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Rogers Update 1/26/2023
February 11, 2023
Dear Friends,
As a young lad growing up, I remember a common phrase – “If I had a dime for every time some…(Named whatever happened!), I’d be a rich man or you wouldn’t see me plowing ground or pumping gas (they actually paid people to pump gas at one point in history…).”  Later on, the phrase was – “If I had a dollar for every time some… (Hum…Inflation!)  Okay, so here goes…  If I had a dollar for every time I started a Newsletter with “I planned to do this, but God decided to do something else…”
Last year was filled with all kinds of opportunities to serve the Lord.  We were involved in helping churches without pastors, churches with projects, BEM conferences, Bible and Relationship Conferences, reporting back to supporting churches, counseling, and all kinds of “stuff”!  Our traveling led us across the country to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Kansas, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Missouri.
December was spent back in Tennessee working on the computer including counseling (Skype/Zoom sessions) and end of the year paperwork.  I felt somewhat exhausted as I approached the end of 2022, but I had no complaints.  Serving the Lord is such an amazing adventure.
A couple of days after Christmas, I packed up our Jeep Commander and headed to California for six weeks of ministry.  I was looking forward to seeing dear friends in the churches where I as scheduled.  (The only down part was Beabea was not traveling with me on this trip.  She had other obligations with our family.)  On the first day of the trip, the Jeep Commander started having “car trouble”.  I got as far as Little Rock, Arkansas and stopped for the night.  The next morning, I located a shop to work on it.  They were able to fix it with a nice price tag.  (Well, they have to eat too!)  All day sitting in the shop, I felt awful.  (Not because of the repair cost…)  I felt like I was coming down with something.
The next day when I got up to travel, I had some pain in my chest, plus my neck and the back of my head felt like a baseball in a homerun situation.  Having parts of the body hurting is not that unusual for me so I packed up and headed down the road.  The pain grew worse and the left side of my body felt very weak.  My neck and shoulder were very painful to the touch, and I could tell there was some swelling.  I thought to myself, “Am I having a stroke?”
I kept driving – I was now somewhere in Texas.  I’m a little slow sometime, but I finally concluded I needed to go to an emergency room.  It took a while to find one.  I want to say that I don’t enjoy waiting in waiting rooms!  Okay, no body does!  It turns out I didn’t have to.  When the nurse saw me walk in, she came right over and started asking questions.  There is something important to remember from that experience… When going to the emergency room for help – always look awful.  The nurse concluded that I was probably having a stroke and they took me to the head of the line.
After a couple of hours of tests, the doctor concluded that I wasn’t having a stroke.  This means more tests.  Later, the doctor shared with me that I had severe arthritis in all the areas where I have had spinal surgeries… By the way, I have had about five neck and back surgeries.  (You lose count after a while.)  He also told me that I had a really bad infection most likely causing the swelling.  The treatment was anti-biotics and steroids.  It was suggested that I cancel by trip and return home and rest.  When I left the emergency room, I called Tim Hewitt, the director of BEM, to discuss what to do.  After talking over the situation, it was concluded that I should return home and rest.  (I have a full year scheduled in Florida, Alaska, Utah, Montana, Michigan, and Indiana ahead.)
From a human perspective, it is difficult to cancel meetings.  I enjoy ministry even with its many challenges.  I really enjoy people even with the difficulties living in this world causes.  Of course, the most important and most enjoyable aspects of ministry is serving our Lord who overcomes “difficulties and challenges” and getting to watch Him do it.  Once again, I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 that tells us, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Or, in other words – We make our plans, but God decides!
When I canceled the trip, the California churches where I was scheduled to speak were so generous in their understanding.  They are amazing people.  Our amazing God worked out the details for them as well.  Upon arriving back home in Tennessee, I had to locate a doctor for follow up.  Even though Beabea and I have “officially” lived in Tennessee for over a year, I haven’t been here long enough at one time to establish a doctor.  (I have been seeing the doctors in Indiana, where we use to live, when traveling through that state.)  Be in prayer that I will recover well and be ready to leave for Florida on February 23rd.  The new doctor has changed my anti-biotic to a more powerful version.  It also looks like I will be getting an MRI to check for the possibility of another collapsed disk in my neck.
Why did God do this?  There are ways that God works where we may not know the reasons until the eternal ages, but God graciously clarifies some of the time (not all of the time) why He does what He does.  (Often, that clarification is only partial like seeing through a glass darkly.)  Since coming back to Tennessee for the weeks in January and February that I have to be here, I have been watching God open doors in relationship building and witnessing that I have been praying for.  I have had the chance to talk about the Lord, who He is, and what He does in our lives, to several people that I was looking for an opportunity to share.  I have even had a chance to talk with the new doctor as well!  Amazing…
In conclusion, I have a very exciting piece of information to share with you about BEM.  At the annual business meeting, we voted Chris and Rachel DeMorell, who are missionaries in Utah, onto our BEM Board.  One of their responsibilities will be to serve as Western Field Representatives for BEM.  Our director, Tim Hewitt wrote this about them:
“BEM’s mission is to encourage pastors, churches and missionaries through preaching, teaching, exhorting, counseling and loving care. We believe that the DeMorell’s undisputed gifts of administration, service, their ability to bring pastors together for mutual benefit and growth, along with their unconditional desire to serve our Lord and “lift up the arms” of small church pastors uniquely qualifies them for this position. We at BEM look forward to how God will use them in this ministry!”  So am I!!!!!!  If you would like to get to know the DeMorells, check with me, and I will send you their contact information!
Thank you for all your prayers, the words of encouragement, and the many financial gifts that are sent to us.  As I tell my grandkids, “We love you bunches!”
Saved, Sealed, and Delivered!  Saved from sin / Sealed to God / Delivered from death (both spiritual & physical)!  Praise Jesus!
John (and Beabea) Rogers