A Missionary at 16 Weeks
By Connie Perrin (Mom)
“For You formed my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, NASB).
“I can’t find a heartbeat,” the doctor said.
It’s hard to know where to begin the story of my precious little Hunter. I saw the Lord work miracle after miracle along the way of his short little life. You see, he was a miracle from the beginning.
We were very surprised when we found out we were expecting. I’m 43 and my husband, Mike, is 47. We thought we were heading toward the end of our “child-rearing” days with a daughter in her senior year of high school and a son in the seventh grade. Read More
When we learned we were expecting, surprise and fear set in. “What are you thinking, Lord? I’m 43 years old. I’ll be close to 62 when this baby graduates from high school. I’m too old to be a new mother. I’ll forget where I put him.”
Well, the fears gradually disappeared and excitement, anticipation and joy began to take its place. I watched as God orchestrated the meeting of every need along the way. As time went along, I knew He had great things planned for this child. I just couldn’t believe He would choose us to be a part of it.
For instance, when it comes to miracles and meeting needs, there were the maternity clothes. My maternity clothes had long ago been given away. And granted, they’re probably back in style now (well, maybe not…I don’t think they were in style when I had them), they’ve been gone for many years. But God knew of my need.
His word says, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33).
One day, early in my pregnancy, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and there, with a huge smile on her face, was a precious sister in Christ. In her hands were two huge bags filled with brand new maternity clothes that she had just purchased for me-clothes nicer than what I wear every day. The Lord knew my need. He had a plan for Hunter from the beginning, and He didn’t want me to worry about anything along the way. He had everything already taken care of.
Maternity insurance-something else we didn’t have. (Who would think we would need it at our age?) I contacted the doctor’s office.$2,700. It might as well have been a million. We live from paycheck to paycheck. We didn’t have the money. When I asked when it would need to be paid off, I was told that the doctor usually liked it taken care of by the seventh month.
Here I was already two months pregnant with only five months left to pay the bill. We were looking at $500 to $600 a month. I asked if we could make payments, like $100 a month (wondering where even that would come from). I hoped they wouldn’t put the pencil to the paper and figure out the length of time it would take to pay it off. At that rate it would take approximately two and a half years. I waited for a response.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I talked to another precious sister in Christ. I told her that the Lord knows our financial situation, and I told her that we were just going to have to sit back, trust Him, and watch Him perform His miracles. Little did I know what He had in mind.
Well, I thought the miracle that God was going to perform was that the doctor had consented to the $100 a month. That was a wonderful blessing in and of itself, but that wasn’t what God had planned. Sometimes I tend to limit what He’s able to do.
The following month I went in for a checkup. Shirley, who works in my doctor’s office, took me to a back room. She began our conversation with what we had agreed to the previous month. “You know how we agreed to you making monthly payments of $100?”
“Oh, no,” I thought, “he realized it’s going to take two and a half years to pay the $2,700, and he’s changed his mind.”
“Well,” she continued, “shortly after we made those arrangements, someone came in and paid off your bill.”
I stood there. I couldn’t help but cry. I didn’t know what to say. Shirley kept saying, “Santa’s come early; Santa’s come early,” to which I kept replying, “No, it was the Lord; it was the Lord.”
Even as I sit and write these words right now, the love of the Lord washes completely over me, and my eyes, once again, fill with tears. The Lord had plans for this precious baby boy, and all He wanted me to do was to trust Him.
When I told Mike the news, it was as though years had been erased from his brow. The burden that he had been so quietly carrying was now lifted. The Lord had whispered our need into the ear of a brother and/or sister in Christ, and they followed Him in answering those whispers.
Mike and I kept repeating to each other and others, “The Lord has great plans for this baby.” Thoughts of being a preacher or a missionary kept going through my mind.
There were so many other instances where God performed His “miracles” along the way. There were the three separate trips to the lab for blood work, the ultrasound…all provided for.
I can’t even begin to tell you how He has had His hand on our lives through all this, and what a blessing He’s given us through our church family. What an incredible group of believers we have at Midland Bible Church. They truly live what they believe.
They have loved us, been excited with us, prayed with us and for us, and helped us in SO MANY ways. They have allowed the Lord to work through them to glorify Him. I pray that He will bless them for everything they have done.
That takes me to January 7, 2005. What I thought was a routine checkup was anything but routine. When my doctor listened for the heartbeat, it couldn’t be found. He searched repeatedly for it. Still nothing. He brought in his portable ultrasound machine. Still nothing.
He made arrangements for a high-powered ultrasound for me on Monday, three long days away. I knew by the concern in his voice that it wasn’t good, but I didn’t want to believe anything had happened to the baby. After all, God had great plans for him…he was going to be a preacher or a missionary.
Monday came and the ultrasound confirmed his fears. The precious life that had once been kicking inside me was now silent. He was at home with the Lord. All that remained was his fragile little body, safely resting in his mother’s womb.
Arrangements were made for inducement on the next day, Tuesday. That night, after an emotionally exhausting day, I finally drifted off to sleep. I awoke, however, at 2:00 a.m.
After tossing and turning in bed for a while, I got up and moved to the couch. I thought of our Father. He knows what it feels like to lose a Son, the pain I’m going through. Jesus’ life was cut short at the age of 33.
Thoughts of David crossed my mind. He, too, had lost a child. I took comfort in his words: “.I will go to him, but he will not return to me”
(2 Samuel 12:23). He knew where his child was-in heaven-and he knew that he would see him, once again, there. This verse gave me hope.
Then I remembered what Paul had said in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8: “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-for we walk by faith, not by sight-we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
I thought about what it had said: To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. That was exactly where Hunter was…safe in the arms of our Savior.
Then I thought about all that the Lord had done in our baby’s short life. “But Lord, you performed one ‘miracle’ after another. I just knew this baby was going to be a preacher or a missionary someday.”
What I hadn’t realized was that God’s mission field for Hunter was to begin five months before his due date, at Midland Memorial Hospital. God had a purpose for my baby’s life. Hunter needed a voice, though, because he couldn’t speak for himself. I wanted his life to make a difference for eternity in other people’s lives. I had to speak for him.
From 2:00 a.m. till 5:00 a.m., I prayed for the people we would come in contact with at the hospital. I prayed that the Lord would use Hunter to change lives. I prayed that the Lord would bring people across our paths that needed to know Him as their Savior. I prayed for their hearts and for our boldness.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. The first nurse I came in contact with was Teresa. “Is she the one, Lord?” Quickly, I learned that Teresa was a believer. She had also gone through what I was going through…twice.
She came and sat with me at one point when Mike had to run an errand. We shared our faith in our precious Lord with each other. I felt His love pour through her.
The next nurse was Trina. She, too, was a believer. She was encouraging and loving. Both nurses were gifts from the Lord.
Hunter arrived at 6:38 p.m. What a precious baby boy. So little, so fragile. His little hands and feet barely measured a half an inch long; his body barely six inches long. Those feet would never run to me; his hands would never hold mine…at least not on this side of heaven. Yet, as small and as fragile as he was, he was still beautiful to me.
I held Hunter, loved on him, prayed for him, sang to him, and kissed him good-bye. He was now in the arms of my Savior. He would one day tell me all the Bible stories I had hoped to tell him. He, however, was going to learn them firsthand from the people who lived them. I asked the Lord to hold him close and to love him for me.
When I arrived in the room I would be staying in for the night, my mind quickly went back to the prayers from earlier that day. It was now around 11:40 p.m. I began to pray, “Lord, it seems that all the people that have come across my path today are believers. Please, for Hunter, bring me somebody that doesn’t know You. Please, Lord, for Hunter.”
Soon a sweet little nurse named Doris came in. She took my temperature and pulse and then left as quickly as she came. Then Karen came to my room. She was going to be my nurse. I began to talk with her. I told her about how wonderful my church family had been through all this, and then I asked her if she had a good church family. She kind of shrugged her shoulders and then replied, “No, but I have a best friend.” She then quickly left the room.
The thought came across my mind that she was the one. She was the one the Lord brought to hear the gospel. It was close to midnight, though, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I had been up almost 24 hours. I had been given two sleeping pills on top of that, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do-sleep.
I thought, “Lord, it’s so late, and I’m so tired. Would it be okay if I shared the gospel with Karen in the morning?”
Then one of Fred’s sermons crossed my mind. He told us the story about Billy Graham. Billy Graham had had the opportunity to share about Christ and His Second Coming with President Kennedy. The President thought it was “very interesting” and wanted to talk more someday.
Then several years later their paths crossed again at a mutual speaking engagement. After their talks, President Kennedy asked Mr. Graham if he would ride back to the White House with him. He told him that he wanted to see him for a minute.
Mr. Graham, however, was feeling ill from the flu. Not wanting to make the President ill, he asked him if they could wait and talk on another day, when he felt better. The President graciously agreed.
An assassin’s bullet, however, prevented that meeting from ever taking place. Mr. Graham regretted the missed opportunity to speak with the President. He never knew what was on the President’s mind.
A missed opportunity… those words kept running through my mind. In order for me to talk with Karen in the morning, it would mean that she would have put in a very long night. I didn’t want to take the chance that she would be gone in the morning. I decided to call her back to my room.
When the door opened, I expected to see Karen strolling in. It wasn’t Karen, though; it was Doris, the sweet little nurse that had taken my temperature earlier. My heart sank. I wanted Karen, not Doris. I felt like Karen might not know Christ; I didn’t know about Doris.
I paused for a second then asked her if she would turn out the light. She quickly complied and turned to leave. I then asked her if she would stay for a minute and talk with me. She gave me a smile and agreed to stay.
She came closer to my bed. I looked up into her beautiful eyes. “Doris, I know my baby is in heaven because I believe the Bible tells me he is. And I know one day I’m going to be in heaven, and I’m going to be able to see him again. Doris, do you know if you’re going to be in heaven one day?”
She looked at me and said, “You know, I sure hope so. God is a good God, and I sure hope so.”
I replied, “Doris, may I share with you how you can know for sure you’re going to go to heaven when you die?”
She smiled again and responded, “Sure.”
I began to share the gospel with her. I told her what the Bible says about us-that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I asked her if she knew what “sin” was. She did. I then explained the verse through a word picture like we had been taught through EvanTell training.
“Say you and I were going to pick up a rock, and we were going to try to hit the brand new baseball stadium from here. Now, you’re probably stronger than I am, and you can probably throw it farther than I can, but we’re both going to miss the stadium. We’re both going to fall short; we’re going to ‘miss the mark.’
“That’s what it means when it says that we ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ See, God is a perfect God, and because of sin in our lives, we fall short of God’s standard of perfection to have a relationship with Him.” She understood.
I once again gave her a word picture explaining Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” “Say I agreed to pay you so much money for taking care of me in the hospital-taking my temperature, etc. At the end of the day, after you had taken care of me, you would come to me to collect your wages-what you had earned.
“When the Bible says that the ‘wages of sin is death,’ what that means is that because we have sin in our lives, what we have earned and what we deserve is death…to be eternally separated from God.” She repeated many of the words I had spoken.
“Doris, that’s the bad news, it’s about us, but there’s some good news, it’s about God. The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that ‘God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’
“Say you were in the hospital, dying of cancer, and I was somehow able to come to your hospital room and take all your cancer cells off of you and put them onto me. What would happen to you?’
“I would live,” she replied.
“What would happen to me?” I asked.
“You would die because you had my cancer on you,” she responded.
“That’s exactly what Jesus Christ did. God came to the earth as a man named Jesus Christ. He was human, yet He was still fully God. He took all of your sins, all the things that were separating you from the Father, and put them on Himself when He died on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sins.
“And not only did He die on the cross and was buried, but three days later He rose from the dead, proving that He is who He says He is-God. Because only God has power over sin, and only God has power over death.
“The Bible says in John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world,’ He so loved you, Doris, ‘that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ What does it say you have to do for this eternal life?”
“Believe in Him,” she replied.
“That’s right. The Bible also says in Ephesians 2:8-9, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.’”
I explained that “grace” is when someone shows you favor or kindness when you don’t deserve it. I shared that “saved” means saved from having to pay the penalty for our sins. I explained what “faith” means. I gave her, again, the word picture that we had been taught in our training. She understood that it meant to trust, to believe.
Next, I went over my favorite part of that verse-that it’s a gift of God. I pulled off my ring. “Doris, let me explain what it means to be a gift. Say I were to give you my ring, and in exchange for my ring I would ask for your stethoscope. Would my ring be a gift?”
“No, we traded for it,” she replied.
“Or say I were to give you my ring and then tell you you had to clean the floor for it. Was it a gift?”
She looked down at my ring. “No,” she said, “I worked for it.”
“Right,” I responded. “Or say I were to give you my ring and then tomorrow I came back and said, ‘Give me my ring back.’ That wouldn’t be a gift either, would it?”
She looked up at me, shook her head, and said, “No, it wouldn’t.”
“Exactly. And the Bible says in Romans 11:29 that ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’ He never takes them back.
“But say I had my ring in the palm of my hand, and I extended it out to you for you to take, but you never took it. Was it a gift to you?”
She again looked down at my ring and then our eyes met. She understood. “No, I didn’t take it,” she answered.
“No, it wasn’t,” I explained, “because you never accepted it. But the Bible says that ‘it is a gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.’” I explained that “works” are anything that we feel we have to do to “earn” our way into heaven. It’s as if Christ’s dying on the cross wasn’t enough; we have to do something for forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.
I told her that His word says it’s a gift. You don’t have to work for it, trade something for it, and He’ll never take it back. All He wants us to do is to accept it; accept the gift He’s offering through Jesus Christ. All He wants us to do is to believe in Him for forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.
A smile began to form across her lips as her face began to light up. I said, “Doris, do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead, and that in Him you will receive forgiveness of your sins and eternal life? Do you believe He did that for you, Doris?”
“Yes, I do!” she replied. “I believe He did that for me.”
“Then no one can take that away from you. Could you pass me my Bible, please?” (Due to my epidural I was “paralyzed” from my waist down. My legs might have been paralyzed but my mouth wasn’t! Had the nurses and everybody known I was going to be a “jabber jaws,” they probably would have requested the epidural to go a little higher up!)
Doris then handed me my Bible. I opened it up to John 6:47. We read it together. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
I looked up at her big brown eyes. “What does it say you have to do for eternal life?”
“Believe,” she responded.
“That’s right.” We then turned to John 5:24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
I said, “Doris, if you believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose again from the dead, you have ‘heard His word.’ Then does it say you ‘might have eternal life,’ or does it say ‘has eternal life’?”
“It says ‘has eternal life,’” she responded.
I again asked, “Does it say ‘might not come into judgment,’ or does it say ‘does not come into judgment’?”
She responded, “It says ‘does not come into judgment.’”
“That’s exactly right,” I told her. I then took her over to John
10:27-30: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them.”
“Does that say He ‘might give eternal life to them’?”
“No,” she said, “it says, ‘I give eternal life to them.’”
I continued reading, ‘“.and they will never perish.’ Does that say they ‘might not perish’?”
“No,” she replied, “it says that ‘they will never perish.’”
I finished the rest of the passage, “.and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
“You see, Doris, once you believe that Christ has died for your sins, and you trust in Him for forgiveness of those sins and eternal life, you now rest in the palm of His hand; and no, NO ONE, is able to snatch you out of His hand. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, I do!” she said with excitement in her voice. “I do!”
We spent a little time going over some more Scriptures, I invited her to my church, and then we talked a minute about her grandson. She’s very proud of him. Time passed so quickly. By now the sleeping pills were starting to kick in; and she had to leave. She told me the others would wonder where she was. She then thanked me for sharing with her. I told her that there was a reason that she was there at that moment, as well as myself. The Lord wanted our paths to cross that night.
When she left the room, I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to share with Doris. Then thoughts of Hunter came flooding back. I once again thought of how he has no voice to share the good news about Jesus Christ, and that I must be his voice, along with others.
It is my hope and prayer that God will use his short little life to bring people into His kingdom. It is my prayer that this is just the beginning of his mission field, and that the Lord will be glorified through him, this precious little gift that He has wrapped in His arms.
Hunter Lee Perrin, although you were only four months in my womb, you will forever be in my heart. I love you, my precious little one. I will see you again one day in paradise. In the meantime, Lord, hold him close and give him a kiss for me.
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