Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Editor's Letter

The last few weeks have been filled with sadness and joy for me, after my two private duty patients died. I cared for Lisa several times a week for more than 5 years, and I supervised Josh’s care for several years as well. Private duty nursing is unique in that these nurses develop a close relationship not only with the patient, but with their families as well.

Lisa and Josh were both disabled for many years, and required high levels of care from their parents, nurses, and other caregivers. I was blessed to get to know both of them and their families…they and their families taught me so much about life and difficult circumstances. Some of the neatest moments I have experienced as a nurse were when Lisa and Josh recognized me and smiled at me. We are sad, because they are no longer here with us...yet we are so happy knowing they are in heaven, healthy and whole.

On March 13th our niece, Leighton, was baptized. Several weeks ago my sister asked Tim and I to be sponsors, and we immediately said "yes." What a joy to be asked to be part of her spiritual life!

During the service, as Tim and I, the other sponsors, and my sister's family were going up to the front of the church for the baptism, Tim pulled a piece of paper out of his suit jacket pocket. He looked a little startled and then showed it to me. My eyes immediately filled with tears; it was the funeral service folder for my grandfather, who died almost exactly a year ago. His picture is on the front of the service folder, and seeing his face reminded me that he, too, had been baptized many years ago...and because of that baptism and his faith, he was in heaven. And now as we brought Leighton to baptism, she, too, would enter God's kingdom when she left this earth, just as Josh and Lisa had both been brought for baptism and now were in heaven.

I do not believe in coincidences...I believe that when things like this happen they are "God-incidences." I'm so thankful that God reminded me of His promise to my patients, to grandpa, to Leighton, to Tim and I and our children...to my friend who lost her daughter in a car accident...to another friend whose grandson died...to everyone who believes in Him...because of His love for us, and His sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, we will ALL have that promise of heaven…if we only believe.
Tim has been busy with the usual activities of early spring months—calving! We’ve had more than 100 calves so far. There are a lot of mother cows and their babies in “my” pasture—the pasture I can see from almost every window in our house—and I just love watching the calves run and jump and play in the morning when their moms are eating.

Tim and I went to a weather spotter’s training class last week. It was very interesting to learn more about the clouds and storm systems that product tornadoes. While we definitely hope NOT to see any tornadoes, we’ll know a lot more about the storms that produce them.

Morgan stays busy with her school activities and friends, and she’s thinking more about her college options. We’re going to visit several Nebraska colleges this spring. She’s even considering going to Midland College—my alma mater!

Cody is on his way home right now, to spend a few days of his spring break with us. He is eagerly looking forward to a trip to China this spring. He’ll be seeing the great sights of China and also studying some of the agriculture of the area.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Nebraska Family Times! In looking over the articles I’ve chosen and written, a wide range of topics is covered. Please let me know if there are any topics you would like to see covered! It’s been fun to print more articles from local authors. If you are interested in writing a book, CD, or movie review, or article for the paper, please e-mail me with your review, or your ideas. I appreciate hearing from readers, whether it’s about something you enjoy about the paper, or something I could do better.

And I close with a verse from Lisa’s funeral, and two verses from a song at Josh’s funeral, both of which I hope remind you of the hope we have in Jesus.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, all glory to His name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same;
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives;
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
Habitat for Humanity is Coming to Columbus!

”Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1

By Shelly Burke, Editor

If all goes according to plan, a needy family will see their dreams of a new home start to come true on May 1st, 2011, when ground will be broken for a Habitat for Humanity home near Bradshaw Park in Columbus, NE.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness by providing housing for people whose current housing is inadequate, unsafe, or substandard.

Dan Staack, President of the local Habitat Board of Directors, said the quest to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Columbus began 3 years ago. It took about 2 ½ years to work through the application process and develop support in Columbus. On August 1, 2010, Columbus was granted permission to operate a chapter by Habitat for Humanity International.

The Family Selection process is underway, and qualified families may still apply for the home to be built in Columbus. (Contact information at the end of this article.) A family will be selected by mid-April. The houses are not given away; recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home must be able to make monthly interest-free mortgage payments. They must also invest “sweat equity” hours in physical work in partnership with Habitat to build their home. Each home takes about 15 weeks to build.

Habitat for Humanity depends extensively on donations and volunteers. Staack says “First and foremost, please ask readers to pray for our chapter, that we can meet our goal of building our first home this summer. God gives all of us different talents and treasures. All do not swing a hammer. Some cook (for volunteers), some can paint, some are good at presentations, some can landscape while others are good at organization and would be welcome on boards or committees.” Donations of tools, material, permanent storage facility, building sites, and money are needed.

Staack continues, “Any monetary donations become what I like to call a revolving fund of humanity. What comes into Columbus stays in Columbus for future homes.” As an example of the “revolving fund,” the Grand Island chapter of Habit for Humanity started in the late 1980’s. They are building five homes this year, and three of them are being built using money from mortgage payments coming in from previously built homes.

The Habitat for Humanity organization started in 1975, and since then 400,000 homes have been built world-wide, and an additional 100,000 homes are expected to be built annually.

To inquire about qualifications to have a Habitat for Humanity home built for you, volunteer time (you’ll be asked to fill out a form indicating skills and availability) or donate supplies or money, call (402) 564-4663; leave a message and your call will be returned.

Additional information from http://www.habitatforhumanity.org/