Archive for January, 2007

Militant Faith


Natalie speaks up from the UCLA Medical Center.






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Guess WHAT?!

Our car is gone! And I don’t mean sold! Or given!

Why do I find this hilarious? My mother-in-law thought I was joking, because I couldn’t stop giggling about it.

Oh, and when I called the sherriff’s dispatch, I kept thinking the voice at the other end sounded familiar. I gave him my name, and he said, “HEY!” Yeah, it was Adam. That was a great moment to have a friend on the line: “Yeah, my car got stolen!”

How the heck did they do it, though? In the middle of the afternoon, with a punctured block? Who in the world is that brazen, for the sake of a little Ford Escort???

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I’ve been reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder. (Sarah Grace tipped me off. Thanks, Sarah!) From what I’ve gathered so far, I would venture to say that it explains the behavior of about 2/3 of our kids at the church plant. It also fits in with the fact that so many of them have been bounced from caregiver to caregiver, since infancy, and have been traumatized by trusted caregivers in the past (and maybe present).

Problem: There are NO full-time counselors in this town. ONE man comes to the school once each MONTH to counsel as many kids as he can fit into that one measly day.

The good news is that R.A.D. can be helped, to some extent, by untrained adults who simply care consistently about these kids, and take time to listen and be patient and understand and love on them regularly. But. . .

Problem 2: Some of them have behavioral problems so severe that we can’t allow them to hang around with other kids; or their current caregiver is so fed up with the behavior problems that they’re basically locked away in the home indefinitely.

I’m becoming more and more tempted to get an MA in counseling. But I’m reeeeeeeally not sure about that. The only one that looks like it could provide the training we need, without going into a full-blown clinical psychology track, is a Human Services Counseling MA at Regent. But that seems so suspiciously tangential.

The other option is to look at what’s available in the nearest city, and see if we can either tap into it, or make enough noise to get the government to send some of it our way.

Problem 3: R.A.D. can only be fully treated in the context of the family. The parents, or other caregivers, are the ones responsible for causing it in the first place. And they are usually repeating the neglect and trauma they received from THEIR parents. So until both parent and child are able to face the past and see the need for change, nothing permanent happens. And the child will probably grow up to do the same to their own children. So here’s the problem– We have yet to even meet most of the parents of the kids we know. Many are unemployed, or addicted, or chronically apathetic. It’s hard for me to imagine any of them jumping up to drive the family down to group therapy, if it’s available. How would we even suggest it? We’re not psychologists or educators. We’re not even trained counselors.

I’m probably over-thinking this. But it seems important right now.

P.S. Aaron’s hospital log has been updated by his dad, Ken.

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Knock-Knock the First

Naiah is nineteen months old.

Today, in the bathtub. . .

Naiah: Knock, knock!

Naiah: Who’s there?

Naiah: Backpack.

Naiah: Backpack who?

Naiah: Backpack-a-lack-a-lack-a-lack-a-lack– Ah, ha, ha!

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A few days ago, a nine year old boy hanged himself (or was hanged; no one is certain) by a boot lace from the park slide. Every kid in town seemed to know him. And they’re all terrified, including the kids we work with. In fact, the entire town seems to be saturated with a pressing sense of death. People whisper about it in the grocery store.

I keep wondering why we never met him– out of all the kids we’ve met in this little town, why not him?– and would things have been different if he had a place to belong? I feel so wretched and guilty over it, which makes no sense at all, and is completely selfish. But I do. I keep crying over it.

That, combined with the news about Aaron and the fresh struggles his family must face, was a little overwhelming today.

Anyway, I heard this sometime last spring, and almost forgot about it.

Tonight I happened across it again. Listening to it helped all the recent, deathly serious events in Westwood and Ojai fall into their rightful places.

If you’re dealing with cancer, or death, or defeat, or abandonment, or anything else that seems to be pummeling the living daylights out of you, this might just help you catch your breath:

I Will Go to God, My Exceeding Joy
John Piper

If you don’t feel like reading, you can click ‘listen’ or ‘watch’ at the top.

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Catch Up and Keep Up

To read the story of Aaron’s battle with leukemia, as well as his family’s thoughts and reactions, go to www.aaronboydston.com. And pray with us!

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Back to War (Revised)

[Revised with corrections from the latest installment on Aaron’s blog, www.aaronboydston.com]

Our friend Aaron was declared cancer-free, despite terrible odds, when he completed his last round of chemo several weeks ago. Yesterday, his family and a few hundred friends threw a “Praise God!” party, to celebrate his miraculous recovery.

Today, after a long bout of insomnia and discomfort, Aaron became incoherent. The doctors at Ojai Community Hospital found a quarter-sized spot on his brain, and an elevated white blood cell count. That means the AML is back.

They sent him by ambulance to UCLA, where his team of doctors will endeavor to find a compatible stem cell donor, for a transplant. None of his family members is a DNA match.

Please pray for another miracle for Aaron, his wife Natalie, his mom Anne, dad Ken, daughter Michaela (6), and son Christopher (3). They’ve already had a long, hard journey, and it’s not over yet.

P.S. Each and every new stem cell donation, from coast to coast, increases Aaron’s odds of finding a match. The process is not very different from donating blood. Please ask your local hospital about making an appointment.

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