Tuesday, May 6, 2008
We wrote the last check to Clark Township Ambulance Service this afternoon.
Two years ago this June, our youngest child Elias suffered a series of seizures while we were up at Cedar Campus training students in evangelism. We heard words and phrases like "life-support intercept" and "life-saving measures" while Elias had a team of medical professionals and beeping machines crowd around him and crowd us out of the room. He was wearing his red "Cars" t-shirt and army green cargo pants, and he looked so small and lifeless that afternoon.
Elias and I had four ambulance rides and our one and probably only ride in a private jet - a medical air ambulance that flew us from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Ann Arbor. The head of the pediatric neurology department at the U of Michigan hospital lead a team of doctors and excited med students on Elias' case.
We learned a lot about MRIs, CTs, EKGs, blood draws, intubation, extubation, ventilators.
We learned a lot about despair and hope, prayer and God's voice, control and surrender.
And we learned a lot about grace and the people of God. Within hours, people around the world, most of whom we will never meet this side of heaven, were praying for us and on our behalf - uttering prayers that at times we didn't have the energy to speak or hope ourselves. People helped pack up our belongings, care for our other two children, open up their home, offer their cars, call up medical specialists. I am still moved to tears when I remember the outpouring of love and care and compassion.
God's provision for us continued months later as the medical bills kept coming and my colleagues at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship opened up their wallets to help us pay for the mounting bills.
How did that happen? My then-supervisor had a fund set up at her church and the director of Asian American ministries sent out a letter to the Asian American staff of InterVarsity, inviting them to care for one of the family. As a national ministry, we often refer to ourselves as a ministry, a movement, an organization, a family. For ethnic staff, there is a deeper affinity having a common history, a common story and heart language, and in this situation my Asian American staff family did what our families of origin have modeled for us - Christ's sacrificial love.
Their selfless giving moved my parents who in their decades of church ministry had never seen such a response.
It has been almost two years, and Elias has yet to have another seizure. Until this month, we had monthly reminders of our dark night of the soul as we made payments to cover the bills. Those monthly payments completely overshadowed by Elias' laughter and playful soul.
The ambulance check? The airlift check? The hospital check?
Check. Check. Check.