“Bear one another’s burdens,

and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

~Galatians 6:2~

Pray as the swine flu continues to spread. Pray for wisdon as decisions are made concerning preparations, closures, and treatment. Pray for each person to act responsibly so this problem does not get worse than it already is.

Pray for Wanzie Williams. She fell and injured her shoulder while in New York with family and will have surgery at Our Lady of the Lake this afternoon.

Also, pray for Tracy Williams who will have surgery at Tulane today.

Mrs. Lois Bridges passed on a request for prayer for a four year old who is in Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. Haley Melder, who is Bob Pezant’s great granddaughter, the granddaughter of Arnold and Gwen Pezant, and the daughter of Erin is undergoing tests to diagnose her problem.

Jimmy and Retia Dukes

the hospital hokey pokey
Jen and I were riding through Orlando a few years back, and we saw (in my opinion) the funniest bumper sticker in the history of bumper stickers (and bumpers, for that matter). It simply said:

“What if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?”

Fortunately for all of us, it ISn’t what it’s all about. But with Mom and Dad in two different locations now, it sure seems like it. I put one foot in and then take it right back out and turn myself around to cross the Huey P Long Bridge or the Crescent City Connection (whichever one looks clearer traffic-wise on Google Maps) to head to the other hospital. It’s fun! If you haven’t been on the Huey P lately and you are in need of growing in patience or getting over a fear of heights, I steadfastly and highly recommend it.

Enough of all that nonsense. How are Mom and Dad?

Well, I have to say I am super excited about the progress Mom seems to be making. I continue to remind myself that this will be a long road of recovery for Mom, but every little improvement seems like such a HUGE step when we’ve watched her endure the stillness of a coma.

Yesterday morning, after I posted the Caring Bridge post, I headed to see Mom. I was there for over two hours. During that time, she was awake for a sum total of over an hour!!! When I say awake, I mean eyes open and at least looking around. Still kind of in and out sleeping, but interactive.

I reminded her what was going on (why she is in the hospital). I assured that Dad is doing well. I told her about Erik and Erin and the boys. I told her about Jen and Caleb and the girls and me. I told her about people praying for her all over everywhere. I told her that she had been in a coma for 3 weeks. She got a little emotional at that – tearing up and sobbing / coughing a bit.

I began to ask her a series of various questions. Did she remember anything about the accident? She shook her head no. Did she remember listening to music while she was in a coma? She nodded yes. Did she remember me playing for her Caleb and Katey and Abby singing “My God Is So Big?” She nodded yes. Was she hurting anywhere? She shook her head no. Did she like my beard (I asked that again, because a few of my friends back in Orlando texted me yesterday teasing about whether Mom liked it or not)? She nodded YES – there you go guys! Did she remember my birthday? She nodded yes, but when I gave her some multiple choice, she didn’t get it. Today she did, though. She just needed to sleep on it.

If you didn’t notice in that last paragraph, I mentioned that Mom shook her head no. She had not done that yet to me. So that’s a first and a positive sign. Before I headed over to see Dad, I told her how much I loved her and was so proud of her for how well she was doing and how beautiful she was. She mouthed back, “I love you.”

Today, Mom had several treatments and tests and lots of visitors. She interacted with all of them in some way. A nod of the head. An attempt to mouth something. Open eyes looking around.

They did another CT today. There’s something going on there for them to do another one so close to the one they did Monday. I haven’t gotten the answer on it yet, but I will let you know when I do. I asked Erik to call, too. He understands all that stuff much better, obviously. Please keep praying.

Dad had a great day both yesterday and today. He is doing especially well as I type this. We were about to dive into some amazing dumplins when a friend called and said he was bringing us something. He is bringing us take-out from a local French restaurant. The special tonight is scallops. I am not eating that, but of course Dad is. I ordered butternut squash soup and some salmon.

It was a tough choice. One of our family friends who is an amazing cook brought us two containers of chicken and dumplins. Her dumplins are something special, I tell you. Really, really, really, really good. When the other friend called to tell me the special at the French place (that’s French for “place”) was scallops and he wanted to bring Dad some, I said go ahead. I know how amazing those dumplins are, and since they are in containers I refrigerated them for Dad to have for lunch tomorrow. That’ll be good and give him something culinarily exquisite to look forward to midday tomorrow after therapy.

Besides food, which is a big deal in New Orleans, Dad is really doing well. He is dressed today in a brand new New Orleans Hornets T-Shirt (to commemorate their 58 point loss and hopefully a win tonight) and a brand new pair of Mickey Mouse pajama pants (to commemorate missing Orlando – picture attached I caught while he was napping).

Therapy was tough on him this morning, but he is making progress. He told me his legs were really sore, which is a good thing. His wrist hurt a lot today. They will assess it in two weeks and then, more than likely, do surgery to repair it. The skin will be good and healed by that point.

Please keep praying for logistics to work out favorably. We are trusting the Lord on all that for sure and doing due diligence as needed (along with the help of Uncle Danny, our friend Don, and the Seminary leaders). We should know more in the coming week.

Well, Dad’s scallops just arrived. The dumplins are labeled and secure in the pantry fridge just down the hall. Gonna enjoy a meal with my Dad. Thanks Don and Joyce for a great supper and lunch, respectively. Very thankful that I am able to be here with Dad and enjoy this meal.

I really miss Jen and the kids. BIG TIME. I will fly home again Friday. Erik will be down this weekend. Looking forward to seeing him before I fly out.

Please, please pray for our close friend Becky and her Dad – Mr. Harry. He recovered from cancer a few years ago, but this past Sunday he let his family know the cancer was back. It seems to be far-reaching. He is getting a second opinion on what to do. You may remember Chris from an earlier post – the one who drove with me all night to New Orleans the night of the accident. Well, Mr. Harry is his father-in-law. Please pray for Mr. Harry and his wife Mrs. Dale and Chris and Becky and their three kids at this time. The effective prayer of the righteous accomplishes much, as James wrote. Your prayers would mean so much to them.

Looking forward to seeing how Mom interacts tomorrow. Looking forward to the drive between hospitals. I have more voice mails than I know what to do with, so I use that time to attempt to return them. They keep stacking up. Thanks for being patient with me on that stuff.

Very thankful for all of you. Very thankful. Post with you tomorrow.

Erich Bridges
Outlaws at sea, chaos ashore

Listen to an audio version of this post at

Those pirates tormenting ships off the coast of Somalia are no isolated band of cutthroats on an otherwise placid horizon.

They represent what author William Langewiesche calls the “outlaw sea” — global coastlines and deep waters increasingly plagued by buccaneers, hijackers, drug runners, smugglers and terrorists.

In his 2004 book of the same name (“The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime,” North Point Press), Langewiesche explored the vast expanses of blue. It’s a place where hundreds of pirate attacks occur each year from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean, where thousands of unsafe, unregulated merchant ships sail the globe under so-called “flags of convenience” to mask their origins and owners. This region beyond nations, which covers three-quarters of the earth’s surface, is a “reminder of the world as it was before, but also quite possibly … a harbinger of a larger chaos to come,” Langewiesche observed.

What “larger chaos”? The Somali pirates reflect what’s happening on dry land: “Failed states” continue to threaten not only their own people but the peoples and nations around them.

Somalia is the poster child for “failed states.” It fragmented more than 20 years ago amid clan wars. No stable national government exists. The chaos has sent throngs of refugees fleeing into other countries, subjected those who stayed behind to terrible suffering at the hands of thugs and warlords — and attracted foreign terrorists looking for bases of operation.

There are worse things than bad government. Anarchy, for instance. Ask the Somalis. Ask the people who endure seemingly endless violence in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan, in particular, teeters on the edge of instability as radical Islamists wield expanding influence. Its neighbor and longtime enemy, India, watches with growing alarm.

“As much as India fears Pakistan, it fears Pakistan’s collapse even more,” reports Robert D. Kaplan in The Atlantic magazine. “The threat of Islamic anarchy in the region is perfectly suited to the further consolidation of Hindu nationalism.” Hindu nationalism, in turn, increases extremism and violence against millions of Muslims and Christians in India.

Everything is connected in a globalized, essentially borderless world. The current global economic crisis proves that proposition beyond reasonable doubt. That’s why Christians in safe, quiet places should be concerned about “failed states” and chaotic areas within states. Not only do they destabilize whole regions and cause massive human suffering, they directly affect the church and the transmission of the Gospel.

Many unreached and unevangelized people live within unstable nations and regions. Reaching them with the message of God’s love becomes all the more difficult where chaos reigns. Missionaries who set out to work in such places often never reach their destination because of risks and barriers. If they do get there, they may find themselves targeted as easy prey. Or, they may be unable to minister effectively because of ongoing danger and disorder.

Believers living in chaotic places also are vulnerable to violence and persecution. However, like the early Christians who evangelized the known world amid a crumbling empire, they find many opportunities to minister to desperate people and guide them toward Christ, the only true source of peace.

People who flee chaos for freer, more peaceful areas often encounter the Gospel for the first time. Somali Muslims who might have faced instant martyrdom for seeking Christ in their homeland can learn about Him elsewhere.

More than 150,000 Somalis have streamed into the city of London as refugees and asylum seekers since the early 1990s. They remain clan-oriented, wary of outsiders and strongly Muslim. However, they are finding friends among London Christians who help them with education, finding jobs and recovering from the traumas they have experienced.

Farah,* a respected leader in London’s Somali community, has a close Christian friend. Farah hasn’t decided whether to follow Christ as Lord, but he believes all Somalis should have the right to understand and freely choose their own religious beliefs.

“This is a man of influence, a man of peace, a man who desires to see better days for his people” wherever they are, says his Christian friend. One day, Farah hopes to return to his homeland and help rebuild it.

One way or another, God reigns over all nations — even the failed ones.

(Reblogged from World View Conversation)
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor
I SAW THIS sign at a gas station while I was traveling…
It made me think about instances when I’ve had to deal with “gunky build-up” in my life. For me, gunky build-up occurs when I let less important stuff squeeze out the real priorities in my life. Maybe you’ve experienced it too:
. Sometimes I believe the lie that I can’t afford to take a break and rest. The reality is that I’m far less effective in my family and leadership roles when I’m tired and grumpy.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that I’ll spend quality time with my wife at the end of the day after everything else is done. The reality is that the last things on my priority list rarely get done.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that I’ll get to the next big projects after I knock out the more routine tasks. The reality is that there will always be other routine tasks to complete.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that the more I do, the more valuable I am to the team. The reality is that I’m not being effective if I’m busy doing the wrong things.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that the little problem I have isn’t jeopardizing my leadership. The reality is that most times everyone else is already being impacted by my little problem.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that I need to correct every false statement and negative comment. The reality is that many times those faint voices become a distraction when I draw attention and make them loud.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that goals will be accomplished without a plan if I’m just patient and faithful. The reality is that most goals worth pursuing require counsel and strategy and hard work and commitment.
. Sometimes I believe the lie that I need to jump at a good opportunity. The reality is that someone will always have a good opportunity for me to pursue, and many times those good opportunities squeeze out time and energy needed to fulfill a greater mission and calling.
Do you know that I’m talking about? Have you dealt with similar cases of gunky build-up? I’m still trying to learn how to deal with this, but along the way I’ve also learned some preventive maintenance that helps clean up my engine. Here are some things I’ve learned I need to do to “de-gunk” my life:
. Schedule my week in advance, including scheduling time to work on major projects.
. Prioritize time with my wife.
. Surround myself with friends who will push back when needed.
. Stay disciplined about my faith, my exercise, and my eating habits.
. Learn to say no.
. Decide in advance what I hope to accomplish.
So is it time for you to stop the gunky build-up in your life? Now is the time to do something about it. Don’t delay. (Tony Morgan)
“But one thing is needed…” (Luke 10:42).

“. . . I . . . do not cease to give thanks for you,
making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
~Ephesians 1:16-17~

Anna Lee

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