Ruth Bell- from China to the Amazon

When I published this blog post about the passing of Billy Graham this year,  I remembered an interesting medical connection.

Billy Graham once preached in China, a country well known to his wife because she grew up there. Ruth Bell lived there with her parents who were missionaries. And not just any missionaries.

Her father, L. Nelson Bell was a surgeon at a mission hospital in Tsingkiang, China where  for 25 years he operated on thousands of patients.

When the Bells were forced to return to America by the outbreak of World War II he not only resumed a busy medical practice but became editor of two influential Christian magazines and an active leader in his denomination.

In his book The Journey, Graham wrote about his father-in-law,

After Ruth and I were married he became one of my closest friends and advisers, someone whose wise counsel  I always respected . I  never met anyone who was more disciplined or more determined to make every minute count.

The story doesn’t end there. In 1977 two surgeons wanted to volunteer to work in mission hospitals during their vacation. Their efforts developed into World Medical Mission, a branch of the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse.

Today, hundreds of volunteer Christian healthcare professionals serve in overseas mission hospitals and clinics. The organization also provides critically needed medical equipment and supplies, along with biomedical technicians to install, repair, and maintain the equipment at these facilities.

Leading Samaritan’s Purse as President and CEO- Dr. Bell’s grandson, Franklin Graham, son of Ruth and Billy. 

And in the Bolivian Amazon basin, the Ruth Bell riverboat delivers medical and dental care to remote communities, just like her father did in China many years ago.

The Ruth Bell riverboat, photo from a recent newsletter of World Medical Mission 

 

John 3:16, NIV 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Remembering Reverend Billy Graham -- watercresswords.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reverend Billy Graham- America’s Preacher

John 3:16 is reported to be Billy Graham’s favorite Bible verse. He included it in every sermon he preached because it contains everything he wanted people to know about God.

Even though he is called America’s Preacher, Billy Graham traveled and preached all over the world, including China, the Soviet Union, Europe, Australia, Africa, and North Korea.

On February 21, 2018,  the Reverend Billy Graham died at 99 years of age. He is well known as a preacher, speaker, and evangelist, but he also wrote books. Here are links to some of them.

My home is in heaven. I'm just traveling through this world. Billy Graham
graphic with quote from the late Reverend Billy Graham from Lightstock.com, an affiliate link.

 

 

(These are affiliate links which do not increase your cost but I will earn a small commission to support this blog if you purchase.They are here for your convenience.)

And Dr. Bell’s story is told in A Foreign Devil in China 

Please join me in extending prayers of sympathy to the Graham family and appreciation for sharing their father/grandfather with the world. Thank you.

Dr. Aletha , sharing words of 

faith, hope and love
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How one woman handles life’s “trump” cards- a book review

I ran into Sara Stophel, author of TRUMPED BY SOVEREIGNTY and asked her what’s happened new in her life since I reviewed her book. Here’s what she said.

“I finished my Bachelor of Science, Liberal Studies degree this August (2018). Basically, a general degree with minors in Education and Music and a bunch of courses in social work and psychology! I am job hunting…the areas that really draw me in have been in the organ donation area, writing area…and pretty much all the non-profits! Passions lie there. :-)”

Her personal life is going well also. Her son Nik (whose photos appear in this post) works for Samaritan’s Purse.  Samaritan’s Purse is one of the organizations I feature  on my Share the HEART of health page. He is engaged to a young woman who will soon graduate as a nurse. Another son is dating a young woman who is a medical resident. So of course I’m happy to see the Stophel family supporting the health care professions.

Continue reading here or go to this link for even more exciting news about Sara and her family.

Here’s my review of Sara’s moving and inspirational memoir.

TRUMPED BY SOVEREIGNTY:

Juggling Faith, Healing, And Submission to God’s Perfect Plans

BY SARA STOPHEL

A MEMOIR

“Damen Ballard, twenty-five, left his apartment on April 19, 1995, to grab a pack of cigarettes at the convenience store. On his way back he took the shortcut…crossing I-44 on foot at rush hour. He was hit and became a John Doe while doctors tried to save his life. Even as we were watching the terrible news of the Oklahoma City bombing down the road…and fighting against all of those feelings of desperation when we discovered no hearts would be coming…Chuck’s new heart was just two floors above us in the very same hospital.”

large storm cloud

photo by Nikolai Stophel

Sovereignty is a word you may not use or even hear often; I know I don’t.  Probably the most common usage is in a political sense, like the sovereignty (authority) of a nation. Maybe that’s why Sara Stophel offers this definition on the back cover of her book;

“‘Sovereignty’ means that God, as the ruler of the universe, has the right to do whatever he wants. Further, he is in complete control over everything that happens.

In a game of cards, a trump card overrules any card previously played … But what happens when that “game” is actually life? And what happens when you realize that God’s sovereignty is the final trump card?”

Trumped by Sovereignty is two stories in one book.  One story relates the multiple medical challenges faced by Sara, her husband Chuck,  their children and extended family. The other story describes how Sara coped with these challenges, especially in relationship to her Christian faith.

I have known Sara and her family for several years and already knew much of their story although not all. I know Sara to be direct, truthful and frank. She does not mince words.

(I did not consult Sara prior to writing this review.  I paid for my copy of her book.)

This is not one of those “how we went through a horrible experience and survived by our unshakable faith” stories; rather it is “how we went through extraordinary stress which tested our faith which survived and grew anyway”.

Sara doesn’t tell you how she solved her problems; she admits that her problems caused her to change the way she looks at life, faith and God.

a tornado in Oklahoma

photo of an active tornado by Nikolai Stohel

Sara’s book describes multiple medical conditions that afflicted her family (yes, afflicted is exactly the right word). The list reads like a medical textbook, so much so that you may need to look up some of the terms to understand what they are; she does not describe them in detailed scientific terms.  (I’ve included some links for you to use.)

Between Sara, her husband Chuck, their children and extended family they endured –

Sara and Chuck met in college, a Christian university that is known for its belief in divine healing. However, Sara’s home church did not teach miraculous healing. So it was a new concept for her, and one she found difficult to reconcile as her family’s serious health issues continued to worsen and not respond to medical treatment much less prayer.

She does not expect you to believe that she endured these challenges and tragedies due to strong and unwavering faith; rather she freely admits otherwise. As she puts it, her “truster” frequently breaks and needs repair.

“I could not commune with a God who did not honor my bigger-than-mustard-seed faith. I was more than certain God loved people…but I was also nearly certain He just needed me as a tool of transparency. My truster was broken. Having loved God my whole life, I couldn’t think of anything better…anywhere else to turn…so I just kept on serving and assuming the love and peace of God were for everyone but me.”

Sara sense of humor never wavers, both in her writing, and  in life; she probably could not have made it  through some of the days she has lived without it.

You will laugh, cry, or both at some of her stories like-

  • Her annual physical (which was a year late) with her doctor, Dr. LionKing (an offbeat humorous pronunciation of his real name)
  • Her first CPR class after a family death

And you may get angry as she describes her shabby treatment by the IRS, the cell phone company and the local fire department first responders who refused to take her critically ill husband to the hospital.

hugh storm cloud

impending storm captured by Nikolai Stophel

I encourage you to buy and read Trumped by Sovereignty. I know Sara and her sons which means I also know that their challenges are not over; in fact, they may be bigger than ever. I believe she will continue to face them with the same courage and humor that she has so far; and maybe in a few years she will write volume 2 of her story.

Trumped by Sovereignty is published by Paladin Publishing, Tulsa Oklahoma.

Sara Stophel welcomes invitations to speak; you can follow her on

Facebook  at Sara Stophel -author .

Sara Stophel with her book, Trumped By Sovereignty

Sarah showing her sense of humor, soon after the Presidential election . Is that the President-elect’s name?

Sara’s son Nikolai Stophel is a professional writer/photographer for Samaritan’s Purse. Prior to that position, he  covered the turbulent weather we have here in Oklahoma. His photos of Oklahoma storms illustrate this post. You can find more of his work on Instagram. 

On the 6th anniversary of Chuck’s release from illness and pain, his wife Sara reflected on her Facebook page-

I appreciate your sharing  this post on your social media pages.

And please follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thank you for  viewing  the advertisements  that fund this blog; with your  help, we can grow, reach more people, and share the HEART of health with people all over the world. 26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

          Dr. Aletha  

Finding a better way to a healthy heart

When (King) Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him.
1 Samuel 10:26, NLT
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“The touch of God is awesome not just because it is God who touches, but also because it is a touch. It is a real connection. That it involves the heart is awesome. That it involves God is awesome. And that it involves an actual touch is awesome.”

quote Dr. John Piper, Solid Joys devotional 

Solid Joys at Apple Podcasts.

Devotionals by Dr. John Piper, author of Desiring God 

Listen now to God, Touch Our Hearts  

(These are affiliate links, purchases made from them pay this blog a commission which funds our mission.)

IT IS THE SEEKING HEART THAT DETERMINES OUR ETERNAL DESTINY. quote PETER KREEFT

graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com, affiliate , stock photo site

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College.  He loves his five grandchildren, four children, one wife, one cat, and one God.  He has written 75 books including (affiliate link) MAKING SENSE OUT OF SUFFERING

and MAKING CHOICES: PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR EVERYDAY MORAL DECISIONS

 

What you should know about heart health 

Finding a better way to a healthy heart-watercresswords.com; picture of an open Bible

“Our brain controls the actions of the body’s other organs, but the heart supplies the power that keeps everything working smoothly, including the brain. Using the intricate “highway” system of arteries and veins, the heart pumps blood carrying oxygen, water, and nutrients to every cell in the body.”   more at –

Exploring -the HEART

diagram of the human heart

“Anyone who has ever had a “broken heart” (and who hasn’t?) knows that sadness and grief cause not just emotional pain, but also physical pain. And since that pain is often felt in our chest, it makes sense that we call it “heart break”.” Continue at-

Exploring -when HEARTS break

EKG tracing

In sudden cardiac death, the heart stops beating abruptly

“Keeping our HEARTS healthy involves doing what we can to change the 7 risk factors what doctors often call the modifiable risk factors.” Find them at –

7 Keys to a Healthy Heart

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Remembering Reverend Graham

 

John 3:16, NIV 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Remembering Reverend Billy Graham -- watercresswords.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 3:16 is reported to be Billy Graham’s favorite Bible verse. He included it in every sermon he preached because it contains everything he wanted people to know about God.

 

 

 

 

On February 21, 2018,  the Reverend Billy Graham died at 99 years of age. He is well known as a preacher, speaker, and evangelist, but he also wrote books. Here are links to some of them.

 

 

 

 

My home is in heaven. I'm just traveling through this world. Billy Graham

graphic with quote from the late Reverend Billy Graham from Lightstock.com, an affiliate link.

 

 

(These are affiliate links which do not increase your cost but this blog will earn a small commission if you purchase.They are here for your convenience.)

 

Please join me in extending prayers of sympathy to the Graham family and appreciation for sharing their father/grandfather with the world. Thank you.

You may also enjoy Watercress Words Lenten theme posts.

 

Dr. Aletha , sharing words of faith, hope and love