Italy


I haven’t been faithful to put up the latest on what’s been going on with Luigi. So to give a little recap of the last few weeks … he’s been in a rehabilitation facility, and it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that he had the surgery to reattach the piece of skull they’d had to remove due to swelling, etc. From what I understand, there continues to be some swelling, but so far so good since reattaching the bone. He continues to struggle with using his left arm. But why don’t I just let this last update speak for itself. 🙂

October 18, 2010 – Report #18
I am so grateful to report Luigi is back home again! Actually, he came home Friday, October 8th after approximately 3½ months in the hospital. I apologize for the delay in getting this good news out. Actually, I thought it would be very meaningful to all of us for Luigi to be able to report personally to everyone who is receiving these email updates directly from us or indirectly (since these updates have been forwarded by so many of you to church prayer chains, other groups of praying friends, mission-wide prayer bulletins, missionary constituencies, etc.). With his trying to get back into a routine of daily living, it was understandably necessary to be patient till he could dedicate some time to writing the following letter which I will translate from Italian.
A VERY BIG SPECIAL THANK YOU again to each one who prayed for Luigi (and all of us affected by his fall), or who wrote to encourage us or who gave to help meet Luigi and Felicia’s financial needs! May God recompense many times over for your demonstrated love!
Frank (and Kathy) King
Biblical Ministries Worldwide
– Italy

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Faith,
This is Luigi who is writing you! I thank the Lord that I am back home after my last operation on my skull. It was so wonderful to be able to embrace my wife Felicia and little sons Simone and Daniele. It wasn’t easy to anticipate that operation knowing that there could be complications. Trusting God gave me peace. It was so good to pray with my wife and know that you and many others were praying for a good outcome from the surgery. Dr. Ganzerla (editor’s note: the lady doctor who brought home-made jam and visited Luigi and Felicia at the Lido hospital) who together with other medical staff had previously taken care of me in intensive care and who had specifically said that my case and recovery was not only to the merit of doctors and surgeons but also to God) asked for her work schedule to be changed so she could be present to help during the entire operation. It was beautiful to see the personal concern, compassion and dedication of Dr. Ganzerla. Before my being dismissed from the hospital she came to say good bye and again it was an opportunity to talk to her about God. God willing, I hope to follow up with Dr. Ganzerla and ask you to pray for her. Please pray also for Doctors Lazzari and Insolia as well as the medical and nursing staff. I have spoken with many of those who assisted me in intensive care, and they have been impacted in the hospital by what they often saw and/or heard of my family members and church family praying and testifying of faith and hope in God even when there were few encouraging signs from the doctors’ evaluations of my physical condition.

Before my last operation, I had a 21 year-old roommate called Alex who was admitted to the hospital for a tumor cyst between the two hemispheres of the brain. I talked with his mother about the Lord who coincidently has a store near an evangelical church, and I also witnessed to his sister. I also hope to go soon to visit them.

Right now I feel well physically even though I have a constant muscular discomfort in my back and very significant hindrance yet in my left hand that really slows me down even in the simplest activities, although this is insignificant when I consider what could have happened! Thank you for also remembering to pray for this matter. As far as my brain is concerned, there are no major problems except to see if a little accumulation of brain fluids on the right side is being uniformly redistributed. I don’t have quite the sharpness and clearness of mind as before (editor’s note – this affects reflex and depth perception). That together with the left hand problem does not permit to drive the car yet.

I am convinced, however, that God will continue His work of healing in me, be it physically or mentally. I am encouraged with the many opportunities this has given me to testify of that which the Lord has done for me to relatives, friends, and acquaintances in general. I want to continue to bring Him glory in my life.

I want to thank you again for the concern and love that you have shown me, for your perseverance in prayer, and the generosity of each one’s heart who gave towards our needs!

Please pray for Marco, a friend that I met in the rehabilitation hospital who is still there with problems, but with whom I was able to establish a good friendship. We continue to talk about God and he knows I am praying for his healing. It would be such a wonderful “fruit” from all my hospital experiences if he would accept Christ in his heart.

With much love and acknowledgement,
In His love
Luigi

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find
Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Felicia and Luigi! This picture makes me smile!

Thanks to all who have gone on this journey with me. I appreciate your prayers so much! I’ve been so blessed and encouraged throughout all of this … from seeing God’s power and kindness to seeing the body of Christ respond in love and prayer … it’s all just been so amazing! THANKS! 🙂

The latest from Luigi’s father-in-law …

“Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.”
And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city
what great things Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39

Sunday morning our small church building was “filled to the brim” and our hearts were warmed and challenged from God’s Word. We had just had the closing prayer and were listening to the announcements when there was some movement in the rear of the building. I was stunned as I turned to see what was going on and saw Luigi entering the door! Without assistance he walked up to the front and read the above verse as his heart’s desire before God! He thanked the entire church group for having prayed faithfully for him during this time of trial and testing. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire church! We couldn’t believe our eyes! Luigi who had come so close to death’s threshold was standing before us praising the Lord for His grace and healing. We clapped our hands in praise to God as he returned to a chair in the back. We had our second closing prayer expressing our overflowing hearts of praise. He had been able to get a 24-hour permit to go home during the weekend. He really wasn’t supposed to be out with people but he couldn’t resist coming to the church service at the end to be with his Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It had been a long ten-week absence from church services which meant so much to him. Simone and Daniele have been ecstatic about the Daddy being back home for a few hours. Simone “helped” by holding his Daddy’s hand when we walked various places.

Luigi made wonderful progress in his rehab program. Amazingly, he is able to do the four flights of stairs at the hospital without assistance! Felicia accompanies him in case of need. His surgery to reinstate the large portion of skull bone that was removed back in June has been postponed so that he can completely finish his rehab at the Lido hospital before transferring back to the Mestre hospital for the final operation. Doctors have not given very much specific information ahead of time as to when that will happen but it will probably be within 1-2 weeks . So please keep that upcoming surgery in your prayers. There has been continued slow improvement in the use of his left arm and hand but that remains as a current prayer request, too.

Friday I looked at Felicia’s facebook and saw these pictures …

Luigi playing with his kids at the Rehabilitation Center's Beach : )

The Whole Family ... Precious!!

I definitely had tears in my eyes as I looked through her pictures. I’m so thankful for how the Lord has preserved Luigi’s life, and I’m so amazed at his progress! God is so kind! 🙂 And I saw on her facebook yesterday that he got to go home for a 24 hour period! How exciting!

Keeping with the theme of Italy … I got to see these precious kids a few weeks ago …

Me & the Stanisci kids

Pretty in pink

Silly!

Oh boy … my time with them also brought tears to my eyes … I sure do love these kids! 🙂 The Staniscis (along with all the other Grace Church missionaries) were home for a conference with Grace Ministries International. This was the first time I’d seen Cristina and the kids in a year! I’m not sure how many times I said this about the kids: “They grew so much … they’re huge!”  It sure did my heart good to see them. Which reminds me of something I should probably share … part of what was great about seeing Lucio and Cristina was discussing where I was at in my pursuit of going to Italy. I think I’ve already shared that I’ve decided not to pursue going to Italy anytime in the near future. I’m not saying it’ll never, ever occur. But the Lord just hasn’t made it clear that I should be pursuing the mission field, and therefore, I’m not going to. Lucio and Cristina’s counsel and feedback on this matter was encouraging and affirming, for which I was very grateful. The Lord clearly directs His children, and so if He gives me clear direction to go to Italy … I’ll follow it. But today, He’s called me to the Santa Clarita Valley. 🙂

Ummm … I’m hoping ya’ll can see these pics … they weren’t showing up once I posted this. Sorry!

Just read this email from Frank, with the most recent update on Luigi. As I read it … I was marvelling at the goodness and kindness of our great God. I am reminded of these verses … Psalm 35:28 – “Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long,” and Psalm 71:8 – “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.” Who would’ve thought a few weeks ago that this would be the outcome??! 🙂

August 18, 2010 – Report #14
It’s been two weeks since our last update on Luigi. Rehab each week day has been very intense, painful and sometimes discouraging. It was even dangerous the first day when he fainted and could have hit his head where the piece of skull is still missing. We are SO grateful to finally be in this phase although there are still big challenges to face ahead. Luigi is able to walk some with a walker (for safety precaution).
Despite the distance and inconvenience to reach the island rehab hospital, a number of believers have been going to visit him and that really helps his morale! Brain trauma often affects one’s emotional stability. Even the kind lady doctor from the initial hospital (that I have mentioned before) came to visit him and brought some homemade jam. I think I can assume that is going the 2nd and 3rd mile and certainly shows her concern for Luigi and Felicia! She said she could count on one hand the patients she has known that had a critical trauma to the brain like Luigi who have survived! Again we praise the Lord for His goodness!
He will have approximately two more weeks of rehab after which he will be transferred back to the first hospital to have the removed skull piece put back in place around September 1st. Luigi is still having a significant amount of back pain but his being able to walk does help alleviate the pain some. His left arm and hand are making slow progress. Please keep praying!
It was such a delight to have our daughter Elizabeth back here in Italy for a brief nine-day period! She was a great help to Luigi and Felicia and big encouragement. The time together as a family was wonderful (though it went all too fast!). Before her return to the States (August 13th) she shared what a privilege and blessing it is to serve others (something I, too, had been meditating about). God’s Word says that through love we should serve one another (Galatians 5:13). As Christ’s servants, we need to be patient (Psalm 37:7) and flexible in meeting others’ needs. Although Luigi no longer needs someone to assist him each night, Felicia is with him each day at the distant hospital and still needs our assistance with their two little ones. By the way, during this time in the hospital, Luigi has been formulating the first sermon he wants to give once back in church!

Ok, so I was on such a roll with faithfully blogging … and then I went MIA. But I do have a great excuse … I was on vacation! So here are a few updates and a preview of my vacation.

Luigi

The last update I received was about a week ago. Frank says it so much better than I can, so here are a few snippetts from his email update (dated Aug. 4th).

It was great to hear him be so talkative (those personally acquainted with Luigi know how quick he speaks). It was great to see how well his keen memory has returned. It was really heart-warming to read Scripture together and pray out loud.

This previous Monday was a discouraging day for Luigi as he discovered how weak he had become over the last nearly six weeks. He was to sit up in bed for the first time since entering the hospital. He could only take a few minutes and he was exhausted. He also is still very limited on use of his left arm and hand. Tomorrow (Aug 5), testing will be done to try to determine the reason. Please pray for the doctors to be able to be discerning. Yesterday he could sit up in a wheel chair and feed himself!

This coming Monday (Aug 9), Luigi will be transferred to a hospital that specializes in helping to rehabilitate people who have suffered from brain trauma. This rehab will last for possibly 3-4 weeks. The unfortunate aspect of this highly recommended hospital is that it is located on an island east of Venice and requires travelling on a boat to get there. That will greatly increase the difficulty of Felicia trying to be with him daily (three hours travel coming and going). Pray Luigi will be able to face this difficult period with determined faith and perseverance. Please also pray he will be able to sleep well at nights since rest helps his body heal and his morale to increase. We are very grateful that the brain swelling we asked you to pray about has gone completely down! The right side of his skull will not be reinserted until after the rehab is finished.

We are again so grateful for your continued prayer support and for the wonderful miracle that God has performed thus far on Luigi’s behalf!

Frank also included Luigi’s email address for anyone who would like to write him a note of encouragement. Since Frank offered it, I would be glad to share that if you’re interested … just let me know.

Vacation

First of all … it was awesome, even though it was a little complicated due to the amount of travel that took place: 4 days of flying within a period of 8 days; a total of 8 flights; 3 delayed flights (I lost track … maybe it was 4???); carrying my luggage and my grandma’s through several different airports; my mother literally praying me to safety as my plane into Tuscon was in the midst of a huge lightening storm; and so on. 🙂

My mom and I first went to Tuscon, AZ. We spent a couple days with my grandma, aunt, and uncle, which was a blast! Then my mom, grandma, and I took off for West Palm Beach, Florida, where we were meeting up with my Uncle David and his family. They were vacationing at The Breakers, and we stayed at my Great Aunt Margie’s condo (literally right on the Atlantic Ocean). This family reunion was so much fun. It had been years since I’d seen my uncle, my cousin, and my Aunt Margie. Also, we got to meet my uncle’s wife and her 3 kids – so great! Here are a few pics (first is AZ, and the others are FL) … more to come … hopefully. 🙂

The Girls ... Grandma, Aunt Mar, my mom and I. Oh ... and it's not just the girls ... the dogs are boys. 😉

Mom and David sitting outside our poolside/oceanside bungalow

Cousins! I felt like I met Abby for the first time since it's been 5 or 6 years since I last saw her!

How many hours of snorkeling did we get in??? ; )

I received this update the other day from Luigi’s father-in-law … exciting! 🙂 I’m so glad Simone got to see his Daddy last week!! Makes my heart happy. 🙂  Thanks for the continued prayers. 

“Now to Him (the Lord) who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory! (Ephesians 3:20-21a)  It is so amazing to reflect on what God is doing in and through Luigi. During the first ten days or so, doctors were very cautious to not fuel our expectations about Luigi. We heard indirectly that the nursing staff in intensive care (who deal continuously with similar critical cases) didn’t think Luigi would be able to survive! It is so encouraging to see additional steps of daily progress and realize the miracle taking place before our eyes. Luigi’s mind is getting sharper each day. It’s so great to see his sense of humor returning, his frequent smiling face, his words of thanks to the doctors and nurses for their kind care. He’s even been able to give important advice to Matteo and Raimondo as they are trying to fill in gaps with ongoing work-related projects that were suspended when Luigi fell.
Luigi and Felicia’s two small sons Simone and Daniele are doing remarkably well considering the long absence of their father. Different ones are trying to help do special things with them to help pass the time and distract them. It was a real emotional time when I had permission to take Simone up to see his father last Sunday for the first time since the accident on June 22nd. He crawled in bed next to his daddy – all of us were in tears – daddy and son’s eyes were glued on each other! It was a wonderful reunion!

Next Tuesday (July 27) Luigi will have surgery on his back. That will be a very delicate surgery and needs much prayer. Any mistakes and/or infections could still be very critical. Please pray for Luigi’s brain swelling to keep going down and his coherency to be completely regained. He has started regaining some use in his left arm and hand (keep praying for this, too!).

Here is a portion of the update I received on Luigi over the weekend (from his father-in-law) …

As I entered into his room, Luigi greeted me with his own voice! It was such an emotional moment for him and for me! God has restored the incredible gift of communication to Luigi! During his coma, there was no communication. Then there was very limited communication as he regained consciousness. And now there is two-way communication which is music to Felicia’s ears as well as to all of us! It made me think how we need to keep praying for those around us who are in “spiritual coma” and have no communication with God and how only God can spiritually awake them and open their hearts and vocal cords to affirm belief in God, pray and sing praises to Him! There are still some limitations in Luigi’s communication abilities due to the trachea apparatus and the need for the swelling of the brain to continue to diminish (please keep praying for this), but all of us including the doctors were amazed at this quick development. One nurse confided to one of our friends that the entire nursing staff in the intensive care unit really didn’t think Luigi had a chance to pull through. God is so GRACIOUS!

Last night Kathy shared during prayer meeting the impact of seeing Luigi conscious for the first time after the accident (remember she has been taking care of the children for three weeks so Felicia can be with Luigi). The amazement of seeing him smile and focus his eyes, etc. was a most meaningful experience and brought to her mind Psalm 126 and how it seemed to the people of Israel returning from captivity to be a dream (v.1). Then their mouth was filled with laughter and singing. The surrounding nations said “The Lord has done great things for them” (v.2) Then the Israelites repeated “The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad! (v.3)
Would you add to your praying time some praising time, too, for the Lord has indeed done great things of for us and we are GLAD! All of you are so special to us. A number of you who are praying don’t even know us personally and yet you have entered into our lives through the love of others. Thank you for caring and continuing to pray with us. One more specific request is for Luigi’s use of the left arm. It is still pretty unresponsive and is of concern. We are so grateful that Luigi is acting more like himself before the fall. What a might God we serve!

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