From its very inception we have tried to make AIIA more than a ministry of mere sterile academic apologetics. We’ve attempted to make it existential, alive, and connected with the real world in which we all live.
One major way in which we’ve done this is by sharing our family’s journey in life and in matters of faith — the good, the bad, and the ugly. In every single issue of our thoughtletter publication, the Proclamation, since April of 1991, we’ve included a Witmer Family Report with this byline: “An Album & Diary of One Family’s Efforts to Anchor the Business of Life in the Bedrock of Truth.”
This week our family’s focus is on five-year-old John Wyatt Witmer. Wyatt means “warrior.” Since his birth in May of 2014 he has had to be warrior-tough in facing the challenges of life with a serious congenital heart defect: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).
So far John has undergone two open heart surgeries. Tomorrow (Thursday, June 13, 2019) morning at 7:00 AM he is scheduled for his third surgery, the Fontan procedure, which is intended to divert the venous blood supply from the lower part of his body directly to his pulmonary arteries, bypassing the right ventricle altogether.
Surgery and recovery from any heart surgery entails substantial risk but with a five-year-old a whole other set of challenges and potential issues arise. So we’re seriously bracing to trust God in this chapter of our family’s life — especially throughout the long day tomorrow and in the weeks ahead.
Mary and I have nine grandchildren. John Wyatt is the youngest.
The parents of our daughter-in-law, Maureen, are in Charlottesville, Virginia, this week with John’s immediate family (his parents: our son Andrew and our daughter-in-law Maureen, and his siblings: Katie and Ben.) Charlottesville is home to the UVA Hospital where John will be admitted and undergo his operation very early tomorrow morning.
If all goes well, two months from now, after his initial recovery, our entire Witmer family hopes to gather in Harrisonburg VA (where John and his family live). But meanwhile, tomorrow and in the immediate days ahead, there is surgery and recovery.
So this is where the “rubber” of apologetics meets the “road” of life.
Does God exist? Is He reliable? Can we totally surrender John to Him? Is He altogether sovereign? Does He know and care about all of what is happening in our world this week? What is His true nature? Why did He allow this little boy to be born with a heart defect in the first place — suffering once again now all of the pain and trauma and limitations that go along with it? Is the Bible really God’s Word? Can we bank on all of its promises at a time like this? Do our prayers make a difference? How should we pray?
We invite those of you who are interested in following this story in real time, and maybe joining us in praying for the Harrisonburg Witmer family, to view and/or subscribe to their own current family blog by clicking here for unfolding details and updates: