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wbclogo.jpg (18419 bytes)(This was a hard copy mailing)


Dear Friends And Supporters Of The Robinsons

November 24, 1999

 

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 7–14 at Holy Mount Baptist Church, who is a supporter and our mission board.

We have spent several holidays in Beckley with both Linda’s 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 God’s 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 Carriacou—including the Lumina—will 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 Robinson’s health status.

Linda’s 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 Women’s 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 woman’s 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 I’ve ‘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 Medical Center.

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 Satan’s attempts to ‘thwart us’ from God’s 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 God’s 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 Paul’s example, believers should know that adversity often accompanies being in the center of God’s exciting will as he recorded in 2 Corinthians 11: 24–30.

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

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 12:7–9).

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 God’s 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 God’s 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 4:7–8)

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 God’s grace!

 

Still looking up for Him as your coworkers,
Walter Robinson II


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Revised: August 26, 2013.

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