Prayer letter April 2015

April 2, 2015

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On Saturday, Feb 21st, we received a phone call from our daughter Rebecca. She had some very sad news: their 2 month old baby boy, Lucien, had just died of SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).  She had put him down for a nap, he seemed to be sleeping longer than usual, so she went to get him and found that he had passed away in his sleep.  What a shock!  So, on Monday, Judy, Nathanael and I drove the 600 miles down to Toulouse to be with them.

On Tuesday, Rebecca asked me look at an electric role-down shutter on their sliding door going out the back of their house.  So, I got the ladder. It is a 3-part extending ladder, so I took part of it and placed it on one end of the sliding window and another part on the other end.  I climbed up and took the screws out to remove the cover, then went back up to look and try to understand the mechanics and see if I could find how to fix the motor.  Just as soon as I went up 2 steps of the ladder, and reached up with my hands to try to better see the shutter, the wall in front of me quickly began going up as I was going down.  In less than a second, the ladder had slipped out from under me and I had hit the concrete. I knew immediately that something was not right with my left arm.

We drove to a nearby doctor that Rebecca knew. He took me down to another office where they did an x-ray of my shoulder.  It was a complex fracture. The doctor arranged for me to have a scanner done the next day and an appointment with a surgeon at a clinic.  The next morning the scanner was something. It created a 3d picture of the bone. We then saw the surgeon, expecting that he would operate right away.  But he said that we had 2 weeks to do the surgery so it would be better that we do it in Lille, because the surgeon could do the follow up visits.  So I would have to wait a week before surgery.

Because Lucien had died at home, the French authorities wanted an autopsy to be sure that the death was not due to child abuse. Of course we knew that was not the case, but there was no choice. Wednesday, the authorities had the results, not finding the cause of death as is the case in the vast majority of SIDS cases. Finally Rebecca and Samuel could plan the funeral for Lucien, which was decided for Saturday morning. There were over 300 people present, including some from Montauban, who had known Rebecca since she was a child. Samuel’s parents and one of his sisters were able to come from the States, and several French Christians from other cities came too. Plus the Toulouse church mobilized to do everything they could.  Samuel and Rebecca were overwhelmed, and deeply appreciated all the comfort extended to them by so many, including messages sent to them and to us.  Thank-you!

What was shared at the funeral was both touching and a tremendous testimony of God’s grace in such a trial.  It was shared that of all their children, Lucien was the one who smiled the most at that age. Though visibly in grief at such a loss, Samuel and Rebecca were thankful for the 2 months God gave them with this precious one and they savored all those wonderful times they and the 5 other children had had with Lucien.  James 1:17 was evoked and a great peace reigned in spite of the deep pain.

One of those present was the unsaved mid-wife who delivered Lucien.  She well remembered his birth as they almost lost him then.  She was extremely touched at the funeral and stated that she admired our faith, “of all of you!”  She recognized that she needed to find faith again.  Pray for her to find Jesus as her all-sufficient Savior.  We were able to give her a gospel of John.

With my arm broken (actually, it is the head of the humorous that was broken into 4 pieces), it would be very difficult to make the 10 hour drive back to Lille in the car.  So Sunday evening Judy and Nathanael left in the car and I flew up on Monday morning.  Judy and Nathanael met me at the airport in Lille. 

I saw the surgeon on Tuesday morning (a week after the fall) and he scheduled the surgery for Thursday. So on Thursday morning we went to the clinic and I got checked in. In the evening they rolled me in for the surgery. The anesthesiologist told me she was giving me something to relax me. I then heard her say "now I am going to block the pain in your shoulder”. The next thing I knew, they were rolling me back to my room. They placed a plate in my arm to hold the pieces together with 7 screws. All this would be very interesting if it were not in my arm...

As the anesthesia wore off, the pain in my shoulder woke up. They gave me  some morphine a couple of times, as well as other pain medication.  They released me on Sunday.  Happily, 2 other men were able to fill the pulpit for me in the church in Lille for the 2 Sundays I missed. The hardest part of the recovery is sleeping at night. I take some Advil type pill and then go to bed. When the effect of the pill wears off, the pain wakes me up, so I take another pill, it takes a while to take effect, go back to sleep (most of the time it takes at least an hour) and wake up when it wears off, and so on.

We saw a used recliner in the want ads for a reasonable price, so I have been sleeping in it. I have been teaching the Bible studies and am back to preaching, but with my arm this way, I cannot drive, so Judy or Nathanael have to take me places. (Incidentally, Nathanael just moved back home the week before Lucien’s death).  Several times a week, I see a physical therapist. She is doing the light stuff for the moment.  This week, I had another x-ray and will see the surgeon on Friday. If he thinks that the bone and muscles have healed enough, the therapist will begin the “torture" with exercises that will re-establish the movements, then on to rebuilding the muscles.

All this has taught me a few lessons, for example what takes only a second to break, may take much pain and time to repair. I know that all things work together for good for us (Rom. 8:28), and I am sure that the Lord is in control.  Even though I do not know what He will do with this trial, I am confident that He does. I am thankful that I live in a time and place where they can operate on a situation like mine and restore at least most of the movement in my arm. 

Please do continue to pray for the healing of my upper arm. We still plan on coming to the States this summer, even though I have been waiting to be sure that I will be able to travel. Please pray for this too. Also continue to pray for Rebecca and her family, as the loss of this little one is painful.  Especially pray for the grandkids, as the loss of their baby brother is always difficult to understand.

May the Lord bless and we thank you for being behind the Lord’s work here in north France.

Yours in Christ,
Greg and Judy Sirmons

44 rue du faubourg de Bethune
59000 Lille

VOIP phone 913-871-4427 (Kansas number that will ring here in France)

For donations: https://www.denarionline.com/DONORSERVICES/TEMPLATEPAGE.ASPX?COMP_REF=_GFM&SID=aehumb45dsbv0355cisopdel&CONTENT=MISSIONARY&MISSION_REF=7D8A2574AD


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