Monday, March 31, 2014

Mission Trip to Nicaragua a Success!
“This is God’s team.”

By Shelly Burke, Editor

The Global Passion Ministries Mission Team recently returned from their fifth trip to Puerto Cabezas , Nicaragua. By all accounts it was a success—as much for the members of the team as for the patients they treated.

The team, who worked with a team of surgeons and other medical professionals from California, did approximately 50 procedures in the operating room, including about 15 surgeries to repair cleft lip and palates. Other surgeries were to remove tonsils and repair hernias.   

Tamra Boettcher, a Nurse Practioner from Columbus, NE, was on her third trip. She worked in the minor procedure room where they performed about 100 surgeries, removing moles, skin tags and other lesions and keloids (keloids are overgrown tissue at the site of scars; the people in Puerto Cabezas are prone to severe scarring from even minor injuries).  Tamra also worked in triage, determining who could be treated while the team was in Puerto Cabezas. She remembers, “This was a tough job; we had to send some people away because we just could not help them. “

 The patients ranged in age from 9 months to over 90 years old.  

Sue Tillinghast, from Lincoln, NE, was on her fifth trip to Nicaragua. She is a surgical scrub nurse and her favorite memory of this year’s trip is of a little girl, about 6 years old, named Ana. Ana had been badly burned (the people of Puerto Cabezas cook over open fires and children are frequently severely burned when they fall into these fires) and the scar tissue caused her arm and hand to contract, meaning Ana could not move them fully. Doctors had released her scars, restoring mobility to her hand and arm. Sue said, “When Ana was at the hospital she would stand and wait in the same corner. Every time I saw her she flashed that beautiful smile and we would hug. She has no idea how much that fortified me. If I was tired I felt renewed; if the amount of need overwhelmed me I was reminded of what a difference we made in her life. Her bright and hopeful face makes me believe all things are possible through Christ!”

Dean Athey, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist from Columbus, NE, was also on his fifth trip to Nicaragua. One of his blog entries says that their “rule” is not to put infants under the age of 10 months, or under the weight of 10 kilograms, under anesthesia. His entry continues, “That lasted until our first patient. She was only 7 months old and weighed just 9 kilograms but we called her Kid Too Cute, meaning she was too cute not to do surgery on.” (Read more at the blog at Global Passion Ministries )

Although the trip takes them away from their families and puts them in a less-than-optimal work and living environment, it is clear that the team members are grateful to honor God by using the talents and gifts that He has given them. All of the team members mentioned the long, difficult days, and all of them made it clear that in blessing the people of Nicaragua, they themselves were blessed.

Sue reflects, “It is so fulfilling to be a small part of the team that changes a child’s life. Even though those cleft lips and palates are a birth defect those families and children feel shame. To witness the shame lift and the true spirit start shining is wonderful! It is extremely hard work; our patients so appreciate our efforts and that fills us too.”

Tamra Boettcher says of her work in Nicaragua, “It’s about being a Christian and doing God’s work with the talents He has blessed us with. God gives us the strength to work long, hard days and we honor Him at all times by starting the day with worship and ending with prayer and worship as well. God allows His people to trust us with their lives, undergoing surgery done by perfect strangers.”

Dean says of the team and the trip, “As the team has evolved during the trips, it has become very apparent that this is God’s team. He has chosen the members of the team by their abilities and love of service. I am so glad to have the opportunity to use the talents that God has given me, in service of His children in Nicaragua. I am sure that this team and this place (in Nicaragua) is where God wants me to be.”

The team wants to thank anyone who supported their trip in any way! Read more about the team at Mission Trip to Nicaragua and  Global Passion Ministries . The team plans to travel to Nicaragua again next year, and the “Nebraska Family Times” will again cover their trip. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review of the Movie “Noah”

By Shelly Burke

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Spoiler alert---if you haven't seen the movie "Noah" and don't want to know how it portrays the Biblical narrative of Noah on the ark, don't read this! 

My friend Val and I went to see the movie "Noah” last night.. It sure kept us entertained...but about the only parts true to the Bible narrative are that the main character was named Noah, he had a wife and three sons and built an ark, and there was a flood that destroyed the world.

Here’s a partial list of things NOT in the Bible narrative but in the movie:
  • a step-daughter who went with the family on the ark
  • stone men (?fallen angels?) who protected Noah from the other bad guys and helped build the ark
  • illegitimate twin daughters born to the step-daughter while they were on the ark
  • Noah believing the flood was to punish humans for what they’d done to the world; God's plan, as portrayed in the movie, included destroying all the HUMANS on the earth too (in one scene Noah was going to kill the twin babies because they were girls and potentially could continue the human race)
  • a stowaway on the ark
The themes of evolution and environmentalism were also very strong. The message given was that the earth was “ruined” by the humans and the animals were the innocent ones who would live.

I think the distortion in the movie just shows how important it is for Christians to KNOW what the Bible says
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so we can KINDLY and GENTLY discuss it with people who might have seen it but are not believers, or believers who might not know what the Bible says.
If we react in anger, or criticize people who did see the movie, we close the door to questions from non-believers.

I can’t imagine that this movie will make believers question their faith…or bring people to faith. But it could definitely spark discussion about God, Noah, and the Bible. Use that discussion to gently point out the discrepancies between the Biblical account and the clearly fictional movie. Perhaps your discussion will open the way for you to invite a friend to attend church with you and come to know the Lord.  

When you hear conversations about the movie, here are a couple of ways to bring the truth into the discussion.

  •  “Weren’t those rock people interesting? They’re not in the Bible, but did you know God actually gave Noah the exact dimensions to which he was to build the ark?”
  •   "It was neat to see Noah and has family save the little girl and take her on the ark with them. But the Bible is clear that there were just eight people on the ark—Noah and his wife and Seth, Ham and Japheth and their wives. This also means that the man who was a stowaway in the movie wasn’t really on the ark.”
  •   "Wow—the drama when Noah was going to kill the twin babies was intense! Thankfully, the Bible is very clear that Noah’s family was NOT to die after the flood, they were to live…and it was GOD who said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” not Noah!”
  •    “I’ve always wondered how all of the animals were fed when they were on the ark. The idea that Noah and his wife put them in a “sleep” is really interesting! The Bible does say, however, that God instructed Noah to “Take every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.”” I’m not sure exactly how they did it, but God made a way! I wonder how the family divided up all of the chores!”

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If you go to the movie, I suggest that you read the Biblical narrative of Noah before you go. You can find it in Genesis 5-9. If you’re taking your kids, review it with them. During the movie make note of the discrepancies between the movie and the Biblical narrative—I wrote down some of them (yes, I can write in the dark), and couple of things I wasn’t sure of and wanted to check when I got home. When you get home, compare the Biblical narrative to what was portrayed in the move; discuss these things with your kids if they went along too.

As an adventure movie Noah was ok; it kept us in suspense about what was going to happen next and both of us jumped in surprise a few times! But as a retelling of a Bible narrative...well, I'll just say Val and I were laughing at the absurdity of it by the end, when the "rainbow" was some weird solar flare.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man (and woman) of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Have you seen the movie “Noah”? What did you think of it?