Monday, October 31, 2005

I visited Lauren at IWU this weekend (after spending part of Saturday with my mother...Deanna was scrapbooking, hereafter dubbed 'scrapping!'). It was good to see her in her school environment. She is so happy there, and her friends continue to bless her with encouragement. I was served a cup of freshly brewed "strong" coffee by the resident "marathoner" (glad your toe is out for nail shrapnel). Apparently, no parental visit is complete without the obligatory sharing of "scaring each other in the bathroom" humor. I'm scarred by the visual!

Lauren is still playing catch-up, but is "putting others to shame" with her study habits...according to suitemates. I'm wondering if money exchanged hands for that comment?! She returned to Indy Saturday night to help with the Fall Festival at Northside Baptist (Whitney was there too).

Lauren and Beej share a quality which has been important to both of them...They are both very artistic. Both are writers and draw well. Lauren has expressed her art in other methods too. She has made some amazing pottery. They were handed this trait from their Grandpa (who passed in 1994). One thing Lauren does well that her Grandpa didn't is sing!

He liked to sing in the shower, and had quite the voice in those moments, but if instrumentation was added, tone deafness was exposed, and his attempts at matching pitch, were...oh, painful... so he mostly didn't sing. It didn't stop him from praising Jesus, though. What an awesome example he was.

Lauren sings and writes songs, beautifully. Her spirit in praising the Lord is incredible! What she can do with her voice blows me away, as she is self taught (well there was that year in the Indianapolis Childrens Choir). She has learned to play the piano on her own as well...I don't understand this. I think one time while I was out riding my bike, Deanna taught my three children amazing secrets about music, and they won't share with me. It really isn't funny, and it really isn't fair. I want to be amazing at music, too. But, like my dad, I guess somebody has to keep the shower opera know, for that audience of One.

BJ wrote many songs and loved to draw. As I write, I am looking at an amazing pencil drawing he did, of a cross, a sword and a palm branch. The cross is 6 inches tall by 3 inches wide, and is 3 dimensional. The sword shows significant detail, and is crossed, forming a "V," with a palm frond of similar length. The cross descends into the "V". It really makes me curious what was on his mind while he doodled this (likely at school, as it was mixed among his notes).

Perhaps Christ's death on the cross and the way the crowd ushered Him into the city on a colt with palm branches. These two things seem to be at odds. These same people who shouted "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" then turned on Him, and insisted on His crucifixion! Before we move on to the next image, and reach for our own "swords," let's be reminded that we too, Praise Him one moment, and struggle to remember who we are in Christ in the next.

Jesus came to fulfill all of scripture! Being stretched onto a tree, included. Your sin is paid for, so is mine. The Resurrection happened! He is alive!!! Now! Let's gear up! Grab your sword! Just remember who we are's Satan, not those who have yet to surrender to Christ. Use your sword offensively, but don't strike at the ear of those who have failed to listen. Those are the ones we're to fight for, cause when the appropriate number have received Christ, He shall return!

Serving the King beside you,


Our prayer support is added to the number who lift up the pastor's family from Waco. (See comments from 10/29/05 blog). We grieve at the tragic loss, but rejoice in his presence in the Kingdom!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

For the past few months, much of my Bible reading has been in the Psalms. The Message is the most recent translation I have enjoyed - it puts things differently, simply perhaps, but like you've never heard before.

Chapter 34 "Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He'll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time."

And Chapter 130 "Help, God - the bottom has fallen out of my life!... Listen to my cries for mercy... I pray to God - my life a prayer - and wait for what He'll say and do. My life's on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning."

In the hospital we did a lot of "waiting and watching." Now, our waiting and watching is much different. A friend reminded me the other night that our life is but a vapor and when we're taken home, it will be like just a few minutes have passed. If only we could have heaven's perspective on earth.

As I talk with You Father, sometimes with words, sometimes with groans and sometimes straight from Your Word, thank you for hearing our cries and standing by us and walking with us and holding our hands. We are humbled to really feel and be strengthened by the prayers of the saints and get a little taste of heaven here on earth. Thank you for the capability to focus on what You have for me today in Your Word. Open my ears to listen and hear and understand what You are saying to me dear Jesus. Wipe away all bitterness and resentment and anger, KEEP wiping it away, as it creeps up over and over. I know You are the sovereign God. I know I can trust You. Light the path for us. Make each step we take clear. Give us confidence in You and the resilience that our son displayed so well.

Psalm 127 "Don't you see that children are God's best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy?"

Thank you Father for making it so,


A.J. what a precious gift! Thank you so very much, you have touched us!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Yesterday we received a "death benefit" check (2nd one). Wow is that final! It takes your breath away. It stirs your heart full of emotion and the release never seems to get sweet. It just ends, only to return later, like an unwelcome guest (have you seen "What about Bob?").

We didn't know we had this "benefit" before this whole saga began...well, ended.(my job is fairly new, and I failed to see this in the know, the paperwork?). It does however, beg the question, what is the value of life? It is not my intent however, to descend a steep philosophical hill that might only lead to...well, a lower point in emotional geography than I wish to visit.

Suffice it to say, that the value in your life is found in the depth of pursuit in your relationship with Christ. BJ's walk with the Lord was one that will not soon be forgotten. How we live our lives is critical. We cannot afford to turn our backs on who Jesus is, and who He wants us to be. We need to "dive deep" as Beej put it. To live the best that you can, means to be obedient with each heartbeat. This means being in that constant state of prayer we have each learned so much about over the last 2 1/2 months, and beseeching our Father for our decisions, and our actions.

This is not a trivial matter to our Lord. He wants unlimited access to our hearts and lives. He wants our steps to bring Him glory. He wants our faces to reflect His radiance. He wants our hearts to overflow with the joy that He fills us with. He wants our knees to be calloused and sturdy!

I can no longer afford to conduct myself in the same ways. What happened to my son has certainly changed my life. I often feel compelled to bring about radical change. I see the need for it all around me. What can I do about it? I can focus on one person at a time as the Lord brings them into my path. Then, as I find obedience and faithfulness to Him in my daily life, He'll prepare me for additional opportunities.

Perhaps BJ said it best in his '04 Peru journal:

"I need to live my life in a way that would glorify God, and leave a legacy of a Christlike life. I need to not just seek the harvest, but continue sowing and planting and watering seeds, for when Christ said "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few," He did not mean just harvesters or reapers. Workers include sowing and planting and watering as well as harvesting and reaping."

Well said Beej, and well lived son.


Yes Angela (from Mooresville), BJ would think your pink shirt with camouflage pants was a cool outfit!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

November 5th and 6th Deanna and I will be visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma. We want to let you know where we will be so that you can come and join us if you wish.

On Saturday night we will be in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma at The Church at Battle Creek. Deanna will be singing, and I will be sharing.

Sunday morning we will be doing the same thing, at Parkview Baptist Church, Tulsa.
There are three service times: 8:15, 9:35 and 10:45am. We hope to meet you, as we consider you part of our family. Your prayer support and encouragement have been a huge part of this journey. God has used you in our lives to help sustain us. Thank you so much for your persistence in pelting the Throne of mercy with prayer on BJ's, and our behalf.

This has been a difficult week. Whitney was unable to go with the rest of us on our first real family vacation, ever, the week before BJ ended up in the hospital. We normally have used our vacation time to go to youth camps, on mission trips, or to spend time with family in their homes. This trip was different. It was to be just us, and we were headed to a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tn. The only problem was that Whitney was starting pre-Nursing at IUPUI, and had to be at trainings that same week. She had to stay behind.

We understood, but were disappointed that she could not be with us. Her absence was continuously felt while we were away. We spoke a few times on the phone, but it was not like having her with us. BJ spoke of missing her, and wondered what she was up to. There was no way any of us could have known what was to unfold in the ensuing days of our return. Even so, this has been heavy in Whitney's mind.

There are going to be those times when people say innocent things that have a devastating impact on your emotions. One of her acquaintances was sharing about Gatlinburg, and politely asked her if she'd been there. Woops! A difficult rest of the day resulted.

There is not a way to guard against such things, nor should people try. These are situations we must and will learn to deal with. God's amazing grace and strength has carried us a long way, and will continue. We Praise His Holy Name!!!

Whitney has rebounded. The Lord has placed an amazing imprint on her heart. For years she led worship on Wednesday nights at youth group along with the rest of the praise band. She was thrust into a leadership role, and found it difficult at times to be there. She led others to the throne for most of her high school career. Whitney's heart is about worship.

BJ loved that about her. He was inspired by her singing, guitar playing (she doesn't think she can play) and how she cried out to God, literally reached out for Him. Almost as if she expected the Lord to grab a hold of her outstretched hands and carry her home. She blesses, and inspires me when she Praises our Lord. She did the same for Beej. He was very proud of her.

He spoke of his sisters often (we are told) on the mission field. When he talked about Whit, he'd say, "She is really really cute!" But then he'd suddenly feel the need to qualify his statement, for fear he was being misunderstood, and say, "But I don't want to date her or anything." Then he'd just turn red from the reaction he invoked.

While Beej was in the hospital, on more than one occasion, Whitney sang, or sang and played her guitar in his room. I don't guess we'll know until we get to join him, how it made him feel, but Whitney, Beej loved you with all of his being. He desired to protect you, and see you bring God the fullest of glory! I know you blessed him when you shared of yourself.

Many nursing students may have changed their minds about their career choice after what Whit went through, watching her little brother. I believe her resolve has only intensified, for she seeks where the Lord is leading her. And thank you St. Vincent's nursing staff, and Doctors for allowing her to witness so many procedures, and get an education her peers will not share. I am proud of you Whitney Lou!


We received word that BJ was approved for medicaid after all, for the month of September. This means, we believe, that much of his stay that our insurance would not pay for, will be covered. He was denied for August, so we will have some expenses for half of that month. Lord, we truly Praise you for your intervention, and how you are caring for us!!! And thank you bloggers who have sent financial support. Know that we are humbled, and blessed by you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Last night as I tried to study to prepare for some upcoming opportunities, I was constantly sidetracked with running to BJ's journals, his room, and even his closet. While in there (and while fighting off claustrophobia-closets are not my thing), I found the cover to his favorite Bible (NLT). You know, the one that disappeared. I was pleased to find there were enough pages left attached to the two pieces (front and back) that he left us with some more information that was important to him.

Listed under "Special Memories" he had written "Called to Ministry UYC (ultimate youth camp) June 2002 at Windermere" [he was 12 at the time]

Below that he added, "Became a Christian Northside Baptist Church 2/21/98" [he was 8 at the time]

He also listed some scripture on the Favorite Verses page:
Proverbs 27
I Corinthians 15
"God is not a man (back)"
[he had a dozen scriptures written in the back of his bible showing that God is, in fact, not a man. These were for witnessing opportunities]
"Predestination (back)" [he had scriptures on this in the back also]
"Isaiah 6:8 Here I am, send me" [The Lord certainly did]

This may not seem like a lot, but to us, it reveals more of his spiritual journey. More of who he was in Christ. More of how the Lord shaped his life. Just more, and we were pleased.

While looking at his 'favorites' I want to share a list from his personal journal. These are things which were important to him, important enough to write:

"List of things I love (not in order):"

"Jameson Camp in the Winter- hiking, playing sardines, watching a fire, staying with family
My cousin Joshua, My Uncle Rich, My Uncle Brad, all of my family (my dad)
Camping with my dad in the spring
Blue skies, sunny days, and green fields
Standing in the rain
Water- Ocean, lake, river, stream, pool, swimming
Hiking, climbing
[Baptist Church]
Wrestling with my friends
Windermere in the summer
Peru - Otuzco
My Peru team
The 9th grade guys from Northside
[he was a freshman when he wrote this]
Stories of Heroes
Reading Books

This gives you a look inside of him, and lets you see more of who he was. He wouldn't like a story on him as a hero, but he rates pretty high for me.

Deanna is reading another of his Bibles, and notes that He has Matthew, Mark, and Luke each underlined where they say-

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." (Luke 9:23-24)

I believe he gave me a pretty good example of what that should look like. He wasn't perfect, to be sure, but his heart drummed for the Master.

Serving the King beside you,

dad (it has been 1 month today)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Deanna is teaching three days a week, this week and next, and then will be full time. Things are progressing well in teaching. She got sick this weekend, and is fighting that.

Lauren and her friend Kim came home for the weekend, and we laughed. Lauren is doing well at school and is getting caught up.

Whitney went apartment hunting with her roommate. They live in a freshman only dorm, and there are are no other dorms at IUPUI. They think they found what they want. Work is going well for her.

My work is fine. Staff have been great. It's just that what used to be important, now seems trivial...and that is hard.

The four of us went to dinner with friends Saturday night. It is still awkward at times. We all miss him, and it is hard not to just get lost in thought over memories. We are thankful for distractions at this point. Thanks for your concern.

Previously, I let you know that BJ and I enjoyed hiking and backpacking. Living at a heavily wooded camp has afforded us many opportunities to do this. On many occasions, Deanna and I would say, "Hey Beej, we're going for a hike." His programmed response was "Can I come?" I don't think we ever told him no, but he always asked for permission. Just polite, I guess.

One Spring, on a trip Beej and I took (we didn't get to take many) we were camping near a lake. At dusk, about 50 yards away we saw something moving. We quickly grabbed binoculars and discovered 5 or 6 fox kits (babies) romping and rolling near their lair. Apparently, mom was away hunting.

We decided to get close and try to take pictures in the fading light. We were below a dam so we had an advantage in sneaking up on them. However, we didn't need it, as they were as curious about us as we were about them. We laid down flat and closed to within 10 feet. Armed with my brothers telephoto lens, and being that close, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. I snapped off tons of shots. They looked at us, sniffed the air a bit, then returned to their game of "I'm tougher than you are."

Eventually, they retreated back into their den, and we headed back to camp. It's just a short trek to Matthew 8:20 "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." That crisp night, our heads lay side by side.

Jesus words here, directed to an expert in the law, indicated the difficulty that exists for wandering disciples. While there is security in the Lord, this man seemed to be seeking security from the Lord, or things He could provide. We as believers do that too often, don't we? We stop seeking Jesus, and we look for the blessings we expect Him to provide. If we don't get them we act...well, you know.

If we could just learn to keep our eyes on Jesus, to keep our eyes in the Son...when your eyes are in the Son, you cannot see anything else (nor do you want for anything else). BJ's gaze now, is one I long for. How I look forward to looking Him full in the face!

Those pictures we took? Not one turned out. There wasn't enough light.

Do you have His light in your life? Please share it with someone who is in need.

Serving the King beside you,


Monday, October 24, 2005

What is it about boys and pockets? We just seem to fill them with things we consider essential, in the most fleeting of moments. When I was BJ's age, I began to do my own laundry. One of the things I learned was to empty my pockets of all such treasures. To this day, when I arrive home from...wherever, one of the first things I do is to empty my pockets. I don't like having them full when I am home for some reason. I'm just not comfortable until they are empty. (ladies if you would practice this with your purses, you might be amazed at how many fewer items would be "lost")

BJ learned to do his own laundry, but I was never successful at passing down the emptying your pockets thing...I tried, but he didn't see the point...or he forgot. Even though he new how to use a washing machine, I continued doing laundry for our family. It's just always been mine to do, and I don't mind. (Okay, sometimes I fall behind and get help...thank you, honey!)

I can't tell you the number of times that loads of laundry were ruined due to pens from the pockets of my Beej. Brand new clothes would bear the ink of the forgotten ones (on multiple occasions he was in trouble with his sisters or mother for this flagrant foul). I also found change, his driver's permit, student ID, and notes.

Now when I was in school, notes usually were embarrassing, and you sure didn't want anyone else finding them, especially your parents. I used to tease him and pretend I was going to read it. I received the sought after reaction, and was satisfied.

How amazed we have been to find a drawer full of these pocket fillers. Much to our surprise, they are not typical. BJ's notes, which have clearly been passed at school, are unusual. Although I would not have read these without his permission while he was with us, in his absence we do tend to cling to every shred of him.

I should not be surprised, but many of them are spiritually focused. One series is from a girl who was 'atheist' (BJ went over the note and made the editorial statement that she was agnostic, not atheist). Anyway, with one exception, we only have the notes he received, not the ones he wrote. It is clear that Beej led this girl to the Lord...and it all started with her writing him because she had a crush on him from afar (she did not know him, yet).

He wrote her a note that he never gave her. It appears to be in response to her first one. Here is an excerpt from it:

..."I hate writing things like this because I hate to hurt other people, and have already hurt enough people in my past, I'm sure. So I want to make sure that you understand that the reason I cannot reciprocate your "crush" isn't because I think you are weird or dislike anything about you in any way, but it is because I recently had a couple bad experiences with girls, and because spiritually, I am not in a position to date...yet." [BJ had committed in 10/04 not to date until he was 17]

"In getting to know me, the first and foremost thing you'll discover is that I am 100% a Jesus Freak. I have given my entire life to live for Him. Whenever I am in a bad mood or if I have had a horrible day, I think of Him and His love and companionship, and that always brings me joy. More so than that, even, He gives my life purpose and meaning and fills that... emptiness inside of me that we all have that causes us to yearn for more, like money or a boyfriend or girlfriend or drugs or love, etc. And I have found that whereas all of these things may make you feel better for a moment, it will pass, and you will always want more. However, basking in Jesus Christ's forgiveness and love is the only thing that will satisfy. So I want to encourage you: do not seek companionship from me or any other guy, but from the only one who can fill that void: the one who put it there, Jesus.

He will never let you down or not satisfy you like I or anyone else would.

In Christ's Love

BJ Higgins

P.S. By the way, it's very nice to meet you..."

I can assure you, I never wrote a note like that when I was 15. I did not have the spiritual maturity to be his parasite (Jeff), when I was his age (Beej believed he carried a parasite from his 2004 trip and he name him). While I have not knowingly met this young lady, I believe she might have been at his final Celebration. (If you are reading this, know that I am praying for you!)

I will miss doing BJ's laundry. I know that is weird to read (it is weird to write). But I will not have to worry about clothing that got "inked up" from the treasures stowed away in unturned pockets.

Have a great Monday!


Saturday, October 22, 2005

There are things that I laugh at now, that used to drive me crazy! BJ was notorious for doing things slowly and methodically. I believe in part, because he was a reaction to me...always in a hurry, and doing everything as quickly as possible- even eating meals, I never met anyone who could eat faster than me (until I met Deanna). Not that it is ever a race, and I know it isn't good, but I just know how to consume quickly!

Not BJ. He mosied along the dinner plate as if it were a great adventure and he had to know every pasta noodle, individually. He may have even named some of his food, cause it was around long enough. It took him just as long to order his food, and inevitably, he would order one of the most expensive things. It wouldn't be so bad, but then he would eat maybe half on a good day. Oh did we have exhaustive conversations over this.

Perhaps it would have been quicker to have the server point out the 2 or 3 most expensive items and just let him choose. He would have been ready sooner. Poor guy, he would see my body language, and know my annoyance, and it would just make it harder! Guess who needed to change? (Sometimes I think I was born in a race car going 200 mph cause I've been struggling to slow down, since.)

The Lord has certainly taught me patience, endurance, and about long-suffering. I don't say this to solicit sympathy, I say it because it is true, and I needed to be taught these things. It just is sad to think that my growth, sometimes comes at the expense of my children.

There were more times than I would like to admit that I had to go to Beej and ask his forgiveness for losing it, or being overbearing. You know he never once had a hard time forgiving me?!

My Jesus is even more amazing at this! I sin, he forgives. Of course He died once to provide forgiveness past, present and future, but my sin is blotted out. He does not remember it. I do, but he doesn't. The father of lies loves to torment us with our past failures. He loves to try to get us to take part once again in old familiar paths. He makes them sooo alluring, even though we know they only produce emptiness, and sorrow.

We have ultimate victory, if we have Christ Jesus. There is simply no other way. Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in noone else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to men by which we must be saved." There is nothing to add or subtract from Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. He paid the price, and it is ours to take hold of or reject. No middle ground. No other savior. If you don't have Jesus, you don't have life. You can pretend that there are other ways, but the author of life has made it clear that there aren't.

This is why we must GO! Get the Word out! A dying world believes in many ways to God, many ways to heaven. Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6 He said this because God gave Him the authority to do so.

If you don't know Jesus, please ask Him to be your Savior and Lord. If you do, then GO!

Have a blessed weekend!


Friday, October 21, 2005

I was talking with a close friend last night. He asked me what the most difficult thing is, right now. I shared with him that when we are out at work, church, or socially, that your mind kind of plays a protective game where for brief moments you believe Beej is out somewhere, or even at home waiting. The stern reality mixed with emotion that pours over you when you realize this is not true (over and over again) is difficult to bear. 'Sick at your stomach' begins to try to describe the reaction, but it is more of a full body and soul response. The depth of which can be crippling.

I am amazed at times at how much comfort I receive at the thought of BJ hangin' with Jesus. Jesus tells us in the book of John that after He goes, the Comforter will come. Jesus did go. BJ went too. Guess what? The Comforter has come, and is continuously coming, everyday. Praise Jesus that He made His sacrifice that I might have life. Praise Him that He sent the Comforter. Praise God that BJ has His ear.

I know I've told you this before, but I work at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp in Indiana. Today, a youth group came back that had been here a year ago. What is special about them is that though we don't go to their church, they included BJ in their event last year. He had an awesome time. It was at this retreat that he penned the "I will unsheathe my sword" writing. He was very moved by the whole experience.

Well it was bittersweet to see them return. They are such precious people. Sarah, who plans the event, was so comforting and concerned. Robin, one of the teens, took the time to find out how I was REALLY doing. That IS special, since the last time Beej and I saw her (this summer), I smashed strawberries and cream in her face. Finally, BJ's friend and co-driver's ed. buddy, Drake was there. He was encouraging, and it was good to see him. BJ's last weekend at home, Drake had called to see if Beej could go to King's Island with him.

I have been concerned about how I would handle situations like this. Our God continues to be faithful, and I find I can deal with these things. It should not amaze me that He is so faithful, but I guess since I have failed him so often, and not been the servant I should be, I keep thinking I will be let down...but that never happens.

When we moved down here, in 2004, BJ was initially excited, you know the whole 425 acres of woods thing, and him being a guy. But then reality set in. We were in the country...that means awaaaayyyy from people. That meant for him...what in the heck do I do with myself? He began to struggle with his attitude. He was not himself for weeks. Finally, I did my 'dad' thing. I sat him down and told him that he would continue to be miserable until he started to make an effort to embrace this life that the Lord had called us to.

Sometimes I am just amazed, when doing the whole 'dad thing,' works. So many times you feel like you are doing the right things, but not seeing any good come from them. This time it seemed to work. I began to notice that he was returning to normal. After his death, I found a writing that recounted that incident. He has always understood the whole 'authority' thing (not that he always responded correctly). He came to terms with the fact that the Lord had laid a calling on my heart to work at Highland Lakes. That the Lord was in charge, and we were obedient by following His direction. Further, that being his dad, I was God's authority in his house and in his life.

Once he submitted to that authority, he was changed. He was back...he was happy. He began to gather up all of the experiences he could. He visited different church youth groups, and got involved. He soon found that God was giving him authority... authority to speak into the lives of others. He spoke with passion from God's Word and his own experiences.

When he went with AWESTAR to the mission field in Peru, and was taught that God had all authority, it was a truth he understood experientially. So when he saw God move in amazing ways and in amazing circumstances he was not surprised, but affirmed. He took the life experiences he had and built upon them.

Remember my chess story? BJ developed strategies for life and sharing. When it came time to suffer, he did it willingly. He knew that was a part of who he was in Christ...a part of who we all are in Christ. With the Lord's help he developed winning strategies for how he conducted himself. Guess what? When the end of the game drew near, his focus never faded, not this was too important. He won. Satan was defeated! Jesus is glorified! Praise God! He has "all authority," and He sits upon the Throne! I Love you, Father!

Thank you for taking the time to read, you continue to bless us!


Thursday, October 20, 2005

In the summer of 2004, shortly after BJ's return from Peru, he and Deanna went to a reunion of my extended family. It was held in Wisconsin (I was unable to go as I had just begun a new job). The last time BJ had seen some of these folks was when he was 1 1/2 years old...I don't think he remembered.

He and Deanna thoroughly enjoyed the time. They hiked, sat by campfires, had picnics, and got reacquainted with family. BJ spent much of his time with his much younger cousins. They bonded very quickly. He came home talking about how adorable they all were, and how much fun he'd had.

He also spent considerable time around the campfire sharing about his Peru trip with the adults. He enjoyed the opportunity to tell about what God had done in the life of the Peruvian people, his team, and in his own walk. I'm sure the number of people around the fire dwindled as he talked, poked the fire, and talked, and talked. Undaunted, he continued on with my cousin Gregg (aka Blues). Thanks Gregg.

My Aunt Millie who lives there, knew about BJ's passion for Jesus. She honored him with a very special he was enthused about. She produced a very old Bible that had belonged to BJ's great great Grandmother Octa Porter (Any expectant parents out there may want to dump the girl names you were previously considering). As I sit here looking for the print date on this Bible, I am reminded that that is not what was important to him (that page has fallen out anyway).

BJ loved reading different versions of the Bible to compare them and to try to find the marrow of each truth. He had among his other Bibles a Comparative Study Bible with four side by side versions. He used it routinely.

His favorite didn't look like a Bible anymore. It resembled a cheap coverless paperback. For this reason, when he was moved onto ECMO (required a room change), and the hospital staff were cleaning his room, it was discarded (we were not allowed to retrieve items because he had been in isolation). We know it was not done intentionally, but Oh how we wish we had that Bible.

One other Bible story...well not a Bible story, but a story about a Bible...While Beej was in Peru this year, he was very excited to find a Bible that was a parallel English and Spanish version. As he relayed the story, he said, "I was in this hotel, and they had this English/Spanish Bible in the room. You know the Gideons put those there so you can take them, so I did!"

"BJ," I said, "the Gideons don't put those there so you can take them. They put them there so that they will be available in the room for unbelievers and believers alike." "They do?" he said. Then he quickly justified the whole experience by saying, "It's okay, I gave my old Spanish Bible to someone in Peru."

It is fitting that many have opted to donate $ to the Gideons. Hopefully, a new Spanish/English Bible will find it's way into that hotel room. (A Gideon or two have since told me that BJ was closer to right than I was...he would love that, and not let me forget it)

Whether you have one Bible or a dozen, please read them. You cannot grow closer to the Lord on Sunday Sermon Sundae's, and Wednesday night Snacks, alone! You make time for everything else you consider important, let's get into the Word as well.


There is and artcile on BJ at It is below and to the right of the picture of a boy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

THERE IS AN ARTICLE ON BJ AT When the page comes up, the article button is to the right and below the picture of a boy.

Deanna had a very busy, but good day at school yesterday. She received support from staff, parents and students alike. As one of her music classes came into her room, each student had to have a hug! Perhaps the most precious response was from a special needs young man who seldom talks. After showing her the 'owies' on his knees, he said, "I am sorry about your son." Deanna was blessed.

Isn't it just like our God to minister to our needs and touch us so deeply, in this way?! Deanna has taught music to this young man going on 3 years. Two years ago, they had a very rocky beginning. Respect must be earned. Deanna's gentle spirit goes a long way in reaching students.

Deanna's gentle spirit is also Christlike. BJ's favorite book of the Bible, I Peter, says in chapter 3:4 ..."the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet of great worth in God's sight." Deanna, you are of great worth in God's sight! He loves you so much, and has chosen to use your gifts with children. I am thankful that you have returned to the classroom. I know they need you.

When BJ was about 10, he gave his mother a heart necklace, a cz ring and a poem. The necklace has remained around her neck since she received it. The ring seldom leaves her finger. The poem, though a bit wrinkled from age is one she will always cherish:


You're a rose in the garden of my heart,
With love, I'll keep the weeds away,
In my heart where Christ resides,
So shall you forever stay.

I hope you like this rose from my heart,
This heart from my mind,
I hope you like this Christmas present,
From the heart of mine."

BJ adored his mother. Deanna will always adore her one and only son.

I am blessed to be able to love them both.


Linda, we would love to meet you when we're in Ok.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

BJ and I liked to play chess together. It was interesting to watch his mind work as we played. When he was younger, he didn't win much (unless he had "unrecognized help"). When he won, he would show such joy and elation. He'd share it with anyone who would listen. As he grew a little older, he began to recognize the "help" he was getting, and insist it be withdrawn. He also started to win on occasion.

In the last year or so, he used planned strategies. He won more often. He didn't get any less excited about it, either. The thing was, he got to be better than I was, but didn't realize it. Because I was his dad, he just thought I was invincible. As I watched his strategies unfold, I was often sucked in, and he would have me on the run. That's why it was so interesting to me that he would seem to lose focus as the game wore on, and I would regain the upper hand.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that our lives are often lived just like that, in regards to our relationship with Christ. We are thrilled when He uses us to achieve victory. We grow from the experience, and are better equipped to deal with a similar issue the next time. We know our Father is invincible, and that He is all powerful, yet we get distracted, start focusing perhaps on glory we might receive, and we get blindsided, even defeated!

We have to remember that "the enemy is prowling like a lion, looking for who he can devour." BJ came back from his first Peru trip all fired up about Ephesians 6, and putting on the full armor of God. He began teaching it to Sunday School Classes, youth groups, again, anyone who would listen! He understood how important it is to have the armor on for defensive purposes, and yet to be armed with your sword for offensive purposes (thanks for the reminder aj).

BJ got excited about ideas and/or strategies that made sense. He was passionate and intense over these kinds of issues. His good friend Jack stated it well at Beej's Memorial Celebration, when he said "when BJ spoke to you, you knew he was talking to the masses." That he would carry that much passion into a one on one conversation could have been intimidating. Instead, I think most people he had those conversations with were moved, and in some cases went out and did likewise.

Oh that we would proclaim our passion for Christ to the world with the joy and elation of a child.

Deanna is back to teaching for her first day, today. Whitney had a tough afternoon emotionally, was wonderful to see her home for dinner! Kim, Abbey, Megan, and Crazy Megan are taking care of Lauren...thanks daughters!!

Serving the King beside you,


Monday, October 17, 2005

Trying to negotiate the perils of the anger side of grief is most humbling. I find I want to smash something. Deanna offered up her body for this purpose, but quickly withdrew (Do you think she saw the psychotic look in my eyes?). It scares me to feel this way. I ran, but did not escape the quarrel in my mind. I have been antsy. Unable to sit down and study/read. Seemingly incapable of even being civil at times. This is not me...not normally (at least not after my fix of coffee).

Beautifully, the Lord knows this, and sent some close friends to help. (Thanks Elsie jay and Carol). They just spent time talking, a distraction from the trek through the frustrations of loss, at least for a while. How precious and beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (even though they were dotted with paint splatter)

It was difficult to return to our church home. Not because of lack of support from our church family, that was present in abundance. It seems memories are tied with every step. The pew we sat in as a family. The missing bass guitar line in worship. The vacancy on the platform. The weekly request for a pen to take notes during the message. The waiting in the car after church for him to return. Graciously, our brothers and sisters in Christ were most understanding, welcoming, and loving. Thank you FBC!

When BJ was about 9, we decided to get a dog. We visited several animal shelters in the process. We loved on many dogs over those few days. The last shelter we visited, something odd happened. As we walked the dank, noisy kennel aisles, BJ sat down in front of one. He was looking into the eyes of a half australian shepherd, half basenji, 6 month old pup. He would not budge. He insisted that this was the
dog. He did not want to look anymore. We had played with many others, and found that many were more interested in other dogs than being with us. Not this dog. He ignored all else. It seemed he and Beej had made a connection. We took him home. His name is Dakota. He does not understand where BJ is. He visits his room many times and sniffs the air for his scent.

Oddly we have done the same thing. Trying to find an article of clothing that smells like BJ. Perhaps to help us remember, or to bring comfort, possibly just to try and feel him close one more time. We have found nothing (unless a stinky sock cap counts). I think I know why. I think it is because Beej, like Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego did not come out of the fire of trial smelling like smoke...but carrying the aroma of Christ alone.

I continue to thank our Almighty Father in Heaven for each of you.

Ashley R. and Kayla please know that Deanna and I are lifting you up. We love you girls.


(Marla, are you going to send me that picture of the tree planting, or do I have to come to California to get it? Can't wait! Thanks!)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68

We are returning to our home church this morning. When we first visited FBC last year, we all agreed it felt like home. We had sweet worship and fellowship last week at Northside, our church home for 21 years. The Lord has surrounded us so securely in all areas of our lives and they are the reason we have you, our (some of you strangers) "blog family."

We have many things to be thankful for with BJ. I started a "thank you" list just for him the other day: As a mom, I was always thankful he freely showed me affection, unashamed, in public or not. In fact he liked to physically "lean" on us alot. His willing hugs are my most precious memory.

Lord, help me trust You through the pain and emptiness in this house, in this life and in going places without him.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Affixed to the wall at the headboard of BJ's bed is a torn out leaf from a devotional booklet. I can't say which one, because it is not printed on the page. The title of the day is "The Mystery of Humility." I have shared with you before that Beej struggled with pride. It was his desire to be humble. I believe this is the reason this particular page stood out to him.

Underlined in the days lesson are what he perceived the keys to be.

"Moses, the great leader of the people and a man who actually saw God on Mt. Sinai, maintained his humility. He didn't lord his position over others. He didn't flaunt his close ties to the Father. He didn't let power corrupt him. He displayed true spiritual leadership while keeping his ego in check...Doing that while honoring God is the solution to the mystery of humility."- Dave Branon

The page shares scripture as well...Numbers 12:1-7, but BJ noted v6: "When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal Myself to him in visions. I speak to him in dreams."

Finally, he underlined a couple of sentences from a section called "Destination Points": "Am I someone others would look at and say, "There's a humble Christian?...conducting myself as a true child of the King, but making sure He gets the glory?"

So many times since his death when I am out and I see what is going on in the world, I want to grab people and say "is that bringing glory to God?" However well intended that may sound, my motivation is more out of anger or frustration that we spend so much time on such foolishness, when the world around us is going to hell. There would be little humility in grabbing someone, shaking him, and saying "I'm not going to stop until you get it!" I don't think that action would glorify God either.

That was the way Moses got off track. He realized God was going to use him to deliver the Israelites and took matters into his own hands. There was nothing humble in his actions early on. It took 40 years in the desert, to bring humility into his life. When he finally got it, it took some convincing from our Lord to get him moving. But when he got it, God got all of the glory!

I believe BJ pointed to God in most situations. I have shared with you before, what the final four lines of his 2005 Peru journal were. But I did not share the writings that preceded that. If you'll allow me, I will do that now, and then give you the final four lines again.

Please keep in mind that at this writing, dated 7/20/05, according to doctors, BJ would have already contracted the infectious disease that allowed him the mercy of going home.

v3 "Theme God's glory" John 4:34-38, 1 Peter 1:3-7

v3b-4b"We should live our lives with Great expectations, not just for what God will do in this life, but also for the resurrection of the dead, and our new lives in God's eternal kingdom.

v4 As we are God's children, we will receive an inheritance from Him and indeed already have. God gave Christ, His Son all authority, power, and inheritance, who then died so we could be God's children as well. Then Christ gave us all of His authority, and a share in His inheritance.

v5 "Trusting"-Theme: faith in God allows us to live in the new life and have protection, power and blessings that God offers us.

v5b Theme- God's/our coming into glory as the bride of Christ.

v6b-7 suffering is a mercy from God because it allows us to make much of Christ and it makes much of Christ, which is the sole thing that satisfies. Our trials bring glory to God (so take joy in them).

"So if your faith...glory and honor?" John 17:22 God gave Christ glory who gave us glory. As we give God glory, He glorifies us in Him. Suffering brings God glory, therefore brings us glory. Also, to glorify God or to receive Glory, we must go through suffering. (v7b, Matt 20:21-23)

God glorifies us when we suffer
To have glory, you must suffer
To bring God glory, you will suffer
To suffer, brings God glory"

It is easy to dwell on the suffering. It is easy to get depressed over what happened. It is easy to let the main thing be BJ suffered, and died. (Perhaps I am even perpetuating that by writing about him.) However, the main thing is TO LIVE FOR CHRIST, until we are taken home. The only true satisfaction in life comes through glorifying Christ. All else is temporary, and leaves us wanting. Christ satisfies completely, and our hunger is only for more of Him!

Until you lay down your life and choose Christ, none of this will make sense.

Tara, I ache for your mother (e-mail me if my talking to her would help).
Linda R. my soul is wrenched at your pain, and I am lifting you and Hollie up.
Dear lady who lost her sons to drugs and thugs, how I pray that the Holy Spirit gets ahold of them. Do not relent in your own prayer, and do not get discouraged!

Christ is All, and the world fades.

Loving you,


If you find it a ministry tool, please order BJ's Memorial dvd (click on the button to the right).

Friday, October 14, 2005


It's been a quiet week, so different from when we had those quiet nights in the hospital. We went to visit our friends in the PICU last night - what an incredible encouragement they were to us! We will never forget the friends we made, sharing in hope and tears. Their jobs are so vital and they make such a difference. I was impressed with many things at St. V's but the staff's sensitivity and gentle care of us, especially the night we lost BJ, will ever be with me. I think the entire hospital experience solidified Whitney's resolve to pursue nursing. It's not a career for the weak, that's for sure!

I am looking forward, with a little trepidation, to starting school next week. We thought it wise to begin slowly, I'll work 3 days a week for 3 weeks before I'm full time again, and I'm so very thankful I'm able to ease back in such a way. The school administration has been very supportive, patient and understanding through everything. It will be refreshing to see all "my" children again and meet the 1st graders finally! I have missed my friends and colleagues as well. They, with the students' help, just about single handedly, sent BJ close to 1,000 birthday cards! One even complete with his picture in a red sports car!

Friends, don't hesitate to leave your requests on this blog as you feel the need for prayer. This site is no longer just about us and BJ, it is ministering in a way we never dreamed it would, thanks to your interest and continued responses. We know we are not the first ones ever to experience loss, and too many times we forge ahead without accepting the help we so desperately need.

A card we received that touched me in a special way had this verse in it: Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."

Love to all,

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I must tell you that each morning as I arrive at the computer, I come with a relentless ache, and have no idea what to say. I just know I want to say something, as it has been therapeutic to share. The Lord always provides.

When BJ was 13, he developed an interest in swords. Largely due to "Lord of the Rings" I believe. During his first Peru trip, he had opportunity to fill in as the "Knightmare" (Satan figure), as Michelle had been stung by a jellyfish and could not fill that role. His writings of that situation, reflected such compassion for Michelle, he seemed to know how much she wanted to participate, and the fact that she could not, was devastating.

As a result, he got to participate in swordplay (well actually it was pvc pipe but I'm not sure the difference mattered to him). There is a place in the drama, that the Christ figure and Satan, battle through a swordfight. BJ was hooked. He loved that role. He practiced it, taught it, and I would see him shadowslicing when noone was around.

For his 15th birthday we gave him two things. A well equipped stereo, and a sword. The stereo, interestingly, matched his room. It also had the capability for his x-box game system to be wired through it to give much fuller sound.

The morning of his birthday, we put his two gifts in front of his closed bedroom door. We sang Happy Birthday from outside his room. Normally, we'd serve breakfast in bed, but on this day, we chose to let him sleep. He heard us, but did not get up at that point. A few minutes later we heard his door open, and he exclaimed! The stereo box was large. He could not get out of his room until he moved it or opened it. The sword package lay inconspicuously on top.

He opened his gifts and was elated. After opening the sword, I told him that providing him with a sword was symbolic of his leaving his adolescence behind, and entering into manhood. He thanked me and that was it...I thought. Recently we found a writing of that moment. He described the two gifts and their significance to him. Though he loved the stereo, when he saw the sword package his heart leapt with anticipation. He was hoping it was, but then talked himself down, and said, "where would they find a sword?" Upon opening it, his emotions lifted. He wrote that he was thrilled. He went on to explain that this passage into manhood was huge to him. That his parents would view him this way, was enormous.

He gave the sword a place of honor in his room. He would often pull it out when he was struggling spiritually and manipulate it through the air as if to slice through the enemies attack. It's significance was further elevated when we found the writing (which can be found on a previous post) that begins "Self, I will not be satisfied..." The lines in this writing were penned 22 days after receiving the sword. "I will memorize scripture again, and read Christian books again, and spend more time in the Word. I will unsheathe my sword and stop playing (only) defense in this war. It is time to raise a revolution."

This was representative of His manhood, but was wielded as the "sword of truth" (his Bible). Just as Beej spent time honing his skills in swordplay, he increased his time in the Word, and he was prepared for battle...for the ultimate lay down his life.

Upon his death, his sword and writing were on display along with his Bible at his Calling and Celebration.

During the Celebration, Walker Moore extended a call, asking "Who will take BJ's place on the mission field?" Before the last word was uttered, I caught a glimpse of my 6 year old nephew Joshua, violently waving his raised hand from the front row. Josh was BJ's favorite cousin. They had spent hours with light sabers (from Star Wars) splaying each other, and saving the world! Beej adored him.

Joshua went forward with his daddy to take BJ's place. When asked if he knew what it was that he was doing, he responded assertively, "I'm taking BJ's place on the mission field so I can tell others about Jesus, because they don't know Him!"

Joshua has an anointing on his young life. He nearly died as a baby, but was spared through surgery on his heart/aorta. He bears the scars, but not the pain. Perhaps Walker, Joshua might be the last missionary.

BJ's sword now resides with Joshua. More importantly, the Spirit of the Lord rests with him. Pray for Josh. He bears the Cross of Christ, and he will wield his sword!
BJ was the last man to carry on the Higgins name, and while Joshua does not carry that name, he does bear the Name of Christ.

I love you Joshua,

dad (uncle brent)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It is amazing now, how precious life seems to me, yet so difficult. I seem to wake earlier each morning to Natalie Grant singing to me (yet my I-pod is off, and no stereos are playing). I hear her voice over and over and over. Her song "Held" ministers deeply, but I want her to stop waking me up to sing it. Will someone please tell her I have the cd, and she can rest now? What a voice, what a ministry.

I fancy myself an outdoorsman. I love being outside- hiking, backpacking, ultimate frisbee, snow skiing even studying nature- it brings me pleasure. I tend to think metaphorically, and everything relates back to words from these experiences. This is that 'trail' that is rated 'difficult' or 'most difficult' that noone really enjoys going down (at least not average guys like me), but you know you just have to.

The thing is, BJ was a thrill-seeker! He loved doing stuff on the edge! Some of you know this, but this past summer while on a mission trip in Kentucky, they were staying at a Baptist Camp there. Well there was a lake, and there was a cliff with a 30' drop. Guess where Beej wanted to be? He begged for permission to dive off. Our most intelligent pastor denied him, but he persisted. He was hungry for the experience and to be able to say I did it!

BJ has always (well almost) been a young man who would ultimately be respectful, and mind. No matter how much he longed for it, and begged, he would relent if the answer remained, "No."

When Beej and I hiked or backpacked, I would wisely follow the trails marked. He would routinely venture off of the trail, but remain within eyeshot or earshot (I don't think that is a word), and go storming down steep wooded or rocky ravines, running mind you, just to see if he could stay up and reach the bottom. He frequently reached 'bottom,' just not the way he hoped.

He invented new sports, too. Have any of you ever been "tree sliding?" That is where you get bored sitting around a campfire (after a long days hike), so you find the steepest, deepest bank, find a fallen tree (or in some cases knock over dead ones to suit your gamesmanship), and then slide down the tree from top to bottom on your backside. What a thrill! He would shriek with pleasure.

It didn't matter that these were the only shorts he brought, or that they no longer resembled shorts when he was finished. He drank deeply from simple things, and expressed joy as a byproduct!

He was the same in spiritual matters. How he loved studying God's Word. How frequently he was moved by it. How often the by products were joy, passion, mercy, enthusiasm, peace, etc. He would run through passages at breakneck speed, and then stop and retell the story in his mind over and over, until he got it. I wish, I had given him more opportunities to speak of what he learned. It was never that I didn't want to know, it was usually, how much time did I perceive that I had to listen. I never thought I had enough, turns out I was right.

Enjoy God's Word, and the pleasures therein. Drink deeply from the words, the compassion, the presence of our Lord, and His healing touch. He loves you, despite your mistakes, and shortcomings. He holds you up when you don't know it. I even think he tells stories about you around the campfires in heaven. Just pray that the "tree of life" isn't near a steep bank or dead, cause the fire will sit alone, and Beej will be leading the way down.

I love you,


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A mixture of grieving and praising (well put Emily Jo) is what yesterday looked like. The Lord was faithful to us, and helped each of us through our days. Deanna was alone at home, as she desired, and while reading one of BJ's Bibles, she let go with emotion. It was a good thing, and she was thankful.

Lauren's classmates (while in class) gathered around her and prayed with and over her for comfort and healing. Her first two prof's have been very understanding, and are trying to help reduce her make-up work load. Her study group has worked to catch her up with what she has missed. Three more classes today for her. She has been blessed.

Whitney enjoyed Sunday evening at her dorm with pizza and her roommate. Whitney had wisely chosen to sit out this semester, early into BJ's hospital stay, as she is a nursing major, and the field is so competitive, and she is a freshman, so to get a clear head, chose to work for this semester...but her school administration allowed her to remain in the dorm. Work was therapeutic for her. She is surrounded by people who care.

I work on a 425 acre Christian camp. It is mostly forested. I took a walk yesterday during my work day. I began to Praise my God at the top of my voice...425 acres, only wildlife listens, then runs away...and He heard me, and He touched me. I felt a strong sense of my son joining in along with me, praising my Savior (my cousin Greg, aka Blues had told me of this). It was a moving time for me, and I am thankful.

I would like to speculate about Beej's day too, but I can only imagine...and it brings me peace. He was a very normal young man in most senses of what that means. He tried to develop a routine for when he would get into the Word, but it always seemed to fluctuate. At times he would do it at school first thing, as he would arrive early, and sit down in the cafeteria, and study. At times he would do it as soon as he got home from school. At times he did it before bed. The bottom line, was that it was a priority, and he would make time.

BJ had an amazing ability to shed negative comments or feedback about being open with his faith. In short, he knew the Word said it would be that way, so he accepted it and moved on. He did not take it personally, or get down on himself about it. However, he did mourn over people he shared with that did not accept Jesus as their Savior.

I was reading a conversation he saved from aim (auto instant messenger) with another student about Jesus (he saved a couple of conversations). What a blessing it is to find out that his head was crammed full of the deep inner-workings of our faith. Yet he relayed this in everyday language that others could understand. That is sooo important!

I used to get frustrated trying to get him to study for tests. I'd ask, "BJ, are you ready?" He'd reply, "pretty much." I'd push, "did you study?" He'd respond, "I don't need to dad, I know this stuff." The thing was, he was right. He had this nearly photographic memory, and would just remember things. This included the Word of God. In looking through his Bible, I am amazed at how much underlining he did. Not because it was unusual, but because when you and I underline, we do so to a verse or two that stood out and the Holy Spirit spoke to us through.

Well the Holy Spirit must have been speaking to BJ in entire chapters, and books. Guess what color he'd often choose to underline in?! Yep, that same obnoxious PINK!!!

Your prayers continue to lift us up, quite literally. (remind me to tell you about that)

Serving the King beside you,


Monday, October 10, 2005

This new week finds more changes in our lives. My girls and I try to go back to school/work, while my Deanna will forge ahead here at home for a time longer. What we seek is that new level of "normal" that so many of you have written about. What we leave behind, will never stay behind, but will always be carried close, and will hurt intensely for a long time to come. As his family, we don't want his memory to ever fade. As believers, we do not understand what our Lord is doing, but we know that it is a new thing.

Beej was a very ordinary young man, who had an extraordinary calling on his life. I was afforded many of the same opportunities when I was his age, but never ventured anywhere near his level of depth or understanding of spiritual matters...but neither did I hunger for the lost to know Christ, or long to spend hours in the Word. At least not until later in life.

BJ's primary struggle in life was with pride. He understood how it interfered with his ability to be in communion with Christ, and how that translated to difficulties in sharing Jesus with those who sought Him. It pained him deeply to be so focused on himself. This was a stronghold in his life, that he did not realize was present until his first trip to Peru in 2004.

He dealt with the pride issue, and the Lord did strengthen him in his weakness, and did use him. BJ's love for Jesus, caused him to yearn to serve, and get out of the way. The intensity of these feelings caused him to pen the following:

"I look in the mirror to see what God has given me and I find myself staring at the embodiment of pride. I swell up, then breathe out; I'm trying to depress the esteem building up in me. Like the world I find myself corrupt and empty. I imagine the ones I am meant to seek to reach, as they stare into my eyes and at my face and see no relief from the gray that they're trying to escape. I look at my life and all I see is unmet expectation. Why do I take pride in this? Tear me down to build me up. I have become so corrupt. I cannot see your work for me, I turn away and wait for another day. I refuse in my heart and in my soul the one thing I know makes me whole. I will not worship, yet think I know everything that You would show me. Why do I take pride in this?

I blend into the empty crowd, seeking what I've already found and showing not that I am full, my joy is gone and all I want is to be whole again.

Take my pride and help me find the joy that You put inside the day I felt a jump and life began. Wake me up from my nap and take away the Christmas wrap; reopen my gift that I may find the peace and joy and love I left behind."

God was faithful to His servant BJ. He was restored, and used of the King. I am proud of my son. As a brother in Christ, I am awed at his understanding, and the fulfillment of his calling. As his father, the intense pain that abides within me, cannot be measured, but has never been approached by the previous losses of grandparents, aunts/uncles, not my best friends death, not even my father, who I loved dearly and miss tremendously. It is searing. All encompassing. Oh how did my Father God give His one and only Son, for me. I am unworthy of this pain.

The Lord God is our Healer, and is holding us in His hand. We know this, and seek Him hard as we endure. We count ourselves blessed that the Gap remains full.

Thank you beloved,


Sunday, October 09, 2005


Tonight I am going back to school, restarting classes tomorrow. Whitney is heading back to her place, too, and then starts work mostly-full-time tomorrow. It's a bit nerve-wracking to leave the safety of home, where family understands better than anyone else can. But we move from home to the different kind of support nets of friends surrounding us in our respective homes-away-from-home.

As always thank you so much for your prayers. They have meant and continue to mean so much.

I'd like to share my favorite story about my brother! I was talking to Beej one afternoon about guys and dating, and he was telling me he wanted me to be careful and not get hurt. I asked why he was cautioning me the way he was, and he said, "I'm your brother, and I'm protective of you!"

Oh how much I miss him, and that protection. Just remembering makes me smile!

Love in Christ,

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dear Family,
Perseverance has a whole new meaning to me, as we must continue on, even though we don't want to without our precious BJ. At times I'm even angry that life goes on for everyone else - everything seems perfectly "normal." We've been in this "hold" pattern for so long, waiting, hoping for a "happy ending" and now, we must deal with the finality of no more new memories with BJ. What a blow after so many prayers and people fasting and crying and pleading to God on our behalf. What a blessing you all have been to us. I know we've said that over and over, but how true it is! And I continue to be amazed and thankful that so many are still checking this site. Thank you - it shows a real understanding for loss with your continued prayers for us.

Survivors have to find a way to face each new day and not "waste our lives." At first I didn't think I could face the classroom again, but now I know I need to. I don't know how, I don't know when, if ever, I will be ready, but a teacher is what God made me to be. The notes and cards I have received from so many of my students have been very heart warming and precious - children's prayers are my favorite.

We continue to be thankful for the precious memory of BJ, the person he was, the words of his journals, and all that has happened to further the kingdom because of his/our story. Even in our thankfulness, of course, we are sad, we are frustrated, we have all the typical emotions that loss and grieving naturally bring. But we don't grieve as those who do not have hope, this is true. I pray you keep praying - we need it like no other time ever!
Deanna, BJ's mom

Friday, October 07, 2005

I signed on today to share one of Beej's writings about his struggle with "pride."
I will do that one day soon, but as I sit, I am flooded with memories of my father. He was a humble, gentle, and quiet man who dedicated his life to children. He taught elementary school, then was a guidance counselor at the elementary level for 15 years. He made a difference in a lot of students lives...inner city students. He was a devout follower of Christ, who led by example.

My father passed away from pancreatic cancer Aug. 26, 1994. BJ was almost 5. Beej and his grandpa were very close. They spent a lot of time playing together. Beej was my father's only grandson, and he was thrilled, because an ultrasound before BJ was born indicated that BJ was a girl. Boy, were we all surprised. When my father died, a new era began in BJ's life.

He developed a very close relationship with his gramma (my mother). I believe my mother is one of the few people who understood BJ's depth. You see, after my dad's going home to be with Jesus, a new tradition started with BJ and gramma. When she came to visit, gramma would sleep in BJ's bed and Beej would sleep on the floor in his room. They would talk far into the wee hours of the night. My mom mostly listened, but she heard and saw deep into BJ's heart. This began when BJ was 5, and continued until his death.

Before his bedtime, he would whisper to her, "don't be too long, I wanna have time to talk." He shared so many things with her. Some hurts, some joys, and some mundane things. These were precious times to them both. Both grew from this experience. Gramma kept most of his secrets, but occasionally would clue us in to things we "needed to know."

There is a hole in my mother's heart. How she longs for those nights. Two of the most important men in her life are at a different address these days. But she knows where to find them, and she knows she will get to see them one day, soon.

Thank you mom for investing in BJ's life. Thank you for investing in my life, and that of my family. We are so blessed because of you. I Love You!!!

Your son, Beej's dad

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Today was challenging as we visited the Family Social Service Administration or FSSA. We were told this was likely our only option to cover BJ's medical expenses over and above his $1,000,000 lifetime maximum from our health coverage. We exceeded that max by a long way, and are prayerful that this coverage will help. However, The FSSA office does not think we will qualify to receive this.

We know none of this is a surprise to our Lord, and we trust He will help us work this out. WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR DONATIONS. We are only posting this so that you will once again join us as we lift this before the Throne of Grace, seeking His wisdom. We know that He will provide in this situation. It is most discouraging to deal with these kinds of issues at a time like this.

On the lighter side, whether you agree with Beej's words or not, I think you can understand what he is driving at:

"To best glorify God, first you must contradict your own self love, self righteousness, and self aspirations."

Be blessed family,


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Body of Christ,

Yes you can call me "dad" (for those who have asked), or "poppy" (Beej liked to call me that...don't know why).

I do not know how to share the map of all we have heard from with you all. It really is too small to see, even in a picture. I thought I might share with you where all we have heard from. Perhaps it will inspire, perhaps not. Just know that we are humbled and deeply touched to say we have heard from all of these places!

We have heard from believers in 40-45 of the 50 states in the US (our map does not show state divisions, so it is hard to tell, and I forget). Outside of the US, we have heard from multiple provinces in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Lebanon, Iran, India, China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, Egypt, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and a tiny country south of Uganda, and between Congo and Tanzania...sorry my tired eyes cannot identify it on this map.

What a huge and significant work the Lord is doing. I do not profess to understand it, but am grateful to our Almighty God that He has seen fit to touch so many by one so small (BJ was 5'3" and weighed 115 lbs.). So often our Lord works in this way. Uses someone insignificant to accomplish His business.

BJ was all about the Savior's business. In reading his writings, it is both humbling and clear that he "got it" and wanted others to as well. He was far from perfect. As his dad, I saw some of his struggles. In his writings, they were revealed. It was so cool to see him work things out by bringing them before Jesus. His prayers for the Lord's help to conquer strongholds in his life. The Lord's faithfulness to do so.

Our prayer is that Jesus continues to receive all of the Glory from Beej's life and writings. If BJ were here, he would be quick to say "it is because of Christ, and Christ alone."

If you do not have the assurance of where you will be after death, please e-mail me or leave a blog. There is a large body of believers who want to support and encourage you. (my e-mail address is listed in the update below this one)

You too, can serve the King!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Family, today we picked up Beej's remains. It has certainly helped remind us that he is no longer in his body, but in heaven with Christ Jesus! We are so very thankful for that. There are times we miss him so much that the hurt makes us sick at our stomachs. But our gentle Savior reminds us frequently that there is no suffering for him, and that ours is temporary...Praise Jesus!

Reading his journal entries continues to take precedence over most other reading. I can hear his voice when I read his words. I hope that never changes. I am continuing to learn things about my son as well. I did not know that he felt called to martyrdom. My new "daughter" Barbara Ann reflected on that in the KFOR interview in Ok City. [By the way, super job Brooke, Barbara Ann, Tara, and Ashley (Ashley's face and interview did not make the final story)]. I knew he was very moved by stories of martyrs, but that was it. Certainly reading his words have given clues as well. This journal entry reflects on Psalm 119:1-8, and Phil 1:20-2:11.

"We should always keep a record of God's faithfulness so that we don't forget even the little things He does for us. God is faithful and always provides and will never leave or forsake us. Vv. 1-8 emphasize integrity, and can be summed up in v.1 and v.8. In v.1, it talks of how those who follow God's Word are blessed. V.8 talks of how "I will obey Your principles," which sums up much of the rest of the passage.

Philippians- living is all for Christ and entails many trials and persecutions, and is better for those around you, but dying and going to be with the Lord is better for yourself. We need to live with courage and character worthy of citizens of heaven and fight boldly in this spiritual war we are immersed in, and take our suffering boldly, for it is a pleasure to suffer for Christ. We need to live humble lives, considering others as better than ourselves, for even Christ, who is God, humbled Himself."

I can tell you that as a father, when I went on my first overseas mission trip, I wept at the airport prior to leaving, as I knew that I was willing to lay my life down for Christ, but ached at the thought of not seeing my family again. BJ loves the Savior so much that he did lay his life down for Him. I miss Beej, but am proud of his willingness to make this sacrifice.

To the 97 who walked the aisle (Friday night) to declare their willingness to serve Jesus on the mission field: I am as proud of each of you for the boldness of your commitment as I am my son. I pray that each of your parents stand behind your willingness to serve, wherever the Lord leads you!!! Know that Deanna and I stand behind you, and will be praying for each of you as you focus on Christ.

To the 8 who turned their lives over to Christ: Praise the Lord for your boldness and willingness to lay down your rights to yourself to serve the King of Kings. Begin reading the book of John in the New Testament. This is a picture of Christs life through the ministry years, and as we are called to follow Him, this shows us the example we are to follow. Also, get hooked up in a Bible teaching church! You need to be discipled and to grow! We have been made aware of who 2 of you are, but would love to hear from each of you, either through this blog sight or e-mail. It's been posted once, but you can reach us at

Serving the King beside you,


(for those who are searching for ways to access the different media interviews, or the webcast of Beej's Celebration, please read through the blogs posted, as instructions have been offered up by fellow bloggers.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hello Family!

It's been a while for me on this, and I have missed you all. Whitney and I are at home with mom and dad right now, spending time with family, playing with cousins, and working through things. Tomorrow we will go pick up BJ's remains.

There's a sentence I never thought I'd have to type.

All of this is very... many things. There are so many aspects to dealing with BJ being gone, the pain and the joy, and everything in between in different measures. Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness in praying for us. God has taught me so much about prayer and many other things through seeing His Body live them out.

Currently, Whit and I are taking this week home before we make any decisions about going back to work (for her) and school (for me). Please continue to pray that we will let the Lord guide all of us as we have many decisions to make.

Love to you all, my dearly beloved family!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

We just finished watching a story on BJ on Fox 59's "Unsung Heroes" (10pm newscast) It was well done...Thank you Christy K., Tony and Rusty. Thank you Angela Ganote for doing this story. You have blessed our family!

Tonight I wanted to share with you an entry from Beej's personal journal (not one of his Peru journals). He is talking about glorifying God, and sin. He is rather passionate, so please forgive the run-on sentences. I believe he was 14 when he wrote this. He titled the page:


...The search for self glorification is the same desire that destroys the glory of man...And you want to know why we should not do these things- these natural, common, impulsive things- even though they feel good? Because they are sins, but more serious than they seem. That word [sin] has been downplayed and used so often that it has become so trite that it is now necessary to describe in detail what they are and the magnitude of their iniquity.

These are direct, even deliberate disobediences against God. The same God who created you, gave you life, gave you purpose, gave you passion, and loved you, and even died the most torturous death imaginable for you, so that you don't get what you deserve and so that you do get what you do not deserve. And if that does not reach you, consider this: He is the very one who gave you the very things that you use to disobey Him and please yourself, but not so that you would do these things, but that you would use them for His glory.

And in response to His unconditional and ultimate love, mercy, and grace, you spit in His face; the same face that is so holy that no person can even look upon it without being killed; and not only you, but all of us; all humanity has blasphemed His name and deliberately disobeyed, dishonored, and despised HE which gives us what we seek; life, love, and ultimate satisfaction, completeness, and joy."

I don't think there is much to add to this. He was speaking to himself from his heart, but clearly is speaking to our world today. How will we respond? Will we discount it as the silly ramblings of a young teen-ager? Or will we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin in our lives, and bring about revolution...revival?

It hits me square between the eyes, and causes me to find no place to hide from my filth.

The Web team is working on the issue of being able to view the final Celebration. I thank you for your interest...I guess more of you than we expected are desiring to see it. More info to come.

The picture of the tree planting is on it's way to California with my cousin, so until I get a copy e-mailed to me, I cannot post it.

Thank you for your prayer support,

Beej's dad

John P. you can e-mail me at

We thank our Lord and Savior, for the host of friends and family that surrounded us Friday night and Saturday! Thank you to the "Webteam" for all that you have done. So much has been done behind the scenes throughout this journey. We are so humbled as a family, to have friends who have given, and given, and given. Know that you have blessed !

Friday night was such an incredible celebration for our family. We are so appreciative of how BJ was honored! The commitments made to Jesus at the end by many of you, to call Him Savior, and/or to "take his place" on the mission field was a tremendous move of the Lord! We thank you Jesus for how you honored our BJ.

His birthday was celebrated by family and friends at our home. Many cousins received four-wheeler rides to BJ's favorite "launching" site. Even in our home as we gathered, ministry continued to happen...God, You are sooo Amazing. Deanna, Lauren, Whitney and I decided to remember Beej with a "Baby Blue Spruce" over flowers so that we could watch it grow. As my good friends Lowell, Big John, Nate and Curt helped dig a hole, family circled around as it was planted in our front yard. Young cousins helped water it in. After planting, we joined hands and spent time in prayer...just thanking our Lord for what He has done. A picture taken of this precious time drew even more precious when upon viewing it, a shaft of light descended from the heavens into the midst of our circle. A Hug from Heaven! To conclude the day, we read some from his journal as a family and our daughters led us in worship.

Awestar team, know how much we enjoyed meeting you. We did not have near enough time with you. We wanted to sit with each of you, one on one, and hear how our Lord is moving in your lives...maybe one day we can. We can certainly see why Beej loved you so much. What an amazing family you are. Thank you Walker for your obedience to our God, in serving Him, and seeking to raise up this generation of missionaries. Thank you Frank L.! Muchas Gracias mi hermano, Tito! Billy and Cindy, we did not get to say Thanks, but please know how honored we are for your gift!

We have received so many cards, gifts, and flowers (Christina T. in Latvia...unbelievable!). We don't begin to know how to say Thank You...please know we love you!

Have a blessed Lord's day...make every day just so!

Beej's dad