Dec 30, 2009

Prophecy 101 by Kris Valloton

I wanted to welcome the new year with a look at prophecy. I thought it might be appropriate since prophecy is about the future. The prophetic gift is one of the most controversial ministries in the church today. Kris Valloton is on staff at Bethel church in Redding, California. He has a great deal of experience in the prophetic ministry and has written several books on the subject including Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry. In the first video below he discusses what the gift of prophecy is. In the second, he discusses common misunderstandings about it.

Anyone can heal the sick. But the prophetic gift gives us an edge. Through it, God communicates to the healer specific things that can be helpful. Through words of knowledge, we can be given the nature and history of an injury or illness before the patient says a word. Prophecy can reveal God's future plans for them. I hope you find these videos helpful.

Dec 28, 2009

Cerebral Hemorrhage Healed

This is a letter I received from Sandy Ayers, a healing room volunteer. She shares about the night I was healed of PSVT at the Spiritual Hunger Conference. She was one of the people who prayed for me. My testimony about that can be found here. She also shares her experience with a man healed of a cerebral hemorrhage.

The 2009 “Spiritual Hunger Conference” in Spokane Wash. was approaching quickly.

Our members of the “Golden Gate Healing Rooms” of Goldendale, Wash. were busy getting ready to attend.

The Directors, Elaine and Mike Quantrell and Associate Directors Terry and Linda Chambers were encouraging all to go. Their past experiences, at the Conferences, brought testimonies of “encounters” with the Lord. They spoke of “Living Bread and Water” that our hearts yearned for!! We were HUNGRY.

I wasn’t disappointed! This following story was one of many “happening” throughout the four days of attendance:

He looked to be about 30 years old. My view was from behind him as I was sitting off to his left. I could see the sweat on his head and the contractions he was experiencing in his whole body as he yawned and gasped for breath. He flexed his arms and legs and arched his body repeatedly. The young woman on his right was tending to him with her words and reached up to feel the pulse on the right side of his neck. He was desperate, which caused another women, sitting next to him, to stand up and move behind him and start praying, meanwhile two young men on the left, reached their hands toward him and bowed their heads and prayed.

I looked over at my own Directors, Linda and Terry Chambers from Goldendale Healing Rooms. They too had been watching. The urge to pray was growing stronger until I jumped up from my seat and took the few steps forward which brought me behind him.

I asked the standing young woman “What’s going on with him” she replied “ its his heart!” I quietly asked, “Should we call 911, or an ambulance?”

A young face covered with sweat and pain turned backwards quickly and the young man yelled” NO! Don’t call an ambulance! I am a Medic! I wont go!” JUST PRAY FOR ME!!!

I quickly uncapped my little vial of healing oil and anointed him on his head, his skin felt cold and wet. Then I anointed his heart. When I drew back my hand to replace the vial cap, he grabbed my left hand and put it back on his heart, I started interceding for healing power to come upon him immediately.

I could feel the odd pulsating of his heart which felt more like fibrillating then the thumping of normal regular beats. As I prayed for this young man to be spared and healed, the fibrillating slowed and stopped! I was stunned! Quickly, I leaned over his shoulder to look at his face. I was frightened because I thought his heart had stopped.


The glow on his face was beautiful as he was drinking in the peace that comes from supernatural intervention; I knew God had touched him. Relaxed and smiling and breathing slowly and normally. He said, “I’m ok” “Thanks”

As I returned to my seat, which was behind the young man, I thanked the Lord. Once again he had shown his mercy and loving kindness to one who needed him and had called out to him in desperation. I raised my hands in worship among the many others worshipping Jehovah Rapha, The God that heals!

Sandy Ayers

(Below is Sandy's testimony about the man healed of a cerebral hemorrhage)

Dear Dave: I was so glad to see your testimony at our healing room this Thursday. My Director brought in a copy and handed it to me. I cried!

I am sending you my version attached...

I had to leave the next morning, of the conference, so I missed your testimony at the evening gathering but it was relayed to me when the rest of our team came home on Sunday. All I can say is what happened to you there was the start of some pretty remarkable healings which I have been honored to be part of.

A man came into our healing room and had nausea and seemed out of it. His wife said he was having some "problems" but most of all he was feeling sick to his stomach. I was Lead that evening and with two others we anointed him with oil and prayed for his stomach.....but as my hands searched for those "hot spots" I found two on the right and left of his head toward the top. I cupped my palms in an inverted V shape from the top down on his head and prayed until my hands burned. The right side was real hot, the left was not as hot. When the heat stopped I leaned forward and asked how he felt and there was no response. I had to pry open his eyes and then asked him again how he felt. He was in a very peaceful serene state and he smiled sort of like you did when your heart changed its rhythm He went home and I found out he had been taken into the hospital with his brain hemorrhaging in two places. The next time I saw him a week later I laughed out loud when I saw the sutures and shunts in the exact spots where my palms had been and his doctors said they didn't understand why the right side had cauterized itself but it was well and the left side was healing. Three weeks later he is normal and fully recovered.

Don't we serve an awsome God Dave??

God bless you my brother

In Jesus Name

Sandy Ayers

Dec 26, 2009

We Danced With The Devil - One Firefighter's Cancer Chronicles

I am grateful to have received permission from Chief Mario Trevino to re-publish the account of his battle with cancer, which appears in the December 2009 issue of Firehouse Magazine. Click here to see the original article.

Chief Trevino shares a brief story about his good friend Dave Jacobs in this article. Mr. Jacobs lost his battle to cancer before the article could be published.

The story I'd like to share with you is deeply personal. It's also harsh, perhaps even brutal; it's meant to be. That is because I want anyone who reads it to know exactly what I went through so that, perhaps, they can take whatever steps they find possible to avoid a similar fate. Forewarned, as the saying goes, is forearmed.

Like too many cancer victims, I ignored the symptoms at first. From the beginning of the summer of 2008, I had an annoying, low-grade sore throat. After a few weeks, I realized it was not going to bloom into a cold or the flu. It just lingered. After a while, I started to think I may have had tonsillitis, as, unlike a lot of my peers, I still have my tonsils. What a pain it would be, I thought at the time, to go through surgery in the summertime. I'd heard that a tonsillectomy is a lot more complicated for adults than for children, so I went to work every day, simply ignoring the small pain in my throat and hoping it would just go away.

As the weeks passed, I started having trouble swallowing. I often had to try to swallow a mouthful of food several times before it would finally, grudgingly go down. While I thought it was a weird symptom, I continued to assume it had to do with my tonsils. "I'm going to have to see a doctor about this soon," I thought. But the weeks passed and I stayed busy and continued to think I would just go back to normal soon.

Then, one day I tried to take a vitamin pill, but simply couldn't. No matter how I tried to swallow it, or how much water I drank to try to wash it down, the pill would just pop out of my throat and back into my mouth. Frustrated, I finally just threw the pill away. Then, out of curiosity, I stuck my finger down my throat as far as I could without gagging and explored. "Is that extra tissue down there?"

Suddenly, I was nervous. I made an appointment to see my regular doctor the very next day.

"Are you a smoker?" asked my doctor after I had described my symptoms to him. I told him that I wasn't, but reminded him that I had been a firefighter for almost 36 years. He examined me as best he could in his office and told me it was probably nothing, but "just in case" he referred me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I went home and tried to make an appointment that same day, but found that just about every orolaryngologist was on vacation, as by now it was mid-August. So, I went down the list of other medical providers I got online from my insurance company until I found a doctor who was in town. I took the soonest appointment I could get, which was still two weeks out.

Like a dark prophesy, an article came out in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this same week, entitled "Cancer takes a heavy toll on Seattle Firefighters." It described the disproportionate number (over one-third) of Seattle firefighters hired before 1977 who had contracted some form of cancer. I wondered vaguely if I would add to those statistics.

For me, day one of my cancer experience will always be the day I was actually diagnosed: September 5, 2008. When the day for my appointment finally arrived, my symptoms had already progressed to the point that I had trouble even swallowing liquids. I was sure, by now, that something was seriously wrong and suspected that I may have cancer. Sure enough, when the specialist put a probe up my nose and snaked it down my throat, I heard him say "Oh!" as though he had found a surprise down there. He had.

"You have a mass in your throat," he said after examining me, "It looks malignant. And aggressive." He looked me right in the eye as he spoke, making sure I understood the gravity of his comments. My wife Mary Ann and I sat in stunned silence as he informed us of what needed to be done to complete his diagnosis. As he talked on, my mind took me back to all of those times when I entered burning buildings without breathing protection, and all of the times I worked for hours, unprotected, doing salvage and overhaul in the smoldering remains of fires over the past three decades. Like my peers, I had felt bullet-proof in those days. I had always thought that cancer was something that happened to other people. Not me. Now, for the first time, I was actually afraid for my life.

The doctor scheduled me for a surgical biopsy and a bevy of tests, including a CAT/scan, immediately. On Day Five, when the results came in, I brought my wife Mary Ann along to hear what the doctor had to say. Like me when the symptoms had begun, she was still convinced it was nothing. I, on the other hand, was now convinced that it was definitely something. "The tumor in your throat covers your epiglottis. It's about the size of a walnut, and seems to be growing quickly. It's definitely malignant."

We sat and listened as the doctor explained what his recommended course of treatment was. He said we had to get the tumor out as soon as possible, and scheduled surgery within two weeks. We asked about the process. He told us that they would go in and excise the tumor and any other affected tissue they found once inside. I would have to breathe through a stoma at the base of my throat for at least the first few months. There was a chance they could save my vocal cords, he said, but I wouldn't have an epiglottis anymore. Part of my tongue and part of my throat would also have to be removed. I would have to learn to eat and swallow again after further surgery to try to make my throat as normal as possible. I had a good chance at survival, he added, but there were no guarantees. I looked over at Mary Ann and she had tears streaming down her face. I tried to get my mind around the fact that my son might not have a father around to help raise him.

As the doctor continued to explain, part of my mind reflected back for some reason to one of the worst calls I had ever responded to. One of those calls you can never really get out of your thoughts. It was a day long ago in Seattle, a hot and sunny summer afternoon in 1975, when a full-response assignment came in with a "go" for the house: Engine 31, Ladder 5, and Aid 31. Also responding from other north-end stations were Engines 24, 39, and from the University District, Battalion 6. The report was that some kids were playing in an abandoned construction shack, and the caller said there was smoke in the area. I was driving Aid 31. We got out of the house much sooner than the big rigs, and when I heard that kids were involved, my foot naturally went to the floor.

We got to the location minutes before the next-arriving unit. My partner Larry LaBrec and I drove through the gate of the storage yard and up to the smoking shack, where a hysterical 7-year-old boy kept yelling, "She's inside!" We clambered out of the rig and rushed in to pry the pad-locked plywood door open from the top. We literally fell into the thick smoke of a smoldering fire. The kids had crawled under the door, which had been intentionally blocked with heavy timbers to try to prevent illegal entry, and filled the space with cushions and foam-rubber pillows to create a make-shift playhouse. The fire had apparently been ignited by the candles the kids had used to light the interior. The smoke was thick, black, and obviously toxic. We went in without masks, as we always did in those days. Our protective gear consisted of only our helmets, black canvas turnout coats with green wool liners, one-layer leather gloves, and non-treated cotton work uniforms.

Visibility was zero. We found the little girl by searching with our hands through the smoldering pillows and Larry handed her out to me as I crawled out first. She was dead; literally cooked to death. She had swollen up to about twice her normal size and was disfigured beyond recognition. Her face was completely smooth, without any indication of where her mouth, eyes, ears, or nose had once been. I'd forgotten about the little boy until I heard his shrill screaming behind me. As I turned, I briefly saw the terror on his face at seeing the body of the girl, and then he ran away. We never saw him again. When the other responding units arrived, Larry and I were laying on the ground, coughing and spitting up the nasty black soot we'd been inhaling.

I feel as though we danced with the devil, each of us in turn, when first we set out to become firefighters. Each of us has our own particular experience. In some cases, the devil comes right at you; I've known rookies who were beaten down at one of their first fire calls, burned or crushed. Over the years, I've seen some survive the experience with only scars to show for it, while others were swallowed whole and just...didn't.

We went back to the station afterwards and ate our dinner in silence, as, in those days, there was no such thing as a stress-debriefing. Larry and I had our own dance with the devil that day, and the devil had exacted his due from the life of a little girl. I kept my eyes on the devil as we danced; I wasn't burned or injured. Or so I thought. But I didn't think about his poisoned-tail. At some point, whether at this fire or another, the point lanced my throat so neatly that I didn't even know I had been wounded. It lay there, dormant, possibly for decades, until the time came when it bloomed like an evil seed. Larry died of brain cancer in 2007. We will never know which exposure, or series of exposures, got him. Station 31, where we both worked at the time, had an especially high number of firefighter deaths from cancer. The station itself was the subject of a protracted investigation in the early 2000's.

And we danced...

Back to the harsh reality of 34 years later, I continued listening to the doctor as he described what we should expect. The proposed surgery sounded radical to me; I had seen lots of EMS patients over the years with stomas, and the concept of becoming one of them was a lot for me to handle. When he was finished talking, I asked, "What are my alternatives?" I sensed him disengage slightly. He told me I could get a second opinion if I wanted to, but that I had better hurry because the cancer was spreading quickly and was already in the lymph nodes on both sides of my throat. It would jump to my internal organs soon. "Who are the best doctors in the area for this?" I asked. He gave me a few names, including Dr. Neal Futran at the University of Washington, considered one of the very best anywhere.

That afternoon on the phone, I found it was extremely difficult to get in to see any of the top-notch doctors who had been recommended as they are always in high-demand. Their staff people told me they only took some referrals, even from other doctors. The days were ticking by. I got good advice and support from my friend Dr. Mickey Eisenberg, the medical program director of King County Medic One, about the process.

On Day 13, I contacted Dr. Michael Copass, medical director of Seattle Medic One and an old friend that I once worked very closely with. Besides being possibly the best-known EMS medical director in the country, Dr. Copass is also a professor of medicine at the University of Washington. To call him "well-respected" would be a gross understatement of the facts. He happened to be in Alaska on a rare, well-deserved vacation when I got a hold of him on his cell phone. After I explained my situation to him, he asked "What can I do to help you?"

"I need you to help me get to see Dr. Futran at the University of Washington Medical Center. Right away." Thanks to a referral from Dr. Copass, I got an appointment with Dr. Futran the very next day, five days before my scheduled surgery.

Fast-forward to Day 14: my meeting with Dr. Futran. After yet another exam and more tests, he asked about the pending surgery my other doctor had recommended."Have you given any thought to what your quality of life would be after this surgery?" he asked. He explained that I would lose part of my throat, part of my tongue, my epiglottis, and probably my vocal cords. "Yes, I have thought about it, but what are my options?" He told me that he had seen excellent results in squamous cell tumors, which is what I had, with just radiation and chemotherapy--no surgery. "When can I start?" I said.

Never having been through a similar experience, I thought I could begin radiation therapy right away. I imagined it would be like getting an X-ray at the dentist. How complicated can it be, I thought. "By now, I was really nervous. Not only was I panicky about how fast the cancer was spreading, I was developing a lung infection. Since my epiglottis was compromised, whenever I tried to eat I choked on my food and invariably aspirated some of it into my lungs. I was having a harder and harder time just breathing. Why can't we just get going with the treatment?

I wondered over almost three agonizingly slow weeks, waiting to begin the process. During this time I had many more tests and scans, and also had a rigid plastic-mesh mask made for my head and neck to hold me immobile so that the radiation treatments could be properly focused on the affected portions of my body without unnecessary collateral damage. I had seen no less than eight other doctors, ranging from radiation oncologists to chemotherapy specialists to swallowing specialists. I had also seen a specialty dentist who told me to expect that most of my salivary glands would be permanently destroyed by the treatment. This dentist, unlike any other I had ever been to see, was ready to pull any teeth on-the-spot that needed dental work; it seems that you can't begin radiation therapy anywhere near your mouth with any dental issues at all. Luckily, my mouth was in good shape and I went away with only cast-trays to give myself fluoride treatments for life since, due to a lack of saliva which provided it, my body would no longer be able to fluoridate my teeth to protect them.

This is also about the time I met Dr. Jay Liao, my radiation oncologist. I would get to know him a lot better over the coming months.

I also had minor surgery on Day 40 to install a stomach tube so I could eat. My "food" was to be three to six bags of liquid nutrition that would go directly from plastic IV-style bags into my abdomen via a PEG-tube, which hung from my stomach like a 10-inch, surgical-plastic umbilicus.

When the day for my first radiation treatment finally came, on Day 41, I was really nervous. My lung infection had gotten so bad that I was coughing up huge amounts of thick, green phlegm all day and all night. As soon as I lay down, the fluid in my lungs would rise to my throat and I would begin to cough and choke. The night I spent in the hospital when I had the stomach tube installed I was up all night because I simply couldn't breathe. Even when propped-up into a sitting position, my breathing was so labored it was like breathing through a small straw for each inhalation and exhalation, an exhausting process. Appropriately, I was placed on strong antibiotics for the infection before my first radiation treatment.

This was when my real nightmare began. I had been anxious to get going with treatment, but when it finally started, I found it was like entering a friendly torture chamber.

I've never been claustrophobic. I've never been afraid of confinement. I've been able to use an self-contained breathing apparatus, or be strapped down, or enter tight, dark spaces without even giving it a second thought. But getting radiation changed all of that for me. The rigid plastic mask they had made for me was designed to fit very tightly and hold my head and neck completely immobile. To administer radiation to the throat, a patient is placed on a hard table with restraints immobilizing the ankles, knees, arms, and torso. The rigid plastic mask is placed over the head and face and secured with clamps to the table. It is so restrictive, the patient can barely part his/her lips, much less open the mouth.

Once the team of technicians anchors the patient down, they all leave the room closing a huge metal, vault-like door behind them to protect from undue exposure. The room is then darkened and a large machine rotates around your upper body making strange noises in the shadows. My major fear was that I would have a coughing attack and would choke on the large amounts of phlegm in my upper respiratory system. I made this clear to the techs. They told me if I got into trouble that I should signal them by wiggling my fingers and making whatever noise I could during the procedure. They would be watching and listening from outside the room on closed-circuit television cameras, and they would come to my aid if needed. But I knew if I started choking it would take them at least a minute or two to get my signal, de-energize the radiation equipment, re-enter the room, un-strap my restraints, un-bolt my face mask, and allow me to sit up to cough and spit out the phlegm so I could breathe again. I was terrified. To try to keep from coughing as the goo rose up again in my throat, all I could do was pray to God for help. I alternated between Hail Mary's and Our Father's for 45 minutes until it was finally over, trying desperately to arrest the urge to cough which would bring on certain choking because I couldn't swallow.

As I prayed, my mind again wandered back in time to June 14, 1974: my first greater-alarm fire. The Polson Building on the downtown Seattle waterfront, home of the Ace Novelty Company, was on fire. All eight stories of it. And it was packed to the gills with plastics and other combustibles.

I was working a detail at Engine 13 that day and we were called in on the second alarm. When we arrived, we were told to stretch a 2-1/2-inch hoseline up an extended aerial ladder and into a sixth floor window. Up we went, wearing only turnout coats, helmets, and gloves for protection. None of us wore masks. Within 10 minutes, we found ourselves trapped in the stairway on the eighth floor. The stairs we had come up were compromised by fire and arcing electrical lines, so we couldn't go back the way we had come to the ladder on floor six. In front of us on one side was a locked steel-clad door which we couldn't pry open since we hadn't brought along forcible-entry tools. In the other direction was an open door with huge, angry flames shooting out of it. Our 2-1/2-inch line, opened full-bore, wasn't even making a dent. We didn't have portable radios in those days, and though we tried yelling and waving down to the street level for help, we were so high-up no one on the street noticed us. At one point, I was overcome with smoke and lost consciousness. One of my fellow firefighters picked me up and thrust my head out the window for fresh air, which revived me. At last, about 45 minutes later, a much-welcomed truck crew came through the locked door behind us and allowed us to evacuate the building.

We were given oxygen at the scene by fire department paramedics and ended up returning to the firehouse after the fire to complete our shift and go home. I coughed up nasty, black soot for three days afterwards.

And we danced...

The radiation machine finally wound down and I was thrust back to the here-and-now. The lights came up and my first treatment was over. Sure enough, as soon as the mask was removed, I went into a coughing attack, spitting out a mouth-full of phlegm and choking in huge lung-fulls of air.

This continued for almost 10 weeks. I had radiation treatments every day, Monday through Friday, and even though my lung infection finally subsided with the medications, it never got much easier.

The day after my first radiation treatment, I had my first chemo-therapy treatment. I had seen other patients around the hospital in wheel chairs with electronic IV carts in tow, administering the chemicals into their bodies as they talked to people, or read, or just sat. My experience was different. The chemotherapy drug I got, called Cisplatin, is the strongest available. Getting the treatment was a full-day experience. First, I was taken to a semi-private area and given two large bags of IV fluids to hydrate my body so it could handle the drugs.

After several hours, the technician pulled the curtains and re-entered the little cubicle that contained my bed. After fully explaining what I should expect, she donned a protective plastic suit, face protection, eye protection, and gloves, all to guard against accidental spills and splashes, and hung the small bag of Cisplatin. She told me that the drug was very strong; if spilled it would literally eat through concrete. It took another hour for the chemicals to enter my body, and it was followed by another large bag of fluids to further assist with hydration.

That was when the nausea began, and it would be with me for months afterwards.

As the days went on, I became weaker and weaker. My sleep was constantly interrupted by either pain, nausea, or both. Mary Ann, ever the supportive wife, would wake up with me as many as five times a night, get up and grind whatever I needed in a pill crusher, pain meds, nausea meds, or both, dilute them with water and inject them into my stomach tube. At one point, I was taking over 20 different medications. We were told to rotate the nausea drugs to try and stay ahead of it; if it gets away from you, we were warned, it will be bad. Eventually, I only rose from bed to go to the bathroom or to the hospital for treatment.

One morning, my voice just went away. I tried to speak and nothing came out. Not even a whisper. I had been told to expect this particular side-effect of the radiation treatments, but there is no way to prepare for such a reality when it hits you. For the next few months, I was completely mute.

Sometime near the beginning of my illness, a friend contacted the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and gave them my name. They called right away and within two weeks sent me a package containing literature and tools I would need to help get me through the ordeal. They also referred me to several fellow firefighters around the country who had the same type of cancer, and each of them contacted me for fellowship and peer-counseling. They are a Godsend and there is no way I can thank them enough for the great work they do. If you or a fellow firefighter is unfortunate enough to become a cancer victim, they are a great resource. You can reach them at 1-866-994-FCSN, or on the web at: As their name implies, they are there to help you.

Day 66. I was so debilitated from the second chemotherapy treatment I'd gotten the day before that I barely had the energy to get out of bed to go to the hospital. My entire neck area was severely burned by the radiation and had turned black like the burns you can get from hot oil in the kitchen. It was blistered, oozing fluid, and painful to the touch. The chemotherapy kept me nauseous 24-hours a day. The pain was constant. My pain medication had escalated to the point that I was on full-dose Fentanyl patches and Oxycodone, a strong opiate. Back in the friendly torture chamber, I could feel the radiation on my neck every day, like salt on open wounds. With help from Mary Ann, I could barely get back into bed after my treatment and just lay there, not asleep and not fully awake, until my next treatment the following day.

Day 74. A Friday: one of the lowest points of my treatment because of a particularly severe bout of nausea. I had been throwing-up all day and by early evening I continued to expel everything that we could put in my stomach tube. The nausea had really gotten away from us. In between dry heaves, I finally asked Mary Ann to call 9-1-1. I knew that I could not survive the weekend until my Monday appointment without IV fluids. As she phoned in, I sat for a few minutes in the living room, too weak to even sit up, and waited for the medics from my own department to come to transport me. Calling our own fire department for help was one thing I had sworn to myself I would never do. Professional pride, I guess.

Mary Ann cried again, comforted by our operations deputy chief and our medical services officer, as the medics hooked up IV's and packaged me for transport. I continued to cough into the oxygen mask as they closed the doors of the rig and we drove off into the night. I spent the next 11 hours in the emergency room and it took three bags of fluid to bring me back to "normal." The medics would later say they would not have recognized me if they hadn't known whose house they were responding to in the first place.

Day 87. I had been having hallucinations for weeks. Whenever I walked down a hallway, the bare walls seemed to be covered in horrible, black graffiti. Slash marks and designs that I couldn't read, but which felt ominous and evil. Whenever I looked at a blank space, the markings marred my view. If I read a book, the markings were there, in the margins, haunting me.

On that particular day, at the peak of my illness, I felt close to dying. After arriving at the hospital and being fully prepped, my third chemotherapy session was cancelled at the last minute because my red and white blood cell counts were about one-half of what they should've been. They were not within safe limits necessary to proceed with the therapy without life-threatening implications. They recommended a transfusion to build my blood count back up.

I had lost 40 pounds. My head was shaved because my hair had been falling out in ugly clumps. I had sores on my face and inside of my mouth from the treatment. My breathing continued to be labored because of the persistent congestion in my airway. My strength was just about gone, and even my will to live was fading.

As I lay in bed in the middle of the day, again neither awake nor asleep, I had what I can only describe as a "waking dream." Death came, literally, to my door. I saw a dark shape fill the doorway and looked to see who it was. The black figure loomed there, just on the other side of the threshold; a vaguely female form covered in a shroud comprised of layer-upon-layer of black veils, swaying as though blown by a slight breeze. I was immobilized with terror, more scared than I have ever been in my life. I couldn't breathe. Only my eyes were capable of movement. As I looked more closely, I realized that her veils were not made of lace but rather small constellations of black stars. Larger stars for the bigger veils below and smaller stars toward the head, and the stars were all swirling slowly like thousands of black ants crawling on an anthill, giving the veils the illusion of being wind-blown. But she didn't come inside the room. She just hovered in the doorway, facing me, without making a sound. After a few minutes that felt like an eternity, she receded just as quickly as she had appeared. It took me several minutes after the episode to catch my breath and be able to move again, and then I shook uncontrollably. I was so affected by the experience that I couldn't even tell anyone about it until several months had passed; when I got up the courage to share it, more than one person suggested it may not have been a dream at all.

My radiation treatment ended on December 2, Day 88. That day, with Mary Ann's help, I brought gifts and cards to everyone at the hospital who had been treating me; the doctors, the technicians, the nurses, and the staff. They had all assisted me in my time of extreme need and had shown immense kindness and patience. They are all angels of mercy, in my view. It wasn't much, just chocolates, cookies, and other assorted treats, but I wanted each of them to know how much I appreciated their help. Since I still had no voice, it was the only way I could thank them.

As the weeks passed, the effects of the radiation and chemotherapy slowly began to diminish. Within two months, I was off the Oxycodone, much to Mary Ann's relief as she was afraid I might become addicted like other patients we knew. Another month later, I took off my last pain patch. The nausea was slower to dissipate, but finally I was off all the different medications. The burns on my neck began to peel like a severe sunburn, exposing fresh, soft, new skin.

In March, my voice slowly began to come back. It was just a series of squeaks at first, and even now, seven months later, it is still raspy and foreign to me.

Day 203. One of my happiest days ever because I finally got to have my stomach tube removed. I had begun to eat soup and other liquids. I began a regimen which included liquid nutrition from the grocery store.

My energy started to return and I was able to drive and to take unassisted walks, un-assisted. At first, even a few blocks wore me out, and I had to fight my dry mouth by constantly drinking water in small sips. By March, I could walk three miles a day.

I began the long and painstaking process of documenting my illness and my career history to go before my city's firefighter disability board. It was now up to me to prove that my illness was duty-related, and I had found that there is a big difference in benefits between duty-related and non-duty-related determinations.

I called other firefighters who had cancer. I called the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. I called Seattle Firefighter's Local 27 and Bellevue Firefighter's Local 1904. I started researching the type of cancer I had contracted on the Internet, inquiring everywhere: "What causes throat cancer?" What I found out surprised me.

It turns out that, aside from heavy smoking and heavy drinking (neither one an issue for me), there are at least three major contributing factors to throat cancer: exposure to asbestos; exposure to formaldehyde, and; exposure to arsenic. Further research taught me that each of these carcinogens is readily found in firefighting environments.

Asbestos: over 90 percent of the buildings in a city like Seattle have asbestos within them in some form or another. Asbestos is a well-known and heavily documented carcinogen. In older construction as well as those currently under construction, it has been widely used in electrical wiring and hardware, appliances, plumbing, and many other construction materials. In its undisturbed form, asbestos is stable and safe, but when disturbed it becomes airborne. The particulate matter is so fine and light it actually becomes ambient in the local environment. It is impossible to avoid exposure to asbestos particulates in fire buildings without breathing protection. It will also permeate clothing and turnout gear during exposure, requiring immediate de-contamination after an incident and thorough cleaning prior to re-use.

Formaldehyde: one of the main by-products of combustion when drywall or plasterboard burns. The same applies to other associated products, such as the "mud" used to cover nail holes or create joints in drywall installations. Also, spray paint and other commodities commonly found in aerosol cans produce formaldehyde when they burn. Again, so commonplace in fire buildings that exposure to firefighters should be assumed. Most basements and garages are full of these sources of contamination.

Arsenic: Arsenic? I knew it was a deadly poison, but I didn't know it was carcinogenic until I read about it in my research. I wondered where and how I would've been exposed to a compound such as this in any measurable quantity. What I discovered was that, until it was voluntarily discontinued from use by industry in 2004, over 75 percent of all treated wood in the U. S. was coated with an arsenic solution to prevent moisture damage. How much? One source indicates that there is enough arsenic (27 grams) in a 12-foot-by-2-foot-by-six-inch board to kill 200 people. The arsenic-laden ash, like asbestos, becomes airborne during combustion and is breathed-in by unwary firefighters without serious breathing protection; a paper filter mask does not constitute effective prophylaxis. Further, there is enough arsenic in the ash from treated wood after it burns that a spoonful (27 grams) of this ash, if ingested, can contain a fatal dose. Can you think of a single fire where treated wood products, whether in furniture or construction materials, was not present?

When I reflect on the hundreds of fires I have fought over the decades, and all of the salvage and overhaul situations where I, and others, walked around without breathing protection, it is not surprising that my cancer was a result. At the Rainier Cold Storage fire alone (Seattle, November 13th, 1988), I served as a division commander for over 16 hours. For hour upon hour, I breathed in a huge amounts of smoke (which a representative of the Washington State Council of Firefighters has called a "toxic soup of carcinogens") that night. My eyes watered from the ruptured refrigerant lines full of ammonia as we fought to contain the four-alarm blaze. None of the command officers outside the building wore masks that night, as it would've made it difficult to direct our crews. I recently learned that the incident commander at this incident has himself contracted leukemia.

And we danced...

So far, I'm one of the lucky ones. The Lord has delivered me to a place where, one year later, I appear to be mostly cancer-free.

My battle is just beginning. Can you guess what one of the primary side-effects of radiation treatment is? You guessed it in one: cancer! My doctors tell me that, if secondary tumors do occur, in 80 percent of the cases they will develop within two years of the initial diagnosis, and in 90 percent of these cases they occur within the first three years. So, I count the days. On the other hand, if a patient can make it for five years without a recurrence, they are considered "golden." That means that, while they still may get cancer in the future, they probably won't get the same cancer again.

People like me have to continue to get scanned every month or two to try to identify any secondary or tertiary tumors early on, as when a cancer returns it is often much more aggressive than the original form. My good friend Dave Jacobs, with the Seattle Fire Department, is an example of this. He has advanced esophageal cancer, and it may soon take his life. My heart and my prayers go out to him and his family.

And we danced...

Carcinogens are everywhere in our occupation: research will tell you, for example, that a single, severe exposure to burning creosote smoke may well result in testicular cancer a decade or two later. Remember, the devil is a deceiver. He can make you think you are unaffected and then laugh as your affliction takes you when you and your family least expect it. Dozens of firefighters I know have been stricken since my own diagnosis. One of them, a retired captain of Ladder 1 in downtown Seattle, was feeling "a little off" after a round of golf. He stopped by the doctor's office on his way home and an exam showed his body was riddled with cancer. He was sent straight to the hospital and never got home that day. He died within two weeks of his diagnosis. Farewell, Bob.

I've also learned that a firefighter's medical coverage can vary widely, depending on the city and state in which he or she works. A quick-reference guide is available in the November/December 2008 International Fire Fighter that can help a cancer victim in his/her own research. I've attached a chart with some excerpts from it below. indicating state presumptive disability laws and coverages. Often, in cases such as mine, the victim is obligated to prove that his/her cancer is duty-related. In some states, maladies such as lung-cancer are considered "presumptive," but in many they are not. Also, just because lung cancer is presumptive in any particular state doesn't mean other respiratory cancers are; even though common-sense would seem to dictate that smoke has to enter the lungs through the mouth, throat, and trachea. Throat cancer is not presumptive in Washington State for example, but one glaring bit of proof of duty-relatedness my research uncovered was a case involving three Spokane, WA, firefighters. They were all hired on the same day. They trained together and were even assigned at certain points to the same company. All three of them contracted throat cancer. It would seem hard to imagine that this was not a job-related issue, as one died from his disease, a second was forced to retire, and the third is lucky enough to still be on the job as of this writing.

And we danced, and danced, and danced...

If you do get cancer and have to prepare your own case, you will have to do your own legwork to prove duty-relatedness. But there is plenty of help out there. I've named just a few resources in this article.


Presumptive Disability Laws: Yes/No

Coverages Include



Known carcinogen which is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer



None indicated



Leukemia, pancreatic, prostate, rectal or throat cancer that is caused by contact with a toxic substance.



Exposed to known carcinogen as defined by the IARC.



Cancer affecting the lymphatic, digestive, hematological, urinary, neurological, breast, reproductive, or prostate systems.



Leukemia or pancreatic, prostate, rectal, throat, ovarian, or breast cancer.

Here I am, at Day 375 and counting. My hair has grown back and I've re-gained half of the weight I had lost. The saliva glands in my mouth have come back to life, as predicted, although the saliva glands below my jaw line are gone forever, so I continue to be plagued with dry-mouth. Eating is still a challenge, and every mouthful of food has to be ultimately washed down with some form of liquid as my epiglottis is still about four-times its normal thickness. The incision from which my stomach tube had once protruded has now healed, leaving a hole in my abdomen I call my "second navel." I still cough up mouthfuls of goo every day. All of that is alright with me. These are but small prices I willingly pay for a second chance at life.

I don't know how long I will live, but who among us really does anyway? I cherish my life more than at any other point in time. I've learned how many friends I'm lucky enough to have; more than I had ever I realized. Dearest among them are the ones who insisted in seeing me even when I didn't want to be seen. Michael called almost daily and refused to take no for an answer, showing up at our door one day and insisting to drive me to the hospital for a treatment. He made bad jokes and tried to act like nothing was wrong. Later, on a trip to Paris, he made the short pilgrimage to the cathedral at Notre Dame to light a candle and say a prayer for me. Steve and Jerry also drove me to the hospital, and prayed for me daily. Warren and his wife Dana send a card every single week for six months, along with phone calls and emails. My family has always been there for me. Our department chaplain, Mike Ryan, had an entire congregation praying for me and other sick firefighters. My assistant, Gale, took it upon herself to keep everyone apprised of my condition. Not a single day went by that we didn't get flowers, or cookies, or books, or emails, or phone calls. On some days, there were 20 cards and letters in our mailbox to open. Thanks to my friends with the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, I got messages from chiefs across the country and even as far away as Australia. Thank you Bellevue Leadership Team. Thank you Bellevue, Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco firefighters. Thank you Norm. Thank you Ron. The list goes on and on and on; I wish I could thank each one individually.

After the fact of my own shamelessly cavalier attitude toward personal protective equipment early in my career, I've become a believer. I love to watch our young son Sergio frolic on the beach with all of the joy and careless abandon of youth. But I make sure he is slathered with sun-block and wears his beach hat.

My diet is now rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, as it should've been all along. I've discovered that there are also plenty of references available on the Internet for good, cancer-preventing diets. Plenty of books exist that, for a relatively modest price, will guide you to healthier eating habits. You may want to pay special attention to the so-called superfoods, such as salmon, chocolate, broccoli, blueberries, walnuts, and many more. Thing is, they are really pretty tasty too. Some people also swear by diet supplements, such as mangosteen; it's best to do your own investigation and then choose what you like and suits you best. The point is, think about eliminating the wrong kinds of food and focusing on eating the right kinds of food. Consider it like a police officer wearing a ballistic vest, just in case.

The same thing applies to keeping your body in shape. But, of course, you already know that.

Smoking? Not a good idea. Smokers are always worse-off when they get cancer than other patients. You can think of smoking as a force-multiplier for cancer. Remember in the old movies where smoking was made to look glamorous? Believe me, there is nothing romantic or glamorous about dying from cancer. When you are wasting away in a hospital bed, barely able to breathe, your thoughts are no longer about being "cool." Suddenly, it's all about an insidious disease that will ravage your body without mercy, often ending in a horrible and very painful death. This process is expedited (but not diminished), by smoking or the use of other tobacco products.

If you have cancer, stress is not your friend either. There are a number of ways to reduce stress in your day-to-day life, whether it's about money, work, or even your illness itself. Let's face it, some of us get so wound up in heavy traffic we go from zero to road rage the minute someone cuts us off. Trying to minimize stress might mean you have to limit your exposure to some of your friends and even family members if time around them causes stress due to arguments, jealousy, envy, relationship issues, or any number of other problems people have between them. My own approach is to direct as much energy as possible to continuing my recovery process; I'm learning to identify stress inducers and try to reduce them. In some cases, that has meant that I have to keep some people at a slight distance and limit my encounters with them to small, manageable doses. Not out of spite, but simply because I now realize how short life really is. I know that, at some point, Death will come for me again and may enter my door un-hindered the next time (well, maybe next time I'll get the white light at the end of the tunnel that some speak of, which would be a welcome change from the apparition I saw!). In any case, there just isn't much time for this kind of negativity in my life anymore. I still care about all of my family and friends, but I choose to focus instead on making the most of every day that I can share with my wife and son. Cancer patients need to chart their own paths to wellness. What you choose to do is entirely your decision, but I strongly urge you to consider developing a stress-reduction strategy and adding it to your new lifestyle.

To my fellow firefighters, and to future firefighters who may dance with their own particular devil in the future, I offer one more piece of advice. It's simple, but it is important: wear your protective gear! All of it. No, don't try to negotiate or to rationalize alternatives in any way...just wear it. Wear it whenever you enter a hazardous environment, just like everyone (including every legal mandate) tells you to do. Don't doff your breathing protection just because the fire is out, unless you have access to a filter mask which is rated for such an application. You ought to know from your required training (and you know it as well as any expert in the field) that gasses and particulate matter permeate the local environment whenever a fire occurs. They don't subside for hours or even days after an incident. Sometimes, the toxic, carcinogenic products of combustion are actually worse after a fire than they were at the height of combustion. Fire investigators, take heed!

So wear your PPE (personal protective equipment) every time: no cheating, no excuses, and no short-cuts. No kidding. Take it from someone who's been through it, with cancer there are no second chances. You may have gotten a "do-over" on lots of things in life, but this is definitely not going to be one of them. For you, for your family, for anyone you care about, just wear it, okay?

I'm retired from firefighting now and don't ever expect to don the uniform again, but I felt an obligation to write this article in an effort to make a believer out of at least one more firefighter out there. Cancer is a very real threat; it is a modern-day blight that will kill you just as dead as a backdraft or a building collapse would. It just takes longer, and it can hurt a lot more. Don't face devil without being armed with your PPE's, a healthy diet, good physical conditioning, and a clear mind. You can learn from past mistakes made by other me.

MARIO H. TREVIÑO has over 36 years in the fire service recently retired as chief of the Bellevue, WA, Fire Department. Mario served as chief of the San Francisco and Las Vegas Fire Departments and a deputy chief in Seattle. You can contact Mario by e-mail at:

Dec 24, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

This was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight."

I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.

But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what ...

Outside, I became even more dismayed.. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.

When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me."

The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing?

Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked.

The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

"Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt."

That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.

Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.

"Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy, too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards.

Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour. Sure, we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.. We knocked.

The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.

She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave.. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell."

I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold.

When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square."

"Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Dec 23, 2009

God Fixes Cars and Electronic Devices

Editor's Note:

This testimony was hi-jacked from Kristin's Facebook page with her permission. I must confess, I don't understand any of this. I'm still in a state of confusion as to how or why God heals cars and electrical equipment. I'm the stepdad who tried for 3 days to fix the Volvo. It had been raining for days, and the hood doesn't close completely. The entire engine was wet. I put a tarp over it, and it dried out, but the car wouldn't start. The spark plugs looked OK, but I replaced the spark plug wires, which were in bad shape. I replaced the distributor cap, but the rotor was stuck and couldn't be replaced, so I cleaned the electrical contacts. None of this seemed to help, as even after a day without rain, it still wouldn't start. Kristin tells the rest of the story:


Last week I got in my car, put the key in the ignition and turned it...the engine turned over but it wouldn't spark. I tried again...nothing. Karl's stepdad changed the spark plug wires (which were broken) and tried to start it but it wouldn't start. We tried a couple other things, to no avail. During this time I was not trusting that God would do anything for me or the car. "If He was going to, He would have already." I reasoned. I was very stressed over the situation because I don't have a lot of money, certainly not enough to bring the car to a shop.

In a moment of desperation Karl went out to my car, got in and closed the door. He said "Okay God, do you see your daughter's desperation? Now, i'm already mad at You and if You don't fix this car i'll be even more mad. In the name of Jesus I command this car to start!" He then put the keys in the ignition and gave them a turn. VROOM! The car started right up!

This week I dropped one of Karl's oscillators (an electronic test device) and it broke. Whenever he would plug it in it would short out and trip the power breaker. We prayed over it to be fixed and plugged it in, but it shorted out. We prayed again, to no avail. So, we put it aside and went about our life. A couple hours later I decided to pray over it again. I did and plugged it in and it didn't short out! But Karl informed me that the breaker hadn't been reset. So he reset it and we plugged it in again. It still didn't short out! Karl ran a few tests on it and it was working normally!


I'm writing this to tell you that, even though you may not have a grid for this, God works in mysterious ways. He sees a situation and His heart is to help, no matter what needs fixing. Whether it's raising the dead or fixing a car, He wants to take care of us.

Kristin Mullinax

Dec 22, 2009

Pierce County Deputies Shot

I am saddened to report that two more police officers in our area were shot overnight. Please pray for their speedy recovery and for the safety of all our our brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

Dec 21, 2009

Charlie Brown's True Meaning of Christmas

(You may want to watch the video first)

Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown at Christmas time. He was bewildered at the emptiness in a Christmas drowning in commercialism. But he was encouraged by a friend who reminded him of what it's all about. Linus illuminated the meaning of Christmas with a passage from scripture. Our unlikely hero, strengthened in his conviction, pressed on with his vision. With the voice of Linus echoing in his mind, he took pity on a sickly tree. He saw something in this tree others could not. He was determined to lift it up to a place of honor. His friends looked down on him for believing in this foolish plan, calling him a blockhead. In the end, they rallied around him and the tree and gave praise to God.

Men and women like Charlie Brown, who see the unseen possibilities and follow their dreams will always be seen as fools. Like the men from the east who followed the star that brought them to Bethlehem; I'm sure their friends also thought them to be fools. I was reading in the 3rd chapter of Mark this morning, where Jesus appointed the 12 apostles. A few verses later, his family said he was out of his mind. (Mark 3:21) Translation...Jesus, you're a blockhead.

So is anyone who follows the road we are on.

We tell them we hear the voice of God; a voice they've never heard.
We tell them God wants to do miracles; something they've never seen.
We tell them an angel delivered a message; they roll their eyes and laugh.
We see strength and virtue in the drunkard.
We see holiness and beauty in the prostitute.
We see wisdom and grace in the addict.
We see what they cannot see.


What blessed fools are we who take strength in what God has declared.

This is not a celebration of foolishness. True fools bring shame to themselves. Christmas is a time of celebration for those who believe in the impossible and marvel at the miraculous. Everything about Christmas from the appearance of angels to the virgin birth speaks of the supernatural, the unlikely, and the impossible.

In the medical profession, we need to change how we see things. It's easy to hop on the bandwagon and ridicule the homeless, drunken, addicted and mentally wounded people we care for. Just do what everyone else does.

In this season, and every day of the year, like Charlie Brown, we should choose to see the miraculous. We must close our eyes to what we see in the present and believe in what God can do in the future. Like the pitiful tree, we must believe there is something honorable and virtuous God placed inside every person.

God came to a manger. He took on the form of man. He came to rescue us from our sickness, suffering and sin. He had a vision for mankind that was greater than we could have imagined. Let's partner with Him in this plan of redemption. He's in the business of taking lives that are wrecked and ruined and making them into something beautiful.

Dec 20, 2009

Kansas City Healing Revival

A little over a month ago, the Holy Spirit began a new work in Kansas City, Missouri, at the International House of Prayer (IHOP). It has brought a great work of healing and deliverance, especially among teenagers and young adults. This video explains some of the experiences they've seen so far.

Dec 18, 2009

Breast Cancer Healed

This is the testimony of a woman healed of metastatic breast cancer through prayer. If God heals one, He can heal all. If healing is on your Christmas list this year, ask for it.

Memo to Dave

When the headache grows more intense...


You'll be home soon. Where your wife waits with a cheerful smile. Even after her long day of work.

And the presence of God never leaves.

The Holy Spirit has taken up residence here as He once did at the house of Obed- Edom (2 Sam 6:12) .

God blessed everything he did and every one who came there.

And as you drive home, know that your healing awaits you.

The Lord of heaven and earth who healed you before will heal your headache - again.

And your shoulder pain.

And your back pain.

And your fears.

And your sadness.

I am Jehova Rapha - The Lord who heals you, that is my name.

I can do nothing else.

Dec 17, 2009

ER Stand Up - Brian Regan

We've been digging some deep wells lately. I thought it might be time for a look at the lighter side of things. If laughter is the best medicine, this just might cure you. We'll be going to some serious subject soon. Enjoy a little laughter now.

Dec 16, 2009

Traumatic Injuries Healed -Testimony

This woman was injured in a car accident. God spoke to her in the middle of the night about forgiving the driver who hit her. She made the decision to forgive and was healed during worship service. What interests me is the confession that she had not truly forgiven the other driver. There seem to be cases in which anger or bitterness prevents us from being healed. In future posts we'll look at this subject as well as healing during worship.

Dec 9, 2009

Lakewood Police Memorial

This has been a trying time for all of us. As we drove around from hospital to hospital yesterday we saw the procession from Lakewood to the Tacoma Dome. News helicopters were a constant reminder of what our brothers and sisters were doing today. It was a day to honor our fallen friends. Let's always remember the men and women in uniform; military, police, fire and EMS who have died in the line of duty. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.