Friday, May 28, 2010

Dad is at Jim Thorpe

Dad has been moved to Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center. Transportation went well and Dad is getting settled in his new room. We are glad he is closer to home and church.

Dad is on a “Minimal Stimulation Program.” This is the sign posted outside his door (click to enlarge):

Our family has personally contacted those who are “approved visitors.” At this time, we are asking that only approved visitors visit Dad in rehab. I know many of you would like to come see him and pray for him. We appreciate your concern and love for our family. The absolute best thing you can do is pray in your secret place, pray with your family, and pray with your church family. Thank you for honoring our family in this way. We pray that there will be a time in the future when more people will be able to come and visit. For now, we need to do what is best for Dad’s recovery.

Dad has been very irritable the past few days. Please pray that his pain levels would come down and that he will be able to rest when he needs to. Also pray for continued healing and improvements; especially concerning his mental state.

Dad is missed and the church of Christ has suffered in many ways. However, through this situation, God has used it for His glory and the church of Christ continues to advance and grow stronger. Our prayer is that God would use our family as a testimony to others of the faithfulness of Christ and the truth of salvation through Jesus. Our prayer is that those who don’t know Jesus would find a personal relationship with Christ.

Psalm 91

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quick Update

I preached at Western Hills Church this morning. The message was on
the cause of Christ - reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I told Dad yesterday that I was preaching. Dad prayed this prayer for
me this morning with my Uncle Scott:

"Jesus, please help Brandon right now. Help him accomplish what he set
out to do. Be faithful to him, Lord. In Jesus name, amen."

"In tears I agreed in Jesus' name." (Scott)

It was encouraging to see this text after the service and to know Dad
prayed for me again.

Dad is in pain and is restless tonight. He isn't eating very well.
Please contine to pray.

Sent from my iPhone


Friday, May 21, 2010

Update on Dad's Surgery

Dad had surgery to remove the external fixator this morning. My
Grandma sent us this text update after the surgery:

"Greg is in recovery PTL They removed the exterior fixactor and he is
building new bone Urology removed the catheter but may have to use
one again later He will bein recovery for about an hour Thanks for
your love prayers and support of Greg and the family We feel your love"

Thanks for praying! Hope to see many of you at the Deeds' work project
this afternoon at 1pm.

Sent from my iPhone


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back at OU but Continuing to Improve

We are home safe and sound and the Lord really did great things on our trip. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Dad was moved back to OU on Monday afternoon due to some infection issues. They weren’t really sure what was causing the infection. Also dad’s knee was causing him a lot of pain and was limiting his physical therapy. After several x-rays they still weren’t sure what the problem was. Select is a very nice facility, but honestly we are glad to be back at OU for the time being. For whatever reason, dad seems to progress better there.

After tests they found that dad does have infection in his blood. He is on antibiotics for this infection and doctors expect the antibiotics keep things under control.

Today they ran tests on his bladder. The results showed no leakage. Praise the Lord!

Also, today he ate about 10-12 bites at each meal. They are slowing making sure his swallowing is all functioning properly. This is especially great news because this step is a big part of taking out the trach. Today they capped the trach and dad is doing well. They will take more steps in a few days to continue working towards the goal of removing the trach.

We found out tonight that dad is scheduled to have the external fixator removed from his pelvis tomorrow morning unless the surgery schedule changes. Again, Praise the Lord!

We have been greatly encouraged by dad’s responses today. Each day seems to bring improvements and although we know we still have many months of recovery his brain seems to be computing a lot of correct information. He is improving on all of the medical scales and we are really excited to see these next recovery steps being taken. Dad still isn’t “normal” even in these times of correct responses and awareness. We still have a long road to haul, but we are just trusting God for the here and now and praising Him for who He is.

We appreciate you all respecting our request of no visitors. The medical staff has told us many times those patients with dad’s condition need lots of rest and limited stimulants. Different areas of the recovery team are in and out all day. Between that and his family, we keep him plenty worn out. Thank you for understanding our needs during this time. Please keep praying for the infections to be gone and for dad’s brain to continue to heal. We are looking forward to the day where we can all fellowship together again!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Leaving Searcy - Update on Dad

Character Focus Mission Team - Searcy, AR 2010

There have been seven salvation decisions so far on this mission project. It is beyond my comprehension that a perfect God would choose imperfect people as his method of choice for advancing the gospel throughout the world. Again, God is good all the time.

The testimonies that these volunteers and Student Missionaries have of what God has done over the past month are phenomenal! I cannot wait to put together our reports so that you can be encouraged by what God is doing; in spite of these difficult circumstances.

Dad is doing a little better every day. Yesterday was a rollercoaster day for Dad. He was restless a lot of the time, but there were other times where he had peace and could communicate with the family. Mom asked him who his sons were and he remembers all three of us (Brandon, Jonathan, and Justin). She asked who his daughter was and he said, “Lauren Ashley”. She also asked him who his grandchildren were and he said “Elizabeth Grace and Katherine Faith!” He loves his kids and grandbabies.

At one point, he also said to my Uncle Scott that my mom was hot 

We are having a great time focusing on the cause of Christ, the mission to reach the lost, and fellowship on this trip. We are about to travel to Tahlequah, OK to float the Illinois River and stay at a lodge. Please pray for safety. I know satan would love to stop the momentum that God has established at Western Hills Church for reaching the lost. Pray against the plans of satan and that God’s will would be done.

Thanks for praying for our team! I will share another update ASAP. I won’t have much connection at the river, but I will do my best.

Do you know Jesus? If not, you need to meet. He will change your life. If you do know Him, then what are you waiting for?!?! Get out there and reach people for Christ!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Salvation Decisions!

6 salvation decisions today! God is good all the time. These decisions were first time decisions. There were 5 children who rededicated their life to the Lord. God is really working through the Student Missionaries and volunteers. We are all safe and back at the church for tonight. One more day for the 2010 Character Focus conference season. Please pray for us. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness. Dad is about the same tonight. More updates to come.

Update on Dad and Mission Trip – May 14, 2010

Here we are in Searcy, AR! I cannot believe it has been a year. The last time I was here I was with Dad. Right now, Dad would be working out details for the hotel we are staying in tomorrow night, organizing lunch, encouraging the volunteers, and motivating me. I miss my dad.

I haven’t been feeling really well. I guess things may be catching up with me. Please pray for strength and energy for me to finish strong. I want to use every available moment to disciple these young adult volunteers and to reach the lost. My hope is found in Christ and in who Christ is in me.

Because of Dad’s recent improvements, I think it would be wise to bring clarity to his condition. We are all encouraged by his progress, but Dad still has a LONG ways to go. Let me explain…

Doctors have now said that Dad is officially out of his coma. They now classify him as a patient with a traumatic brain injury. He can wake up now, but he is far from normal.

Dad is still in a phase of recovery called random. He has random moments when he appears to be connecting with the world around him.

In these random moments, he does recognize people that have been close to him and he is able to communicate very simple words of affection for them. In random moments, he has acknowledged that he remembers something that has been important to him when he has been asked. Dad cannot intelligently discuss these things in a way that shows he remembers a lot of specific details. He may say that he remembers something one day that he does not remember the next. His dialogue is limited to what he feels at the moment or what he desires. In this stage of recovery, what Dad has been told today about specific things, he probably will not remember tomorrow.

Even in these random moments of recognition, Dad is far from normal.

Our family sees little glimpses of Dad’s personality that we have known, and this is encouraging. But these glimpses are just glimpses and even these moments are not 100% normal for the “Greg Werner” that we have all known.

Now all of this is still very encouraging based on where Dad has been. Our prayer is that Dad will continue to make progress toward normal. The doctors do not know how far Dad will progress in memory, personality, or his ability to function. Patients with brain injuries are all very different. Some never progress to normal. Others fully recover. This is our prayer for Dad.

If things progress normally, Dad’s next phase in awareness will be a phase of aggressive aggravation. As his mind continues to heal, he will begin to put feeling with his circumstances; however, he will not always have the mental capacity to control his feelings. This stage will be difficult for the family and for Dad. Although it will be hard, it will also be an encouraging sign that Dad is still progressing.

Here are the prayer requests for our family right now:
• That God would continue to bring healing to Dad’s brain
• That there would be no long term affects from this accident
• That Dad would since the presence of the Holy Spirit and peace that passes understanding
• That my Mom would have peace and health
• For protection for the mission team in Searcy
• For people to continue receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and be saved from separation from God in hell (about 100 salvations since August 2009 through the ministries at Western Hills Church – Dad was a big part of that).

Please keep praying for me while we are in Searcy, too. We will be back in OKC on Tuesday. Jeff Deeds sent me an encouraging prayer for our team by email:

“Father, may your favor be upon the Character Focus team as they minister in this conference. May your power be visible, may your purpose be accomplished and may the lost be found and saved! Please watch over them as they serve the homeschoolers from Arkansas. Keep them safe as they travel, and empower them through your Spirit to do mighty things for your name’s sake. Amen!”

Dad would love to be here right now. The trip is certainly different and difficult without him, but God is faithful. I am writing this update from the conference right now. There are over 80 kids here and we are about to share the gospel! “God, please move in the hearts of these children and in my Dad’s life. Amen.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Safe in Searcy

Our mission team made it safely to Searcy, AR. We are ready for the
children's conference tomorrow for the Education Alliance Homeschool
Convention. This is our third year to host this event. Please pray for
the young people to have a heart for the mission and focus on Jesus.

The report from home is that there is no real change with Dad. I have
an update I would like to share, and I will try to do that soon as I
have access to a computer with Internet.

Please pray for safety and announting for our team. I look forward to
giving an update of God's faithfulness!

Sent from my iPhone


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God is good...All the Time!

Just over a month ago some fresh new sod was laid in our front yard. At the end of a hard day’s work we were tired and sore and our greatest concern was rather or not we would be able to make the sod live. Fortunately, we had Bermuda sod. I don’t think we could kill it if we wanted and it’s a good thing too because life sure changed fast!

But thinking back over the events of last month I just have to proclaim that God IS good…ALL the time!

Dad’s accident was bad. Maybe he shouldn’t have lived. Many people don’t. We have seen it many times being in ICU for the month. Families coming in with sobs, weeping as they say good-bye to the one they love. Their time was over. I’m selfishly grateful that Dad’s was not. And now we are even able to hear him again. Tell him that we love him and for him to say it back! God IS good…ALL the Time!

Baby Ella has life! And even though it is going to be a hard, long road there is hope. There are procedures and survival rates and there is God. God IS good…All the time! We don’t know Ella’s future. But that sweet life that lives within my sister has purpose and she will have breath until her time is through. Such a little child, already touching lives. God is good…all the time!

There are lives being changed at the children’s conferences. I am so grateful the Lord is using us! God IS good…ALL the time!

The storms hit hard yesterday. Our house had some hail damage. Some people will be completely rebuilding. Some people lost life. We lost a window and had roof damage but I slept in my house last night with electricity. God IS good…ALL the time!

“Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you.”

A friend of mine was reminding me the other day about the story of the ten lepers. Jesus healed all of them but only one came back to say thank you. I want to be that one. Will you be that one? As we get good reports about dad, as you continue to pray for healing, would you just take a minute to just show gratefulness for all God has done?

God is still on the throne! None of these things have taken Him by surprise! We have seen his hand guiding, directing, comforting, proctecting and healing,

So instead of this last month being full of good-byes, sorrow, and loss, we have had life, hope, and a place to stay. Friends to hold up our arms and a God that is bigger than this all! And guess what? The sod is still alive!!! Yes, GOD IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME!!!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Dad was talking to Mom today…

Prayer really works! God is real and He is active.

Dad has been talking to Mom a little today! Now, just to clarify, he is still in a random state. He is not awake today; however, Dad has been able to talk to Mom and have some conversation with her.

The speech therapist (Michael) came in and asked Dad who Mom was and he said, “Kim”. Michael asked who my Maw-Maw was and he said, “Barbra”. After that, Michael showed Mom how she could cover the trach to let Dad talk, and then he left the room.

Mom had a short conversation with Dad a few moments later:

Mom: “Do you know you are in the hospital?”
Dad: “Yes”
Mom: “Do you remember that you were in a car accident?”
Dad: “Yes”
Mom: “The accident was not your fault.”
Dad: “Whose fault was it?”
Mom: “A tire came off a truck, crossed the median, and hit your car. It made you flip over. Do you understand?”
Dad: “As much as possible.”
Mom: “Do you remember that Justin was in the car with you?”
Dad: “No”
Mom: “He was, but he is okay now.”

This conversation happened slowly and over time. Dad is still in a random state and is in and out. He is not awake, but he is having moments of awareness. This is a great sign of improvement! Keep praying!

After a while Mom called me on my cell phone. I was on the way to Fish Club (the outreach ministry Dad started at Santa Fe South Middle School). While Mom was on the phone she told Dad it was me she was talking to. Dad said, “Hi.” Mom asked me what I wanted to tell him. I told her to just say I was going to Fish Club and that we are praying for him. She said, “Greg, Brandon is going to Fish Club and they are praying for you. Do you remember what Fish Club is?” Dad said, “Yes.”

We gave the report to the kids at Fish Club as an answer to prayer. Fish Club went great!

I heard that after that Lauren talked to Dad on the phone. Dad said, “Hi, Lauren Ashley.”

This is great news! It is also the sign of what is hopefully the beginning for Dad. Dad has not really been aware for a month now. It is hard to believe a month of his life is gone. Dad will be facing new challenges and hardships that come with awareness. He is still in a random state and could be like that for a while.

Now I know this news makes all of you want to jump up and go to the hospital. As much as we value your support that would not be helpful right now. What Dad needs is rest, and what Mom needs is to be with Dad. The rest of the family wants to see Dad, too, but we are going to take it slow and make sure we do not overwhelm him. The time for friends to see Dad has not come yet. We want to try to let the family see him first before we have any other guests.

Also, they are moving Dad to Select Long Term Care Facility today. Dad should be moving right about now. We would like to ask that there be no visitors other than family for now until sometime in the future. We will post again in the next few days when we have a better idea of Dad’s new location and have a plan formulated. Maybe then we can allow visitors. For now, please just continue to pray for Dad and the family. We appreciate your understanding and you helping us do what is best for Dad.

I am sure many people have questions. This is all we really know right now. Mom has sent and received over 2000 text messages in the last month. That is about 1000% more than normal. Please avoid texting her any questions. It is completely fine to text encouragements, but please avoid saying anything that requires response. You can post questions to this blog in the form of a comment. I will try to answer any questions in the next post.

Thanks again for all your prayers and helping us honor my Mom and do what is best for Dad. We will keep you informed through this blog. If you haven’t done this already, add your email address to the mailing list on the right side bar and we will email you all the updates once a day (if there is no new post, no email will be sent).

“Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

This Mother's Day is much, much different for our family. Dad is always doing something special to honor Mom on this special day. The kids have all talked to Mom today, but we are not hosting anything special because 1) Justin has the Chicken Pox and 2) Mom wants to be with Dad. We plan to do something together to honor Mom after the mission trip to Searcy, AR with Character Focus.

Mom is such a warrior. Her heart is focused on the Lord and she loves Jesus, her husband, her kids, and her grandchildren with all her heart. We love you, Mom!

Lauren wrote Mom an encouraging note to Mom this Mother's Day that I would like to share. Thanks for your prayers! Please pray especially for Mom on this Mother's Day:

Dear Mom,
You are an amazing woman! You are such a great example to all of us kids as what a mother, wife, grandmother and friend should look like. The strength that you have is something that is a constant challenge and encouragement to all of us. I am so thankful for the example that you are to us and everyone around you. You are a consistent example of what it looks like to go before the Lord during the times of rejoicing and the times of grief. The Lord is your rock and tower and there is no question that when times are hard you run to Him.

Thank you for that example.

I know that this season has been the most difficult thing you have ever walked through. I know that dad is your best friend and biggest support system. I also know that the Lord NEVER gives us things that we cannot handle and give us the grace to press on. You have been such an example of what it looks like to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding".

Thank you for that example.

As your daughter you have shown me what a mother looks like. Growing up you were such a great mom and so much fun! I hope that someday I can be a mom like that. Now that I am married and older you have shown me what it looks like to be a mother and a friend. I am so thankful for your friendship.

Thank you for that example.

Mom, we all love you so much. We pray for you daily and are here to support you. You are a wonderful mom and even though this season is hard I hope that you feel blessed this mothers day and many more to come!

We all love you so much!


We love you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dad Sitting Up - Email Updates Available

It’s been one month today.

Dad’s condition is steadily improving. It is hard to write updates because the improvements are so slow right now. I know many of you are checking for updates often, and others were checking often but it has become difficult because there haven’t been as many updates. We just added a tool to this blog that should make it easier for you to stay connected with what is happening…. Email updates.

You can type your email address in the bar at the top right hand corner of this webpage. When you have added your address, you will receive one daily email update from our blog (if there was not an update, you will not receive any emails). It is safe and backed by Google, and you can unsubscribe at any time. This should be an easy way for everyone to stay apprised. Things may be slowing down as far as recovery, but that is all the more reason to stay informed and pray. We will update as often as there is new news.

I went to the hospital yesterday to see Dad for the first time since Sunday (this has been a crazy week at church and CFM). I plan to visit him today, too.

When we arrived at the hospital Dad was in bed. However, the RN stepped in shortly after we were there and said that they were planning to move Dad into a chair! This is not the first time they have done this, but it is always exciting to hear they believe he is still physically able to sit up. They had us all leave for about 20min so they could move him into position.

When we came back Dad’s eyes were open and he was looking around. The speech therapist was in the room and was working with Dad. Now, just because his eyes are open does not mean he is awake. Dad is in what they call a “Random State”. This means he has random movements (often times these movements are meaningless), random times of brief awareness (he has about a 5 second attention span), and random responses. In this state, people are in a coma for the majority of the time.

The speech therapist was asking Dad questions and looking for response. Dad did squeeze his hand, but he would never give a “thumbs up”.

Probably the most encouraging thing that happened was when the therapist covered Dad’s trach and said, “GREG! What is your last name?” Dad responded in a whispered tone, “Werner”. It is so encouraging to see that my Dad is still here!

When the therapist left the room I sat with Dad for about 20min on my own. This was one of the first times I have been alone with him. Dad was looking around and staring into space most of the time. He would grab for the blanket on his lap and move his arms and hands in random, meaningless movements. Dad was out of it for most of the time I was in there. However, there was a few times where I would lean in close and look into Dad’s eyes and smile. I would have to stay in this position for a while until I caught his attention. When his eyes finally saw mine, he would smile and say, “Brandon”. It made me so happy that my Dad still knew me! I told him I loved him, that he was doing great, that he was sick in the hospital but getting better, and that he needed to keep fighting. After a few short seconds his eyes would wonder and he would be gone.

I miss my Dad so much. Sometimes it is easier to keep working and push through things so that I don’t have to think about the situation. I know this isn’t best because the reality is that my Dad is in a coma in the hospital. I cannot be fully available for prayer, service, and ministry if I don’t walk in the truth… no matter how painful it can be. So my choice is to walk with Jesus and allow Him to carry me. I believe God has a plan, and I am choosing to trust in His perfect plan.

I can feel your prayers… and so can our family. I know it is easy to let ongoing prayer requests drop as a situation seems to plateau. I have been able to tell that fewer prayers have been offered to some extent because I have been struggling more in my own heart. I would like to appeal to you to not stop praying. I know it is tough to pray for an extended period of time, but please don’t stop. We covet your prayers so much.

When you pray, pray for Dad’s recovery, for no long term injuries, for my mom’s health, and for our family to stay focused on the Lord and find peace in Him.

We will be going out of town on our last Character Focus children’s conference this next week. We will be back by May 18. Please pray for us as we work to finish strong. This has been the most difficult conference season ever due to the surrounding, consuming circumstances. It is hard, but it is so worth it! Already over twenty children have come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior for the first time. We look forward to all God has planned for next week. As soon as we are back, I will write an update for this blog to give the final report. Please keep us in your prayers.

Thanks for all you are doing to serve our family. The best way you can serve us right now is to pray. Also, for those of you who are members at Western Hills, you can support our family by supporting Dad’s ministry. Please lead your families to be on time to church and to give what the Lord places on your heart. Dad loves each one of you so much and he would want to see your families stay strong and spiritually healthy while he is out.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. It will be tough for our family to be without Dad on this first holiday. The kids are planning a time to honor our Mom on Mother’s Day, but she will miss Dad. Please pray for our family this week. Also, please pray for the Wells’ kids… it is easy to forget to do that because it is one of those “ongoing circumstances”. But it is so important to remember those who are hurting … especially on these days with special meanings.

More updates to come. Subscribe by email, follow on facebook, and check back often. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Update 5-04-10

Things have still been on the slow path of improvement for dad. We have been so grateful to have been mostly taking steps only forward during this ordeal. Yesterday they had dad….are you ready for this.....sitting in a chair!!!! Awesome, right!? Praise the Lord! I am still not sure exactly how they accomplished this. I certainly didn’t think we were even close to that point but nevertheless they did it and he sat there for about 45 minutes. Personally I was not there during this event but those who were reported that he was pretty awake during most of it and actually looked pretty good. On Saturday they unattached the ventilator from the trach and only gave dad oxygen. He was able to stay that way ALL day! They hooked the ventilator back up in the evening to allow him to rest a bit better. I was there Saturday evening and I tried to wake him up. After a few minutes his eyes slowly opened a bit and without even being asked he mouthed “I love you” to me. It made me really happy! He was trying to mouth other things too but I just couldn’t understand. It was reported yesterday he mouthed “ouch”. I am sure this will be mouthed many times before all is said and done with. Please continue to pray for peace during this recovery.

So, we are into week three now and we will continue to trust the Lord and take it one day at a time. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Update 4-30-10

Yesterday the doctors removed the ventilator dad had in his mouth, and replaced it with a trach. The procedure went well. There are many benefits to the trach. Many have asked why he even needs the trach at all if he is breathing on his own. I have been out of town and haven’t heard the doctors personally but it is my understanding that they will not remove the assisted breathing device until he is more awake and alert even though he is breathing sufficiently on his own. One benifit of the trach is the ability to turn the artificial air completely off and allow dad to “practice” breathing entirely on his own without any assistance. Yesterday they did this for several hours. He had on oxygen when this was done but his vitals maintained very well. They plan to continue to do this each day to help him return to breathing completely fine on his own.
The trach will not be as harsh on his throat and vocal chords. Although he is capable of breathing on his own the trach allows him to breath with more ease and he is able to rest better. They will continue to activly work to get to the place where they can remove the trach but as always it will just be a matter of time.

Currently even with the trach in place dad will not be able to speak. He has to pass a swallowing test before they will attach the parts that will allow him to speak. Although there are times daily when he has body moves a lot, the times of “relational movement” are still somewhat sparse. (Meaning when I feel he actually is comprehending we are there, who we are, and even gives a different squeezes on your hand… relational “I love you” taps on our hands.) Even though those moments are rare it is such a great feeling to feel Dad say “I love you”!

Another benefit of the trach is the ability to turn the artificial air completely off and allow dad to “practice” breathing entirely on his own without any assistance. They did put him on oxygen when this was done but his vitals maintained very well. They plan to continue to do this each day to help him return to breathing completely fine on his own.

Also yesterday dad responded again to the doctor’s commands. He even did specific things such as raise two fingers.

Please continue to pray for peace, rest, and healing. We appreciate your prayers!