Almost eleven months ago, my wife and I said a tearful goodbye to our young adult daughter Lydia just before she boarded a plane at the Los Angeles airport on her way to serve as a missionary nurse in Mindanao, Philippines. I wrote a blog post about it entitled: Jesus is Worthy: And He Has the Right to Send Our Children Overseas.

About six weeks ago Lydia discovered that she had contracted typhoid fever, a very serious illness. Subsequently, she was hospitalized three times in Mindanao, first to treat the typhoid, then to rescue her during a life-threatening emergency related to the typhoid, then to treat sepsis, her second life-threatening emergency. We believe that God answered the prayers of so many people and has rescued the life of our precious daughter.

My wife Trudi has just brought her back from Mindanao and Lydia is recuperating in our home in Southern California. But between emergency #1 and emergency #2, Lydia experienced a short recovery and wrote the following prayer letter reflecting on emergency #1. I’ll be honest, this brings me to tears every time I read it, but I share it with you (with Lydia’s permission) because it reminds me of what it truly means to live as a disciple of Christ and to focus on eternity.

June 6, 2014

Hello Friends,

Thank you for your continued prayers for me. God is good and he moves when his people pray. Many of you may not realize how important your prayers have been, so I would like to share part of my recent story with you. You may remember getting an email a little over a week ago letting you know that I was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night and asking for your prayers. Well, the actual reason we went to the hospital was because both I and the experienced nurse I was staying with thought I was showing signs of peritonitis (basically a perforated intestinal wall that requires surgery), one of the serious complications of typhoid fever. It turns out that earlier that day I had been asking my nurse friend about the previous typhoid patients she had cared for, and she told me that she had never had a patient survive who had gotten that far along in the disease.

Needless to say, my imagination began to work. I stopped and asked a question, “Am I ready to die tonight?” It's a question I'd asked myself before, but never with the thought that it really could be my last night. I then began talking to God, “Is the work you've called me to do on this earth complete?” “Have I used my time here wisely?” As I lay there thinking, I realized that if God in his infinite wisdom wanted to take me home that night, then I would joyfully go, knowing that I would be going to a place where there are no more tears, or pain, or suffering, and where I would spend eternity with my Lord.

My prayers then turned to praying for all of you whom I knew would be grieved by my leaving, but I was encouraged that God would be able to care for all of you just like he cares for me. These were my thoughts on the night I thought I would die, but God had other plans for me. When morning came, all of the danger signs we had been watching began to disappear. I am convinced, as are many people here, that this is directly a result of all of your prayers. I guess God's plan for my life is not over yet. And while I still long for heaven, I look forward to seeing what God has yet to do with me here on earth. God answers prayer! Thank you so very much for all of your prayers.

Because of his grace,