January/Feb '06

A publication of Rest Ministries, Inc. www.restministries.org

   

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Greetings!

I sat at a table with a few men and another woman and they talked about remodeling bathrooms for their children (both young and adult) who lived with disabilities and needed a variety of lifts and so forth to be able to get in and out of the tub. "Normal" looking people yet, joy and a sense of humor just oozed out of them. They didn't appear stressed, despite all of them traveling across the country just hours before to attend this Joni and Friends Area Director meeting. I couldn't imagine what they had experienced in this lifetime. I went back to my hotel room where my husband was giving my 3-year-old son a bath. "Yeah..." I said, "I didn't say anything about my kid having 'food issues.'"

Perspective. Priorities. Possibilities. Passion.

And yes, even. . . problems.

John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." And we cling to the belief that "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me, up" (Psalm 71:20). Because Jesus promised us, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).

And that's why you may hear me talking more than usual in future months about Joni and Friends. If you're not familiar with Joni Eareckson Tada's story (pronounced "Johnny"), do yourself a favor and read a book about her life or visit her ministry's web site. You will be enriched!

Ten years ago I sat in my church's office of the associate pastor and he said, "Lisa, what is it you want to do?" I took a deep breath and said, "Well, I want to do for people with chronic illness what Joni has done for disability." He told me to go for it. He thought it would reach far outside of our own chuch. (Thanks, Ken, I still remember that conversation.)

I've got a few decades to go and I can hardly begin to fathom reaching the millions as Joni has but because of your encouragement and support we're off to a good start. And now, as we've joined Joni as an affiliate in ministry, I am eager to see what God will do.

The photo below is a tangible answered prayer. The new 33,700 square foot Joni and Friends International Disability Center is being built in Agoura Hills, California. They hope to be open by Sept 2006.

Join me in praying for all disability and chronic illness ministries! This step in having this building above and the expanding resources it will provide will impact us all as we can more cohesively join together in serving those that Luke 14 commands us to.

This building will also be the home of the "Christian Institute on Disability, offering a biblical response on critical issue that impact the disability community. The Institute will develop curriculum on disability-related topics as well as offer internships, fellowships, and scholarships to students at Christian institutions of higher learning." (JAF web site)

Can you see the possibilities? The passion? Yes, Perhaps you've got goosebumps just thinking about it. But a better question may be... Can you see the problems? The pain? And... its purpose?

At the root of every ministry I've come into contact with, where people are being ministered to, there is pain or some kind of problem. A need not being met in the best way that it could be perhaps. But usually, someone is hurting, and someone wants to help. That is ministry.

Today, Friend, I want to assure you of 2 things:

(1) Despite how exciting it is to see the building above, ministry happens in the most humble of places. Sometimes it's the play area at McDonald's, sometimes it's the waiting room of a hospital. . . It can be with one of your best of friends, or a total stranger. We cling to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

(2) If you're in a lot of pain right now, whether spiritually, emotionally, physically or all three, know that God DOES have a purpose and He has not forgotten or forsaken you, despite the fact that it may feel that way.

My prayer for you would be "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word" (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

Connect with someone here at Rest Ministries, send in a prayer request, seek out a pen pal, sign up for daily devotionals. We have loads of ways that you can have a friend along this journey. I know it's not easy. This ministry exists because of my own pain. I'm proud to be able to share in yours as you reach out to someone too.

God bless you,


Founder, Director Rest Ministries
Editor, hopekeepers Magazine

We have over 30 new book titles on the way that should arrive within a week or two! Watch for an email annoucement when they are up on the web site. There are some wonderful titles such as When It Pours, He Reigns: Overcoming Life's Storms, When God Weeps (large print), Hope: The Anchor for Your Soul (from Women of Faith), The Healing Power of Faith, and The Fibromyalgia Handbook.


...The owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'

Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.

Luke 14:21-23

 



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We'd like to keep you informed of
areas of Rest Ministries that need
your prayer! You
can send your requests to us too and the Encourager Club will pray
for you.

Please continue to lift up all
of the volunteers of Rest
Ministries. Each person seems
to be impacted in many ways
by their own health challenges, or health issues of a family
member.

Specifically this month, please
lift up Cora and her family. She is the volunteer who receives
all of the prayer requests that you send in and makes sure
that they get to our Encourager Club. When I asked her about her husband's health, she wrote back, "We were having some health issues in December and they only got worse. Marve had prostate surgery on Dec. 23
and on Dec. 26 he went back into the hospital with 2 blood clots. One in each lung. Each lung is about 1/4 destroyed.
But we're making it . . . somehow."

 

Rest Ministries has been a solid part of my life for many years. Born with bi-lateral congenital hip dysplasia and severe clubfeet, I had a lot of surgeries, casts, hospital stays and braces until I took my first miraculous steps at age three! I had a fairly normal childhood. I began to have a lot of pain in my twenties. At age 31,
I had my right hip replaced and a revision done in six years after that. My hips are doing wonderful.

My feet, however, are another story. Now that I am in my forties, they are slowly crippling and becoming increasingly painful day by day. There is nothing that can be done. Rest Ministries gives me the unique support and encouragement that comes from others who understand my pain, my frustrations, my small victories, my isolation, my fears, my faith, my trials!! I am so grateful for this ministry. I praise the Lord for Rest Ministries!

Nominate yourself or a friend
for our Reader Spotlight & send us photos!

Congratulations, Kat!
Kat Avery, the volunteer who began "Splashes of Joy" with Rest Ministries (for women with illness & depression), is a GRANDMA! Her son and his wife were blessed with a little girl, Layah Danielle Avery. She's been to visit and is very tired, but hopes to be well enough to come back to us soon.

Nominate one of Rest
Ministries volunteers

What's going on around Rest Ministries web site? It's gotten so big that sometimes those of us in leadership don't even know about all the happenings. This will be a place where you can tell us. Send us your experience or what's new in your group. Photos are great too! We look forward to hearing from you -- both participants and volunteers.

Your shopping is earning Rest Ministries $$$
As we mentioned back in December, you are now able to shop at dozens of popular stores through www.shopforcharityday.com and Rest Ministries earns a portion of the funds. In 1 month so far we've earned $88.17! Yay! People have made purchases through stores like Overstock.com, www.allaboardtoys.com, netmagazines.com, Big Girls' Bras, and www.bookcloseouts. Before you purchase ANYTHING on the internet see if the store has a link through this mall. We REALLY need the funds (we're currenntly in the red this month) so any help is very appreciated.

Prayer Request
As I mentioned above we are a new affilicate with Joni and Friends Ministry. I'm so excited to see so many ways that God is going to bless our partnership with them. For now, please hold Joni up in prayer. She was unable to attend the recent leadership conference because she was (and is) simply in so much PAIN! There is a big misconception that paraplegics don't really deal with physical pain, but they do... Please pray for her comfort and strength.
I hope that through this affilation I will be even more in touch with what the disability ministry community is up to and can point you towards more resources, conferences, etc.Lisa

"A Time of Refreshment" chats are a great way to converse with some fabulous guest authors and also fellowship with people who care about you. We meet each Wednesday at 11 a.m. pacific (USA). Watch the daily devotionals for announcements. See: http://www.restministries.org/pro-refresh.htm (Time converter too)
Upcoming topics include:

Feb 1 - Doris Beck - "Joy Is A Choice"
Feb 8 - Larry Wilson - "When Life Doesn't Turn Out the Way You Expect"
Feb 15 - Anna Popescu - "Help in the Kitchen"
Feb 22 - Joshua Goodling - "One Week To Live"
March 1 - Leigh Hatcher - "Hope In the Wilderness"
March 8 - Dr. James Pietrek - "Specialised Chiropractic Treatment for Pain"

Missed a chat? No problem! All the transcripts are here.

New Book by Rest Ministries volunteer!
Congratulations to Patricia Knight who has just released "REJOICE! "It's not just another book about illness," says Patricia. "It is packed with devotionals about God's joy, hope, comfort, peace, enthusiasm, and His amazing ability to love us through all of our blundering life experiences." If you're a devotional writer for Rest Ministries you may have been on the receiving end of one of Pat's notes of encouragement. She also had an article published in Oct-Nov-Dec hopekeepers Magazine, "How to Write an Encouraging Note." She surely has a gift and now you can share it too. She is also author of Pure Joy: A Devotion-A-Week For a Year. Both are currently available at Rest Ministries bookstore.

I recently was asked to give the sermon in my church..
and was asked to specifically speak about our hk group. To illustrate what the whole Rest Ministries is about I used many email messages about the struggles and victories of some who have suffered much. It made my job easier and made it all sound much more personal and real. I find I refer to message board messages often as I lead the hk group here. It helps me from getting too 'ethereal' with the Theology and gives everyone a sense that they are really part of a larger community of other Christians who are suffering.
Matt Bourdeau, hopekeepers Leader
Windsor, Ontario, Canada, St. Aidan's Anglican

Has your churched asked you to speak about living with an illness, hopekeepers or Rest Ministries? We'd love to know about it, receive a tape or VHS tape and have permission to let other people know, especially hopekeepers leaders who are looking for ways to educate their church about the need for chronic illness ministry and outreach.

hopekeepers Magazine is a new member of the Evangelical Press Association. The EPA has 250-plus periodical members have a combined circulation of more than 20 million readers. EPA is a religious and educational non-profit corporation that seeks to promote the cause of evangelical Christianity and to enhance the influence of Christian journalism. Through this membership, hopekeepers Magazine will be more widely recognized, and be eligible for awards, conferences, mentoring services, etc. We're proud to be a brand new member among the leading Christian publications around!

Thank you for your testimonies...

I've all ready shared the books with the Chronic Pain Support Group that I co-facilitate. I am also the librarian in our church! I'm so excited about a church that cares that much about their church families reading habits, and yes, videos and DVDs. So a lot of the stuff I purchase from Rest Ministries ends up in the library, and is available to anyone, even people who don't attend that church! I have to tell you that your ministry means so much to me. It was the re-affirmation that there are so many more of us who have chronic conditions of one form or another. And through your website I even found a resource that means even more for me! Mary K., Aberdeen, SD

A friend sent me your webpage link. Thank you for what you're doing. I do feel so alone in my suffering, and I've not found much support within the church at all. When I first became sick in 1991, my spirit was strong and I thought it would go away soon and I would get to live my life more fully. I now am at the point of my 15th anniversary of becoming ill with CFIDS (which began with Mononucleosis--the Epstein Barr Virus), and spinal problems. . .I've been rejected by church people, pastors, and family who don't understand, and don't make a pretense to. I have a few good friends which I treasure. I'm really struggling right now, trying to understand why we're going through so much, what God wants from us in response, and how to overcome it all without sinking beneath the waves. Thank you for being there, and what you are giving out through your ministry. I know how hard it is to do, when you are not well, and energy reserves are low.
Lisa, Renton, WA

I go to bed at night anticipating the devotional for the next day. I have never read a devotional as ministering as the one I get daily from Rest Ministries. I have been fighting several battles in my life plus I have severe Pain from Spinal Cord Injury. From my heart you will never know how much this ministry has blessed me. I have trusted Yeshua as my Messiah and have been a believing follower for over 30 years now, but the battles and pain from life and my sickness get worse every day. Please keep me in your prayers and know that you have been a great ministry to my life. In HIS Shalom and Love, Bill

Share an experience you've had at Rest Ministries!

 


We have 2 professionals docs on our magazine staff to help answer your questions. Send
us your questions!
Medical: ask Dr. Chai
Marriage: ask Dr. Thomas

hopekeepers(R) Magazine
Publisher:
Rest Ministries, Inc.

PO Box 502928
San Diego, CA 92150
Toll-free 888-751-7378
www.restministries.org
www.hopekeepersmagazine.com

   

Let us know what is happening in your hopekeepers group! Changed lives, health faires, radio programs, parties! We'd love to post your photos too.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR HopeKeeper Leaders/Groups!
Does your group give a gift basket to others in the church who are uanble to attend meetings? Providing something that says, "we're thinking of you" can really encourage someone when they are feeling discouraged. We're partnering with Joni and Friends, participating in their Special Delivery Program and looking for 3-5 HopeKeeper leaders who want to participate. Joni and Friends would provide books, a Bible, and other goodies free of charge. You would just make a small donation to help us with postage and then you would need to fill out a small "form" that keeps track of who received the gift, did it seem to make a difference, etc. If you're interested in participating, email us! We'd like to get this started as soon as possible. Remember anyone who may be hurting, especially during anniversaries (good and bad) and holidays (like remembering someone during Mother's Day who has a chronic illness and is not able to have children.)

We're looking for a hopekeepers group that would be profiled in a soon-to-be issue of hopekeepers Magazine. A photo and brief article are requested, help is available with the article if needed. Email Lisa.


New Hope Community Church, Miamisburg, OH

What a blessing it was the day I found the Rest Ministries/hopekeepers web site. I became so excited I could hardly wait to share it with my husband and our pastor-even more excited when our pastor shared with me the long desire he had carried for this type ministry in our church

After much prayer, we ordered the materials from Rest Ministries and introduced hopekeepers to the congregation; twenty-two people signed up after church! We began Dec. 7th, 2003 and we average 12-18 people in class; our group is a Sunday School class, and what wonderful sharing times we have had each week! By using God's Word and the Bible study, When Chronic Illness Enters Your Life by Lisa Copen, we have had so many people open their hearts concerning their illness and how God is helping them to have the hope which only He can give. But-I have to be honest and say that some of us have had our "why" questions, too.

We're learning how to minister to each other on a regular basis, and in a way which is helpful, not hurtful. We start each class with "a good belly laugh" and a little something to take home with us as a reminder during the week to "find" something positive for which to praise the Lord-such as a paper clip to help us "hold it all together" when unbearable moments arrive.

We also cry together; it's healing to laugh and cry. We freely share our hurts, anger, frustrations-and yes, our joys and praises too. As well as all the emotions of having an invisible illness and not having anyone understand what is going on in our bodies.

By being in hopekeepers we feel we're in a "safe-haven. . ." where those around us understand when we share our feelings. As one who lives daily with chronic illness and pain, I am so thankful to be able to serve our Lord and others around me who are also suffering, in a way such as this. hopekeepers has been-and will continue to be- a definite bright spot in my life!

If you live in the Odessa area and would like more information you can reach Alice Ervin at 937- 847-2607 (church number) or aliceervin@msn.com.

 

Are you organizing a
hopekeepers table
at your ministry fair?

Be sure to check out
the hopekeepers goodies
to help your table shine!
   

Our ministry is fully supported by the sales of books, t-shirts, and
other resources on our web site AND by the donations of people like you. We know that nearly all of those we serve have financial shortages, but if you are looking for encouragement in books or gifts for friends, etc. we encourage you to purchase from us! Because of your generosity we are able to stay online. And we don't pay any salaries--all the funds "just keep us going!"

Marriage Mender: A Couples Guide For Staying Together - $11

If you're looking for a fresh start, The Marriage Mender will give you the solution-based tools you need to begin rebuilding your marriage. With illustrations and exercises, it will teach you how to look to the future of your relationship instead of focusing on the past with its problems. . .

When Life Hurts, Understanding God's Place in Your Pain - GREAT PRICE $7.50 (regul. $12.99)

Pain calls our most basic beliefs about God into question. Philip Yancey's When Life Hurts addresses five major questions brought on by pain...

I'd Rather Be Working: A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Self-Support for People with Chronic Illness - Gayle Backstrom - $15.00

If you are suffering from unfair treatment in the workplace, or find yourself unable to continue at your present job and need to discover new options, this is a book you won't want to miss. The book is loaded with resources, from education to job-training to self-tests to jump start the process of returning to work--for yourself or for someone else. . .

   
   

I come across a lot of news and there just isn't room to share it all in hopekeepers Magazine's print format. I thought you may find the following of interest.


In Response to the "Death with Dignity Act"

Despite the risk that some of you may be disappointed that I am mentioning something "political" I think it's important that we are aware of the politics that impact our lives and the lives of those with love, especially those with chronic illness, pain and disabilities. Here is what some of those organizations I admire are saying... (Lisa)

By Jonathan Imbody, Senior Policy Analyst, Christian Medical Association -- I spent several months conducting research in the Netherlands, which like Oregon has legalized medical killing. I interviewed family members who were still grieving over loved ones lost to state-sponsored euthanasia. In one case, Dutch doctors withheld food and water from a beloved grandfather while administering overdoses of morphine. He had never requested euthanasia. The family discovered the scheme too late, and the grandfather died without goodbyes. Government-sponsored studies reveal that nearly a thousand Dutch patients are terminated by doctors each year without ever having requested euthanasia. Yes, euthanasia and assisted suicide provide autonomy--but for the doctors, not the patients.

The answer to state sponsored suicide includes more sophisticated and in certain cases, more aggressive, pain-relief prescribing regulations. Hospice care and tools to help alleviate the financial burdens of terminally can also help tremendously. But the most powerful prescription for a terminally ill person is the unwavering love of family and friends and the hope of a life to come in which "there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain." SOURCE: CMA commentary published in The Washington Times January 24, 2006

By Joni Eareckson Tada -- Those of us who serve people with disabilities and their families are deeply dismayed that on January 17th, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 ruling in the case of Gonzales v. Oregon. The Bush administration had gone into federal court to challenge the use of federally controlled drugs under Oregon's assisted suicide law. Three members of the Supreme Court argued that lethal drugs to aid in suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" for those drugs. The court, however, ruled that Oregon's so-called Death with Dignity Act is not in conflict with federal law. We in disability advocacy believe the state's responsibility is to safeguard the lives of those who are medically fragile; not make it easier for such people to kill themselves. With this Supreme Court ruling, the legal door is now wide open to terminally ill persons to end their lives; I'm convinced it will be virtually impossible for others to eventually be denied the same right. As a quadriplegic and a disability advocate, I am disheartened with this ruling and I join Americans with disabilities across the country in standing for life. SOURCE: www.joniandfriends.org

David Stevens, M.D., Executive Director of the Christian Medical Association -- “The Court has an opportunity to insure that patients receive truly compassionate care and pain relief by limiting physicians’ use of narcotics for healing—not death.”

“As the time-tested Hippocratic oath asserts, the role of a physical is to ‘use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never to injure or wrong them,” said Dr. Stevens. “The reason physicians have taken this oath for centuries is to preserve their patients’ rights and the healing authority of the medical profession.”

"We don't need to empower physicians to administer lethal doses of narcotics. We need to empower physicians to administer truly pain-relieving doses of narcotics. We need to send a message that even in our darkest hours, life is still worth living, that loved ones will come alongside to help, and that doctors will treat pain effectively and compassionately--not with a lethal prescription." SOURCE: US Supreme Court to Hear Challenge To Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2005

How common are chronic illnesses?

  • In a Canadian study of 980 adults treated by 21 family doctors, nine out of 10
    had more than one chronic condition. Nearly half of the middle-aged patients (aged 45-64) had five or more chronic conditions.
  • So many people have multiple illnesses that doctors would have to work nearly 30% more annually to be able to manage them all, says another study. Both reports appear in the Annals of Family Medicine's May/June issue.
  • An estimated 57 million Americans had multiple chronic conditions in 2000, and that number is expected to reach 81 million by 2020.
  • The most common chronic illnesses in Fortin's study were high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and rheumatological diseases. The good news: Those conditions can be treated. Even better, a healthy lifestyle (including a good diet and adequate exercise) can help.
  • Fortin's study included 320 men and 660 women. On average, the men were about 58 years old and the women were 55. Multiple chronic illnesses were the rule, not the exception, write the researchers

SOURCE: It's More Common Than You May Think, Studies Show
By Miranda Hitti, WebMD Medical News

Fibromyalgia Conference

If you have fibromyaglia, you may be interested in attending the FAME conference (Fibromyalgia Awareness Means Everything). It's held Mrch 17-19, 2006 in Orange County, CA. Click here for details.

Do you have an item that is you think is newsworthy? Send it to us for consideration!

   
   

Each day in our online daily devotionals we have a question and ask you to TALK BACK! You do and your answers are a great source of encouragement to others who live with chronic illnesses. It's nice to know we are not alone.

WE ASKED YOU:
What 3 words describe your life right now?

YOU SAID:

  • blessed, full, challenging. - Sherrie Tate, rheumatoid arthritis
  • "All is well." - Ruth Lyons, trigeminal neuralgia
  • Challenging, joyful, expectant - Sande Huffman, severe rheumatoid
    arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, and a knuckle-to-elbow
    splint (had surgery a week ago).
  • "a daily trial" - sent in via email
  • Peacful, content, incomplete (I have more living to do!) - Betty King, MS
  • hope, possible, expectations - sent in via email
  • Content, Loved, (anxious to) serve - Betty
    
   

   
   

hopenotes is a complimentary e-zine supplement to hopekeepers(R) Magazine
Publisher: Rest Ministries, Inc., PO Box 502928, San Diego, CA 92150
Toll-free 888-751-7378 | www.restministries.org | www.hopekeepersmagazine.com

   
   


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