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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Last Words of Dr. Jonah

Scott was speaking today to one of the World Health Organization visitors who related information from the MSF doctors who cared for Jonah at the end. It was spine-tingling to hear Jonah speak from beyond the veil.... Tuesday afternoon, he was still walking and talking, and said to them “I have seen these patients die, and I know that I am dying”. I don’t think they believed him, and I wonder now if that is why he was determined to call us though his efforts were not successful. Moments before he died he said “I am going to die now. And I pray that no one should ever have to die of this disease again.” Right to his last moment he was thinking like the compassionate doctor he was, looking beyond himself to others. Tomorrow his body will arrive, having been carefully decontaminated (as far as possible) and enclosed. His family was still en route when I last talked to them a couple of hours ago. Whenever we speak of him again to someone who cared about him, the tears come freely. We have seen some men here cry like we never saw men cry before. I think Jonah was perceived as a resource, a gift, to the whole district, everyone feels bereaved and robbed of their man, their doctor, the one they could trust and count on. When we see his family, we will have the complication that they are now contacts too like we are, and we should not be touching each other. So we have to go to the burial of our dear friend without any hugging, comfort his wife and children without touch. That feels harsh. My mind keeps reaching back to some words of the Psalms which I can’t place, though a thousand have fallen at my side, yet I will trust. We feel the falling of Jonah so acutely, we were both on the same front line of the same battle fighting side by side, yet he went down and we have not. I know I can’t trust in anything other than God . . . Certainly not in not dying, which is not guaranteed, as Jonah shows. If we make it through this then what about the next tragedy? Safety is not the basis of trust. Instead our trust needs to be in God, inexplicable God, dangerous God, other-than-us God, who does not order this world according to our will, but knows more than we do and loves more deeply.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you---you are a testimony to all of us. May you all feel "hugged" in our love and our prayers.

Joanna said...

A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you.
Psalm 91:7
We are with you in your ebb and flow of grief
Joanna and Mark

Mama Russell said...

I will continue to pray. God is not "safe" but He is sure. In His grace,
Kelly

rebecca said...

 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will ifind refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. "
-Psalm 91.1-6

I also am praying for you all. Be strong, and take heart...

Shannon said...

Jennifer, I work at Trinity in Charlottesville and have read your blog for months. I wanted to let you know we prayed for you today as a staff... and we sang this song:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me....
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
-- Henry Lyte

May God bless and keep you. We are praying.

Alina said...

Thank you for the updates. I am praying.

Alina
California

Anna said...

Dear Jennifer,

Know that Kristin Simmons and I are praying for you as well as my parents and fiance. Kristin and I have Bible Study tonight with 7 women who will lift you all up in fervent prayer.

Love,
Anna Godwin

Mark Upton said...

Praying for you guys as are the children in our church. I'm proud to know you.

Dr. B said...

A good friend sent the following verses to me recently - he had been meditating on them and commended them to me. They are very rich - verses 8 and 9 seem especially relevant.

We are praying for you.

Rodger and Ginny

2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Luke said...

hey Myhres
There are many of us crying and praying for you from New York City,
løv

Luke Herron

<> said...

The author Edward T Welch writes the following in his book, "Depression A Stubborn Darkness"
"In an African hospital, a pastor who had just wittnessed another death was approached by a poor elderly woman. 'You know' she said,taking the pastor's arm, 'through many losses of family and friends and much sorrow, the Lord has taught me one thing. Jesus did not come to take away our pain and suffering, but to share in it.'"

Praying for you.

jane. said...

* may God continue to give you strength and peace that only can be attributed by His giving. may God continue to give you only what you can handle and remind you of this.

knox and mary campbell said...

Prayers for your team have been a constant part of our lives since hearing the news. Mary and I will continue to pray. God bless you guys. I pray that you will soon return safely to your family and friends, and until then that you can be strong, get rest, and continue to love the sick.
Christ's love,
Knox and Mary

Anonymous said...

6 million hugs here for all of you.
NYC - USA

Kristen said...

Scott and Jennifer - Know that we will continue to pray. with love, Kristen and Phil

Lee said...

Scott and Jennifer,

We are devoting our prayer meeting tonight to praying for Bundibugyo and all of you.

MS.PAT. HERROD said...

DEAR FRIENDS. JUST A WORD /PRAYER FROM YUOR LAWNDALE FAMILY WE RECEIVED YOUR INFO AND WOULD LIKE TO REMIND U GUYS THAT WE ARE PRAYING FOR YA. I WILL ALSO ASK LCC.LCDC TO PRAY WE KNOW THAT GOD. CAN ANSWER PRAYER OK...DR. HOOGLAND AND I PAT HERROD. JUST ONA SAY OUR LOVE AND PRAYER ARE WITH YOU.PLEASE KEEP US UPDATED. SINCERELY LOVE.THE LAWNDALE FOLK.

Leah said...

We learned of you through friends from the Harvest OPC in Vista, CA. We along with over 50 friends are praying for your safety and for the people you minister to in Uganda.

James said...

There are six months left of residency for me. I wish that I could skip it and come to work with you.
My church (Tyler OPC) prayed for you on Sunday and I will send out an email again today.
God bless!!
Jim Knox

Megan said...

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." -Psalm 27:13-14

I'm a friend of Scott Ickes in North Carolina- our church is praying for you and grieving with you. Thank you for taking the time to update us so that at least in prayer, we can bear some of your burden. I'm so, so sorry.

Heather said...

Paul reminded me yesterday that Jonathan died fighting in the Lord's battle. And if ever there was a man as winsome and dear as Jonathan, or a friend like him to you and so many there, it was Jonah. I love you all so much. -Heather

amy said...

many people in atlanta, ga are praying for you.

Hunter said...

The communities around Redeemer in Winston-Salem send our love. The mystery of how our Father is at work around this world to expand his Kingdom shuts my mouth. We stand silent before him and what he lets pass through his hand. I know the tapestry will be beautiful when we see the other side on the other side, but it looks bleak now. Too many Fridays...well said.

Hunter

Lee said...

Scott and Jennifer,

We are devoting our prayer meeting tonight to praying for Bundibugyo and all of you.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer and Scott, I was glad to see your son and your mom on Sunday. We are praying, praying for you all,the family, Jonah's family,those in hospital, all that are sick and suffering. We will pray without ceasing, by God's strength. Know that your brothers and sisters all over are beseeching our Father who is full of mercy. We are grieving with you too. We love you all. a Grace sister

Anonymous said...

"Our Saviour, He can move the mountains; Our God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save; Forever, Author of Salvation; He rose and conquered the grave; Jesus conquered the grave" - while our grief and despair is real, the power of our Saviour to comfort us and restore our souls remains steady and constant. How easy it is, though, for those of us who sit in safety and comfort to claim these promises, but how difficult it must be for those who are in the trenches to feel God's peace at such a time of loss. May those of us who are living in such peace and comfort rally around those who are in the trenches of spiritual warfare and pray without ceasing for our brothers and sisters who are under such pressure, and let us ask our Heavenly Father to hold up those brave souls who are fighting for God's kingdom in Uganda.

Greg & Beth said...

Scott & Jennifer,
We are praying for you, your family, the team and Bundibugyo.
We love you deeply, Greg & Beth

Cindy said...

We just heard of your tragedies there in Uganda this afternoon and were devastated. We had special prayer for you tonight at our Small Group and will continue to pray for you frequently. We are so sorry for the loss of Jonah and all the others. Our prayers will especially be with you as you minister to the family. I pray that in due time you can make up for all the hugs you can't give now. May Jesus give you the strength you need to face the days ahead. We love you all, Daniel, Cindy and family

Cindy said...

We just heard of your tragedies there in Uganda this afternoon and were devastated. We had special prayer for you tonight at our Small Group and will continue to pray for you frequently. We are so sorry for the loss of Jonah and all the others. Our prayers will especially be with you as you minister to the family. I pray that in due time you can make up for all the hugs you can't give now. May Jesus give you the strength you need to face the days ahead. We love you all, Daniel, Cindy and family

Cindy said...

We just heard of your tragedies there in Uganda this afternoon and were devastated. We had special prayer for you tonight at our Small Group and will continue to pray for you frequently. We are so sorry for the loss of Jonah and all the others. Our prayers will especially be with you as you minister to the family. I pray that in due time you can make up for all the hugs you can't give now. May Jesus give you the strength you need to face the days ahead. We love you all, Daniel, Cindy and family

Laura said...

Praying for you in Boston.

Paige said...

I taught Peter, Luke and Lydia Herron 18 years ago in Bundibugyo...I am much grieved...there are brothers and sisters praying for you all and Bundibugyo in Durham, NC

Paige

Anonymous said...

I work in Lira and read your blog often. Thank you for being such incredible servants of God. You and the rest are in our prayers. May you find rest in Him.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43.1-3

Anonymous said...

You guys are great. God keep you.
May their souls rest in peace, those brave health workers that fell, in the line of duty.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jennifer,
My daughter called from the US and her school is praying daily for you and for your precious children, as are we here in London. I am asking for Jonah's last words to be true, to be the cry for healing and deliverence from this pestilence. May you know the presence of Jesus in the suffering and also His mighty power to heal and to comfort those who are not healed. We send our love to you each. Kathy and John Hall

Lee Hatling said...

I only found out last night about the ebola outbreak, but God had me praying for you in the afternoon. His spitit is moving among those who love Him to lift you. Asking for health, peace, contentment and wisdom.

Roberta Simmons said...

Jennifer and Scott . . . we are continuing to pray for you and everyone else in the midst of your sorrow . . . and for Jonah's wife and children . . .

From Zephaniah 3:17 ... "For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with singing."

Roberta and Russ Simmons

bethy31 said...

I have been praying that God would comfort and protect you. I have also prayed for rest and for the release to not understand why now. May the God of all comfort, who weeps with us, be with you and Dr. Jonah's family today.

Charlie & Ruth Jones said...

Hey dear ones,
We are weeping and praying. Your blog on Jonah's death and the inability to hug the family... our tears are flowing. The tragedy is being heard and felt around the world. Your family in Christ is reaching out daily to the Father on your behalf. You are right... we have no idea how this can be good, useful or helpful... we must rely on His wisdom and ultimate goodness. But in the mean time here... it is so very horrible and seemingly useless, arbitrary tragedy. We are so very sorry. We suffer with you.

P said...

Scott and Jennifer,
You and the rest of the team are on our hearts. Thank you for living our the gospel. When you do that, it helps us to also live in Him.
Paul and Jill Miller

shannon said...

Jennifer and Scott,
praying for you guys and loving you from TX! i know the pain you feel and pray that God will use it to pull you both to Himself. love, shannon

Anonymous said...

Mark U. sent an email about you to our church yesterday. I have not been able to stop praying for you since I read your blog. I have that inexplicable ache that both hurts and hopes for you, Dr. Jonah's family, and all who are working with you. I pray for God to meet and minister to you, no matter how he allows this to play out.

janice said...

Weisses here from London...We have told the masses to join you and us in prayer. There is no doubt that God is getting bombbarded from every corner of the world. I just read Psalm 121 and thought of how amazing it is that these great promises are true even in life and death. Thank goodness...Blessing...

Anonymous said...

You do not know me but Donovan and Wilma are friends of mine and emailed me concerning your current situation. I immediately contacted a friend whose an infectious disease doctor to ask him for an explanation to which he educated me a bit and related what your blog already did as to the severity and speed of the virus. I am a pastor and father of five and cannot imagine how difficult this must be for his family. Your grief must seem be beyond what words can explain. feel beyond words. I am praying for God's great comforting presence to come alongside you and through you. May you find Him a care giver during this strained, tiring, potentially anxious time as one who "tends his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 42:11

God's great grace to you for this day.
Mark Moody
mmoody@southsidefellowship.org

Roberta Simmons said...

How true it is that the family of God has rallied together to pray for you and everyone there. We just received an e-mail from MTW missionaries in Belize with news of the outbreak, quotes from your blog, and prayer requests for you, the team, the region, and your children. What a wonderful confirmation this is that the Kingdom is alive and well, connected, praying, and grieving with you through this heartbreaking time. Longing to hear of the breaking of this virus, and a return to the time when you can hug each other again and receive hugs from everyone who loves you. Know that Christ's presence is with you . . . in ways that your hearts and souls desperately need.

Anonymous said...

Glenn said: (blogspot has quit recognizing me, so I use anonymous.) I am the dad of Jeff Cash of Ft. Portal, and he has talked about you often. He has called 3 times to specifically ask us to pray for you, which we are doing as are members of our congregation, the Metro Church of Christ in Gresham, Oregon. Of course we fear for our family in Ft. Portal, but pray that the Lord will protect you, and put a quick end to this disease.
Glenn Cash

ann said...

"Trust and obey, for there is no other way...."
Iam moved by the devotion and commitment of every health/social worker who has remained in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal despite the threat. For sure, that is selfless service, and only God can reward your sacrifice. As you live by the quote 'trust and obey', let God's protection be upon you. Thank you just cant fit what you are doing.
Ann, Kampala.