Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ben's Teeth

Since moving back to the States, we haven't had medical insurance. Instead, we have one of those Christian bill sharing plans that has an astronomical deductible and is good only to keep us from going bankrupt in the event of a catastrophic illness. After the report we got at the dentist recently, we were faced with the reality of suddenly producing that deductible to save Ben's teeth. 

Here is Ben at his first ever dentist's visit:  
We weren't planning to take our kids to the dentist any time soon; we simply couldn't afford it. Our friend Dee heard that Ben had never been and took it upon herself to get us a complimentary appointment with her cousin, who happens to be a dentist. Jonah and Andy had great reports, but we were shocked to hear that Ben's mouth was full of cavities. We were referred to a pedodontist (a dentist for children) and ended up getting a second then a third opinion because we were facing up to $10,000 in surgery. The consensus was that he needed three pulpotomies (like a root canal for a baby tooth) and three crowns, plus several other smaller fillings. We questioned the necessity of spending so much on teeth that were destined to be replaced in a few years, but were educated on the importance of the space they occupy in allowing the adult teeth to properly align as they come in.

Apparently Ben has suffered from acid reflux that has decayed his teeth as he sleeps. That's why he has been tossing and turning at night and complaining of stomach aches and why the cavities are all in between his teeth where we couldn't see them. (We are treating him for reflux and he seems to be doing better.)

We couldn't afford to have the surgery done here, so we began the process of planning to take him to Brazil where dental care is excellent and much cheaper. Our former mission team members served as liaison to get us an appointment with a pedodontist there. We rushed Ben's passport renewal and prayed for open doors in time to avoid abscess of his already weakened teeth.

In the meantime, an acquaintance told us about a local pedodontist who he called "something of a wizard in these situations". We gave him a try and found him to be the answer to our prayers. He agreed to do the procedure in his office with local anesthesia and scheduled the first visit the very next day on his lunch hour. It took him about thirty minutes to finish up the two worst teeth and he charged us only half price for the procedure, which we had available because of some very generous friends. Now we can wait until after Thanksgiving to finish up with one more crown and some fillings in the smaller cavities. We are so very thankful for God's provision.

Here's Ben with his new silver teeth, which he loves to show off, and the prize he got for being so well behaved during the procedure:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When This is Said and Done

Losing my mother to Alzheimer’s has introduced a new level of challenge to our family. After she passed away this summer, I anticipated a quiet period of reflection and healing for us and our children. It's been emotionally taxing on everyone. Instead, we find ourselves in the middle of an unfortunate legal ping pong match, because my brother believes we have embezzled money from my mother's estate. 

Living in a travel trailer instead of my mother's house is a daily reminder of the accusations against us, and it’s been difficult to pray for my brother as we are told to pray for our enemies. I confess my initial attempts were not kind, but with God’s help, I've been able to sincerely pray for spiritual blessings over him and his family. Despite our petitions, his paranoia continues to grow and we are forced to relive every financial decision we've made over the past few years as we provide records for his attorney to scrutinize. While exoneration would be nice, we are simply praying for a quick resolution.   

We have weighed very heavily Scriptures like these:

I Corinthians 6: 
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?…

Matthew 5:
Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

We have no plans to pursue what's left of my inheritance through litigation, but we have retained a lawyer to help us get out from under the legal tie that binds us to my mother’s estate. God has blessed us with a mature Christian attorney who claims she can do nothing without the favor of God. Please join us in prayer, as we have our hearts set on returning to the foreign mission field when this is all said and done.