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Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

Heart Attack: the first phase of Covid – p 3

The Life is in the Blood aka When the Music Fades

The First Phase of Covid – 19: part 3

News of the Angiogram

Looking back, I think Alan thought it might be the end of his life when he went to have the minor op called an angiogram, which was to look at his heart by inserting a camera. The doctors couldn’t figure out for a week why he wasn’t recovering from the Covid. Oxygen levels were fairly stable but he was exhausted. What was the cause?

Eventually, they decided to have another look at his heart.

Covid and heart attack – similar symptoms

Covid pneumonia produces chest pain and fatigue. So does heart attack. They’d done an EEG early in his hospitalisation which revealed a healthy heart. But after a week they decided to look again…

When Alan (and the consultant) told me he was to have an angiogram, Alan said, “Walk on water, Darling.” I thought he was referring to our talks months before about wanting to live in the Spirit 24/7 and of our frustration that it wasn’t forthcoming. I thought he was encouraging faithfulness. In fact, I think he was also warning me…I think he was telling me he thought he might to die — certainly he could die — and I needed to trust the LORD.

Result of the angiogram

Well, the angiogram revealed he’d been in heart attack condition for a week. They put two stents in an artery. After it all, Alan seemed to recover; the cardiologist told me he’d be released in two days as regards the cardiology issue, but perhaps a bit longer if the respiratory recovery was slower.

He was never released of course, and the weakened heart played a big role in that. 

Blinded by disease

Why did it take such a long time to look at Alan’s heart? Why, if he’d experienced a heart attack on the 1st of January, did it take until the 8th to have a closer look? Because Covid and heart attack “look” so similar. The disease is so new, and someone healthy like Alan simply didn’t flag up the heart issue beyond a cursory look after admission. I think the doctors felt badly for not spotting it, but who can blame them? They do the best they can with human eyes and science’s limited information.

Don’t look at the Storm

Of course Jordan and I were relieved. It was horrible Alan had experienced a heart attack, but he’d be home soon, they’d found the problem and he was recovering. Praise the LORD! Lots of people have heart attacks and recover. They change their lifestyle to cope, and that is generally a good thing. And of course we had the faith to believe anything is possible.


Alan’s independence and determination to come home

But although Alan got up every morning after the 8th and washed on his own, he was exhausted afterward. He was eating but sporadically. And he was so tired. 

Then came silence from him for three days and nights, and that really make me uncomfortable. Around this time I practiced prayer life more deeply. I looked at Jesus, no matter how distant and silent and remote I felt from Alan. Quietly, I drew in more and more others to pray.

There was optimism. I began to write an outline for a book we’d write together (though I didn’t have the opportunity to share this with Alan at the time). Prayer continued and I began to spread the net wider as Alan seemed “stuck” in his healing. I received tremendous encouragement from others who were drawn in to pray.

On Friday the 15th of January, Alan rang and we chatted a bit. Oh, I was deliriously delighted! He said he’d felt that he’d been in the belly of a whale, but knew the nurses were talking to me, so he didn’t worry that we weren’t communicating. He also said the LORD had told him He would take him “through the valley of the shadow of death”. Well, certainly he had been deathly ill. But he was getting better, at last…..

That night, two others, very much warriors in prayer, joined with me together over the phone to pray for Alan. It was a powerful time. We prayed in detail for healing, we praised GOD for the breakthrough. We hoped Alan would be home by the next Sabbath. Later, one of these two and another person who was praying in Hong Kong, sent songs about breath and breathing to forward to Alan; I did so. Over that night, the LORD also had me literally breathing for Alan — “the two become one flesh” took on whole new meaning for me that night!

Sunday 17th I was awoken in the night to pray. The LORD also led me to cast the net wider for prayer and an entire TV network was invited in. 

I noticed that Alan hadn’t been looking at his What’sApp. He didn’t feel strong enough to listen to the music he’d been sent, which was a concern for me. But I — and many others — prayed on, trusting the LORD for His healing of Alan.

I got a call that night, 17th of January at 10:30pm, from a consultant. Alan had collapsed and was in a bad way and would probably be taken to ICU.

Storm

The storm was crashing, but I deliberately and determinedly looked to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. 

I don’t remember what I said to our sixteen year old son after the hospital had rung that night, perhaps nothing at all; he was aware each time the hospital rang and never asked the report. We only talked about the matter of his dad being in hospital a little: sincerely and honestly, but rarely.

We went to bed soon after, and I even managed to sleep that night, which must have been a supernatural gift. 

I believed breakthrough was imminent.

* Photo courtesy of Revelation TV

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Reflections and Poetry

Clarity, Vision, Direction: a reflection

Clarity, Vision, Direction

I do not have clarity, vision, direction for the future, not just yet. As a single person again after nearly thirty years, I really don’t know what is next for me to do. I no longer have covering as I had with my husband; I am now the covering for others. Yes, I have pastoral covering, and GOD’s covering, but that is different from the intimate and immediate covering of a spouse to his wife.

Over the last three years my husband Alan and I sought to build a joint ministry. One partner is gone now, so what is to become of that ministry which we believed GOD had a hand in I do not know. I do know that I don’t want to do anything the LORD is not in, and so ministry, though wide open, has a narrow door. 

I am an author and as such, felt the writing I did to encourage others to pray for Alan when he was sick was a culmination of all my writing effort and experience gained over the last twenty years. Do I continue? Yes, for now, unless the LORD guides me otherwise.

I am a mother and a step mother; I “look after” those put in my care just as Alan would have done, for into their future these others may look, but I see and pray and stand for them. I take nothing for granted except that GOD is love and I reflect GOD to those in my care.

Life today

Life is light and love and freedom in Christ. Life is hope and joy and truth to share with others. Life has changed entirely, in an instant. The moment Alan passed away I became a new person, and I am slowly becoming acquainted with “her”. I pray I will maintain the wisdom and integrity of my husband, and discover the purpose and role and even the identity of myself as a single person who loves the LORD, loves her family, loves the spiritual family within the church of our LORD, and loves herself. 

Purpose

And as for purpose? Ultimately, it is to reflect the glory of GOD. In the more immediate, I simply do not know… but “he who waits upon the LORD shall renew his strength…” (Isaiah 40:31) and so I wait. I also hope, reflect on His word, remember Alan and his principles, and take delight in the sunshine, the fresh air, the thoughts, impressions and memories of my earlier life as a married woman. Most of all, I seek the presence of the LORD and all that brings to uplift us me; that for me and any follower if Jesus, is what quenches, fills and moves us forward. 

Hallelujah, the LORD reigns, in and through us, moving us forward and lifting us upward into the call and purpose and identity of Jesus. Amen.

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Reflections and Poetry

Heart Attack: limited communication, limited effectiveness – the first phase of Covid – p2

When communication between a couple is daily, no matter the distance, and that is abruptly interrupted, it’s hard. At least I found it hard. 

The first day Alan was in hospital, he found it hard to speak, so we texted. I took his lead so as not to trouble him or tax his strength. When I mentioned pneumonia to Alan he was surprised. They’d told him he had Covid but no one had mentioned pneumonia. He found it a bit agitating, I think, to hear from me that he had pneumonia. 

In hospital the first few days, communication was sporadic. I found the silence heart-breaking but I put my trust in GOD’s sovereignty and remembered continually His word to me that “Alan will recover” and that carried me through the scary days, as I experienced a sense of powerlessness and a feeling like being in a washing machine — constantly turned and twisted, having very little air or peace.

Each day I’d speak to a nurse who would give me Alan’s oxygen level (which I only understood relative to ‘normal’ or the level told me the day before) and his blood pressure.

“What is he receiving the oxygen through?” I’d ask, wary whether it be a C-Pap or a light mask. 

“A light tube” one nurse would say. One night, overnight, they lay him on his stomach and he didn’t need oxygen support at all. That’s a good sign, I thought.

When someone is in hospital, moving back and forth from a high intensity ward to a short term unit and back again, it’s impossible not to read into every change something significant, even though it’s all guess work from a family member’s point of view. With no personal visitation allowed due to the Covid pandemic, and very sparse comment from Alan, every word a stranger said was filtered through my analytical brain and taken to GOD with prayer, hope and a seeking as to what to do next. 

I had told my son in person, then my step daughter by phone, and lastly Alan’s siblings by group text, that first day, after Alan was admitted into hospital with Covid. No one panicked, probably in part because I didn’t panic, because the LORD gave me wisdom, assurance and faith to hold on, trust Him and remain calm. 

Looking back, in spite of huge effort on the part of the hospital to be vigilant towards Alan’s recovery right from Day 1, I think the lack of communication contributed to the increase of illness and ultimately, to the end of Alan’s life. Had I known some things sooner, I could have prayed more effectively. Had doctors learned from me sooner about Alan’s disposition and personality, they may have read rather than misread some signs and perhaps medicated less vigorously. But do I suggest lack of communication caused his death? Not directly, no, I don’t think so. Rather, communication and visitation would have given Alan better quality of life while in hospital, and I may have had more influence upon doctors perhaps, and sooner. It is my view that a patient’s family should have more voice in their treatment because they know the patient best and can focus on this one patient when doctors are devoted to many all at once. A family member can detect things perhaps better than doctors when they are with the patient in person. But in the final analysis, the circumstances were as they were, and GOD orchestrated a fine symphony which brought to the attention of all parties involved, His power and presence in the life of Alan and me. He brought the entire team of medics to the point of focus on Alan’s definite recovery just days or even hours before the LORD released him back to Himself. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I began to share with close praying friends the situation with Alan: Covid pneumonia, in hospital, needing just a little air support. I told the pastor, who shared with the church. I didn’t share on line — it was a private matter and Alan is known in the Christian community; I sought prayer but not panic or rumour or distracting phone calls. I believe GOD led me each step, as to with whom to share the news and to whom I would request prayer support. Each person I told was vigilant, I believe, and keen to pray for Alan’s recovery.

And so began a purpose-driven strategy to pray Alan back to full health and home.

*Photo courtesy of Revelation TV

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

After Alan: a reflective poem

Passage of time

after death

of a loved one.

Marking moments

memories of friends and 

intimacies of marriage

make me remember.

And yet

The door is closing

must close

on past times

A new freedom beckons

bittersweet

Strife-less; less safe,

haven lost to find

in new life:

breath

peace

hope

with fond remembrances of 

You.

(In memory of Alan Tun, my wonderful husband and best friend)

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Spousal Bereavement: in difficult times love makes a difference

A thousand thank you’s is still not nearly enough

How can a wife show love and gratitude for the respect, appreciation and friendship her husband has received in his life and which has been conveyed even after his death, through good wishes, prayers, cards, emails and messages?

How can I crystallise what your kindness has done for me and for my family?

A writer uses words, but I’m bereft of words.

I have discovered somethings new about my husband in his passing: he held deep friendship with some he knew only in passing, and received tremendous respect from colleagues years beyond their working together. He was a good man and I was not the only one who knew it!

Yes, Alan was a fine and godly man. But he was also a friend to so very many people I may never have the pleasure to meet. 

So I say this to those who valued Alan the way that I valued Alan: Thank you for sharing your love of him with me in this time of his departure. It will stay with me to share with his children and his children’s children.

Thank you. And you will always have a friend in me:) 

Much, much love to all.

Sarah

sarahtun@laruspress.com

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Heart Attack: the first phase of Covid pt 1

The Life is in the Blood aka When the Music Fades (manuscript beginnings about the hospitalisation of Alan Tun)

One morning recently, I awoke to the memory of learning of Alan’s heart attack. Never was I so relieved to hear such bad news.

At the time, my son Jordan and I were joyful at the news of Alan having incurred and overcome a heart attack, because to us, it meant that the doctors had finally found the source of the continual fatigue and lack of healing in Alan since he had been admitted, even and though he’d been getting great care and all the oxygen he needed. Cardiologists dealt with the heart attack by putting two stents in the artery that had been blocked and Alan — conditional on respiration recovery — would soon be home.

So we thought. We all thought: family, doctors, Alan.

It was instead, the beginning of a decline that would be relentless leading to induced coma.

So, the saga of Alans illness and ultimate journey into his glorious destiny with Jesus continues from last week’s introduction, for those who are interested.

I am not one to dwell on the past. One of my favourite scriptures is from Philippians 3, “Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on…” Paul says. And I am like that in my general attitude to life.

The idea of rehashing what happened to Alan is not what’s on my heart. There is no blame to attach because everyone, from prayerful friends to family and relatives, to doctors and nurses on the wards, worked painfully hard to bring Alan to health, and yet he died. GOD is sovereign, and so couldn’t He have saved Alan? These are not the points spurring on my writing about his time in hospital. So why do it then? It isn’t for catharsis. I suppose I document this because I think it is an interesting story, quite intense and full of scripture and prayer and spiritual warfare, and honouring to a man who fought beyond physical strength to stay in this world for the sake of his family and friends and all those whom he taught… even though he had no fear of death whatsoever and knew he would go to a safer, happier, holier place when ever he did finish here on earth.

The story begins

Alan had been ill since the 19th of December. He’d had a nasty ongoing headache, aches, and enough nausea to mean he had virtually no appetite. I gave him hot echenacia and lemon, vitamins: especially C, D and Zinc (though he refused to take them all daily). He had no fever, no continuous cough, no shortness of breath, no change in taste or smell (except one bad tasting banana, which should have put us on high alert). I’d had the same headache and pains which turned into a cold, and fully recovered after 4 days. Jordan had had a headache a few days before me. We all thought we had the flu of a sort and were taking it in turn.

But one evening, on day 11, I awoke in the night and Alan was on the floor. He told me it was the second time he’d collapsed in the night, even though he said he didn’t feel short of breath or dizzy. Why didn’t I call the emergency straight away?

I phoned the doctor the next day but couldn’t get our own so I left it one more day. On day 13 we spoke with our doctor who was patient and rather emphatic, saying that “of course you have Covid” and she arranged for a clinic appointment.

It was very cold on 31st of December. We drove to the clinic and parked and walked through the cold outdoors to the clinic. I left him with the nurse, not being permitted inside given the Covid restrictions. I’d come back in 30 minutes to collect Alan.

29 minutes later as I was making my way back to the entrance where we’d parted, my mobile rang. It was a pleasant doctor on the line who said Alan had pneumonia. It was probably Covid as well he said, and Alan would be taken to the hospital by ambulance. The doctor answered all my questions. The main issue had been that although Alan was clearly low on Oxygen, settling at about 88% when anything below 92% is a concern, he was — it seems — one of 10% of people who experience silent hypoxia. The fact that their oxygen level is low just doesn’t register warning symptoms. So apart from him landing on the floor a couple of nights, he’d not had any symptoms of chest pain, difficult breathing or climbing of stairs, which are the typical signposts of low oxygen levels triggered by Covid.

My heart sank.

As I drove home alone I thought, “What am I going to say to Jordan?” our 16 year old son. And I gathered myself up and knew I must be resolutely positive, calm and assured, for there was no point in worrying myself, let alone causing someone else to worry. It was enough of a “message” that Alan would not be home right away because he’d been too ill with pneumonia and had instead been taken to hospital.

About 15 minutes after I arrived home, Alan rang. He sounded rough medically and somewhat dismayed. 

This is not how we thought this day would progress.

Now would begin 18 days of intermittent communication, ups and many medical downs, and an empty canister of oxygen, all which ultimately would lead to his being put into ICU.

More next time for those for whom this is of interest.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Service to Honour the Life of Alan Tun

Funeral to be held at 1pm UK time, Monday 29th March: Livestream open link(scroll down on this Homepage): https://tmc-church.org.uk/

to be saved and accessible thereafter: https://tmc-church.org.uk/preacher/tun-alan/

All song selections are chosen from Alan’s personal collection 

Song 

Pie Jesu by Aled Jones 

Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem Sempiternam, sempiternam Sempiternam requiem 

Welcome and Prayer 

by Pastor Deon Esterhuizen 

Reading 

Psalm 23: 1 – 6 by Izzie Jay 

The Lord Is My Shepherd 

I shall not want. 

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; 

He leads me beside the still waters. 

He restores my soul; 

He leads me in the paths of righteousness 

For His name’s sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

I will fear no evil; 

For You are with me; 

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 

You anoint my head with oil; 

My cup runs over. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 

All the days of my life; 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Family Eulogy 

by Victor Tun 

Song 

How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley 

Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation And take me home – What joy shall fill my heart Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim my God how great Thou art Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art. 

Reading 

Scripture Collage
by Jim Goodwin

Verses suggested by colleagues and friends 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 

Psalm 91: 1 – 2 

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honour him.” 

Psalm 91: 14 – 15 

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 

James 3: 13 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

James 3: 17 – 18 

“The thief does not come except to kill, and to steal, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.” 

John 10: 10 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it….. 

Joshua 1: 8

“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 

“Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.” 

Isaiah 40: 25 – 26 

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And His redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; Besides me there is no other God….” 

Isaiah 44: 6 

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that
You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” 

Isaiah 49: 6 

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name. 

“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.” 

Malachi 3: 16 – 17 

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ 

Isaiah 41: 13 

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. 

Psalm 116: 15 

His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 

Matthew 25: 23 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 

2 Tim 4: 7 – 8 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever
things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. 

Philippians 4: 8 – 9 

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 

Matthew 13: 43 

Ministry Eulogy 

by Tim Vince 

Song 

Thy Word by Amy Grant 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. 

When I feel afraid,
And think I’ve lost my way. Still, You’re there right beside me. Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near; Please be near me to the end. 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. 

I will not forget
Your love for me and yet, My heart forever is wandering. Jesus be my guide,
And hold me to Your side, And I will love you to the end. 

Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near; Please be near me to the end. 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. And a light unto my path. You’re the light unto my path. 

Reading 

Romans 8: 1 – 39 by Sarah Tun 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death,
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin,
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that
we are children of God,
And if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly
waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage
of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and
labours with birth pangs together until now.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even
we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope;
for why does one still hope for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the
Spirit is, because He makes intercession
for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died,
and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation,
or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 

“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come. 

Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Time of Prayer 

by Pastor Deon Esterhuizen 

Song 

From A Distance by Cliff Richard 

From a distance, the world looks blue and green And the snow capped mountains so white From a distance the ocean meets the stream And the eagle takes to flight. 

From a distance, there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace It’s the voice of everyone. 

From a distance, we all have enough And no one is in need
There are no guns, no bombs and no disease No hungry mouths to feed. 

For a moment we are instruments Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace They’re the songs of everyone. 

God is watching us God is watching us
God is watching us, from a distance. 

From a distance, you look like my friend Even though we are at war
From a distance, I can’t comprehend What all this war is for. 

What we need is love and harmony Let it echo through the land
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves It’s the heart of everyone
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves It’s the song of everyone. 

Sing out songs of Hope Sing out songs of Freedom Sing out songs of Love Sing out songs of Peace Sing out songs of Justice Sing out songs of Harmony Sing out songs of Love Sing out Everyone… 

Socially distanced light refreshments will be served in the church hall after the service.

Afterword:

Alan Tun: Total freedom in Christ by Sarah Tun 

Our lovely Alan has gone 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) 

With Alan’s inverted thinking, taking the Gospel for exactly what it says and with no assumptions, leads us to the logical conclusion that death is not to be mourned, not for the person who has died. He has moved to an address which offers so much more. 

Why did this happen? 

Since we know that GOD is good and rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and since I’ve already established in my mind, as well as in my experience with Alan in his last hours, that Alan was ready to go to be with him, then on what basis did the LORD think of me? Did He abandon me or my son? Not at all. 

My logical conclusion to what has occurred is that he trusts me to be able to handle this life without my husband. He trusts our son to grow up in the knowledge of the LORD even without his father. We trust in the LORD with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5) and so when we look to that scripture, to actually implement it, we can choose to trust it. 

Alan’s perspective 

Alan always looked at scripture afresh. He looked deeply,
rather than at an obvious understanding. We need the obvious when we are young, but as we age in faith (Alan came to the LORD as a teen),
we see through the glass more clearly. 

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) 

Now that Alan has left us, he sees it all. His perspective will not be limited to his logical, truthful, consistent approach to scripture,
but will be limitless, inspired and full of all truth. 

All glory to GOD! 

Complete article at https://www.laruspress.com 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Wives spoil your husbands: a reflection

I awoke about 4am this morning (Friday 12th March 2021) and as I lay in bed, feeling a little bit chilly, I just drifted in my thoughts.

Then, I sensed some movement. And I sat up. I believe Georg was in the room….

In the course of Alan’s hospitalisation, there was much spiritual warfare, as those of faith can well imagine. During that time, I believe the LORD introduced more to me about angels than I had ever contemplated before. But that is another topic, for another time. Suffice to say, I believe Georg was the name of Alan’s designated angel. Alan and I had not ever really discussed angels. In our many years discussing the Word of God that wasn’t a topic particularly on the list. But I believe some time during January/February, I became aware of an angel named Georg who was Alan’s angel. 

Georg was, I believe, in the room early this morning. 

“Georg” I called out softly. He stopped, poised somewhere between our wardrobes opposite the end of our bed, and the door from the room. 


He didn’t speak. But I knew he was listening. 


I considered for a while. I was wondering what he was doing there, but sensed he had something with him, something of Alan’s that he was taking with him, and that this was the last time he would be in here, in the house, and that I’d never experience his presence again. He was leaving because there was no reason any longer for him to be present.

He — or GOD — had allowed me to wake up, so that I’d know he was there.

“If you are allowed to speak to Alan, would you tell him from me… I loved him. I admired him so much. I only fully realised what an amazing man he was after he’d gone to the hospital. I’m sorry. I should have spoiled him more.”

You see, Alan and I had a really solid marriage. We were quite different in our personalities and cultures. In fact, it was only in the last six months I’d begun to identify the part of him who was a Burmese man: passive, solid but not particularly assertive, and certainly not aggressive in any way. Alan was one hundred percent confident, but had no need or propensity to put himself forward. That’s the part of him I identify as “Burmese”. I shared that with him some time before Christmas. I’m glad.

This aspect of him I never really understood until 2020. I don’t know how I began to recognise it, but I do know why: because I’d always found his “leading from the back foot” frustrating and didn’t understand why he didn’t assert himself more. Oh, I’m sure he did in his own way in his world of work. Certainly he was a successful manager of people in the City of London. In discovering the link between his birth culture and his personality, I relaxed about our lives together much more. 

But in his absence when he’d gone to hospital, I learned so much more about our marriage: his identity and mine, and ours together. And so now, I regret I didn’t spoil him. By that I mean, I didn’t acquiesce easily (being of North American culture where one has to stand for oneself), didn’t often relent when I disagreed until I “understood” where Alan was coming from, until recently. I admired his gift as a Bible teacher and we talked a great deal about the Word together. And our principles and desire to grow in the character of GOD was perfectly alined. But in the little hobbies he had, I never listened endlessly about hi fi or watches, about the workshop and DIY, and I teased him about his enjoyment of “rubbish” tv: mindless programmes which he occasionally enjoyed about people buying abandoned storage locker contents for resale or individuals trying to get a good price from a pawn shop on their attic junk (thankfully, I did sit and enjoy them with him from time to time).

I tried to cook the sort of food he liked and adored his approach to GOD’s Word. I admired his integrity and selfless determination to live a godly life. But I didn’t listen to him enough about the little things and I talked as much as I listened, or more. I didn’t encourage his somewhat eccentric preference for music. And I didn’t help him very well when he wanted help around the house; he just wanted me to sit while he did a task and pass tools to him. I was rubbish at that, usually wandering off to do something while I was awaiting the next request, then missing the next instruction, if I remembered to return to him at all. I wish now, that I had done so much better at “helping” him.

I wish I’d spoiled him so much more. I would have, I believe, had he returned home from hospital, because I’d come to understand the man much better. I’m grateful I had the opportunity more than once during the hospital ordeal to wrap it all up by saying, “Alan I respect you,” and “I have learned patience”.

So, if I have a pearl of wisdom to share about the passing of my dear husband Alan Tun, in its summation it would be: wives, spoil your husbands more than you do (unless you already do a great, great deal). Because they need it. It’s part of their make-up as men, whether they demonstrate it or not. 

“Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto the Ancient of Days.” And LORD, please let Alan know, if there is a way for him to know, that I wish I’d honoured him better by spoiling him more, and yes, now, I think I love him almost perfectly. 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Letting Go

“Walk on water,” he told me on the 5th of January. He was having an angiogram.

All went well.

Last night when I saw him, I asked him, “Do you remember telling me to walk on water?” 

He said, “Yes.”

“Now,” I said, “it’s your turn.”

I know we walked on water together. For a time. But then his spirit ascended and mine remains.

My darling husband, I know you rest in peace.

Alan Tun

17.05.1958 – 10.03.2021

A fine and godly man.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

24 Hours alone: a poem

Last night the LORD left me. 

I was in despair

In despair, I didn’t know He’d left

I just felt despair.

Last night I sought the LORD

He was quiet, I was fraught

I sought the LORD 

and He did not reply.

After weeks of calm

Methodical detachment and trust

I was emotional:

Angry and afraid.

But I did not flee

Nor blame or denounce

I did not succumb to my flesh

But clung to His Spirit in me.

His grace is enough

His love is sufficient

His truth is all

And I am bathed once again.

Know this: we grow

Then we are tested

When we have a choice,

We yield and are saved

All over again.