Sonidos Serranos

Sonidos Serranos: Sounds of the Sierras...
Reflecting some of my family's interests: God's wonderful creation (especially mountains and hills!), music, and language...

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

28 April 2011

The LORD is my Shepherd!

A Psalm of David

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
(Psalm 23)

26 April 2011

April 26: A lasting impact...

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
~ C. H. Spurgeon

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
~ Proverbs 22:1

April 25: Heaven's Teardrops

To preview an Introduction to Speech unit on writing and giving tributes, Jona's teacher shared with her classes the following thoughts that she had written earlier this year:

When I consider Heaven’s Pearly Gate, I imagine a scene something like this one day:

Just as a saint in eternal service (perhaps a lifetime musician) lifts to his lips a silver trumpet to herald the entrance of the Heavenly City’s newest arrival, he is stopped by a tap on his shoulder.

Another saint (with a flair for drama and a wink in our direction) suggests: “Let’s try something different this time.” Calling a cue down Heaven’s golden streets, his clear voice rings out: “Drum roll, please!”

Just as we on earth hear an impressive roll of thunder, a young saint peeks around the pearly gate, and his bright face breaks into a wide smile as he steps into Heaven for the first time.

Before anyone can stop him, he steps right up to that great cloud of witnesses and asks, “Do you want to hear a story?” And before any of them answer, he leans forward and eagerly begins: “Okay. So there’s this guy down there at this school where everyone knows him by name. He’s a pretty friendly guy, and he has lots of friends ... not too many, but just enough so he's never lonely. ... Now one day, see, this kid ... …”

It’s a great story, and it goes on … and on … and on – forever!
I look forward to one day perking up my eternal ears and picking up the story where my ears on earth ceased to follow the plot.

And in the meantime, whenever raindrops fall, I'll imagine they come from hosts of angels wiping away tears of joyous laughter as they hold their sides and catch their breath for yet another chuckle at his version of the story of a lifetime. And every now and then when the story gets especially good, the sun will shine through the tears, and we'll see a rainbow.

(c) Copyright, March 2011, Kimberly R. Bierman

This is the day which the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:24)

24 April 2011

April 24: In Heaven Today!

Today we reflect on Christ's death which purchased eternal life for Jona...

We praise God for Christ's resurrection which declared HIM to be the Son of God with power! (Romans 1)

During this morning's service, John Mark drew our attention to the seven signs in the book of John – and the sign of Christ's own Resurrection – which all prove that Jesus is the Son of God.

Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
The Jews of Christ's day knew that Christ's claim as Son of God meant equality with God!

Today we can rejoice – through our tears – as we are assured that Jona is singing praises face to face with Christ, his God and Savior!

April 23: Jona's Theme

I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust...
(Psalm 40:1-4)

22 April 2011

April 22: A Tribute to Jona

Upon receiving the news of Jona's Home-going, his great-uncle in Canada wrote the following tribute to a group who had been praying for him:

My nephew, Daniel, phoned around midnight to say that Jona went to be with his Lord about half an hour earlier that is, late Wednesday evening. I am proud of the life lived by this hero of the faith. He had a profound impact on many during his short time here especially through his response to his sickness these past almost two years his consistently positive attitude, his steadfast faith in his precious Saviour, his desire to minister to and be a blessing to others, his desire to witness to the saving grace of Jesus and to challenge others to come to faith.

Having so gallantly and magnificently completed the short race that was assigned to him, Jona is finally relieved from his suffering, but we are deeply saddened by our loss. Please pray for his family as they grieve this loss while continuing to extol the loving kindness of their Heavenly Father and seek to use these circumstances to further His glory.

21 April 2011

April 21: Jona's Obituary

Jonatán David Torres, born August 10, 1994, went into the presence of the Lord at 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

Jona was a sophomore at Bob Jones Academy, where he served as a class officer.

He was a member of Iglesia Bautista Calvario de Greer and taught the junior church children. He fully enjoyed life and especially excelled in sports, singing, and playing the guitar.

On his fifteenth birthday he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer, which God used to demonstrate to thousands of others around the world how much Jona enjoyed the eternal life that the Lord had given him through the gospel of grace. He was a man of prayer and a warrior of the faith.

He will be greatly missed by his parents, Esteban and Esther Torres; his brother, Marcos David Torres; his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; and friends too numerous to mention in the U.S., Uruguay, Canada, and around the world.

Visitation will be open to the public at Bob Jones Academy on Saturday, April 23, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., and at Morningside Baptist Church on Monday, April 25, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Morningside Baptist Church on Monday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in Jona's memory to "Bob Jones University, Torres Memorial Fund." (These donations will then be designated for Bob Jones Academy.)

April 20: Jona is Home

Jona is Home. Tonight God gently and mercifully carried him Over There. Now more than ever, Jona’s greatest desire is that you should one day join him Over There.

We Want You Over There

We're going home to glory soon
To see the city bright,
To walk the golden streets of heav'n,
And bask in God's own light.
But some of you are out of Christ
And held by many a snare –
We cannot leave you lost and lone;
We want you Over There.

The pearly gates are open wide,
And we shall enter in –
To know thenceforth no tear or sigh,
No sorrow and no sin.
O come with us, and come at once!
That land is bright and fair!
We cannot leave you lost and lone;
We want you Over There.

We come to tell the story true
Of love so rich and free!
A crucified and risen Lord
Has grace for you and me!
O listen to the words of love
His messengers declare!
We cannot leave you lost and lone;
We want you Over There.

We once were burdened sore with sin,
And dark were we and sad;
But Christ has washed us in His blood,
And He has made us glad!
Fly to His wounds, ye guilty ones;
His love and mercy share.
We cannot leave you lost and lone;
We want you Over There.

Text: M. Bass
Tune: Scottish Air

19 April 2011

“Abide with me...”

This hymn text has been a favorite in our family. We found out today that the Bob Jones Academy choirs sang a new arrangement – written for Jona – at their concert this evening. Several extended family members (including Uncle Daniel) were able to attend the event. What a blessing!

Jona is looking forward to hearing the arrangement. Were not sure which stanzas were sung, but Im posting a few of the more familiar stanzas here; you can see several other not-so-familiar stanzas (and hear the traditional tune) at

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day.
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Words: Henry F. Lyte, 1847

April 18: Update on Jonatán

At times, it's hard to know what to write for an "update" on Jona's situation... Tonight is one of those times... So much is the same, yet so much is changing...

Will this be the night...? Will we witness a miracle of healing? Or will our gracious Shepherd choose ultimate healing for our dear Jona?

One thing will always be true: We need God's grace! We're thankful that HE stands ready to give that needed grace...

Please continue to pray!

Pray for Jona; pray for rest and peace and continued grace and strength...

Pray especially for Esteban and Esther.

Pray for Marcos.

Pray for Jona's Uncle Daniel who is on a plane, on the way from Uruguay, as I type these lines. He is scheduled to arrive at GSP tomorrow afternoon.

Pray for all of us as extended family.

Pray, most of all, that Christ would be exalted in everything! HE is worthy!

17 April 2011

April 17: Update on Jonatán

First of all, last night's plumbing problem has been fixed. Thank-you for praying! We've been blessed as we've traced the small (as well as the big) ways our gracious God answered and provided...

God sent a (now) dear friend to help by Jona's side while Esteban worked on the water pipe and Esther got some much-needed rest. John Mark was over at our house, finishing his evening nap (since he was on deck to be the main one at Jona's side last night), and I was finishing the daily update (all the while I was on-call for our five-month-old who was scheduled to get hungry – again!) Looking back, we're so thankful for God's advance provision – in every detail!

Another exciting detail in this story was the very large case of bottled water a co-worker of Esther's dropped off just yesterday. Folks have been very kind and generous, bringing all kinds of things to help the family, but this was the first bottled water they'd been given – and just when God knew we would need it! We saw it as one of those "before they call, I will answer" situations! As Jona has reminded us so often during this whole trial in his life: God is amazing!

Considering the fact that Jona is getting weaker, today has been a good day for him...

Sweet friends came to sing hymns to him – including his two current favorites: Be Still, my Soul and Bow the Knee. He was able to sit up – and even participate, moving his lips to the words of Bow the Knee. As we asked him what else he wanted us to sing, he asked: Do Christmas carols count? At his request, we sang O Holy Night and then a stanza in Spanish. (Click here to see a video clip of Jona singing the carol in Spanish last Christmas.)

Later in the afternoon, when he was sitting up again for meds, he even told a long, drawn-out joke to John Mark! No... It's far too corny to post... Just let me say (again!) that we're thankful for every interaction we're able to have with our dear Jona.

Please continue to pray – especially now as night approaches...

God is good – all the time!

The LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!

16 April 2011

April 16: Update on Jonatán

We're thankful for another day with our Jona. We are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that every day – every breath – is truly a gift from God. Then again, none of us knows our chosen time...

Yesterday actually marked three weeks since that Friday evening when we thought our Good Shepherd was calling Jona to his eternal Home. We are grateful beyond words for the extended time God has given Jona to minister to us, to so many friends and extended family, and to many others who have never met him.

Let us say, once again, how much we appreciate you. Thank-you for taking time to write and encourage us. Thank-you for so many other ways in which you minister to us as Jona's extended family. Thank-you, most of all, for praying...

Please continue to pray:

Pray for Jona. Breathing is increasingly difficult for him. As we sit by his side (especially through the nights), we notice that pauses between breaths are becoming longer and more frequent.

Pray for continued wisdom, especially for Esteban and Esther, as they oversee Jona's care. Swallowing (and therefore eating or taking medicine) is becoming more and more challenging.

Pray for rest – and peace. Night hours, as you know, are hardest. Jona is now experiencing periods of very deep sleep (even during the day); at times he is hard to awaken when the next medicine is due.

Pray for Jona's Uncle Daniel who will be arriving from Uruguay on Tuesday, April 19. Rejoice with us in God's marvelous provision! Amazingly, an air miles ticket for Monday opened up this afternoon during the call to the airlines!

Of course, life would not be real life without moments of added excitement: Like Marcos trying to help his normally sweet little dog while he (the dog) was fighting off some bees. The result was a half-inch gash on the back of Marcos' hand! OR like what happened a few minutes ago while Esteban was trying to do the routine task of changing a main water filter... The water pipe broke! He says he can fix it in only an hour; if you read this right away, please pray (for his sake) for that to be the case!

Thank-you for praying! We continue to trust the faithful and good hand of our loving Shepherd...

April 15: Update on Jonatán

Tia Julia Torres and I enjoyed the happiest of birthdays today: our good and loving Shepherd gave us a day with our beloved nephew, Jonatán!

We are reminded of how much we take for granted every day...

Make sure you tell your loved ones how much you love them; today is a gift from God!

[Pictures of our birthday celebration are pending...]

14 April 2011

Praise and Prayer:

Praise the Lord with us! Jona's Uncle John Mark arrived in Greenville about a half hour ago – safe and sound but very tired after an almost 14-hour drive!

As you pray for a restful night for Jona, will you pray that God will give his Aunt Julia and me a good day with Jona tomorrow? (It's our mutual birthday!) I've been asking my Good Father for this gift...

April 14: Update on Jonatán

I know... An update is overdue. To fill in some gaps, I'm posting excerpts from a note written by Grandma Pat (who is now here from Uruguay):

The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations...
(Psalm 100:5)

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

First of all, let us say that we are grateful for and overwhelmed by all of you who are praying for Jona and for all of us as family. Many of you are passing along updates regarding Jona's current condition; this means a great deal to us even though we can't reply to each one of you individually.

Jona has been sleeping more and more during the day and resting quite well at night. Mornings the past four or five days have been the most difficult for him. He is getting weaker but still enjoys texting and talking with friends on his I-Pad 2 – a gift from some of the staff at the Cancer Center.

Prayer is a very important part of Jona's day and night. Whenever he's having difficulty breathing, he asks one or several in the room with him to pray. We count it a privilege to ask our God to calm his breathing and make it easier for him to get his breath. His pulse for the past almost month has been very fast – as if he's running a continuous race. Only the Lord knows how long Jona's heart can run this race. But God's grace is sufficient, and He's always near. We confidently trust Him to do what is His best and perfect will.

Grandma Dosila and Aunt Julia arrived last Saturday. Thankfully, we were able to change their tickets so they could arrive two days earlier than originally planned. They, too, have been enjoying Jona's good times and amazing wit. He also enjoyed a visit from Patch the Pirate earlier this week, and he enjoys the visitors and all who are encouraging and supporting him and his family.

Eating is becoming more and more of a challenge for Jona. Please pray that he wouldn't lose his ability to swallow as the tumors, no doubt, are continuing to grow.

We have enjoyed some precious times of singing, Scripture reading, and prayer together as a family. We consider each day with Jona as a special gift from God.

Please continue to pray for us...

12 April 2011

April 12: Update on Jonatán

We appreciate your continual prayers for Jonatán. This morning was challenging – as the past four mornings have been. In spite of resting "well" during the night hours, he tends to have great difficulty with rapid and/or irregular breathing and racing pulse, a problem which is now more noticeable even in the daytime...

Visitors continue to be a blessing throughout the day. Jona appreciates you, and you're a (good!) distraction for family members, too!

Uncle John Mark is currently at a missions conference in Iowa; I more than suspect that Jona misses him. Please pray for a safe (and timely) return for John Mark.

We continue to rest in our loving Shepherd who as He promises is leading us in righteous paths for His Name's sake. The night hours are once again upon us, and we continue to rest in His presence.

As the psalmist penned many years ago:
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say: Surely the darkness shall fall on me,
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

11 April 2011

April 11: Update on Jonatán

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day; Jona seemed to be extra tired and napped off and on most of the morning and into early afternoon. Seeing him like that was very difficult for us, making us extra thankful for his alert time, especially today.

After not resting very well during the night two nights ago, he seemed to have a more restful night last night. Were thankful! As I posted on FaceBook: Rest is certainly not to be taken for granted!

Visitors have also been a blessing!

Were especially thankful for Ron Hamilton (Patch the Pirate) who came this afternoon with his wife and son, Jason, to sing several encouraging songs, including Jonas current favorites: Bow the Knee and Be Still, my Soul. What a blessing! We can only imagine what Heaven will be like when we who have been redeemed sing together in our Saviors presence...

Read Ron Hamiltons story and find out how he learned to rejoice in the Lord in the middle of his trials!

We were deeply moved by the Hamiltons heart-felt, humble, and gracious ministry to us...

Jona was especially blessed by their ministry  and Marcos was delighted to have Patch the Pirate here, too!

Patch the Pirate was also a highlight for our Little Princess!

09 April 2011

April 9: Update on Jonatán

We are praising our gracious God for continuing to answer prayer: Jona's Grandma Torres and Aunt Julia arrived this morning, and we've been enjoying a day together as extended extended family!

"How is Jona doing?" We, too, wonder. It's really hard to know... His body is growing weaker by the day, but his spirit is growing stronger and stronger and stronger. God's enabling grace continually amazes us!

A number of friends and classmates stopped by today; Jona continues to be encouraged.

By the way, check yesterday's post for pictures of last night's Skyped Sophomore Class Party. What a blessing technology like this can be!

Yes, we have abundant reasons to praise our God!

If you are new to reading this blog and especially Jona's story, you will probably find the following posts helpful:

Once again, pray for a restful night... (Rest is certainly not to be taken for granted!)

Please continue to pray for Jona and for all of us; we are waiting on our Good Shepherd for the answer that will most glorify Him, knowing that it will also be His best for us all.

April 8: Update on Jonatán

The day began with the following FaceBook status:
Please PRAY for Jonatan David Torres; he had a good, restful night but is now struggling (more than "usual") to breathe...
By God's grace, tonight's FaceBook status reads:
Thank-you for praying for Jonatan David Torres today. His breathing improved as the day went on, and he was encouraged by a conference call that included him in this evening's Sophomore Class Party at BJA.
Please pray now for another restful night, free of complications...

Thank-you for praying so faithfully! God is working...

07 April 2011

“Bow the Knee!”

Weve been singing another of Jonas favorite hymns. Im struck by the significance – for all of us (including you!) – of the last line of the chorus (highlighted in bold font below):

What a privilege to come into Gods presence,
Just to linger with the One who set me free.
As I lift my eyes and see His awesome glory,
I remember who He is and bow the knee.

Bow the knee! Bow the knee!
He is King of all the Ages! Bow the knee!
God alone on His throne!
See Him high and lifted up and bow the knee!
Kneel before Him; all adore Him.
As you live to love Him more, bow the knee.

In His hand He holds the power of creation.
With His voice He spoke, and all things came to be.
Yet He hears each simple prayer I bring before Him
When I humbly seek His face and bow the knee.

Bow the knee! Bow the knee!
He is King of all the Ages! Bow the knee!
God alone on His throne!
See Him high and lifted up and bow the knee!
Kneel before Him; all adore Him.
As you live to love Him more, bow the knee.

Bow the knee!

Words and music by Ron Hamilton

April 7: Update on Jonatán

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

We invite you to continue praising the Lord with us!

We are, once again, thankful for another good night. Jona was able to sleep several stretches, lying down – a real answer to prayer since it is often very difficult for him to find a comfortable position and really rest.

We were in contact with the airlines today – and were able to arrange earlier flights for Jona's Grandma Torres and Aunt Julia. They are now scheduled to arrive on Saturday, April 9 – two days sooner than originally planned!

Praise the LORD!

Please continue to pray; we are waiting on our Good Shepherd for the answer that will most glorify His Name, knowing that it will also be His best for us all.

06 April 2011

April 6: Update on Jonatán

We're thankful for another good night. Jona did start coughing this morning, however...

We continue to wait on the LORD for His best for us all.

We certainly appreciate your praying! Thank-you for leaving encouraging notes, too. Computer time is often limited these days, but we are encouraged as we read each note.

Praise the Lord with us! Esteban's sister and mother were given airline miles to purchase tickets and are scheduled to arrive in Greenville on Monday, April 11.

Not only was Julia granted a visa, she was given a ten-year visa! God answered exceeding abundantly above anything we could ask or even think! (Ephesians 3)

Please pray that we would be able to arrange earlier flights for them. We've been in daily contact with the airlines, but representatives insist that the earliest available flights out of Uruguay are on Sunday, April 10. (Does anyone have "connections" with United Airlines?!)

Please continue to pray for strength for Jona – and for restful sleep, especially at night.

We are thankful for God's good hand on our lives; we praise Him for His sustaining grace, and we know He will continue to deal mercifully with us. We are believing His good words:

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136)

05 April 2011

April 5: Update on Jonatán

After a rough beginning last night, Jona was eventually able to rest well. This morning, he told me: “I found a comfortable position and was able to sleep.” God answered prayer! And Jona has had a good day today, too.

When you read about “good” days, please keep in mind that were thinking back to eleven evenings ago when we were seeing signs that should have meant it was Jona’s last evening with us. God has given us eleven “bonus” days with him... Then again, He has given every one of us eleven “bonus” days. Only God knows the number of our days – and yours, too! (Psalm 139)

We are thankful for Jona’s continued ministry – to us as his extended family as well as to innumerable folks literally around the world! And we’re thankful for the precious moments we’ve enjoyed especially in the past few days, singing favorite hymns as a family and sharing passages – especially from the Psalms.

So many have encouraged us, letting us know that you pray for Jona when the Lord awakens you in the middle of the night. Several have commented that sleeplessness or interruptions are unusual for you, and you have taken the opportunity to pray for Jona and for us. We appreciate your praying – more than words could possibly say...

And now, night is once again upon us... With the darkening sky come the challenges of once again trying to find a comfortable position and rest in sleep; we appreciate your continued prayers for Jona...

Please do pray for another restful night.

April 5: Just a quick update on Jonatán

Thank-you for praying for Jona!

Our God "who gives life, and breath, and all things" gave Jona (and us!) several stretches of restful sleep last night...

Don't forget to thank Him for the rest He gave you last night, too!

04 April 2011

“Be still, my soul...”

Weve been singing a favorite hymn repeatedly these days. Its Jonas favorite hymn – and the one he was trying to sing when gasping for breath after his dad resuscitated him ten days ago...

Yesterday we had a wonderful time as extended family, singing hymns. As we prepared to start, Jona requested Be Still, My Soul – and tried to sing through the oxygen mask...

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone;
Sorrow forgot; love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Words: Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Music: Jean Sibelius, 1899

We love this hymn text more than ever now. The Lord has used this hymn to minister repeatedly to me. I posted it on this blog in July of 2010 one year into this trial...

Please continue to pray for us...

Pray fervently tonight...

April 3: More on Jonatán

The hospice nurse gave us a good report when she checked on Jona this afternoon. He had seemed extra tired today, often drifting off to sleep, but she said that the oxygen-saturation level in his blood was 97% – an A+ medically! Such a report is obviously encouraging to us. On the other hand, he has not eaten much today; swallowing is becoming increasingly difficult – due in part to the tumor that has been pressing on his trachea and undoubtedly now on the esophagus, too.

We continue to pray for the miracle of healing. Some may wonder if we are realistic in doing so. My answer is: Yes! We are not praying in a new way; Esteban has insisted from the very beginning that praying for healing from this type of cancer would be asking for a miracle. We are confident that praying in this way is realistic because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He healed lepers! As our perfect and loving Father, He expects us to come boldly to Him, asking for the desires of our hearts. So, we honor Him – asking with confidence.

At the same time, we recognize that our good and loving Lord does not always grant healing. Even when He walked this earth, He did not heal every leper. So, with confidence in His goodness and power, we stand ready to receive whatever He chooses as absolute best. Jona and his family have always asked us to pray for what would most glorify the Lord, so we rest in Him – confident that He will cause all things to work together for good and do what will most glorify His Name.

Please continue to pray with us...
(I'm including our original list of prayer requests from August of 2009):
  • For Christ to be exalted through this trial and our responses (Ephesians 3:14-21; Romans 8:26-39).
  • For others to come to know Christ as personal Savior (Romans 10:9-13).
  • For complete healing for Jonatán (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Matthew 7:7-11).
  • For grace, strength, and wisdom for Jonatán and his immediate family – his father, mother, and 11-year-old brother, Marcos – and for comfort and grace for extended family, especially those in Uruguay (Psalm 84:11-12).
Thank-you for praying!

03 April 2011

April 3: Update on Jonatán

Thank-you for praying for Jona throughout the night last night. He was able to get some rest, but his body is overworked and extremely tired now. Every breath is an incredible workout for his chest muscles.

Lord willing, I plan to post more later today; however, I wanted to write at least a quick update, thanking you all for your faithfulness in praying for Jona and for all of us.

Do continue to pray...

02 April 2011

April 2: Update on Jonatán

We continue to praise our loving Shepherd...

Jona had a good night last night. After a friendly visit from some of the staff who helped care for him at GHS, he slept for a five-hour stretch without medication! He then went for another five-hour stretch without medication – into the late morning...

We were very, very thankful to be together as an extended family today, celebrating Grandpa Garwood's 75th birthday! (Click on the hyperlinked words to see pictures.)

Another blessing this evening was the Skype call from the youth group at the church in Pando, Uruguay – the church that Jona's Grandpa Torres pastored when Esteban was a teenager!

Overall, the day went well for Jona. He is quite tired right now. Once again, the night hours are near; they are always the most difficult for Jona. Please pray fervently for him.

A dear friend encouraged us last night with the following thought based on Psalm 121:
Each night we bring to the One who never sleeps our pleas for Jona to find rest in sleep.
Please do pray for another restful night.

¡Feliz Cumple, Abu!

Today is Grandpa Garwoods 75th Birthday. The cousins enjoyed decorating, and we all enjoyed celebrating together.

Were thankful to our gracious God for allowing us to spend this day together as extended family!

DJ and JD with Grandpa!

01 April 2011

April 1: Update on Jonatán

Thank-you for praying!

Last night started out quite rough, but our loving Shepherd gave His beloved sleep (Psalm 127); Jona was able to get some good stretches of rest.

Earlier today he was sitting up in the dining room, interacting with his grandparents (who arrived last night) and listening to his mom read touching, encouraging, and often humorous letters from his classmates.

Amazingly, he hasn't tried to pull any April Fool's pranks on us!

Right now as I type this update, he’s back out here, interacting with visitors and answering his littlest cousin’s chattering pretending that he’s being told about last night's football game or the OJ Simpson Trial!

We are thankful beyond words!

God is giving wisdom and strength to Esteban as the primary care-giver. We are blessed to be here and observe how wonderfully Jona trusts his father’s judgment. Please pray specifically for continued wisdom and strength.

Praise the LORD with us!

Jona's grandparents, Donald and Patricia Garwood, arrived in Greenville after an all-night flight and an all-day drive. Thank-you for praying for safety in travel.

Jona's Aunt Julia was granted a visa yesterday morning. She is now following up on passport details and should be able to fly out early next week. Please continue to pray.

Thank-you to all who responded to the request for a travel or medical pillow. Several are allowing us to borrow “husband” pillows you already had and the travel pillow we alluded to yesterday arrived at the house today!

We are constantly overwhelmed by the love and support being showered on Jona and our family. Most of all, we appreciate your interceding for Jona before our gracious Father’s throne of grace.

Please keep praying! May God bless you!