Monday, July 24, 2006

My Little Monster Visits the Emergency Room

Today was a particularly long day for us because it started at 1:30 in the morning, when Jessica woke me up concerned about Tyler. Our little 2 year old had vomited a few times before he went to bed last night. Now, Jessica was noticing that his breathing was very fast and he seemed to be laboring with each breath. It reminded us of the times when one of our older sons, Christian, had asthma attacks. He was also about 2 years old when it started. From that experience, we learned what to look for and we saw the same symptoms in Tyler. He had a cough, runny nose, and a fever, but the biggest problem was the way he was breathing. Instead of breathing from his chest we could see him using his stomach muscles and even his throat to help. We knew that we had to take him to the emergency room.

When we got to the hospital, the doctors checked his pulse and listened to his breathing. They quickly determined that he needed a dose of ventolin (an anti-asthma medicine). He did pretty good taking this medicine, especially when you consider that it required him having a plastic mask strapped around his head and having a smoke-like vapor pouring into his nostrils and face from the nebulizer. Maybe he was just too tired to complain or perhaps he was distracted with the other children getting various treatments. I like to think that it was because he sat in my lap during the treatment.

After that treatment we took him to get his first chest x-ray so that the doctors could see how his lungs looked. Jessica wasn't allowed to go in with us because of her pregnancy, but I was able to manage because Tyler did very well. He looked a little concerned (you can tell this if you click on the image to enlarge it), but he didn't complain or fight having to lay on his side on top of a 12 inch square piece of film. After the x-rays, we went back to the doctors who checked Tyler's pulse and lungs again. They decided that he needed two more rounds on the nebulizer. By this time, Tyler's patience had run out and he cried through both treatments, but the treatments did seem to help his breathing.

At this point the doctors aren't convinced yet that Tyler has asthma. They said that they think that it is more likely that he has the early stages of pneumonia, which is going around right now over here. Also because the xrays showed that Tyler had some fluid in his lungs. We got back home at about 5 am, just in time to grab a few minutes of sleep before dropping Grace off for her first day of school and going to an a.m. appointment with our boss down town. We called home while we were out to check on him a few times and he was doing well. He was just not cooperating in taking his medicine. The doctors prescribed antibiotics and a few other oral medicines for him. When we got back in the afternoon he was running around laughing and having fun. If you remember, please pray for our little guy. I guess a little pneumonia would be better than asthma which could be with him for years. In either case, we know that God is in control and trust that this will work for out for His glory and our good.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sean, I don't want to die and only you can help me!

It had been six weeks since I last saw any of my friends from the bridge. Though I was on a working vacation in the States, my thoughts and prayers were often focused on them. Did Robert have enough rice? Was his asthma medicine used up? How was he doing now that the rainy season had begun? These questions were answered on my way to pick up a visiting short-term mission team. Before I went to the airport, I stopped by the bridge to see Robert and my other friends. I noticed that they covered their make-shift homes with some extra wood. I assume they did that to keep some of the rain out of them. I called down to Robert and after a few minutes he climbed up to greet me. His brother Lito joined him shortly after that.

As we exchanged our hellos and began catching up on the latest news in each others lives, they mentioned to me that Ate Dora was taken to the hospital earlier. Lito went on to explain that she was struggling with hyper tension and high blood pressure. After a little while, she came out from under the bridge, but for the first time I saw her walking with a stick to give her some extra support. She greeted me with her usual smile, but I could tell that she was weakened.

Ate Dora said to me, "Sean, where have you been? I have been waiting for you! I don't want to die and only you can help me! I have to take care of my grandchildren!" (she has over a dozen of them that she helps care for while her children do what ever jobs they can to help the family survive)
I don't know exactly what is wrong, but she said that the doctor said that she needs a CT scan which will cost about $80 US dollars. I'm guessing that this would be at least one or two months wages for her and could be even more than that since her jobs are not consistent. Ate Dora then told me, "I promise, if you help me, I will bring my whole family to church." I told her that I only want her to go to church if she really wants to and that I will help her because she is my friend. Perhaps she will go to church through this because she sees God's grace upon her as he uses me, but I don't want to start the practice of building churches on obligation or guilt. I will be going to get her and take her to the doctor on Monday. Pray that God will show the doctors what is wrong inside her body and that they will be able to correct it. I will write about this as I learn more. Click Here to read about Angelo's Cleft Palate

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Master's Men in Manila

On July 4-6 a team of men from the Master's seminary joined me (Sean Ransom) in Manila to teach a three day conference on expository preaching. In partnership with Greenhills Christian Fellowship's Petra foundation, the team featured Alex Montoya, (Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministries) Scott Ardavanis, (Senior Pastor of Placerita Baptist Church) and was supported by myself, (A TMS grad and missionary with the Evangelical Free Church in the Philippines), Jonathan Cross (a student at the Master's Seminary), Andrew Choo (A TMS grad and pastor at a Missionary Alliance Church) , and Gideon Dignadice (a youth pastor and student at the Master's Seminary). After making a case for expository preaching and teaching basics on sermon prep to over three hundred church teachers and leaders, professor Montoya taught how to preach with power, passion, and purpose. He found himself on the hot seat during a Q&A session when one of the men in the mixed audience asked what the word says concerning the role of women in the church. After a pause and a smile he gave a balanced answer that seemed to satisfy the crowd.

Pastor Scott modeled expository preaching as he taught from Psalms 119, Eph 4, and 1 Thess.

Jonathan taught on biblical counseling.

Andrew did a seminar on reaching Muslims for Christ; which lead to an invitation for him to teach that seminar again at a local church.

Gideon taught on youth ministry.

I did a seminar called, "Effects of a seekers sensitive philosophy on expository preaching", which seemed to be received well by most of the audience, but a few Rick Warren fans had a hard time with it. I tried to be very gracious as I urged them to preach the whole counsel of God's word instead of focusing their preaching on the felt needs of their congregations.

After living in the Philippines for two years now, most of the preaching that I have observed here focuses on felt needs, stories, and often goes straight to application while ignoring the proper interpretation and explanation of the text. I was blessed as the participants in this conference responded well after being taught, shown, and challenged to do expository preaching. In a country that has over 40,000 to 50,000 untrained pastors, I pray that this conference will be the beginning of a movement of expositors who faithfully declare God's word instead of their own.

We discussed with a local church the possibility of starting up a training center or seminary that focuses on expository preaching. Pray for Jonathan, Andrew, Gideon, and myself as we endeavor to launch something here in South East Asia. Pastor Montoya and Pastor Scott gave us a lot of great ideas as they challenged us with different possible ways this vision could happen.

During their visit here some of the team spent time ministering in a bible college, and ministering to the poor (we gave out about 5 boxes of clothes to men, women, and children. The team also encouraged pastors in a mountain province, met with leadership from the Evangelical Free Church mission to learn more about their ministries and vision for the Philippines, and shared the word with two gangs in Manila city jail.

If any of these ministries moved your heart then pray about joining our team in establishing a training center in the Philippines or sending a short-term team from your church to get exposed to some of the things that God is doing on the mission field. Just email me at