Dearest Ones In Christ,
Warm greetings in Christ from sunny California! We pray and hope this email finds you well and prospering–even as your souls prosper and are in good health, 3 John 2.
This is Julie typing for Dennis. You may not have heard, but we would like to bring you up to date regarding what the Lord has graciously and marvelously done for us during this past month. On the morning of March 18th, Dennis was admitted to one of the best hospitals in Sacramento for what was to be a relatively routine cervical spine repair surgery. He expected to spend only one night in observation and come home the following day. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. As the neurosurgeon said, “It was a perfect storm.” Dennis developed major post operative complications. In the early morning hours of March 19th, the increasing swelling in his neck was so severe that it compressed his trachea, pushed it to the side of his neck, cutting off his oxygen, and he stopped breathing. During the “code blue” he was without oxygen, by conservative estimates, for ten minutes at least, perhaps even fifteen. He was placed on full life support in the ICU (intensive care unit), and was later taken back into surgery. His prognosis was very poor–the top neurologists and neurosurgeons from San Francisco and in Sacramento predicted permanent brain injury, with pneumonia and other complications. Our family members were all called in and they traveled to Sacramento to pay their respects and help comfort me (Julie).
Immediately following the code blue, I (Julie) called the Bristleys and Sardar and Anila Din and asked them to begin praying. The Bristleys, as you may recall, lost their eldest son 17 years ago to a lightening strike; before he died, they spent months in an ICU at his bedside. I knew they would understand my grief. I telephoned Sardar for two reasons: #1) Dennis loves him like a father, and #2) Sardar is the mightiest prayer warrior I have ever met; I wanted Sardar to pray for Dennis because the Lord has answered many of Sardar’s “impossible” prayers over the decades we’ve known him. I know the Lord’s ear is open to his cries, so I wanted him praying for my husband! As well, the call for prayer went out to hundreds of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the United States and around the world. The call for prayer went out to hundreds of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the United States and around the world. Hundreds, if not thousands, of prayers were offered on Dennis’ behalf. To most observers, we probably looked ridiculous, praying for healing and restoration for a man who was deemed to spend the rest of his life (if he survived the pneumonia and trauma of a very difficult intubation during the code) in a permanent vegetative state or “unresponsive wakefulness” as it is called. But God had other plans for His servant.
Dennis remained in the ICU for seven days. Our family came and remained constantly at his bedside. Many of our Christian friends came also. We knelt at his bedside and often prayed that the Lord would raise him up, to once again declare God’s praise in the assembly of His people, Psalm 107:42. To our deepest joy, and to the many intensive care doctors’ and specialists’ surprise (and contrary to their predictions), the Lord mercifully heard the prayers of his saints. As one Christian brother said, “God trumps man’s reality.” Our God, who can move mountains, has seen fit to heal Dennis and restore him to health. Amazingly, neurologically he is completely intact. He is struggling only with minor balance and swallowing issues. Dennis was transferred to a rehabilitation institute for nine days of intensive therapy. He came home last Friday, and has visiting nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists who come to our house every day. The doctors are anticipating a full and complete recovery by June, if not sooner.
And best of all, Dennis is eagerly looking forward to continuing to serve the Lord in missions. In December, after much prayer and council, he announced his decision to step down from the full time pastoral ministry here in the church at Grass Valley, California, so that he can devote himself to working in foreign missions–where his heart has been for many years. The last four weeks have been life changing, life altering for us and our family. We thank God for a new beginning, and a new opportunity to serve Him. It is with deep gratitude that we offer our heartfelt praise and thanksgiving to “…the Lord, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:4-5).
We hope this brings you up to date, and that you will praise God with us for His kindness to us and our family. May God bless and keep you. We keep you and our brothers and sisters in the RCUS in our fervent prayers,
Sola Deo Gloria,
Dennis (and Julie)