God NEVER promised a Disneyland


I encounter people who seem to have the notion that once they become a Christian, all will be “well with their soul” as the hymn declares.

Life presents us with difficult challenges and tough decisions. But Disneyland? God never promised this to me! What do we do when the scorching heat of the barren desert experiences comes vaulting into our life? It might be the loss of a job. A sudden lingering illness. The loss of a loved one. Where is God when it hurts so much, I can not make it through another minute? The rescue helicopter is in the distance, but it just flew over once again. They never saw the shouting and furious hand waving. Did God abandon me in the desert to die alone and frightened? There seems to be, no hope. And yet even in the darkest of times, God provides just enough shade for us to make through the next moment.

1 Kings 19 is a natural backdrop. Let’s back up for a moment. In the previous chapter, the prophet Elijah had just called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. In chapter 19, we find the prophet alone in the desert, running from those that would kill him. He was ready to die. Did you notice something? God does NOT scold Elijah for being depressed. God simply asked: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God did NOT remove him from the desert. Instead Elijah found a broom tree (chapter 19:4) and sat under it. God provided just enough shade for the prophet to make it through the next moment.

In the desert experiences, faith is refined and proven. God did NOT remove Elijah to an oasis. God does NOT bring us to Disneyland in the midst of a trial. God provided a broom tree, just barely enough shade, to be out of the scorching heat for the moment. Too often we want to escape the seemingly never ending desert experiences. Remember God is with us, even in the desert. Chuck Swindoll said: “Remember past victories. They will sustain us when the negative tide of emotion enters our life from time to time.”

All of us have to come to grips with “the problem of pain” as C.S. Lewis so aptly stated. Does suffering have value? Life is not always a joy. It isn’t always wonderful. It is often times painful.

As Larry O. Richard said: “This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease? As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.”

We are called to be a broom tree and provide shade to a weary world.

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.
and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”

– Emily Dickinson

Dear Chairman of the Board Mitsui Sumitomo

This letter needs to re-surface from livejournal to here:

Maybe it’s time to send another letter. It took them over 5 years to pay back prescriptions before I sent this letter.

Hi Wayne

Tom asked me to email you regarding your rx. Workmans comp has quite paying for this rx. The last check we received was for $8.37 and stated that the charge exceeded the official medical fee schedule allowance. This means that they have a fee schedule and based off of the ingredients it will allow a certain amount to be paid. I have called them twice stating that this does not even cover the cost of the drugs involved let alone our labor involved in making the prescription. I have not received a response from anyone as of today. Tom said that you typically call and get this handled as they have done this before. Please let me know if you need anything else from me.



Dear Chairman of the Board of Mitsui Sumitomo (Japan)

28th October 2011

Current Mood:
pissed off pissed off

United States Postal Service: Registered Mail Receipt Number: RA787583690US Cost $16.84 USD for 2.1 ounce letter with receipt.


Tucson, Az 85745 USA
October 28, 2011

Toshiaki Egashira, Chairman of the Board
c/o Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited
27-2, Shinkawa 2-Chome Chuo-ku
Tokyo, 104-8252, Japan

Dear Mr. Egashira:

First some background information on me. I am a former employee of SCS (1989 – 1992) where I worked at MMA as the on-site contract manager. I suffered an on-the-job injury, and that claim was finally settled in 1996. I receive Worker’s Compensation Benefits from one of your subsidiary companies: MSIGUSA.

Here are the specifics of my claim so that you can identify me:

Claim’s Administrator:
Mitsui Sumitomo Marine Management (USA), Inc.

Injured Workers name: Wayno
Claim number: claim number went here
Date of Injury: date of injury went here

Employer: SCS

I have dealt with a Mr. Greg Averetta, the Claims Supervisor, and with Rick Cornejo, the Worker’s Compensation Manager, regarding claims. Obviously things are at a standstill, which is why I am writing to you.

Here are the outstanding issues:

1. I have unpaid Pharmacy bills (see attached) from 2006. Yes, over 5 years ago. I can not obtain any more medication (it is specially compounded, it is not over-the-counter), until the past bills are paid. I have asked my claims representative, Donna Thomas to investigate the cause for the delay (see attached), as well as Mr. Averetta, and Mr. Cornejo. Nothing has been done to pay this past due amount. Emails to all 3 of these employees, go un-answered. This is a disgraceful and shameful practice. What can you do to help pay these back bills, and ensure that they are paid in the future in a timely manner (30 days NOT 5 years?) I am currently without ANY medication, and no way to obtain any more. NOTHING IS BEING DONE. STILL AWAITING A REPLY.

2. I had gone over 4 years without treatment, because no one was able to find anyone in Tucson, Arizona that would accept my out-of-state, California Worker’s Compensation insurance, in Arizona. Finally I saw a doctor after 4 1/2 years, earlier this month. An MRI was done, and the Doctor referred me to a Back Specialist. NOTHING IS BEING DONE AT MSIGUSA ABOUT THE TRANSFER. STILL AWAITING APPROVAL.

3. The Doctor wrote me a prescription (see attached) for a new Electronic Muscle Stimulator. NOTHING IS BEING DONE AT MSIGUSA ABOUT THAT EITHER. STILL AWAITING APPROVAL.

4. I have filed 2 complaints (see attached) with the Division of Worker’s Compensation. They have also chosen to do nothing.

5. I turned in a Medical Mileage claim form last week to Donna Thomas. No acknowledgement of receipt. AS FAR AS I KNOW, NOTHING IS BEING DONE AT MSIGUSA ABOUT THAT EITHER.

This is shameful, disgraceful, and a disgusting manner in which to treat a former employee, and now injured worker. I appeal to your sense of honour, duty, and decency in helping me to resolve these issues in a timely manner (BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2011)


Rough English translation:

The treatment for me who am the original employee of the corporation which suffers from rear leaving behind obstacle of after the labor disaster the shame [zu] which is lacking in grade as the Japanese enterprise is the behavior which should. I protest strictly. And, adequate treatment is desired urgently.

My own translation:

Originally, I was an employee of the corporation. But the corporation now suffers from backward thinking, and I am left behind with an obstacle after the worker’s compensation claim was finally approved, after a lengthy dispute. My treatment by the U.S. subsidiary, lacks the behaviour that a Japanese Corporation would normally give. It is shameful. I protest strongly, and adequate treatment is desired urgently.



God answers prayer:

If you have read my post Letter to a friend with Cancer then you know Robb has dealt with some very tough issues. I got this note today:

My wife and I have been patiently waiting to announce our pregnancy until we felt like it was the right moment to do so. We’ve had a very tough time with pregnancy and tried for many years without success. We watched many of our friends become pregnant and we always did our best to be encouraging to them while dealing with our own issues of infertility. If this is something that you deal with or have dealt with in the past, please know that we are always willing to lend an ear or to speak with you about your struggle. I know this may be a weird thing to write about as we announce our newest, and possibly only, addition to our family. However, we know what it’s like to struggle and want to be as transparent and compassionate as reasonably allowable. We can laugh with you, cry with you and if you want us to be angry with you, Christina isn’t very good at that, but I’m good enough for the three of us.

At the risk of sounding preachy, indulge me for a moment. We cried when doctors said I had cancer. We rejoiced when I remain cancer free. We cried when we were told we couldn’t have kids because of the treatments, we rejoiced when we found out we were pregnant. I don’t always act like I believe in a Healer. Sometimes, I don’t. Call me fickle, but today I believe in one. Rejoice.


Remembering Steve M.

Steve M. paintingOf all the people I have met in my life, few compare with Steve M.

I met Steve over 20 years ago, when they were doing a radio show, called RadioHope. Steve was in Phoenix, and I was living in Southern California at the time. We corresponded for years. At last I had found a kindred spirit.

God brings people into our lives for a purpose. Fundamentally, he transformed me and my ministry. I used to hang out with the metalhead crowd. As I got to know Steve, I discovered he had compassion for the outcasts of society: the punkers, goths, skaters, cutters, homeless, elderly. Anyone whom God put into his life.

Steve grew up in Arizona, but would spend time visiting a small town in Minnesota, where his family and my friend Cyndi now lives.

I never knew a lot of Steve’s past. But you could tell from his writings, especially poetry, (see Outcast Press ) that he was no stranger to pain, suffering, or brokenness. Complaining is definitely something that was NOT part of his essential nature. Reaching people with the gospel, was his goal. At the centre of his existence, you would find an Evangelist. One who well understood the human condition, and one who would take the time to build a genuine relation with someone.

If I had only two words to describe Steve, one would be hopeful. If you travel around Phoenix, Tucson, or any town that he visited, he did what he called an art installation. He infused hope wherever he went. He would bring healing art (Dia de los Muertos style) to the homeless. If you see the word “HOPE” on a fence or by way, you knew he had been there.
The other word that describes Steve, is humble. Steve was not ostentatious, and his only penchant in life, seemed to be sports du jour. He loved to watch a good game on TV with his family. Steve had the right balance between ministry and home. A value he passed on to his sons.

For me personally, he was the one who painted my new home. I was privileged to have him as a friend, a kindred spirit, and a fellow shadow dweller.

I will always remember his contentment in life, his dedication to God and his family, and his spirit, which made all men yearn for the Creator of the universe. See you in Heaven, old friend.

”When a man of God dies, nothing of God dies.”
— AW Tozer

Hope in Tucson, Az

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.

and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”
– Emily Dickinson


Letters to God (No April Fool’s)

This has been unlike any week in my life. Much sadness in reflections of the past.

I find quiet comfort in the routine, ordinary things of life. But this week was far from that.

Monday was fairly uneventful. Nothing much happened. I thought. Hurrah! An ordinary week for a change. Mom called and said she started her cat on insulin. Dropped stuff in the mail that I had to return to amazon. Had to go to post office twice, because the folks there said that they could not give me any packing tape. Stopped off at UPS which was way way too expensive. Back home to tape up the packages, and then back to the post office.

Tuesday was not too bad. I went over to TMC and helped Daniel teach a class on General Class Amateur radio. He had brought in several antennas (we only had a class of 1 besides us), and he explained anyway. I learned more in 45 minutes, then I did in 5 years of study. I knew that my amateur radio rig at home, just needed a better antenna to work. Fortunately Daniel had found one I could buy that was in my budget range. He also showed us a home brew 2 metre antenna he had made from a cat food can, a pl-259 bulkhead, and coat hangers. Who knew? Stopped by Wally’s World and picked up some dish detergent.

Wednesday was semi-routine. I did not go the R.A.C.E.S. meeting downtown, as it was not being held at the EOC, but instead at a school on the south side of town. Instead I went out to see my Dad, who is in adult care. Mom came up from town, and we met at the facility. (side note: we put Dad into adult care and hospice, just a few days before Christmas.) We got there, and Dad — well I thought he had had a stroke, since he was pretty in-coherent. Mumbled, confused and came up with all the wrong words. Frightening to watch parents age and go onto fragility.

I went by the place Daniel had told me about on the east side of town, and ordered the indoor HF antenna.

From there, I went to the shelter where I do volunteer I.T. support. Moved a bunch of furniture around to plan for an expansion of the network. But this left the cable modem with a short ethernet cable, and ended up putting the cable modem in an inbox on the wall. Thanks Cox Communications, for a sub-standard install. Visited some of my favourite cats there. In the G.I. section. These cats have no bowel/bladder control because someone mangled their tails. It is stinky, to be honest. But that doesn’t stop the cats from wanting or needing love. I spend 10 minutes with them before I start, and 10 minutes before I leave. They are permanent residents, and nobody wants to deal with them. But they deserve to be loved, just the same. Got home late. Mom called and said that her cat had not eaten for several days and was going to the vet.

The cat is one they found while camp hosting several years back. He had heart worms and asthma. They brought him home, and he spent about 5 years with them. Quiet big kitty. Good personality.

Thursday is my “catch up day.” The day I do laundry, clean the apartment, etc. That went fairly well. Did some light shopping.

Friday was fairly routine. My antenna came in, but I am not on that part of town (about 30 plus miles round trip) so I will pick that up this Wednesday. Folks cat was still getting sicker. No food or water for 3 days now.

Saturday rolled around. I had a cat cpr class at the shelter at 1 pm, so I went there for that. Learned a lot. But I could sit through that a second time, if they will let me. Jackie is a great teacher. She is the Certified Vet Tech at the shelter where I volunteer. Classes are about an hour long, with power point presentation. I am glad that she is helping to educate the public. Went to a local computer store, got a 15 foot ethernet cable, returned to the shelter, took the network down, and installed a new cable. Moved the cable modem to it’s new spot: on top of a table. Tested everything, and was good to go.

Mom said the cat was breathing hard and so she took him into the vet again. Give him a shot of antibiotics. He pee’d all over himself. The end was near.

An acquaintance came over and we watched some TV. It is never easy to tell some one they have body odor, but I had to, to protect my new furniture. I tried to tell him in such a way as not to puncture. I think this is the first time he has been on his own, and he may not know how to use a washing machine. Seriously. That’s okay. He’s teachable. Maybe that’s why are paths crossed. Very bright person.

Saturday marked the 11th anniversary of when I moved, and the 14th anniversary of when I had to put one of my pets down.

Sunday. Mom met the vet @ 9 am, and put the cat down. Right thing to do. Discovered in the x-ray he had a collapsed lung. Explains why he was breathing so hard, not eating or drinking. That cat NEVER lacked for love.

Hosted a live chat for CBC. The online church I am a part of, before I left to see Dad.

When I arrived at Dad’s place around 11 am or so, I saw both Mom and Dad crying their eyes out. I said, “Why didn’t you wait for me, so we could both tell him?” My Mom and I are deaf as a post and both wear hearing aids. Dad however, was able to hear my Mom tell the care giver about the cat, even at a whisper.

It is hard to watch both parents grieve over the loss of a beloved pet. I have been here. The cat was the glue that sort of held things from the past together, with the present. The future for both of them is murky. They are both near end-of-life and it is hard to watch your parents deteriorate before your eyes.

Mom and I went to lunch at Carl’s Jr. near the Costco. Had their southwestern burger, drink and a salad. A better memory of the day.

Spent sometime tonight talking to my friends Cyndi and Jeff. Cyndi drove me to the vet, 14 years ago. Jeff. If I ever had a soul mate, it would be Jeff. One of but maybe 1/2 dozen people I can be totally honest with.

And now, I am writing this. I hope I never have another week like this one.

“The pain now, is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”
CS Lewis

and so it goes….