Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today, I believe that I will talk about something that no one wants to hear about, something that is taboo – a colonoscopy. I want to do this because I believe it is something that people in my age bracket (over 50) need to hear about.

The first thing you should know is that I am not a medical practitioner, nor am I a specialist of any kind. I am just a normal, average 59-year-old male. I can only share with you what I have read and what I have experienced. The reason I am doing this is so that maybe some of you will stop looking at this as a taboo subject and take the plunge (no pun intended).  If you are over 50, you should be screened!

The National Cancer Institute tells us that this year (2012) there will be an estimated 103,170 cases of colon cancer and 40,290 cases of rectal cancer, and there will be an estimated 51,690 deaths from colon and rectal cancer combined in the United States.

Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people aged 50 years or older. In the United States, it is the third most common cancer for men and women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. If everybody aged 50 or older had regular screening tests,screening tests, as many as 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Now that is a significant number to say the least!

In January of this year, I experienced a colonoscopy first hand. A colonoscopy is the standard screening test for colorectal cancer. It was not nearly as bad as what I had anticipated. In fact, it was sort of like taking medicine when you are a child – not nearly as bad after you swallow it.

The whole procedure started the day before with a limited diet – all liquid. Then came the “cleanse” about 6PM the evening before the procedure. To me, this was actually the worst part of the entire event. You have to drink about one half to three quarters gallon of a liquid laxative within a certain time period. It has a taste that reminded me of alka-seltzer without the fizz. Everything was going very well for the first three of four glasses. I was just getting more and more full of the liquid. About the fifth glass it hit me – literally! I had to go to the bathroom immediately (actually I ran). From this point on I would drink the glass full, run for the bathroom, then get back just in time to drink another glass. You have to keep this up until you are passing clear liquid. At first you don’t think there is any way that it will ever be clear, but believe me it will make you squeaky clean!

The next morning I was at the hospital bright and early, ready for the big test. Now here is the best part of it all – they gave me a drug that put me in la,la land within 5 minutes. Really, it was great. The last thing I remember was the nurse telling me to roll over on my left side, and draw my knees up. The next thing I remember was waking up in my room. It was not painful, although it seemed like there was some pressure that I felt. The most embarrassing part was passing air. You see, they “inflate” your bowels with air so the doctor can see every part of the colon, and what goes in must come out. Everybody does it, you will neither be the first, nor will you be the last.

After I was fully awake, the doctor came into my room and told me that he had removed two polyps. He said I would get the report within a couple of days, but he did not believe there was anything to worry about. When the report came back it showed that one polyp did have some pre-cancerous cells, but it had been totally removed. The other polyp was okay. Now instead of ten years until my next colonoscopy, I will need to have one in five years.

I am glad that I had this procedure. It might just have saved my life. Now, what about you? Remember, it is not taboo if it can save your life! Just do it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction”.  Well, we are changing directions, and we know it is the right one! 

Fredna and I will be returning to Africa at the end of our furlough – but it will not be to Malawi.  We have been asked by our leadership to change to another country:  Liberia.  So, we will be going to Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa.  _53348565_liberia

Early in February, we made an exploratory trip to Monrovia.  We visited with the National Executive Committee of the Liberia Assemblies of God, as well as travelling to two of the Bible schools and preached in one church.  We were detained three days due to the Harmatten Winds, enjoyed fellowship with the missionaries on the ground, and saw first-hand some of the desolation and destruction caused by the civil wars. 

In 1980 a military coup overthrew the Americo-Liberian leadership, marking the beginning of political and economic instability and two successive civil wars that left approximately 250,000 people dead and devastated the country's economy. A 2003 peace deal led to democratic elections in 2005. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation, with about 85% of the population living below the international poverty line.

Civil WarDuring the 20 years of civil war, the Liberian Assemblies of God lost over 350 churches and two Bible schools at the hands of the rebels.  Thousands of Liberians fled the country during this time period, as entire villages were massacred.

The UN maintains some 15,000 soldiers in Liberia. It is one of the organization's most expensive peacekeeping operations. The country is now trying to rebuild the infrastructure, economy, and lives that have been broken or destroyed.  The Liberian Assemblies of God is doing the same – trying to rebuild, not only the broken or destroyed buildings but, the broken lives of countless numbers that have lived through some of the most horrific times.  Young boys were forced to join rebel factions and forced to do things so horrible that they have left scars that may never heal.  The church has a wonderful opportunity to rise above the desolation with a beacon of hope and to offer a healing balm that has the power to resurrect the spirit of every man, woman, and child.

We will join AGWM missionaries DeVane & Mary McGee as we walk by the side of the national church reaching into the darkest corners of the country and lives.  The Liberian A/G has committed themselves to build 800 churches in the next 10 years.  Owensgrove Bible School

Construction has already begun in the process of rebuilding the Owensgrove Bible School – a place of training for future pastors who will step into the calling of God in each of their lives.

There is much to do – more than we alone can accomplish.  We invite you to join us in this change and to become involved in the eternal work of building the kingdom of God.  In the days ahead I will share with you many stories and pictures, along with ways that you and your church can be part of something truly magnificent.




Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

Then said I, Here am I; send me.  (Isa 6:8)