Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lee Christmas Letter 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

MERRY CHRISTMAS! We hope this holiday season finds you relaxed and anticipating time with friends and family. This past year has been filled with experiences that have built memories which will last a lifetime.
Jace Lee
Most importantly, our son , Jace David, was born on May 15th. Needless to say, our lives are now radically different. Jace is 7 months old and (fortunately for a rookie mom and dad) a very easy-going baby. He is growing like a weed, loves ‘real‘ food, and smiling at new faces. We are having so much fun watching him develop and achieve those ‘firsts’. John takes care of him on Mondays while working out of the house and Jace is in daycare on Wednesday and Thursday. We have felt incredibly blessed to find a great daycare provider and to be able to stay home with him the rest of the week.

John continues to work for WGM as Director of Major Gifts. He has hired three new staff members this past year who have proven to be a great asset to the team. As the development department of WGM heads in a new direction, John is anticipating the Lord’s blessing on both the partners of WGM and the organization in the years ahead.

Sarah still works for the Fishers Veterinary Hospital as an associate veterinarian but has cut back on hours in order to be home a little more with Jace.. She continues to enjoy all life stages and all aspects of general practice. In addition, she is also on a committee to plan the annual conference for the American Animal Hospital Association. The biggest changes within the practice include the addition of another full time doctor bringing them to 6 doctors and the anticipation of a facility remodel doubling the practices size.

In June, we hosted a 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration for John’s parents. We put a couple tents in our back yard and had about 40 people come. Great friends and family helped to make the occasion a memorable event. So many wrote to contribute to a scrapbook assembled by Becky (John’s sister) and Laura (John’s niece) that two books were used to archive the notes and pictures!

John’s mother has recovered from a bout with skin cancer. She had a spot removed from her right shin and had to endure a long healing process followed by a skin graft. Fortunately, she has recovered and is back to her daily activities. We are so thankful for the Lord’s healing and help.

In September we went back to Iowa for a few days to celebrate the wedding of Sarah’s sister, Hannah, to Blake Rieman. It was a beautiful, and we had a wonderful time with family. Blake is a wonderful man we are so happy to have him in our family!

May your hearts be filled with gratitude during the celebration of the birth of our Savior.. May you sense HIM near as you spend time with friends and family. May HIS joy be yours,

John, Sarah, and Jace

Is. 9:6 For to us a child is born, … , And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Gift of Obedience

“Everybody’s salvation begins in somebody else’s obedience.” —Dr. Dennis Kinlaw,former president of Asbury College.This truth carries much weight when you think about it.

Recently, an e-mail hit my inbox that piqued my curiosity.
Mae Verheyden, office manager for our publishing
and media department, had just received a request from
someone asking for media presentations of WGM ministries
in the country of Kenya. On top of that, he had expressed a
desire to raise money for the Tenwek Community Health and
Development ministry. With my curiosity aroused, I tried to
find him in our donor database, to no avail. “Interesting….”

Wondering what step of obedience had mobilized this man
into action, I made connection with him by phone.
I found out that Dr. Mike Liske had been a classmate of
missionary surgeon Dr. Russ White at the University of Michigan
(as a Buckeye fan, this was difficult to swallow) back in the
’80s and they hadn’t been in contact for over 18 years. They had
touched base by e-mail, and Mike had decided to go on a missions
trip to Kenya in January of 2008 to assess the capabilities
of Tenwek Hospital to host a team to perform heart surgeries
on children.

As a pediatric heart specialist from Vanderbilt Children’s
Hospital in Nashville, Dr. Liske was overwhelmed by the abundant
number of cases of rheumatic heart disease, which is now
only a minor problem in the U.S. The condition can be pre-

Hospital Admissions at Tenwek 1983 2006
(per 100,000 population served)
Measles 399 1
Diarrheal Diseases 786 143
Whooping Cough Deaths 21 1
Malaria 686 227
Community Awareness
Immunizations 20,318 70,217
Health Committees 3 120
Volunteer Health Workers 63 1,578
New Challenges (total)
Physical Assault 116 132
Cases of HIV/AIDS 0 989

vented by treating strep throat with antibiotics like penicillin,
but in many regions of the Third World, when a child gets
strep throat, he or she is not treated. This in turn can lead
to rheumatic fever and, ultimately, rheumatic heart disease.

Touched with this great need, Dr. Liske recalled a paper
about a preventive medical approach used in Costa Rica where
antibiotics were offered to patients without the use of a throat
culture, resulting in a dramatic reduction of rheumatic fever
cases. Dr. Liske suspected that such a successful program
could be the key ingredient to a scientific study to determine if
village community workers dispensing antibiotics to children
without the use of a throat culture could prevent rheumatic
heart disease in a sub-Saharan nation. If this concept could
be proven, then that approach could be used in other African
regions as well, and so he spoke with Jonathan Bii, the on-site
director of the Tenwek Community Health and Development
(TCHD) program. Mr. Bii reviewed the results of the TCHD
program (which were very impressive) with Dr. Liske, who
could see from the statistics of patients who had been treated at
Tenwek Hospital that the TCHD ministry had made an impact.

Unfortunately, the TCHD program had recently lost a large
portion of its $180,000 per year donor funding. This loss not
only puts the community health and development ministry in
jeopardy but also inhibits this vision of preventing rheumatic
heart disease. So Dr. Liske’s dream has a two-fold target: (1) to
help the TCHD in general, as its funding has decreased, and
(2) to initiate a preventive program to reduce rheumatic heart

As I pondered this burden on the heart of Dr. Liske, I interjected
a question into our phone conversation. “So, what crisis
happened to you, a busy father of four preteen kids, to take this
step?” He responded, “There really wasn’t a crisis. I just came
to a point in my life where I wanted to use my skills and training
more directly for the Lord’s service in a setting that doesn’t
have the abundant medical resources we enjoy here in the U.S.,
and it just so happened that the needs at Tenwek matched what
I was interested in doing and studying. I was also excited about
having the opportunity to work with a number of wonderful
people like Jonathan Bii; Dr. Russ White; and Dr. John Spriegel,
medical director of the Tenwek Community Health program;
as well as Dr. Ron Johannsen, a cardiologist from Minnesota
who has volunteered at Tenwek and has worked tirelessly in
putting together the equipment needed for our future surgical

That hits on a basic calling for every Christian! Offer yourself
a living sacrifice to God; then take the next step of obedience
(Romans 12:1-2). And you know, offering yourself may be
a crisis experience, but on the other hand, seeing the need and
using your skills and resources to meet it may just be “what the
doctor ordered.” 
November/December 2008 Call to Prayer 13

Can God use your obedience to help Dr. Liske hit
his target? Project # 25172 for Tenwek Community
Health and Development
Dr.Liske’s dream has a two-fold
target: (1) to help the TCHD
in general, as its funding has
decreased, and (2) to initiate a
preventive program to reduce
rheumatic heart disease.

Learn more about the ministry: Dr. Liske can be reached at

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Since Jace



Thursday, my wife gave birth to our 21 ½ “, 7 lb., 12 oz. son we named Jace (means “God is my salvation”) David Lee. You guessed it! My life has changed…

Surreal in a way- maybe I was expecting to break down weeping when he was born, but… that didn’t happen. Yeah, consideration and awe at God’s creation, very personal, attached to me…, that has happened! Sensing that words need to express what I’m going through has brought me to this entry. So, here are some thoughts:

I’m profoundly aware of my humanness, my wife’s, my son’s, the caregiver’s, family, and I revel in it. Like, it really is ok to God.:) I’m seeing beauty in humanity in a whole new way.

Driving my wife and son home from the hospital, with greater sensitivity to how abruptly I stopped, accelerated or dodged bumps with the Rav4. Now, acutely aware of precious cargo.

Mowing the lawn upon arrival from the hospital- thanking God for someone to pour my life into. Asking God for the wherewithal to be a great model of walking in godliness for my son.

Passing my office, knowing I must clean it up. Jace will never learn order and efficiency from its arrangement.

Attuned ears to what he’s communicating. Greater sensitivity to how I touch, speak, listen, empathize, and offer feedback.

One “tight” companion- a baby monitor!

And, so far the music I’ve listened to since returning home is 25 Baby Favorites, Bed Time Prayers Lullabies and Peaceful Worship, The Praise Baby Collection, and Baby Mozart.

Overwhelming sense of gratitude for a lovely wife, who would give anything for our son. She converses and reads acquiring practical tips and strategies for parenting, laying out plans for where Jace should be after week 1, month 1, etc…

A new sense of “God, what are you teaching me through this boy?!”

Monday, February 25, 2008

Are You Relevant?

Are You Relevant?
My mind ruminates over this question as I traverse borders between communities, states, and countries.. It seems there are so many niches in which individuals may hunker down and claim individualism. I’m constantly seeking the underlying connection between us all. I’m looking for something that will have significance and bearing on matters at hand. What is something that is relevant for this global community with so many options brought on by a deluge of accessible information?

Then it hit me this weekend…

I may not have the words to connect with anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

Here is something I can offer. LOVE. Yeah, sacrificial, humble, giving of myself to care for another person’s innate needs. Love to GOD and love for others. When love is offered with the right motivation it may be misunderstood, but eventually, if love is pure, it has significance and bears on the matters at hand.

Mother Teresa said, “You can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Maybe if I get down to the basics of loving God and loving others, relevancy follows, because it has significance and people matter.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


How do you explain transformation?

My wife and I love to watch the well known TV, reality show, "The Biggest Loser". How riveting it is to see people who are truly transformed by approaching life in a different way. Through nutrition, proven to fuel the body, and regular exercise, visible results are evident as participants in the reality show lose pounds and tone up. But what is behind the transformation that takes place?

As I’ve watched the show a few years, I’ve noticed something that must happen for someone to win, accomplishing the feat of, “biggest loser”. First, there’s got to be an insatiable desire to change. Second, discipline must take hold to eat right, and even sweat while exercising. And last but not least, the disciplines learned must become a lifestyle pattern.

Questions about transformation are being asked by believers in Jesus Christ and those who won’t take that leap of faith. Does God really change or transform a life? And, if He does, why don’t we see transformation in more lives? Why do people inside the Church act the same way as people who don’t attend? Have you ever asked these questions yourself?

As a student of the Bible, I believe its message about transformation. Specifically, evidence of spiritual transformation, in a person, requires an internal miracle (2 Cor. 5:17, 18). Think about how an internal desire changes. Or think about how an internal self serving motive or intention changes to a pure, sacrificial one. Once we’ve been internally changed, we still need to practice discipline (Truth study to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2), listening to and talking to God, hanging out with people who strive to be Christ followers too. And it actually needs to become a lifestyle.

Any insatiable desire for transformation out there?