Wednesday, March 25

Good morning church!

Have you ever sent an email and right afterward you thought, “Darn! I forgot something!”  No, I am sure I am the only one in the world…  Yesterday, as I asked you to pray for our college students who are re-adjusting their lives to their own four walls at home, I thought right afterward, “Oh, you forgot to mention a few…”  Jessica B. is home from Bloomsburg. So is Keira D., and she said to her grandmother, “What, I can’t even go to church?” (Thanks Keira, that was sweet!) Ben G. is home from Millersville. His brother Kenny, it was decided, is staying at JMU in Virginia for the time being. Allison G. is home from college, doing on-line courses. So is Nicky G. from Kutztown. Tannis G. is probably home from East Stroudsburg. Allison T. is probably home from Penn State. The list goes on, I am sure there are a few more, I can’t keep up with them all…

Our youth had an interesting get-together via teleconference last night. I wasn’t on the call because we had a Zoom leadership meeting at the same time. But I heard it went very well. When asked what they see as positive during this difficult time, guess what the number one response was??? SLEEP!!!  WE FINALLY GET ENOUGH SLEEP!   (I wonder though how long they are staying up.)

I would like to share with you this morning a video about our church that we have been working on for a long time with videographer Mike Landis. Almost all of the footage was created in the year 1 B.C.  (Before Coronavirus), almost exclusively in 2019. You will see there is lots of human touch in these pictures. But you will enjoy it, especially at this time, to see lots of familiar faces and hear lots of familiar voices. Enjoy it! We will post a shorter version on our website when it’s ready. This one is about six minutes long. And it will take a while to download, but it’s worth the wait…

Click to Download

In other updates:  We know now that Palm Sunday (April 5) will still be quarantined. But we had already ordered the palms (a while ago) and we will offer you a safe drive-through option on that Sunday where you can pick up your palms. We will have someone hand them out in the parking lot with gloves and we will explain the procedure some more when we get closer.

I learned yesterday that the health care staff at Liberty Lutheran needs more face masks. Scroll all the way down to the end of this message to see links with instructions on how to make them and local drop-off sites. 

Our Bible Study will convene again tomorrow at noon (March 26, 12 noon) via teleconference. I have attached a document with the texts that we are studying.  Contact me for the phone number and login information.

For today, I’d like to ask your prayers for our son Samuel (Sam). As most of you know, he has had to endure one h___ of a journey in terms of his health.  Sam will turn 18 on April 25, but he lost much of his teenage years to this wicked condition, which we hope we can overcome as a family. I could probably write a book about it, but here is the short summary of what transpired. In February of 2015 (age 13) Sam got increasingly sick. He had no energy, his legs hurt and he had trouble walking, his eyes were sensitive to sunlight; sometimes he had also severe noise sensitivity. He had crushing headaches and suffered from sleep-depravation. He spent a lot of time in bed. His doctor at the time, a Lyme specialist who had seen him for years, was somehow able to get him better over the following months. He received tutoring at home through the school in that same summer and, amazingly, was able to go back to school in fall! He made it through the entire school year and the following summer during a long stay in Europe I took him hiking in the Alps with several of my old buddies from university. Sam didn’t blink and even enjoyed the experience (and it wasn’t an easy hike). The following year he went down again, in early 2017, this time more severely. He just couldn’t even walk anymore and going to school wasn’t in the cards, not even learning at home, as the headaches interfered with any concentrated activity. He was home in a darkened room with another kind of darkness enveloping him.

He lost his circle of friends, which is a big deal for anyone, but especially for teenagers, one friend hanging with him the entire time. Thank you, James! Of course, we went from Pontius to Pilate to find out more about his condition, bloodwork, specialists, the whole bit. People frequently ask me, “Well, what is his diagnosis?” It’s a simple question but I can’t give you one simple answer. The truth is he has several diagnoses. One of them is that he has been suffering from CIDP (chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating polio-neuropathy), which caused nerve damage, especially in his legs. One of his specialists, a neurologist connected to NYU prescribed weekly doses of IVIG which in his experience has helped patients with similar conditions (few of them as young as Sam). Sam has received IVIG (immune-globulin treatment) for I think two years now.  Let me tell you, we could never pay for these treatments, and we thank God they are covered by insurance.  We have a wonderful nurse (our angel) Joan who comes once a week to our home to administer the medicine. She is a wonderful person and frequently spoils our kids with food. Even the dog is looking forward to Joan’s visits!  While these treatments did help and even reversed some of the nerve damage, we didn’t feel that the progress was strong enough (parents rarely do) and went to another specialist/scientist connected to Johns Hopkins. He discovered that one of the pieces of the puzzle was mast cell Activation Syndrome, which has to do with the workings of his immune system. The doctor introduced a regimen to stabilize his mast cells and that too has made a big difference for him. Finally, after two and a half years physically not being in school he was able to start part-time school for his senior year at Wissahickon this past September. He has also been able, amazingly, to keep up with all the core courses (on-line) and is expected to graduate with his calls, with honors too. This past Christmas Eve he surprised everyone when he walked up to the lectern and read one of the scripture readings, in typical Sam fashion without a single mistake, and he had not seen the text before, he was subbing for Jamie. He now spends much more time in the upright and on his desk and even plays (gingerly) a little bit of volleyball with his younger brother. We are hoping and praying that the progress continues and we are taking careful steps to look at the next steps in his life. 

This is the very short and very abbreviated and incomplete version of what transpired with Sam in the last couple of years. Please keep him in your prayers, as many of you already do. He has been amazingly resilient throughout this time and yes, while this corona thing is bad, we and many other people in our parish can honestly say, “We’ve seen worse.”

May God bless you all and please remember that life is not for the faint of heart,

But God promises to walk each step with us.

Pastor Andreas Wagner                                 

For instructions on how to sew a face mask, check out
these YouTube videos:
https://youtu.be/VgHrnS6n$iA
https://youtu.be/BCJcE-r7kcg 
(pattern with a slot to insert filter)  

Drop off masks between 8 am and 4 pm or mail to one of these locations:
Liberty at Home 7002 Butler Pike, Ambler, PA 19002 Artman 250 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002 Paul’s Run 989 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia, Pa 19115

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