Sunday, May 27, 2012

Guard your Head.

On Wednesday the 23rd I hit my head pretty hard while showering. I had just set the shampoo on the floor, then stood up to quickly, bashing my head against the metal soap rack. Previous to this moment in time I was feeling the stress of the end of the semester pushing down on me, but had a decent plan to get through. When I hit my head, I remained standing, closed my eyes and just focused on breathing. I stayed conscious and thought I was doing alright until the shower basin went red with blood. The cut wasn’t that intense but the effects of the initial impact have continued onto this present day. Thursday I went to class but couldn’t concentrate. Studying in the library was useless so I decided to head home. On Friday, I tried to start fresh again but was met with a huge road block of not being able to focus at all, leading me to huge frustration. I was urged to go into the emergency room (because it’s free) just to get checked out. I was treated for mild concussion and given a tetanus shot for the metal rack that impaled my head.

In all of this you have to find some amount of humor though. I mean, really- I have survived some pretty fantastic things all over the world to only then get nearly taken out by a soap holder. Hopefully in two weeks or so this will be even funnier to me.

From the doctors office I went to a church event, made it through just fine, had a good sleep that night and then tried to study again on Saturday. That was to much to ask. I ended up going home disheartened and exhausted. I just slept. On this day though, when I check my bank account, it happened to be $2,200 NZD larger than when I checked it previously as someone had made a huge contribution to my education. In the midst of the frustration from the head trauma and inability to concentrate, I knew God was there, still blessing me and affirming that Laidlaw is where I need to be. I can excitedly say that with my summer savings and that contribution, I’m halfway towards studying next semester… but now back to the present.

I was nearly overwhelmed with study before, but now I can’t do what I need to do on the timetable I was working under. I was able to sleep for huge chunks of time on Saturday and Sunday but I feel I'm in the same spot. Today is Monday and I feel as if I’m completely hungover with a constant dull headache (sensitive to light, sound, stimuli). It’s very hard to read or focus and what I read is not readily retained. I have talked with student services and my teachers and they are willing to work with me. This has been tough and frustrating as I fear longer term issues? I have decided to give up contact sports as they don’t sit in my long term plans and I’m really praying that God would heal me of this haze. I honestly thought it was going to be minor, done with over the weekend. I’m not tripping over my words or unable to communicate but I know something is a bit off. I would really love your prayers right now.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Journey of Tiffany Manning

Howdy all, this is a medical update from my friend Tiffany Manning, who was building for the Kingdom in Papua New Guinea with New Tribes Missions. She taught there on base for nearly 2 years when she came down with a strange illness. This is her story.



Tiff says: "If you’re around the Port Angeles area and would like to hear more about what He’s done in PNG this year, I will be sharing at Independent Bible Church on Sunday, June 17th during the Sunday School hour (9:30-ish/9:45-ish am)."

Medical Journey
Whew!  I don’t even know where to begin…words fail to express the greatness of our God throughout the past 5 months.  To sum up, starting January 7th, 2012, I started having horrendous headaches that nothing would relieve.  I was exhausted all the time, sleeping 10-12 hrs. a night, taking naps during the day, all of that just to literally survive.  Towards the end of Jan. my vision started to go blurry/foggy.  My last Tome was back in Feb. as I was about to fly to the mainland of PNG to see a doctor on the main NTM support center.  I stayed there for 5 weeks, numerous medical tests, blood tests that were sent to Australia for more tropical disease processing, x-rays of my head, every pain-relieving medication available, an eye Dr. appointment in Town, and after all of that, no relief and no answers.  Well, we found out a lot of things I didn’t have!  But no answers for what was causing these ailments.  God provided SO much during that time, fabulous families to stay with, wonderful doctors and medical staff, incredible friends, and encouraging notes and prayers from around the world.  Special thanks to the Bowers’, the Tallman’s, the Martens’, & the Stephens’ for their hospitality & help!  For more details about God’s greatness during that time, check out my blog:

Some great friends I had the pleasure of meeting while at HQ for medical

What did no-answers mean?  The doctors did everything they could, but with the limited medical technology in PNG it meant I had to go back home to the States.  March 22ndI said good-bye to PNG.  I praise God that He put me on the same flights going from PNG to Brisbane, Australia as a Dr. and his wife who came to serve in PNG for a few weeks.  The Lord also provided me with a place to rest with some great friends in New Zealand.  I was blessed to reunite with some dear friends from home, David & Lauren Piper, as well as reconnect with some great people I met when I stopped over in NZ 2 years ago on my way to PNG for the first time.  While I was in NZ new symptoms started to appear, including fever, chills, aching spine/neck.  The worst was the last night I was in NZ, I felt horrible.  It was suggested that I go to the hospital, but I knew I had to be on a flight to the States the next day.  Some friends gathered to pray for me, and I’m very thankful to report that the next morning I felt SO much better and was able to get on my flight to the US.  I’m SO thankful for the time in NZ, it was restful, encouraging, and definitely physically needed because I couldn’t have made the long trip across the ocean without the rest in NZ.  A special thanks to the Piper’s, Gordan’s, Quirke’s, and Roland for their hospitality!

One Tree Hill with Lauren & David!
Tuesday, March 27th I was reunited with my family in WA!  Praise God!  I have never been so happy to touch ground in Seattle, thankful that I didn’t have to get on another plane (flying in my condition was NOT pleasant; it literally felt as if my brain was going to explode).   Friday that week I had an appointment with a Dr. at an infectious disease clinic in Seattle.  Praising God that the CT scan of my head came back CLEAR!  No masses in my brain!  YAY!  Amidst all of the various blood tests done that day (they took 17 tubes of blood), only 1 came back positive….MALARIA.  It was quite a shock since I’d been taking a prophylaxis to prevent malaria for the 2 years I was in PNG, not to mention the 2 malaria tests I’d had since Jan. that both showed up negative.  So I started the treatment course and my fevers, chills and body aches subsided after a few days.  Those were literally the most painful days of my life, 104 temperature, nausea, etc., so I was MUCH relieved when I got over the worst of malaria – praise God!  I was still suffering from headaches, fatigue and some vision issues, but I was home, and thankful for being alive and with my family.

Passion Week, the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday, I couldn’t have been more blessed to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus than I was this year!  Wednesday of Passion Week some friends called because they wanted to pray for me, so I went to their house for an evening of prayer.  Throughout that evening the Lord relieved a specific spot on my head that had been hurting throughout this whole venture.  It was if a spear had been removed from my head and I had instant relief.  Needless to say we were all praising the Lord for His healing mercies that evening!  That spot has not hurt since.  I attended a Good Friday service that week.  Some friends prayed for me after the service as my vision had still been bugging me (as if I was looking through fog).  We were reminded of how Jesus healed a blind man with spit and clay.  While they were praying, one of my friends licked her thumbs and touched and my eyelids.  The instant she touched them it was as if an opaque lens lifted from my eyes.  I have not experienced the foggy vision since – praise God Almighty!  The next night (April 7, my sister's birthday : ) I went to the Saturday worship service my church had and again, after the service the Lord laid it on the hearts of some friends to pray for me.  I was still having some of the weird headaches that had been there since the beginning.  My friends prayed Psalm 91 over me, while they were my headache shifted from the back of my head to my forehead.  They prayed Psalm 18 over me next and throughout that scripture the headache left.  Praise the Lord!!  I have not experienced any of these ailments since!  What a spectacular way to celebrate our risen Savior, healed, pain-free!

He has risen!  Easter with my family : )

There has been LOTS of praising God going on around here to say the least.  It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I realized how sick I was, because I was feeling SO much better and more like my usual, spunky, energetic, joyful-self.  In the 3 specific areas mentioned above, I am 100%, thank You Jesus!  I am still not 100% when it comes to my energy.  The Dr.’s have said that since I was sick for so long, it’s going to take a few months before I feel base-line “normal” again.  All of the other tests from Seattle came back negative, so the Dr. was suspecting it was malaria the whole time.  I have no idea if it was malaria since Jan., but the Lord was in control the whole time and He’s brought me home.  The past week I started “doing” more things, like helping plan and bake cakes/cupcakes for my nephew’s 1st birthday (YAY!), my grandparents were visiting, looking into teaching jobs, getting things ready for Mother’s Day, etc. and that all was apparently more than I could handle (or my immune system is super weak) as Sunday I wasn’t able to keep any food down & have been exhausted, but I’m trying to stay hydrated and listening to the Lord for wisdom on how to recover.  There are so many miraculous things the Lord has done, so many blessings He’s poured out upon me.  He IS a God who answers prayers – THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!  He has answered our prayers and brought about healing!!

Logan's 1st Birthday!

What Now?
Will I go back to PNG?  In short, I have no idea what’s next, except that the Lord has brought me home.  He’s laid it on my heart to be home for a while.  I’m currently trying to get my Washington teacher certification (I’m certified in Idaho) and am looking for teaching jobs around my hometown area.  This was the end of my two-year commitment in PNG, this was definitely not how I intended to leave, but the Lord has better plans than we could even imagine (I don’t know what those are yet, but He’s in control).   What’s happening with the students in PNG?  When I left Hoskins in mid-February the parents stepped-up to take my classes, I’m so thankful! It’s been an emotionally tough road as I’ve been walking with the Lord through processing all of this, but His Word is truth & His fingerprints are all over.  I'm so thankful for my family and for a fabulous group of women who've been walking through this transitional time with me.   I cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers!  I’m sorry for having such a long delay between Tomes, but hope that the awesome work of God has left you encouraged and in awe of what He does!  I cannot thank you enough for your prayers – it’s been His answers to so many prayers that have literally kept me alive – praise Him!

Praising Him,
Tiff : )

“Give thanks to the Lordand proclaim His greatness.  Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises.  Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. Exult in His holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lordand for His strength; continually seek Him. 5Remember the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the rulings He has given.” – Psalm 105:1-5

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Happy Mothers Day.

Greetings from Auckland, friends and family. Since I last wrote things have been good. One of the largest obstacles as of recently was how to divide the JH and HS youth that have been together since they were young. Leadership at church decided that the HS aged students should be participating and staying in the main service (This is common practice in NZ). This was met with frustration by the students, but the potential situation was handled well. Today the dust has settled and life + ministry have been ticking along. It’s neat to see the youth group grow as we become more inclusive of the community we represent and less Caucasian. There have been some positive developments surrounding the students from the community that the church is working with, as we seek to provide them with the hope that is found in Jesus.

Just over two weeks ago I had the opportunity to hang out with folks with all types of disabilities at Baptist camp that took place over a 3 day weekend. For me it was reminiscent of Guatemala and the situation provided new joys and challenges. This experience helped to shape my sermon on Mark 5 last Sunday where I addressed very real pains associated to a world that groans for the return of Christ. At the camp I had the chance to ‘buddy’ up with a incredible guy named Mark and assist him with his daily ventures. I use incredible in the sense beyond his intrinsic value as a image bearer, but as a man who genuinely loves Jesus and people. He supports 5 more compassion children than I do by selling chocolate locally on a street near his house. To be clear, I support none and was humbled by his expression of faith. At various points in the day I was able to reflect on a loving creator in light of current suffering, engaging in dialogue with exhausted family members that are taking care of their disabled love ones. Sobering and brilliant at the same time.

Above: Mark asked me to take this photo, in this particular way, with him. He is disabled from the neck down using the microphone looking thing as a joystick to navigate his chair. 

At the end of this semester, I will be in my senior year at Laidlaw with just two semesters left. The time here has been deeply formational to my faith (and painful). Through trials, the roots of my joy have surged deeper still, grounded in Gods revealed love for myself and all his children. This is unparalleled with any other time in my life. Plans that I hold to loosely post Laidlaw are beginning to materialize and I feel a certain measure of unrest that is much different from my deep struggle to persevere through study as an act of worship during my first months at school. My unrest comes from a fire in my heart to apply the things I have learned which has only grown, but the understanding that my time here is not complete and I must wait. I want to tackle issues like false theologies and interpretations of our scriptures that hinder justice and life to the full, but I also need to pass Greek exams. -Insert Piper laugh here-  This is the tension of where I find myself. Life has taught me to enjoy where I’m at currently but if I was honest with myself I might need to re-realize that again. These are good days.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you to all the Mothers who poured themselves into the shaping of their children in sacrificial love. It really does make a difference even if you can’t see it now.


One of my top five favorite musicians shares his testimony.