Greetings from Almost Heaven, West Virginia! We have much
to report since our last mass mailing back in September.
We have mostly been focused on getting well; thus, we have not made
attempts to see our supporting churches and friends. I hope each understands. We do hope
to at least visit a few supporting churches in the Charleston, West Virginia area before
returning to Carriacou. We are also scheduled to spend December 714 at Holy Mount
Baptist Church, who is a supporter and our mission board.
We have spent several holidays in Beckley with both Lindas and my
parents. We have also been blessed to spend much time with Tabitha. We plan to spend
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with them as well. Tabitha is back at work at
Chick-Fill-A, and also back into her studies at Appalachian Bible College.
Our folks on Carriacou are holding on, even though they are having some
struggles. Yesterday I spoke with someone on Carriacou who told us about the considerable
damage that Hurricane Lenny recently did. I understand that there was no wind or rain, but
the extraordinary rough seas did a lot of damage to the main town of Hillsborough.
Reportedly, the waves broke substantially above the main jetty, and much of the shore side
part of town was inundated with sand and water! The waves mercilessly pounded the back of
some of the shorefront businesses to the point that water came in the back of the
buildings and flowed through and out the front doors! The banks and government offices
seem to have faired well, including the post office. Yet, many of the roads in
Hillsborough and Harvey Vale are severely damaged, and significant segments have been
washed away completely. I was told that watching the huge waves break on the southern and
western side of Carriacou was a frightening sight to behold. But thanks to Gods
marvelous grace, no one was hurt or killed. Please pray that the Lord will enable the
government and people to get things restored as much as possible and as soon as possible.
Now for some more positive news. The Lord has graciously answered
prayer and abundantly supplied a vehicle for us to take back to Carriacou! Thanks for
praying with us for this tremendous need! It is a 1994 Chevrolet Lumina, APV (All Purpose
Vehicle). Lois Holmes, my mother, was blessed to get a newer vehicle, and she blessed us
by giving us the Lumina! We are very thankful for her gracious gift! It is a seven
passenger mini-van that appears to be in very good condition. It has a 3.1 Liter V6, and
is front wheel drive with 80,000 miles. We are eager to get it shipped to Carriacou so
that we can put it to work with our 4WD 1987 Dodge Colt Vista station wagon that we have
been using there since 1991. We believe that this should completely meet our
transportation needs, at least for a while until our numbers come back up. Of course, this
also depends on the condition in which we find the Vista when we return, which is
currently stored in our garage beside our dwelling on Carriacou.
1994 Chevrolet Lumina, APV
We now need to make arrangements not only to fly ourselves back to
Carriacou, but we must also ship the Lumina and other items that we have acquired as well.
It looks as though it would be best for us to drive to Orlando (with a U-Haul trailer in
tow), then go on to Miami, Florida. There we could put the Lumina and other items on a
boat to Carriacou, and finally go on to board a plane to Grenada. The air-passage would
likely cost about $1,500.00 for the three of us. This would enable us to save nearly half
on airfare, and also save a considerable amount on shipping, rather than shipping and
flying straight out of Charleston, West Virginia. But, we can only take this route if we
have the funds to ship the vehicle and other goods at that time, and also have the funds
on hand to pay expected duties and customs fees when they arrive in Carriacou.
I have spoken to a deputy controller of Grenada Customs who informed me
that I will have to pay 117% of the value of the vehicle, which he said would likely
amount to some $6,000 to $9,000 US$ (depending upon the method the customs official will
actually use to set the value). I will also be responsible for paying 117% of the cost for
shipping it, and the cost for insuring it during shipping.
The vehicle appears to be in very good shape and is valued anywhere
from $5,500 to $8,000. It will cost some $2,500 to ship it from Miami to Carriacou. Adding
the shipping cost to vehicle value means the taxable value will likely range from $8,000
to $10,500, times 117%. This means that we must be prepared to pay from $9,300 to $12,300
in Grenada. We hope the actual cost will be preferably at the lower end of the
estimates. I also figure that the shipping costs and customs fees for other items we have
acquired (clothing, household goods, office equipment and supplies) will likely cost us
from $1,000 to $1,500.
Altogether, our airfare from Miami and the cost of shipping all
items to Carriacouincluding the Luminawill likely cost somewhere between
$12,000 and $15,000. I realized this is expensive, but for us to get the same type of
vehicle and other items in Grenada would ultimately cost much more. From past experience,
I believe we would likely have to settle for inferior quality in workmanship and
materials. As you would expect, it is unwise to ship items unless we are fully
prepared ahead of time to pay the customs fees in Grenada when they arrive. If necessary,
we could store the vehicle and some of the more bulky other items until such funds are
supplied, and then make arrangements to have them shipped at a later date. If we leave the
Lumina and other items behind at that time, we will need about $3,500 for airfare from
Charleston and the cost of taking some selected items to Carriacou with us on the plane.
Please pray as we look to the Lord for our return passage.
Now about the Robinsons health status.
Lindas good health continues. She and I both now have a new set
of glasses. Our old ones were nearly ten years old and were inadvertently left in Grenada
due to our hasty trip to the US in April due to my illness. In some ways Linda is better
now than she had been in years. The doctor cleared her to go back to Carriacou whenever
were are ready, for which she is eager to do.
Jeshua is on his second set of corrective braces, and has also gotten
glasses to hopefully correct some vision problems so he will not need them after a couple
of years. We thought he should have an optical check up, but we never expected that he
would need bifocals! He looks like a little doctor or professor now, and has taken them in
stride. By the way, the Lord is to be praised because the glasses and braces were supplied
without any cost to us! Those are exciting stories that I hope to share sometime in the
future. In any case, he is doing very well at Cross Lanes Christian School. His grades
have been excellent and he had made numerous new friends. He also celebrated his 13th
birthday with a number of his young cousins in Beckley. Even so, he also is eager to
return to Carriacou. He misses his friends, his pets, and life in general on Carriacou.
Since I arrived in the States on April 28, 1999, I have had several
tests. I had a MRI and TEE that determined that I had indeed suffered a stroke due to a
clot forming and breaking loose from a small opening (it is called a Patent Foramin
Ovaley) in the upper chamber (atrium) of my heart that was supposed to have closed
off right after my birth. My cardiologist and I were completely unaware of this condition
until the TEE revealed it. But praise be to God, I have mostly recovered from the stroke!
In fact, most cannot tell that I had lost control of the right side of my body, lost the
ability to talk, and could not swallow just seven months ago! I still have some sensory
depravation on my right side from the waist up, but thankfully, I have my full strength
back. At times I also struggle with pronouncing some words, and once in a while it takes
me a little longer to get my words together before I speak. But my vocabulary is mostly
what it was before the stroke. Praise the Lord!
Even more promising, Linda just happened to pick up a copy
of Womens World magazine about a month ago. It just happened to contain
an article about a thirty-four year old mother. She just happened to have suffered a
stroke two years ago due to having a defect in her heart that was very similar to mine.
However, early last year she underwent a relatively new and simple treatment that closed
the hole so she would not be predisposed to possibly suffer another stroke! I got on the
internet and located this womans telephone number, then phoned her to get more
information. This very gracious lady patiently talked with me and gave me the name and
telephone number of her doctor. I then placed a call to the doctor, who graciously called
me back a few days later.
The process is called a CardioSeal, and it involves using a heart
catheterization procedure to place a small mesh device into the opening in my heart to
seal it off. Then, over the next two months the heart tissue is supposed to grow
completely over the device, repairing the defect so that I will no longer need to take the
mild blood thinner (75 mg of Plavix). Currently, I must take this drug once a day for the
rest of my life to hopefully prevent another stroke. The medicine has been well tolerated
by me so far, but it is expensive ($1000.00 plus per year), and it predisposes me to
developing some rather nasty looking bruises for even the slightest bumps. Also, the blood
thinner is not a complete guarantee that I will not suffer another stroke. Concerning the
stroke I have already suffered, I can truthfully say that Ive been there, done
that, and once is more than enough.
I hope to be able to undergo the procedure in the next month or two,
after the doctor gets some type of correspondence back from the government. I have been
told that I would go into the hospital and have the procedure done on the same day, stay
overnight, then go home the next day and do anything I want with no restrictions! Having
spoken to the doctor about the possible costs involved, and our very limited financial
help with medical bills, he reassured me that regardless of our financial abilities they
would work something out. The procedure would likely be done in Detroit at the Detroit
The rest of my heart is doing well, including the aortic valve that was
replace in July of 1990. The test revealed that it only has a trace to mild regurgitation
(leak), and the doctor has told me to continue getting echocardiograms whenever I am in
the states every three to four years.
In addition to the above, I have also undergone a rectal ultrasound,
renal ultrasound, and a colonoscopy with an eight point biopsy (Talk about fun!). All came
back clear, except for them discovering that I have a mild type of colitis that is
indicated by a mild thickening of the walls of the colon. I was told that this condition
was completely unknown to the medical profession just ten to fifteen years ago, and that
it will probably not cause me any problems. It is also suspected that three years ago I
had a fistula or cyst in the rectal area that has mostly healed up, but possibly left scar
tissue or nerve damage behind. The doctors hope that in time this problem will heal up
completely on its own.
I am still on antibiotics for prostatitis, and my urologist told me
that I may have to be on it for a long time, perhaps even the rest of my life. Doctors
believe the prostatitis, and the rectal problem mentioned above are causing the burning in
the urinary tract and the rectal pain and discomfort. Please pray that I will heal up,
or that God will give abundant grace for me to endure the difficult times of discomfort.
Thankfully, I have also been cleared to return to Carriacou by all doctors!
Those of you who have kept up with us since 1990 may remember the
onslaught of problems our family encountered when we began to make preparations to quit my
job to began full time deputation. I first developed a painful and ongoing dental problem;
then developed asthma and heart problems; was involved in a deadly automobile accident
(caused by a drunk driver) on January 29, 1990, that destroyed three vehicles and killed
one man; both of our children developed pneumonia on three separate occasions each; and
our home was burglarized.
Some people, including one doctor, told us that we should remain in the
States and stay at our job instead of going to Carriacou as missionaries. Some believers
even asked if we thought it could be possible that the Lord was now showing us that He
wanted us to remain stateside and continue to work to have good health insurance. But we
still believed that the Lord was leading us overseas. We viewed the intense adversity as
merely Satans attempts to thwart us from Gods perfect will of
going to Carriacou. We did not believe that God had changed his mind, nor did we believe
we had misunderstood His calling for us. Thus, through faith and by Gods marvelous
and all sufficient grace, we saw the Lord continue to provide and lead us to Carriacou. We
do not believe anything has changed, and by His grace, we intend to stay the course until
it is finished just as the Apostle Paul taught by example in chapter four of Second
Timothy. Also considering Pauls example, believers should know that adversity often
accompanies being in the center of Gods exciting will as he recorded in
2 Corinthians 11: 2430.
Paul also prayed to be healed of some unnamed affliction
on three different occasions, but continued to suffer as God taught him to trust and rely
upon the Almighty, and not upon himself (2 Corinthians 12:79).
I am obviously not the Apostle Paul, nor do I consider myself in his
league. Yet, I believe his struggles were recorded so that all believers could learn that
difficulties and adversity are often prominent landmarks to be expected on the path to
serving the Creator and God of heaven and Earth. I am afraid that too often too many
believers accept adversity as a valid excuse for straying from Gods calling for
their lives. I am also afraid that too many may think that walking in the perfect will of
God is only for those who have mountains of faith, or for the super spiritual, super
devoted, and super sanctified. I and my family are but few examples that show that this is
not the case. Paul depicted himself in the present tense as the chief of
sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) who often found himself struggling not to do the
things he knew he should and also with doing things he knew he should not (Romans 7:15).
Nevertheless, by Gods grace he remained in the battle to finish his course, fight
the fight, and keep the faith. And this is what determines how lovingly and eagerly each
believer can also look forward to the coming of our precious Savior who suffered
and died for us. (2 Timothy 4:78)
I do not profess to know why we have gone through many of the things we
have the last three years. I do not understand while I still have days in which I
continually struggle with pain and discomfort. I do not understand some of the emotional
changes that I struggle with which have occurred as a result of the stroke. Yet, it is
evident that this path is the one the Lord ordained for my family and I to travel this
year, and we and others have been blessed as a result.
God is good. Yes, God is good! And by faith, we trust that it is His
will that we return to Carriacou the latter part of January 2000. Please pray with us as
we wait on God to lead and provide for us to return to Carriacou in the next few months.
Thanks for your ongoing prayer, words and notes of encouragement,
special gifts and treats, and support. Our God is greater than any problem we have or can
encounter, and it is He that we must also praise for His daily and sovereign watch-care
and provision that has sustained us thus far. We often marvel at how He miraculously meets
our needs through the kingdom of God of which you are all apart. We wish you all a blessed
season of holidays. We also hope that many who enter the next millennium will be firsthand
witnesses of Jesus returning to take his bride to heaven! I believe this is the correct
attitude for believers to adopt as we look forward. Instead of dreading the coming of Y2K,
why not look forward to the coming of YTK, which stands for Yeshua The King? (Yeshua is
Hebrew for Jesus) See you next century, by Gods grace!
Still looking up for Him as your coworkers,
Walter Robinson II