Saturday, April 3, 2010

Some Background Information

In December of 2007, I returned to the United States. I had been a missionary in the Philippines. My intention was to find a job and begin the necessary paperwork to bring my wife and our two daughters to the States. My wife, Nhora, and I met when I was younger. My parents were missionaries in the Philippines. Nhora and I became best friends. God’s sovereignty brought us together through a maze of circumstances only He could orchestrate.

Shortly before I left the Philippines, I started having some pain in my left hip. I figured it was a pinched nerve or borderline sprain. I was just beginning training for a job when I experienced a horrific pain and discovered I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to a nearby hospital. It was discovered that I had broken my hip. I was in surgery within about an hour.

After surgery, the doctor told me that the break was pathological, that is, it was caused by a tumor. It was a benign tumor, which was good news, but it was a rare one that most doctors only know from books. I was sent home with metal plates holding my femur together. The plan was once the bone had repaired itself I would undergo a second surgery to remove the tumor.

However, after a few months of normal progress, the tumor began to grow and not only ate up the new bone growth, but ate all the way across my femur. The metal plate was all that held the shaft and head of my femur together. So, at this point, I was pretty much stuck in bed. I was in excruciating pain all day and all night. Pain medicine didn’t help. This went on for many months as the process of getting me connected with a highly skilled surgeon who was willing to work on an unemployed and uninsured patient. Evidently, the rareness of my condition help locate an academically minded doctor who was highly respected and very experienced.

Now through all this time from my return to the States, through my two surgeries, I was supposed to be doing my wife’s visa paperwork. Of course, without a job, I was not able to pursue it with much regularity. My church found out about our situation and did a lot of the work for me that I was unable to do. Nevertheless, things dragged on. Immigrating to the US through all the proper legal channels turns out to be a very involved, expensive and slow process.

In fact, only this past month, March 17 to be exact, did Nhora finally get her visa. Our two daughters, Aletheia and Ariene, were born in the Philippines, thus require different processing. We are nearly finished with that too. So, prayerfully we hope to be reunited after more than two years within the next month or so.

The separation has been an extremely trying time for us. During these two years my wife’s little brother died and I have had two surgeries and four cycles of chemo. While I have been immobilized, Nhora has had to do all the parenting alone. Aletheia is 6 and Ariene will be 4 next week.

Nhora and I communicated solely through text messages for a long time because that was all we afford. God has finally provided a way for me to have internet access, which allows us to video call every night. I am hoping to be reunited before the end of May. It has been a very long road, but it finally appears to be nearing the end.

When I speak of and defend God’s sovereignty, I do not do so in a vacuum. My Reformed theology has come at a price. I did not get my view of Divine sovereignty while napping under a shade tree. I have had to defend it against the vagaries of my own doubting heart. I have gone through some of darkest things I could ever imagine fully aware that God was controlling every second of it, and though He could end it at any time – He didn’t. Strangely, I have never doubted His love for us or His goodness and faithfulness. Through it all, Nhora and I have still seen so many little things that God has done to give us just that little bit of daily bread we needed to press on another day. Every time we said we were unable to go on, we’d find that we have persevered another day, week or month. We still don’t understand the why of it all, and I am satisfied that we may never: the secret things belong to the Lord.

Nhora and I would ask of anyone who reads this that you please remember us in your prayers. Pray that things go smoothly as we finish up Aletheia and Ariene’s paperwork. Pray that we keep sight of God’s mercy and grace as we press on through however much longer we have to go. Pray that God will speed along the whole process and provide for us as we face the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We need many things, but seeing how God has preserved through this, we are confident that He will provide the other things as well.
One day closer to a great reunion!


  1. Good Morning Andy

    I Hope You and Your Family have a
    Blessed Resurrection Sunday

    God Bless You, Ron


  2. We Reformed are often caricatured as philosophical, heads-in-the-clouds, theologians, with no attachment between our system and the realities of life. You have demonstrated that the caricature is false. Thank you for that.


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