Thank you all who prayed for our physiatrist appointment. It went well, and Pastor Esposito was extremely responsive. I will type a more detailed update on the appointment very soon. For now, please pray for another appointment at 11:30 today. It is with a practitioner who uses a specific method that's been very successful to help the brain learn. I believe the way I came about finding her was from the Lord, and pray He will use her to help. I will give more details on that along with the detailed Physiatrist update. I am sorry to keep everyone unposted life has been extremely busy the past week including a long night in ER with one of my children, who is fine, and I have been spending extra time trying to fill in some for one of our church employees who has been very ill.
Pray for a miracle from the Lord on Whom we depend,
Mrs. Joe Esposito
We would like to thank everybody once again for praying for Pastor. I would like to give a brief update because many people have asked that we update more frequently. Monday of this past week, we were scheduled for a G.I. consult to have the feeding tube changed. However there was another glitch and rescheduling elsewhere is pending.
One morning as I arrived to the room, I noticed saline tubes packed in ice. I inquired the purpose. I was told that he had coughed up blood during the night, and that this is the way that they stop bleeding within the Esophagus or lungs. There was no apparent bleeding after that. Praise The Lord!
Another time I entered the room this week after stepping out to get some lunch, Pastor's feet were turned within his boot splints. The right foot which rarely moves was really turned. I am not sure what happened (maybe a small seizure or tremmor). We have no explanation. The bloodwork testing the seizure medication from last Friday's incident came back normal. Full labs will be drawn on Tuesday. Please pray much for Monday's appointment with the physiatrist. Please pray that there will be no glitches. Also, pray that he will be alert and responsive like he has been recently. (Often he is able to do something new, then unable to do it except on occasion.) Pray that we will receive some helpful direction. At the end of the day God is our Great Physician and we trust Him to do what's best. Thank you again from Pacific Baptist Church and the Esposito family.
It was encouraging yesterday as our Filipino pastor and family came to visit Pastor Esposito. He said something funny, and immediately Pastor Esposito had a good smile. I hadn't seen his smile since two updates back saying he'd gotten his smile back.
Last night Pastor Esposito seemed to have had another seizure though there was no way to confirm. Lab work will be done Monday, though that seems a bit of a delay from Friday. (I like to think I know more than nurses and doctors sometimes.) The gentleman who was with him described it the same way as previously when he appeared to have a seizure. The nurse said that maybe he was just unable to breathe and needed to be suctioned. I suppose we won't know anything other than if the medication levels in his blood are okay on Monday. Although we typically are with him from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. it kills me to not be with him personally. Yet I have 7 children still at home along with various other responsibilities. Each time the phone rings and I am not there, I wonder if it's bad news, and sometimes I have a faint hope that someone will tell me Pastor Esposito did something new or even spoke a word.
I listened the other day with my husband to a sermon where he talked about the death of a vision. (Almost daily I play one of his sermons for him to watch. I want him to remember who he was, his mannerisms, how he spoke, even what he believes, and possibly trigger his memory or wake something up within him.) At one point he spoke of hard times when it seems all vision is lost like being on a roller coaster and that you might close your eyes for a moment and just hang on tight but hang on. It was good for me. Thank you for continuing to pray as we continue to trust the Lord, His goodness, and His plan and purpose.
We wanted to take Thanksgiving Day to give thanks to the Lord. For those who may simply want a prayer update, minus the sentimentalities, let me give a brief update. Pastor Esposito was on the medication I spoke of for two weeks. As I said, he seemed more alert and smiling appropriately. It was discontinued last Thursday, as it was meant to be a two week experiment. He has been very sleepy, even more so than "normal." The nurse here had to message the neurologist to see if he'd recommend continuing it longer since it seemed to help some. We are going to trust what he feels best, so please pray that the Lord guides through him. We have been sitting him up daily. We felt him pulling his trunk up some yesterday, so that was neat. He has gotten better at giving me a kiss. Puckers a tiny bit. My brother-in-law sent something saying that a husband's kiss creates a chemical change in his wife that prevents depression, so I told him that. For a long time my husband and I joked and quoted an article that said a wife's morning goodbye kiss prolongs the life of her husband! I guess it goes both ways. Another blessing is that in a very faint way, I can see him trying to formulate sounds or words after me. I really believe he just doesn't have strength to do it, nor to push the air up through the vocal cords. He opened as if to repeat "ahhhhh" after me. No sound, though. I keep telling him something from the book, My Stroke of Insight written by a brain scientist who had a stroke. "The 'try' is everything" and not to stop trying even if he can't so that one day he can.
Now for our praise – I'll share a couple of my children's first (I asked them late yesterday – so not all got to write one).
I'm so thankful for the things that the Lord has done in my life and in the lives of our family since my dad has been in the hospital. We've learned much and have been blessed and had HIS grace shed abundantly on us. Here are some of many that I could give:
I could go on for a long time but will stop. God is good.
I believe that over the last year I have realized and God has shown me in more ways than ever that he loves me and that he loves our family. He's used a thousand different ways. From truth, strength and encouragement from his own Word to the kindness and care of His people in the darkest hours, his love has shown through. Our trial hasn't caused me to doubt but has only confirmed that my heavenly Father loves me. Like I read yesterday "...hath done all things well." Mark 7:37
God is always good! In the last year I have personally seen so many miracles from God. The biggest thing I am thankful for is that God has kept my daddy alive. I am thankful that in the last year God has used my dad's situation to bring me closer to HIM. Prayer has become a very important part of my life. God has also given me more of a heart for others. I can truly say that this year has been the most fruitful (by God's grace) that I have been for HIM in ministry. I thank God for working all things for good!
Specifically this past year, I so am thankful to God for allowing me to be able to get closer to Him than ever before through all that has happened. He has been such a faithful Friend to me, and He has shown Himself so strong in my life. I am also thankful for the amazing family that He has given to me. I'm thankful that I have a mom that loves God, her children, and her husband. If it wasn't for her I would not be able to keep on going every day. Lastly, I'm thankful for our church family, and just everyone who has prayed for us and been an encouragement! I can't mention everything, but God has given me so much and I am so blessed :)
Of course on a page like this, we can only scratch the surface in praising God for His goodness. But let me share a few.
I am thankful for the cross. So many times God has brought me back there to enlighten my eyes. When I've been lonely He's shown me Jesus facing a time when God, His Father, had to turn His back on Him (yet He's promised never to leave me). When I've wondered the reason why, I see Him crying out, "My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?" When the pain has seemed more than I could bear, I am reminded of the pain He faced for me which we could never fathom. When things that have been said have stung, I remember Jesus being mocked while facing unimaginable pain. I find an answer to every hurt in looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Recently one of our very young men suffered cardiac arrest in the auditorium just before our Tuesday evening soul winning meeting. One of our new ladies was near and immediately began CPR and some of our men took over until the paramedics came and shocked him twice before his heart began to beat again. He was initially put into an induced coma, and facing a need for an implanted device to keep his heart from stopping in the future, and possible open heart surgery. On one certain day I went early in the morning to visit him after he'd woken up and was getting ready for surgery. As I walked into the room he hung his head and said to me, "I am so ashamed." I didn't understand at first. Then his mom told me he was just talking about being weary and wanting to go home to be with his wife. She had just told him to "think about Pastor and Miss Mary." (Just a side note – what this man has gone through was and is no small trial!) My first thought as I walked to my car was, "Here's one reason to keep on keeping on during the hardest times." We have to make it through our hard times so we can encourage others they can make it through theirs. We need each other to "make it." In fact it's one of the REASONS as Joseph stated, God allows our trials and a reason to thank HIM for the trial. Later in the week on a day I was struggling some myself– I remembered that scene in the hospital clearly, and immediately I remembered the cross of our Lord, and my pain seemed so small. I hung my own head and said, "I am so ashamed of myself" after all HE's done for me, and my trial seemed so small, and I said to myself, "I can make it because my Savior did!"
Another thing I am so thankful for are tears. What would I do if I couldn't cry to Him? During times when I have felt somewhat numb, I have been grateful when the tears came. I may have said this in the past, but I asked Siri once if it's harmful to cry too much. What I found was that tears release toxins from our body (probably produced from stress), and it's actually healthy to cry! I'm sure God made us that way so we'd cry TO HIM. (And of course Scripture already shows us a pattern of crying to the Lord in our distress: Psalm 40:1, Psalm 86:7, Psalm 88, and so many more)
And I am thankful for so many who have reached out to encourage us through a text, an e-mail, a gift in the mail, a card from someone we never met, a meal, a McDonalds gift card, and more than anything your prayer which mean the world to us! And how can I not mention His Word. I'd die without it. It's my "necessary food."
As Joseph said – I can go on, but won't. I'll just repeat, GOD IS GOOD. I also must thank God for letting me be the wife and mom in this great family of which I am so undeserving and the pastor's wife so long of the greatest church family on earth!
Our family would like to thank you once again for your many prayers for Pastor Esposito. Also, I didn't want to let a day go by without sharing and praising the Lord for this - God has given my husband back his smile. Over the past week or so we've seen more grins when someone has said something funny or reminisced about the past. Yesterday, his former pastor from his early days, Jim Black, was in California for the 40th anniversary of the church which he was pastor (my husband's home church before attending Bible college). Pastor Black and his wife came by to see my husband. As he spoke, my husband was extra responsive and smiling at his humor in a way he hadn't before. Then this morning I was doing a leg stretch for my husband where you lift it straight up toward the ceiling, and I was tired and put it down and started laughing and told him, "maybe you could be an acrobat in a circus when this is all over." He had the biggest smile. I told him I was so happy God had given his smile back! Shortly after, his brothers came in and were being really funny. They joked about who's oldest and teased the activities coordinator who'd come in to drop off something. Pastor Esposito was much more than smiling - I'd say he was laughing each time something was funny. I stepped out for a few minutes, and on the way I told the two nurses outside the room, "My husband has his smile back." They went in to see. I told the receptionist, Marilyn, who had come for our special day at church a couple weeks ago that I wanted to share a blessing with her... and told her the same. She began to cry. She said, I know he's going to get better. After this, I left for a meeting back at church, and my brother-in-law Jimmy stayed. He said this was "the buzz of the hospital" and that the nurse practitioner came in to see, and that Pastor Esposito was very responsive and following commands. She said, "I won't doubt you guys' faith any more."
Just to help make sense for people who don't understand the state he's in (neither do I to tell the truth). The things he is able to do are very slow and takes what seems a great amount of effort. He doesn't seem quite as "in and out" as before. He still sleeps a lot, and when he opens his eyes, he more often seems aware, though often times he still has a stare without response. I often wonder if he's just used all the energy he could muster and can't or he's tired from trying.
I also want to praise the Lord and thank you again for praying for our special day at PBC and the folks we were able to talk with at the nursing center. As I mentioned, the receptionist came. She was the only one on that day from there, though we had a multitude of visitors that day at church. This past week I called a patient who had gone home, but had promised to come. My son and I picked him up, and he came Sunday. It was also was neat that a Muslim lady from India I've made friendship with came and found me this week and asked me to bring her a Bible. She said that her son had told her that the stories are the same, and that both talk of Jesus. She also said maybe we can talk and compare and learn what the other believes... she said, "even though I won't convert you, and you won't convert me." Some folks who used to attend PBC are ministering to Muslims, and I was able to get a Gospel of John from them in Arabic with comments and a tract. I also brought her a regular Bible. We haven't gotten to talk since. Another patient called me as I passed him in the hallway, and asked me if he could get another of those brochures since his got thrown away.
God has been so good. He knows just when I need to see His hand in a little more tangible way, and always is sure to show Himself strong.
Thank you again for praying. Please pray for the physiatrist appointment December 8th and for continued healing; and most of all for a miracle. (I say that hesitantly, because I know all God has done and however far we've come is ALL a miracle!)
Pastor's family would love to know if you're praying! Your name or e-mail will not be added to any ministry mailing list. This is not a fundraiser. This is simply to let the Espositos know you are standing with them in prayer.