The Wait

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, “Wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

“I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

“You’d never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.

“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait.”

Oh, how this so perfectly describes my anxious heart not wanting to be still! I’ve been praying and asking and seeking. I’ve pleaded with the Lord to show me where He’s leading.  I’ve gotten frustrated that I’m seemingly forgotten. But He hasn’t forgotten. Oh restless, impatient, forgetful heart be still! Knowing the Giver is infinitely greater than knowing the gift.

Places

‎”The hardest places to leave are the places God leads us to. Because those are the places where you are shaped and molded into a new person. Those are the places where your heart expands, your minds open to new perspectives, and your eyes begin to really see.” –Environments of Grace

My focus was so narrow before Iraq, I wasn’t able to see how much bigger the world was than my itty bitty bubble of a life. My world centered around me, my private school education, my “faith” based pedastool and my yearning to be perceived as a “good” Christian girl. I had no idea my perspective was so off. I loved the Lord; I loved people; I loved serving. I really thought I had it figured out. I thought I knew what it was to be a Christian; I thought I truly knew what it meant to follow after Him.

But I didn’t.

I made things so complicated when it came to Faith. I was a Pharisee, putting so many rules and restrictions on what being a Christian was suppose to look like. In my naivety, a person of faith was suppose to look a certain way, walk and talk a certain way. I condemned those, though not realizing it, for not fitting into my guidelines. The qualities I attributed as necessities of walking with Christ had WAY more to do with my West Texas-itty bitty bubble of a culture and WAY less to do with what it means to follow Christ. It’s like a veil was taken off my eyes and I realized how much more complicated I was making things than what God had intended.

Living overseas taught me how to love people better, even when they’re difficult to love. It taught me how to live in community instead of pushing away when things get difficult. It made me realize that others think and view things completely different based on where they’ve been. And that understanding the way a person thinks and views life is the key to helping them understand the love of Christ. It made me not want to settle into a normal life living the American dream. And it made the old aspirations of what I thought I wanted in life dim in comparison to how HE could use my life. Living in Iraq made me realize how crucial it is to depend on the Lord and yearn after Him and how scary it is when you don’t.

I DEFINITELY haven’t arrived. If anything I’ve realized now how much I will never completely understand about the Lord this side of heaven. How much I have to be dependent on Him because I know absolutely nothing.

There are days I miss that country so much I can barely breathe. My six months in Iraq were HARD. That time was exhausting. Painful. Draining. Stretching. Uncomfortable. Maturing. Humbling. Joyful. Exciting. Revealing. And full.   I’m humbled that God was so incredibly gracious enough to me to take me half way around the world to shape and mold me into a new person, expand my mind to new perspectives, and open my eyes so that I may see. How great is the Father’s love that He would take me halfway around the world so that I can know Him better?!?

Simply amazing.

Hours to go

… until I leave this country that I have come to love.
This country and culture that is oddly somewhat normal to me now.
It doesn’t seem real, feels like pretend.

The past several days have been full of goodbyes. I hate them. Somehow there aren’t adequate words to depart from a friend turned family member whom I might never see again.

I feel numb towards it all. I’m not sure what else I can say and so I will leave you with a handful of ‘good-bye’ pictures:

With Shohan and Angel in our 'maxi' dresses

Braiding Emma's hair on Thanksgiving morning

Braiding Emma's hair on Thanksgiving morning

With Nageen (left) and her sister at a cafe

With Nageen (left) and her sister at a cafe

Sweet Suzan

Sweet Suzan

Trehan and Aria - a PLC kid

Trehan and Aria - a PLC kid

Brooke

Brooke

Samana and her 3 month baby Tnook

Samana and her 3 month baby Tnook

Kanar - the hardest good-bye is yet to come

Kanar - the hardest good-bye is yet to come

Hopefully these photos can describe what i’m at a loss for words to say. (A picture says a thousand of them right?)

There are so many more stories to tell. Please continue to read as I will be telling many more of them in the days to come.

No More ICU

Quick Update:

Vary in ICU

Honya Sleeping in ICU

These are both taken when Honya and Vary were in ICU.

BUT…
They were both released from ICU into their own private rooms with their moms today!

Also, Mohammad is back in Iraq with his family.

Read more on Preemptive Love’s Blog:
http://preemptivelove.org/blog/

Also, just wanted to give credit to Joshua Gigliotti.
All of the pictures on my blog from Turkey are his and they are incredible!

-Tonight, just in awe of the work of God’s hands.

Nothing But Good News

God is the giver of good gifts.
If nothing else, I’ve learned this today.

Mohammad is in his own private room in the hospital and boards a plane tomorrow to come back home!
Mohammad Coloring

Beautiful baby Honya had surgery this morning.

Honya 1

Mom Kissing Honya

At just 12 pounds, she went into surgery this morning at 10:30.
Her mother watched as she was carried away, doing her best to be strong.

I’ve tried to place myself in the shoes of these moms.
These moms who are hoping for a miracle for their children, their children who are under a death sentence.
These mothers are in a foreign land.
Surrounded by a foreign language and culture.
Sleeping in a room by themselves, many for the first time in their lives.
Putting the care of their dying children into the hands of Turkish doctors and nurses.
The people who they’ve been told are the enemy.

I can’t imagine the uncertainty and fear they must feel.
The enormous amount of helplessness.

My prayer is that during this time, this time of fear, that God would reveal himself to them. And that they would have no choice but to cling to Him.

Honya’s surgery went beautifully.
No complications.
She is resting now in ICU.
Dr. Cicek is hopeful to extubate her tonight or tomorrow.

Praise God!

Honya ICU

Honya & Wires

Vary also had surgery today.
Hers was the scariest surgery of all.

Vary

Upon finding more problems with her heart, the surgery become far more complicated.

The doctors had to cool her body down to 16 degrees Celsius,
drain the blood from her body,
resect a portion of the artery dangerously close to a nerve that could leave Vary with neurological damage,
pump the blood back into her tiny body,
warm her back up
and restart her heart.

The surgery went perfectly.
Not only that. . .
but it was a full correction.
She will not have to have another heart surgery!

Friends
Thank you for your prayers.
Thank you beyond words.

But please don’t stop praying for these children.
Though the surgery is over
Though Dr. Cicek has fixed their hearts.
Now it’s their turn.
They have to fight for life.

-In awe of the graciousness of God

Find out more @ http://preemptivelove.org/blog/

Baby Honya Headed to Surgery

Honya in Hospital

This precious and fragile baby girl gets her chance at life in about 6 hours.
She is still sick with a lung infection but the pediatrician and cardiologist have both cleared her for surgery.

I have fallen in love with her.
I have never wanted life for a child as much as I want it for this beautiful girl.

But the Lord cares for her a million times more than I ever could.

God is in control.

Pray that Honya’s tiny body wants to fight for life.
Pray that God would give Dr.Cicek wisdom in surgery.
Pray peace over Honya’s mother and family as they face the most difficult 4 hours of their lives.
Pray that ultimately God would be glorified and made known whatever the outcome.

Honya

-Heavy heart for this sweet little girl.

Mohammad’s Surgery: A Complete Success

Mohammad received his long awaited surgery this morning.
Doctors repaired a huge hole in the upper chambers of his heart.
No problems.
A full correction!
He is now recovering in ICU.

Mohammed to Surgery

Headed to Surgery

Mohammed Bracelet

Mohammed

Mohammad's Mom

Praying for her eldest son

ICU

Recovering in ICU

Vary has had a tough time the past few days.
She is very fearful of her new surroundings
keenly aware of things going on around her.
The nurses had to sedate her to complete an echo.
Discovered coarctation as well as her VSD
This surgery is so much bigger than previously thought.

Baby Honya is quarantine with a right lung infection.
Pediatrician visited her today and isn’t too worried about it.
She is still all smiles and giggles
Good chance for surgery on Monday!

One surgery down, two to go.
Thank you for your prayers.
And good night from Iraq.

Mohammad. Honya. Vary.

At last you get to meet them.
The three amazing kids in Turkey for life-saving heart surgery.
Each group we send I love even more.

Mohammad, 8 years old
Mohammad
Mohammed is the oldest of three children. He lives with his family in a small village where they live on the top floor of their barn. He has been waiting a long time for a chance to have his heart repaired. He is looking forward to walking all the way to school after he has recovered from surgery. His mom thanks us tearfully every time we see her. She cannot believe it is finally Mohammad’s turn!
Please be praying for Mohammad.
He will be having surgery first thing in the morning which is only about 7 or 8 hours away!

Honya, 9 months old
Honya
Honya is a precious little girl. She is always smiling and giggling despite the lack of oxygen flowing in her blood to her brain and the rest of her body. At nine months old she weighs roughly 12 pounds. She loves music and toys that light up. Dr. Çiçek at the Johns Hopkins affiliated Anadolu Medical Center in Istanbul, Turkey is very hopeful that she will have a full correction and believes that she is likely to benefit significantly from surgical intervention.
I have fallen in love with this tiny little girl! She came to the office the other day in this pink and green outfit and was all smiles and giggles. She is so precious.
She arrived safely to Turkey, but she is sick with some kind of cough and can’t be operated on until she is better. The earliest she could possibly have surgery is Monday.
Pray for healing for her little body so that she might have a chance at surgery and a chance at life.

Vary, 2 years old
Vary
Vary is a spunky little two year old who loves stuffed animals. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her that her heart is failing, but she is actually an urgent case. We are hopeful that her surgery will set her back on track for a happy, healthy life running and playing with her friends. Her mom says she can go anywhere as long as “blankie” can go too!
I played with Vary in the office on Monday. She is so full of life and she definitely has some spunk!
We played with bubbles mostly. She would blow the bubbles and we would chase after them with our fingers and say “pop”!
The most fun I’ve ever had with bubbles by far!
Vary is still undergoing tests to find out when and if she can have surgery. She is very scared and unsure of her surrounding in this foreign place. Pray for peace for her heart.

More updates to come
For now, it’s almost 2 AM
I’m off to bed.

So grateful to be a part of something so much bigger than me.

3 Kids to Surgery!

Honya, 8 months
Mohammad, 8 years
Vary, 2 years

I will introduce you to each of these precious children tomorrow.

These three, their moms and 4 PLC staff members arrived in Istanbul Turkey this evening.
The next two weeks will be full of surgeries, uncertainty, and hope for three Kurdish families.

Please be in prayer for Dr.Cicek (the pediatric cardiologist) for wisdom, the families for peace in a strange and foreign land, and for the PLC staff as they minister and love on them.