Thursday, February 25, 2010


The recent earthquake in Haiti has shaken my heart and unearthed many memories.  At age eighteen I had never seen the mountains or the ocean; in fact, I had hardly been out of Illinois!  Yet, I boarded a plane heading for Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city, on a medical mission. 


As our little plane landed, we were greeted with umbrellas to protect us from the pouring rain.  My heart pounding with anticipation, I peered out the window of the brightly colored Tap Tap (wooden Bus) as we made our way to St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children, my home for the next two weeks.   Waving, unashamed of their nakedness, women were washing clothes and bathing while their children played in the river as we passed by.


Port-au-Prince:  As we stepped off the bus at Haiti’s major facility for providing medical attention, schooling, food and clothing for children, we were greeted with thunderous applause and cheers.  Most of them afflicted with malnourishment as well as physical impairments, I was overcome with humility by the loving, grateful faces of these children.


Infectious mosquitoes were abundant and our windows were without screens!  Sleeping with nets over our beds was essential and, due to the unbearable heat, most often we slept in our underwear.  In fact, we were only allowed to work in the heat for 20 minutes, interspersed with breaks in the shade and our water bottles.  Following directives, we checked for nesting spiders before donning our shoes.  One morning a roommate shook a tarantula out of hers!  Not realizing their speed, with my shoe as my weapon, I thought I was prepared to smash the smithereens out of the ugly thing!  With my roomies on their beds screaming, I unsuccessfully chased the hairy, eight-legged critter around our room!


Built in a square with a courtyard in the center, the wall between our room and the corridors did not reach the ceiling.  I could stand on my bunk and observe the activity in the corridors.  Dogs roamed freely in the courtyard and often into the corridors of the building.  Early every morning, we were awakened by barking dogs!  One morning, they brought their yapping escapade to our corridor.  In my skivvies, I stood on my bunk while my roommates handed me their shoes to use as torpedoes hoping to detour our disturbing intruders!      


I was honored to assist with providing the children with necessary prostheses, dental care and medications in addition to renovating their living environment.  Yet, their needs were so tremendous that it felt as though we were only scratching the surface.  Although they had so little, their hospitality and gratefulness was a humbling lesson for someone who, in comparison, had so much. 



Bonnie Jaeckle with a friend at St. Vincent's, 1975         


                        St Vincent's, 2010.  Six children and staff members died.


Remembering the directive to not eat or drink anything offered on the street, we ventured off to the dirty, smelly marketplace where vendors vied for our attention and ladies balanced baskets of produce on their heads.  We learned quickly that the prices were never firm and that bartering was expected.  Before I returned home, I purchased a beautifully hand-carved mahogany bowl and an intricately hand-embroidered shirt for a pittance!  However, there was one offer that branded my heart forever.  A lady sitting on the sidewalk holding a baby motioned for me to come to her.  As I stepped closer, she held her baby toward me to take as my own!  Without requesting money, I believe she was honestly seeking a better life for the child.  How was my eighteen year old heart to respond?  


To be continued next week -




Thursday, February 18, 2010


What a blessing it is to converse with brothers and sisters in Jesus about our walk with Him. Yet, we frequently stifle one another in doing so. I observed an example of this only a few days ago when I witnessed one brother sharing with another something that he believed the Lord had directed him to do. The receiving brother abruptly responded, “I don’t believe that! God would never tell us to do that?” What happened? The conversation immediately stopped and I could feel the unity between those two brothers in Christ begin to shut down. This approach eventually destroys not only our fellowship with one another as members of the same Body, but eventually our fellowship with God.

When someone shares a biblical opinion that is differing from our own, why do we often respond as though we have it all figured out and that they must be out of their mind? God’s response to such a prideful person is this, “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge” [Job 42:3]. Until Jesus returns, we all have only partial knowledge [1Cor 13:9]. Paul is saying to those believers who think they have it all figured out, “… we all have knowledge; however, what good is it if it is used for intolerance rather than for the welfare of our brothers and sisters” [1 Cor 8:1-2].

Conceit of knowledge is evidence of ignorance.
Knowledge that swells the mind tends to hurt others.

- J. I. Packer

Paul told the conceited Corinthians, “Knowledge puffs up … The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” [1 Cor 8:1-2].

He that knows most best understands his own ignorance, and the imperfection of human knowledge. He that imagines himself a knowing man, and is vain and conceited on this imagination, has reason to suspect that he knows nothing aright, nothing as he ought to know it. It is one thing to know truth, and another to know it as we ought, so as duly to improve our knowledge.… And those who think they know any thing, and grow fain hereupon, are of all men most likely to make no good use of their knowledge; neither themselves nor others are likely to be benefited by it. - Matthew Henry

It seems that the Body of Christ would profit if we would all admit that we don’t totally understand God or the fullness of His Word. What would happen if we were to make a practice of saying to one another, “May I share my understanding of this issue at this point in my walk with Jesus? I do desire God’s truth and believe that all believers have a portion of it. Therefore, I am open to your perspective.”

The one who recognizes that the things of God are too wonderful for him to know [Job 42:3] will listen patiently to his brother, offering assurance that what he is presenting is worth hearing and prayerfully considering.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Over the last year or so, I’ve experienced increasing difficulties sleeping. I’ve discovered that insomnia is not an uncommon disorder. Reiter and Robinson reported in 1995 that one-fifth of American adults and one half of American seniors experience difficulty falling or staying asleep. A study done in 2002 by the National Sleep Foundation reveals that as many as 47 million Americans do not regularly get the optimal 7-8 hours sleep a night.

One hundred years ago, people scheduled their days based upon the hours of daylight. Nine and a half hours sleep a night was the norm. Sleep is an important time of restoration and reproduction for cells. This vital reparative and manufacturing work is shut down and toxins accumulate in the brain of those who are sleep-deprived, leading to acceleration of brain aging. Insomnia not only causes fatigue and confusion, but various biochemical changes also occur which can damage cells in the brain’s memory center. Additionally, disease-fighting cells of the immune system are weakened, increasing vulnerability to infections.

If you typically cannot fall asleep within 15-30 minutes,
wake up frequently during the night,
or don’t feel refreshed upon waking,
you may be experiencing chronic insomnia.

Insomnia is recognized as a disease produced by a wide variety of

Medical problems – arthritis, pain, thyroid, liver and neurological disorders
Stimulants – caffeine, smoking, alcohol and medication
Emotions – anxiety, stress and depression
Lighting in sleep area – Even light from a clock can decrease the production of Melatonin, a natural hormone in the brain which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Lack of sunlight – Exposure to sunlight throughout the day produces chemicals necessary for melatonin production at night.
Nutritional deficiency
Aging – Melatonin production declines with age
Menopause – Decreased estrogen production effects sleep.


Diet - quinoa, spirulina, and soy products promote melatonin production
Magnesium - reduces pain and fatigue and promotes sleep
B complex - Magnesium cannot be utilized without B6.
C - aids production of anti-stress hormones
D - promotes sleep
GABA (natural hormone) - induces relaxation, analgesic and sleep
Lecithin - healthy brain function
American Ginseng - provides many of the same benefits as estrogen replacement therapy
Melatonin - 3-9 milligrams an hour before bedtime. Recent studies show that some people may require 1 mg. or less.
Herbs - St John’s Wort, Chamomile, Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Hops, Valerian root, Kava kava and Passion Flower lower anxiety and/or produce sleep.
Essential Oils - Lavender or Roman Chamomile in bath/on pillow before bed.
Exercise - 20-30 minutes at least 5-6 hours before bedtime
Relaxation - prayer, deep breathing and message
Sleep hygiene: consistent bed and wake time, darkness, cool temperature, comfortable bed and quiet.
Sunlight – 20-45 minutes per day

Naps – especially after 3 pm.
Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (refrain for at least two hours before bed) and medications containing caffeine/stimulants
“Trying” to sleep – get out of bed after 15 minutes. Do something relaxing until drowsy.
Eating, working, reading or TV in bed
Heavy Meals/Fluids before bed.

Bedtime Tea

Valerian 30%
Linden 20%
Kava kava 20%
Chamomile 20%
Catnip 10%

Blend loose herbs and store out of direct sunlight in cool place. Add 1 tsp to 1 cup nearly boiling water, cover, steep for 20 minutes and strain.

Supplements - Now Foods at
Herbs & oils –

May peaceful sleep close your eyes and awaken you, refreshed in body and soul, ready to serve God.


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God to weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A few years ago the word was out that Gary & I wanted to build a guest house with old lumber. We were approached about dismantling a partially burned home in exchange for whatever lumber we could use. We had no idea of all that the Lord had in store for us in agreeing to this offer.

Upon entering their home, I considered the memories that this family must have had in each and every room. I felt somewhat guilty as if I were about to strip all of that away from them.

I fought back tears as my mind was flooded with memories which I didn’t realize lingered in my heart. Although it has been forty years ago, I recalled, as if it were yesterday, the day that I stood before the rubble of my childhood home. The owner had told momma that she and her six children could live in this old one-room schoolhouse rent free for as long as we needed. It wasn’t much, but grandpa helped fix it up and it was home to us. As Gary & I examined this family’s tragic scene, I was quickly reminded of what it is like to smell the smoldering of my family’s home and personal possessions.

While laboring to salvage what was left of this family’s home, at times it seemed as though I could hear mamma crying in the next room while writing letters to her three oldest in Viet Nam, informing them that nothing was saved from the ravages of the fire. At age ten, I felt helpless. Yet, it seemed that the opportunity to obtain resources from this family’s home could somehow make it possible to redeem something even greater. Needless to say, the work was difficult in more ways than one!

Unknowledgeable about how to accomplish our dream and who to ask for help, all of these precious resources laid waiting under tattered tarps. Fearing that they would be ruined, we even offered to give them away at one point. I’m thankful that the Lord’s plans are far greater than ours and His timing is always perfect!

Floyd Plank and his Amish family have become very dear friends to us. Being excellent carpenters, Floyd and his sons agreed to build our dream while teaching us along the way. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, for us anyway! Our ignorance must have been exasperating; yet they willingly offered ideas, listened to ours and patiently helped us to see them through.

Throughout this process, although I didn’t fully understand why, I felt like I was on a mission which had more in store than simply completing a building. It was weeks of concentrated effort, yet with each and every scraped window, planed board and positioned beam there was an unexplainable joy in the labor
beyond the fun of working with the Planks.

While we weren’t able to salvage it all,
the beautiful tongue n’ groove boards, hand-hewn beams,
walnut stair rail, cathedral window and ornate doors
from this devastated home found their perfect place in our
rustic, yet beautiful guest house.
Completed this fall, it is more than we ever dreamed of!

Although we don’t know all that the Lord has in mind, we believe that His desire for this building is to be filled with years of love and fellowship amongst His people. Is there a better way to replace “what the locusts have eaten?”