking, and they just don't get it. They don't understand. It is not relatable enough to them because they have never gone beyond their own world. They can't even think about that or connect themselves as a believer to the mission or heartbeat of the gospel message. There are a lot of opportunities for us to get frustrated and down on ourselves because we see the great need and the tragedy of what is happening, and we know that there are so many more people that we will never get to.
And so while we can't relate to the physical things that you guys are seeing day in and day out, I certainly can relate from a spiritual standpoint of where you heart is. And so I wanted to send you this to say we love you guys and we care about you. Keep up the great work and the fight. People don't treat you like a hero until all the dust settles and all the things come out. So just stay encouraged and stay in the game. Be blessed.