1 Peter 4:10
While many of you were enjoying much deserved time off for the Memorial Day holiday, Nellie and the GOW crew was busy doing “God’s work.”
The latest mission had us flying to Orlando, Florida to pick up our brother in Christ, John.
John P. is a 79 year old retired minister and father of two daughters who, like typical “snow birds”, preferred spending his winters in Florida with his wife and then returning north to Indiana for the summer months.
John was originally from Ohio and upon completion of seminary God led him to Ft. Myers, FL to lead a congregation there. Soon after his move, that’s when he realized the benefits of the mild Florida winters. John became widowed in 1980, and shortly thereafter God, in his infinite wisdom, set another plan into motion. He called John to be the pastor of a Christian church in Sullivan, IN. Reluctantly, yet obediently to God, he left his family and long time friends behind and moved to Indiana. There he met his current wife who sang in the church choir, who indecently, was also widowed her self. They were married in 1984.
Their lives went on in the small Sullivan county town as John continued to serve as the Pastor. After many dedicated years in the pulpit, John and his wife felt that it was time to retire from the ministry and to travel and enjoy life as retired couples do. Without hesitation John knew he wanted to return to Florida. They purchased a home 30 miles north of Orlando in the town of Deltona, FL, and as I stated earlier, resided there each winter.
On March 27th of this year, just before John and his wife were going to return to Indiana, he suffered a major stroke. The stroke left John without the use of the left side of his body and also rendered him aphasic, the inability to speak.
John spent several weeks in the local hospital and then was transferred to the Deltona Healthcare extended care facility. Unfortunately, John had several “rebound” admissions back to the hospital for various ailments related to his condition with each one seeming a little more severe than the last.
With his Hoosier family wanting to return him home to aid in his care and with the healing power of God, it was finally determined that John was stable enough to be transferred back to Sullivan, but how?
One of his daughters, Sandy, who flew back with us on Monday, began the ardent search for means to get her father safely back to Indiana the quickest and most economically way possible. She researched the usual methods and became discouraged at the enormous fees that other like services required for transportation.
On May 26th she contacted the Angel Flight organization, but was disheartened to find out that Angel Flight patients must be ambulatory, knowing that her father relied on total care for even the basic life functions. During her conversation with Angel Flight, GOW was mentioned and they gave her the web address. She was elated! That sounded just like what she and John needed. She later told us being at the hospital with her father at the time and without internet access that she frantically “called all over the United States” to family members trying to find someone who was home and had the internet that could hurry and search for a contact number. At last, she had the GOW number and called and talked to Hal.
She talked at length with Hal and was surprised to hear that GOW could come and get her father “the very next day!” Perfect” she thought, however, in a twist of fate while she was talking to Hal on the phone John had a 12 beat run of Ventricular Tachycardia (irregular heartbeat). The admitting physician at the hospital didn’t feel comfortable releasing John to fly and cancelled the transport and ordered a cardiology consult and was later transferred back to Deltona Healthcare Facility.
Finally, with all the medical barriers conquered, my nursing partner Teresa, our observer Marcus who happen to be Teresa’s son and me, along with Hal and Mike in the front, flew down Monday morning to Sanford International Airport in Orlando under perfect flight conditions. Upon landing and after a short ambulance ride to Deltona, we arrived to meet John and his blended family.
The return flight to Terre Haute was equally ideal thanks to GOD and the skills and abilities of Hal and Mike. John’s vitals were stable and he rested comfortably for us the entire trip back to Indiana and 45 minutes after landing we had John tucked into his new home at Miller’s Merry Manor in Sullivan. His daughter Sandy was moved to tears as we traded hugs, well wishes and our good-byes.
I must admit, it was a long, extremely hot and physically tiring day, yet, retrospectively I could not have fathomed a better way to spend an observed holiday by serving a fellow brother in Christ and his family in need, and joyfully doing “God’s work!”
For HIS glory,
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