Posts tagged ‘church’

Chest pains

I had a very interesting weekend, to say the least. Let me start at the beginning.

On Friday, Feb 8, as you all know we had the beginning of a huge snow storm that lasted all Friday and into the night. That morning I got up and went outside to shovel snow and get the vehicles cleared off. I started to clear the snow from behind the car De-Ann drives and then she came outside and had to leave. After she left I continued to clear away all the snow on that side of our driveway. Then I did the walkway and stairs. Went inside to get the kids dressed and ready to go to daycare.

We looked outside only 20 minutes later and you couldn’t even tell I had shovelled the driveway. That’s how much snow had fallen. Crazy!

After the kids were all dressed in their winter gear we went outside to a very warm van. I continued to clear away the snow from the walkway and the stairs so the kids wouldn’t slip. Then we all quickly got in the van and took off for daycare.

On our trip to daycare, the wipers started to accumulate ice on them. About 5 minutes into our drive I stopped and knocked off the ice from the wipers. This was my first episode of chest pains. It was sharp but only lasted for a thirty seconds. I had skipped breakfast so I thought to myself, “this is what it feels like to not have breakfast.” I thought to myself “note to self, never skip breakfast again. This feels awful.” I jumped back in the van and continued on our way. Further down the road the the ice started to build up again, so at the next stop light I go out and knocked the ice of the wipers again. This time the pain hit me so hard I started to feel like I couldn’t breath. Again it only lasted thirty seconds or so and I was off again.

Meanwhile the kids both had brought some card games with them for “show and share” at their daycare, and both of them had opened the packaging and had the cards all over the van. Faith was telling on Shawn and Shawn started to get upset. It was chaos. But I continued to travel to the daycare.

When I arrived at the daycare, I got out of the van and opened the door on Shawn’s side and saw he had let all his cards but four fall all over the floor of the van. By this time the pain in my chest was becoming unbearable but I pressed through it to help Shawn clean up the cards and pick him out of the van–even though he didn’t want my help. Then I told him to go to the sidewalk and wait for me. He didn’t want to, but finally he listened. Then I went over to the other side of the van to get Faith out and of course she had let all her cards out of the packaging and they were half on her lap in her chair and on the floor. I really wanted to sit down but I knew I needed to get her out of the van and into her class. I rested by holding onto her carseat with both hands and leaning my head on it. She proceeded to pat my head. Eventually I got up enough strength to help her collect all her cards and lift her out of the van and I got them both to walk to the front door of the daycare. Punched in the code and walked in the front door. The pain was more than I could handle by this time and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath so I sat on the chair right by the door. I told Faith to go get undressed herself and I would be there soon. I was breathing very quickly and erratically and the pain in the chest was getting worse. The manager of the daycare saw I was in stress and asked if she could call an ambulance. I told her no, that I just needed to catch my breath. [Boy was I wrong!]

By this time Faith was all dressed and came back to where I was sitting to say good-bye. She gave my leg a hug. Shawn the whole time was standing right beside me holding onto my leg. The manager knew I needed help even though I didn’t want it and called 911. By this time other teachers from different classrooms showed up to help and took Shawn to his classroom. He didn’t want to go, but I was thankful they took both kids to their classrooms.

The pain was impossible and I could barely sit anymore and I finally asked the manager of the daycare if I could lay on the floor in her office. Of course she allowed me to.

One thing I don’t want to forget to mention, one of the mothers asked me which van was mine and went out and turned off the van and brought me the keys and my cell phone. That is so amazing because if I had not had my cell I wouldn’t have been able to text and call the people I did to inform them about what was going to happen next…

The next thing I saw was a fireman starring me in the face asking me all kinds of questions. Then the paramedics showed up and next thing I knew I was taking my first ride in an ambulance [I can mark that off my bucket list]. They took me to the nearest hospital as I was connected to an ECG machine and oxygen mask. My paramedics were amazing, Kevin was the guy who worked with me as Audra drove. When we arrived at the hospital I wasn’t in any pain anymore but they wanted to make sure I was admitted into the ER. I laid on that stretcher for a bit more than an hour. Of course I took the time to get to know my paramedics. They are two amazing people, Kevin is a full time fireman and does the paramedics job on his days off and obviously a work-aholic. Audra has been a paramedic for 24 years and still loves doing it.

I finally was admitted to the ER and they put me in a bed where I had my first of 12 needles that weekend [I like to call them pokes]. By this time De-Ann had arrived from downtown. Unfortunately when she got the call I was going to the hospital she was just getting off the train. And the next train or bus was going to be at least 30 minutes. So she took a taxi which was the fastest way to get to me and the most expensive.

The two of us waited for the results of my first test or blood work. We met with the ER doctor and he told us that usually the first test will show very little and we would be repeating blood work again in six hours! [Yes, you heard that right. Six hours!] But he did say that with the story I described and the results from the first test, the second test would not show anything and we would be free to go home. We did the second test six hours later as he suggested. Then an hour later he told us the news. Not what we expected at all, and from his reaction, not what he expected either.

The results where that I had enzymes in my blood quite a bit above the level I should which usually means something is serious going on within my heart that needed to be looked at. He told us this news and then said “I am sorry but you are not going anywhere.” I was floored, I was thinking we were both going to go home and relax until we needed to pick up the kids. [Again, I was wrong]. Next thing you know I am being admitted to the hospital, not for a day but for four.

I almost forgot, the nurses in the ER were amazing but the poked me another four times before I went upstairs to my room. I waited for a bed for another four hours. While I was waiting I had both of the paramedics come and visit me before I was shipped upstairs. Great to see them both again and get a chance to introduce them to De-Ann.

The story from here gets interesting. I find out that I am going to do some more tests and meet with a cardiologist. I think by this time I am feeling like I am in the Twilight Zone. The whole idea of being in the hospital for my heart was surreal. I have no other way to describe it.

After a restless night sleep I am greeted by a nurse who wants to take my blood again. Then a few hours later I finally have the conversation with the cardiologist. Nice enough guy but not good news. He told me that they were going to schedule an angiogram for me on Monday and until then they are going to monitor me and continue to do blood tests. Uggh. As I am writing this I have had 12 pokes and I feel and look like a pin cushion. Even my daughter, Faith, was pointing at all my marks where they poked me and said “Daddy are those boo-boos?”

I saw the cardiologist again this morning (Sunday) and he had good news and bad news. Good news was that he did one of the many blood tests on me to see if I had a blood clot in my lungs. The test came back proving I didn’t [yeah]. The bad news was that means my issue was either a heart attack or a blockage in one of the arteries of my heart. He was leaning toward the blockage. But again this was an educated guess. The truth will be found when he does my angiogram. So I wait.

Here I am the night before my angiogram and sit here sharing with all of you my adventure so far. Please pray with me as I go into this procedure and try to be at peace.

One last thing, I was so blessed by so many amazing people during this ordeal, all the medical professionals (Patrice, Ashley, Blayne, Sophie, Patricia, Jan, Sheryl, Crista), my neighbour (Ryan) as he cleared our driveway with the help of one of my friends (Glen) from our small group who drove all the way from Brampton. Another neighbour (Michelle) who drove with De-Ann to go get the van from the daycare. Still more of our neighbours (Paul, John, Ryan) who helped De-Ann get through the snow to park the van. One of our special friends (Denita) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me in the hospital and ran around getting the van, my stuff, etc. Another one of our amazing friends (Glen & Nadine) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me today (Sunday). And of course all the staff (Deric, Max, DJ, Aaron, Donnette, Denita, Diane) at the church I work with, they have been so supportive and loving and shown me true care and love. And so great to have them all visit me this weekend. Not to mention all the amazing people at my church who called, emailed or texted me during this whole adventure. And continue to do so. And last but certainly not least my family, my Dad, sisters Joy and Linette and my brother Paul and Phil. And of course my own family, my two kids Faith and Shawn and my best friend in the world, love of my life and my Sweetie: De-Ann. I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife!

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February 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM 21 comments

Faith & Shawn’s dedication

This past Sunday we had the privilege of having our kids both dedicated by our church. Dedicated to God. Like Samuel was in 1 Samuel 1:20-26. It might seem weird having the kids dedication because they are a bit older than most kids usually dedicated. Most dedication are done after a few months of the child’s birth. But we wanted to wait for the final adoption of both kids. Faith, as you know, was adopted over 2 years ago but Shawn just joined our family last summer. However we had to wait until this May 2012 for him to officially become a DeGraaf.

Even though the kids were older than usual dedication candidates, we wanted to dedicated them to the Lord. Our pastor wanted to make the day very special so he to dedicated our whole family and celebrated the final adoption of both Faith and Shawn. He said very kind words and interacted with the kids as he shared with the congregation our story.

Usually our pastor has the parents stand on either side of him and one of the parents holds the baby, but because Faith and Shawn were much older he had them sit on either side of him and De-Ann and I sat beside the kids each. He even had a gift for each kid–mega blocks set. And a Bible with their names inscribed in them to commemorate this special day.

The kids were so good and Faith, of course, interacted with our pastor quite a bit. She even got the congregation laughing as she noticed the picture of her and Shawn on the big screen. She said “look, there’s me and Shawn!”

Afterwards many of the congregation members came up to say “congratulations” and give us hugs and love. So thankful for our church family. We felt so loved and accepted by them all.

Thankfully one of the young adults took a few pictures of us on the stage. He took them with his smartphone so the pictures are a bit blurry but you can see how much fun the kids were having.

November 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM 2 comments

Mommy, you stay home alone

My wife texted me this cute conversation Faith had with her on Sunday morning.

Faith: Mommy, you stay home alone. De-Ann: how are you going to get to church, are you going to walk? Faith: yes, you stay home. We’ll come after church. Then she turned to Shawn and said: Shawn we’re going to walk to church. Let’s get our shoes on.

De-Ann just laughed. And I did too, as I read her text.

June 4, 2012 at 7:48 PM Leave a comment

Denita

I wanted to take a few minutes to write a post about someone who has been so good to us as a family and never asked for anything in return. She is a close friend to us and especially Faith and Shawn, just like a Grandma. They love her so much and look forward to seeing her whenever she comes to visit, or when they see her at church.

By now you have guessed her name is Denita. For some of you, you have no idea who she is. And to the rest, who know Denita and see our kids interact with her, you already know what I am writing about is true.

I wanted to tell you about the first time Denita offered to take care of our kids and started a relationship with my family that will last forever–I’m sure of it. I remember Denita coming up to me and offering to babysit our kids because my Mom had just recently passed away and De-Ann’s Mom lives so far away. She wanted us to have a chance to get out for a date once and awhile to keep our relationship strong. She has never stopped offering. Along with her kids and one of Denita’s boy’s girlfriend we have had many chances to go on dates because so many people want to babysit our kids. We are so blessed.

Denita went above and beyond anything she has ever done this weekend. She offered to get the kids up and take them to church this morning so I could do my usual thing. As you probably know, I am a pastor, and Sunday is a work day for me so I needed to be at work early and leave late. So having Denita to take care of the kids most of the day until I got home was so helpful.

But check this out, she came over last night so I could put the car seats in her car. Then she came back the next morning, early, to wake the kids up, give them breakfast and bring them to the second service. Meanwhile I left for work, and didn’t have to worry about anything especially what to do with them while I was “working” that morning. I don’t consider what I do work, but it is my job. I love it BTW!

We are so blessed to have a friend like Denita. Words cannot express or thanks for who she is to our family and what she has done. We love you Denita!

May 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM Leave a comment

Day 75…1 Corinthians 9:7-18

1 Corinthians 9:7-18: Proper wages for Christian workers

Jesus said in Luke 10:7 that Christian workers deserve their wages and in this section Paul echoes this thought and urges the church to pay Christian workers that minister to the church–Pastors, elders and spiritual leaders.

v.7, This whole section is a continuation of Paul discussion about his apostleship that he and Barnabas were indeed apostles, even though they didn’t take advantage of the rights they deserved. Paul also made it clear in the list of questions that he asks that he is not above other apostles. They all, including him, have the right to be supported by the churches they serve. Just like a “soldier” has all his “expenses” covered by the military, and a “farmer” who plants a “vineyard” can enjoy the fruits from it. And a “shepherd fare for his flock of sheep” should be allowed to enjoy the “milk” from the sheep. All were cared for by their occupation. The same holds true for Christian workers they should be cared for by their congregation or church.

v.8-10, “Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing?” To most what Paul was saying made common sense from a human point of view, he even had Scripture (or the law) to back up his statement: “the law of Moses says” in Deuteronomy 25:4 “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” In those days grain was “threshed” by placing sheaves on a hard surface and having oxen pull a very heavy object back and forth over it. The law said that oxen should be allowed to eat some of the grain while they worked. The law made a very clear point, God’s people were to care for their animals by allowing their to eat while they worked. Paul asks “wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest.” In other words Christian workers deserve to be cared for by those they minister to–the congregation or the church.

v.11-12, Paul then uses the farming analogy to talk about “plant[ing] spiritual seed among” the people of Corinth. Those who planted this spiritual seed “aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink?” Again Paul drives the point across that those who laboured in planting spiritual should be compensated physically for what they did spiritually. Paul continues “if you support others who preach to you” most likely Apollos and Peter then those who brought the Gospel message to the Corinthian people and planted this church (Paul) should have “an even greater right to be supported.” But Paul chose to give up the right to be supported so that his being payed by the church would not be“an obstacle to the Good News about Christ.” Paul’s only reason for not accepting support from the churches he planted was he would not be an obstacle or some translations say “hinder.” This implies breaking up a road to prevent the enemy’s advance. Paul wanted to have a clear road for spreading the Good News or Gospel. He “put up with anything” [working two jobs] so that no unbeliever inquiring about Christianity would be put off by the financial obligation of supporting him as a missionary.

v.13, Paul gives two more examples of his right to receive support: “those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple” and “those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings.” Those who had “sacred jobs” received livelihood from their occupations. They did not have to go elsewhere to find food. It was part of the pay to receive a portion of the offering as their food. Both in Christian temples and pagan ones.

v.14, “In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.” Paul is probably referring to Luke 10:7 where those who benefit (congregation or church) from the preaching of the Gospel should support the preacher. This command allowed the preacher of the Gospel to focus entirely on preaching and the growth of the church and not to have to be concerned with making money.

v.15-17, Even though the churches were commanded to support God’s preachers and workers and they had a right to expect it, Paul chose to “never used any of these rights” at least in Corinth. Because he felt it would hinder the Gospel in that city. Maybe he felt by accepting money from the Corinthians would have caused some to think he was after money and not souls, that his motives were impure. Then he writes “I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact I would rather die than loose my right to boast about preaching without charge.” Paul wanted the Corinthians to know he would continue to preach the Gospel without expecting support, this was his “boast.” Even though Paul boasted in serving the Corinthian believers freely, he could not boast about what he did–preaching the Gospel. Paul was “compelled by God” or called by God, to preach the Gospel. Paul then said “how terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News!” Some translation use “woe” which refers to an undescribed calamity that would happen to him if he stopped preaching the Gospel. However the reason Paul continued to preach was not because something terrible would happen to him but because “I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust” Paul saw his call from God to be a sacred trust so he had no choice but to freely serve God as an apostle / preacher without expecting payment.

v.18, “What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.” Paul’s pay or reward was preaching the Gospel without financial support so that the Gospel would not be hindered. His reward was being able to show genuine love and concern for the Corinthian believers.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Instead of giving my opinion because this topic is so close to me being I am a full-time pastor, I want to quote something I found in a commentary about his passage that I agree with:

“These verses concerning Paul’s rights and the church’s responsibility have a two-part challenge for the church today. First, the church must support its workers in a fair and equitable way. That is the church’s responsibility. It can research pay scales, examine the standard of living in its community, and do what is right and fair. Second, Christian workers must not let their attitude about pay and benefits hinder the Gospel. It is too easy to desire for more pay to enter into a person’s mind and distract from serving. Ministers need Paul’s attitude: I have not used any of these right.” — Life Application Bible Commentary.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  I think the thing I took away from today’s study is as a pastor I should not focus on pay or be distracted by it so much so that my ministry and caring of the Saints gets affected. I know that there have been times when we were living from pay cheque to pay cheque were I was very much distracted. Worrying about how we were going to pay rent, etc. But thankfully at my current position I am being taken care of. Yes, I am human, I do think about how we are going to pay for this or that, but I don’t allow it to distract away from my true calling–teaching and caring for the Saints.

March 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM Leave a comment

Our “extended family”

We were on the way home from daycare and Faith asks “we going to church, Daddy?” I told her we weren’t going until Sunday. Then I counted the days out for her so she would understand how far away that was. Then I told her “that’s four days, Baby.”

Then Faith said “four days, Daddy?” I said “yes, Baby.” Then Faith said “See David?” I laughed and said “yes.” Then Shawn piped up and said “Wini!” which is the way he says Rini, another member of our “extended family.” I asked both kids “who else are you going to see at church?” Faith said “Becky” I asked who else and eventually they named off the other members (Joel & Denita) that is after Faith mentioned David’s name 2 or 3 times. She just adores David!

This family (the Penner’s) means so much to us and especially to Faith and Shawn. They have adopted the Penners and the Penners have adopted our kids.

March 14, 2012 at 7:24 PM Leave a comment


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