Greetings from Almost Heaven West
Virginia! Today it was almost balmy here (60 to 64 degrees). To say that much has happened
since our last mass mailing the latter part of November would be a gross understatement.
As you will see from the following, Gods grace, provision, and protection has been
very evident. Their is also much more yet going on.
First, shortly after we got our last prayer letter in the mail, on
December 5, I (Walter) was rear-ended in front of Cross Lanes Bible Church! It happened as
I sat in traffic waiting to turn left into the parking lot. I was driving the church
utility vehicle, which was a full size 4 WD Ford Pickup. The man who ran into me was
driving a full size Chevy Van. At the scene I was treated for possible neck and spinal
injuries by being placed on a backboard, immobilized in a cervical collar, and taken to
the hospital in an ambulancewith lights, siren, and all. Sheesh! L . Initially the
pickup did not seem to be hurt very bad, but later it was apparent that the frame had been
buckled. The other driver immediately took full responsibility for the accident and his
van had to be towed away. A couple of days later the churches vehicle was declared
to be totaled. Since then I was treated for cervical strain and lower back pain on some
three occasions by a doctor. Boy, it sure felt funny when he contorted me to snap my bones
back into place! I wonder if that is how it feels to a chicken when it has its neck
A week after the accident, we traveled to Kingsport, Tennessee, to
visit with our friends and Mission Board at Holy Mount Baptist Church. I am at a loss for
words to describe the wonderful fellowship, meals, and other blessings we experienced
while there with the saints. I am afraid we all gained weight while there, but we plan to
shed it in the days ahead with the Lords help. We send our heartfelt thanks for such
an encouraging and refreshing time.
After being in Tennessee for a little over a week, we returned to Cross
Lanes so that Jeshua could finish up the last week of school before Christmas break. We
then went to Beckley to spend the holidays with our family. This was the first Christmas
and New Years that we celebrated with them in nine years! What a blessing to be with them
this time. It was especially nice to have Tabitha with us every day!
A couple of days after New Years, we went back to Cross Lanes so that
Jeshua could resume his schooling. On January 4, 2000, around 6:10 PM, almost one month to
the day after I had my accident, Linda, Tabitha, and Jeshua were traveling in our mini-van
through South Charleston. They had decided to get out of the house and do a little
shopping. As they proceeded through a green light in an intersection, a driver headed in
the opposite direction suddenly turned to his leftright in front of Linda. Linda
swerved and braked hard, but she was too close to avoid a collision. She broad-sided the
¾ ton pickup, which spun them around about ninety degrees to the right of their original
direction. The force severely shook them all, and the airbag deployed and slapped Linda in
the face, forcing her back into the seat. They were all dazed, to say the least. The other
driver was not hurt, though his vehicle was damaged pretty bad.
After the impact Jeshua immediately prayed. He then managed to get out
of the van, go to a nearby McDonalds, and phoned to tell me what had happened. He
asked me to come as quick as I could. He was being brave, but I could tell that he was
speaking through tears. After I asked if they were hurt, he said that he didnt know
for sure, but thought they were all just shaken up. But he did say that Tabitha was
complaining that her chest was hurting from where the shoulder belt had restrained her.
I immediately went to the church office that is located next door to
the missionary apartment, which is where we have been staying since November. I found the
youth pastor, Brent Belford, who happened to be conducting a counseling session. After I
told him what had happened, he immediately took me to the scene of the accident. I got
there just as two ambulances were about to take my family away to Thomas Memorial
Hospitals Emergency room. I was permitted to speak briefly with Linda and Jeshua,
who had been stabilized with cervical collars and strapped to backboards mounted atop
gurneys. They were obviously sore and frightened. Linda was also very sad because our van
was obviously hurt bad. Before making me exit the ambulance, the EMT told me that they all
seemed to be okay, but they needed to get checked out. We were all glad that things were
no worse than they seemed, and were thankful to the Lord for His protection.
They were each examined and diagnosed with varying degrees of whiplash,
mild bruises, and abrasions. A few days later it became obvious that Jeshua also had a
hidden knee injury. As of the writing of this letter, Linda and Tabitha have been
medically cleared after having seen the doctor on follow up visits about three times each.
Jeshua, on the other hand, has been in therapy every Tuesday and Thursday for about a
month. He has also had a mild steroid treatment that utilized a patch and electrical
induction into the knees tissue. He is doing much better, but it is obvious that it
was not the Lords timing for us to return to Carriacou the last part of January. We
are now aiming for the middle of March.
The van was declared to be a total loss the day after the accident, and
our insurance company has already made a generous settlement with us. After the other
drivers insurance company made a thorough investigation, they ruled that Linda was
not at fault and they have accepted liability. They have already reimbursed our deductible
and told us to make sure that all gets well before letting them know that we are ready to
settle the claim.
Now, I know this may sound like I am reaching to some, but Romans 8:28
is ever true. About three weeks after the accident, I spoke with a deputy comptroller of
customs in Grenada about us getting another vehicle and shipping it to Carriacou. After he
finally remembered meand also our conversation back in Novemberhe sheepishly
informed me that the government had increased duties on used vehicles once more as of the
beginning of this year. Now we would have to be prepared to pay nearly 150% of the
assessed value, shipping, and insurance for any vehicle over four years old that we wish
to get into the country! This makes taking a used vehicle almost impossible and
impracticalunless we can get a government concession at some time in the future.
Thus, unless the Lord provides a new vehicle, and also the funds to pay some fifty to
seventy percent of its value and shipping, we must conclude that it is the Lords
leading to take the proceeds that we got from the loss of the Lumina mini-van, and locate
a used vehicle already in the country of Grenada. If the accident had not of happened, we
would now be trying to sell it, and it is almost certain that we could not have gotten as
much as the insurance company paid us for it. Thus, we can indeed praise the Lord for the
way He is making things to turn out. He is good! He is gracious! He is merciful! He is
forgiving! He is patient! He is sovereign! He is all-powerful! So we praise the Lord for
the accident and thank Him for the way He is using it for our good!
During the interim of getting medical treatment and dealing with
insurance companies, we were still waiting to hear from the doctor with the
Childrens Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. If you recall from our last prayer letter,
the doctor was to contact me about doing the catheterization procedure to close the hold
in my heart. We had hoped to have had this done by the latter part of Januaryat the
latest. It finally looks like things are beginning to line up for me to undergo the
procedure on February 28 or 29. The doctor plans to do it in the morning, watch me for six
hours, let me go back to the motel that night, then go back to the hospital to have an
echocardiogram and x-ray done the next day. If everything is okay, I will then be able to
return to Cross Lanes right away. However, the doctor also wants me to remain stateside
for at least one week, two weeks ideally, after having this done.
On February 7, the doctor phoned to say that the entire procedure
should cost about $6,000.00as long as everything goes as planned. (Previously it was
18,000!) He also added that he was personally donating his professional service at no
charge. He then stated that the hospital itself had to have some assurance that in the
event something does go wrong, and they have to do surgery as a result, it must have some
way to recoup its operating costs. Of course, if that did happen, I could be looking at
several tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. We are taking steps to see if any
kind of assistance is available, but as of right now it is very much up in the air. One
Human Resource manager told me that if I do qualify, it is highly unlikely that the
approval would come through before the tentative date set by the doctor. Thus, we look up
and trust in the Lord for His provision and direction.
If I am not able to have the surgery right now, I am still cleared to
return overseas, but I must maintain a daily regime of Playvex (75 mg of a mild blood
thinner) for the rest of my life. It is neededas the doctors have put itto hedge
my chances of not incurring another stroke. Thus, the drug is not a guarantee, but an
accepted stop gap measure. It is also quite expensive (about $1,000.00 per year) and
causes me to bruise easily and bleed longer when injured. There is also the possibility
that I could develop stomach and gastrointestinal problems for prolonged use of it. Yet, I
believe that I could manage taking the drug for the rest of my natural life if needed by
Gods grace. Please pray for the Lords perfect will to be worked out and made
known to us. Also pray that the procedure will go okay so that no costly emergency surgery
would be needed.
Things on Carriacou are going okay. I am glad to report
that the young man standing in for us is remaining faithful in filling the pulpit for me.
But from talking with him, I can tell that he is getting weary and looking eagerly for our
return. The other faithful ones in our flock are also eager to see us back. But, they have
also had some trials.
In any case, we are needed, we are wanted, and we ourselves desperately
long to be back in the place and doing the work to which the Lord has called us. Pray that
we can return as planned.
As soon as Jeshua is cleared by the doctor, and as soon as I have
either had the CardioSeal performed, or determined that now is not the time for me to have
this done, we plan to make our reservations and leave. We also have several boxes that we
much ship overseas, which I plan to do by using air-cargo services. We also have been
using a very nice vehicle since our van was destroyed that has been graciously provided by
Cross Lanes Bible Church. Right about the time of Lindas accident, a couple in the
church donated a car to the church with the idea that it be sold and the proceeds go the
toward the purchase of another truck to replace the one that was destroyed when I was
rear-ended in December. One pastor told us that we can use it until we do not need it
We have thought seriously about purchasing this vehicle for several
reasons. It is a missionaries dream car. It is a 1989 Olds Delta 88 with 135,000 miles on
it. It also has a good strong 3.8 liter engine and four speed automatic transmission. This
very roomy (six passenger with a large trunk) and peppy vehicle gets an overall twenty
miles per gallonand thirty plus MPG on the highway and interstate! The cost is also
very low, relatively speaking. We could possibly store it somewhere so that we would have
it ready to use when we return for our next furlough in some three years.
More importantly, once we get our church on Carriacou registered with
the government, we may be eligible for a fifty percent duty concession. Now that would be
74 75 percent of its value and shipping cost to Grenada as explained above. As I
also understand it, the concession is available only for carsnot vans. Since
the car is already ten years old, and since it has high mileage (as Grenadian government
officials consider it), getting this vehicle into the country would likely cost some
$3,000.00 to $5,000.00. Since most of the mini-vans are rated seven passenger, and this
car is rated at six, we could conceivably come out better in the long run if we shipped
down a vehicle like this. But again, even if we never decided to bring it to Carriacou, it
would be nice transportation for whenever we are stateside. The Lord has faithfully
provided vehicles as we needed them here, but I also see this as possibly the Lords
provision for the long run. Frankly, with the accidents we have had recently, I prefer the
idea of not driving someone elses vehicle. The legal ramifications alone could be
problematic at best for all involved. Please pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to
decide what to do about this vehicle.
Tabitha is laying off from attending Appalachian Bible College for this
semester. It is necessary for her to work and save so she can return to classes in the
fall. She has a pretty good job, but I am hoping that she will find something a little
better that also pays better. She is staying with my mother in Beckley, and in my opinion,
the Lord has miraculously provided a nice vehicle for her to use. It is a 1986 Pontiac
Sunbird that had some 42,000 actual miles on itand only cost $900.00! I am doing a
little body work and maintenance on it, but hope that we will be able to let her begin
using it in the next week or two. Pray that Tabitha will do well in working and saving.
Also pray that I will be able to finish the body work soon and replace a timing belt, and
a few gaskets.
In between seeing doctors, talking to insurance companies, and dodging
drivers who seem to be aiming at an invisible bulls-eye painted on the vehicles we
drive J , we have had the privilege to visit with some of our supporting churches in the
Charleston area. We may be able to visit a few more, but we do not believe it would be
wise for us to make many long trips at this present time. We plan to visit the rest of our
supporters and friends during our next furlough some two to three years from now. We hope
to plan it so that we will be stateside when Tabitha graduates from ABC.
This has been a rough three and one half years for us, and particularly
trying since I suffered the stroke back on April 22, 1999. Yet, we have continually been
blessed and encouraged, and even overwhelmed at times by the hospitality, fellowship, and
acts of kindness that numerous one have done on our behalf. Over and over our Lord has
proven to be good and faithful in ways that many would find hard to believe. Sure, people
who do not know our Precious Savior also go through difficult times as we have, but I
seriously doubt that they are able to do so while having the peace and assurance that the
God of heaven is watching over and guiding things according to His perfect will for our
good. Thats one difference, let alone the assurance that one day all
suffering and trails will cease for us when we enter into the precious and personal
presence of the Creator of all things seen and unseen. It is at that time that we will
fully understand Pauls inspired words as recorded in Romans 8:18, which is contained
within the followings passage of Scripture:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs
with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified
together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are
not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. . . . 22For
we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And
not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even
we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the
redemption of our body. 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is
not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25But if we hope for
that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. . . . 28And
we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:1718, 2225, 28)
What blessed promises! What a basis for hope! What great expectations!
What a God that we serve!
Thanks to all for your concerned inquiries and also the continued
faithful support, prayers, and words of encouragement. Thanks especially to our sending
and home church, Cross Lanes Bible, for standing with us in ways that boggles the mind and
humbles us. We thank God first for His personal watch-care and provision for us, then we
thank God for the wonderful saints that He has used to minister to us. The family of God
is nothing short of amazing and wonderful beyond expression. Amen!
Still looking up for Him as your coworkers,
Walter Robinson II