Mom’s Notes about Anna

16 07 2009

dscf3370As we prepare for our move to NC, I have been having to look through papers and such, sorting out useless papers we need to throw away from the useless papers we need to keep.  As I went through one stack of stuff, I found a notepad from the Legacy Center here at Southern Seminary.  The pad was used by my mother on one her visits here.  On it she had made a list of things that Anna did in her lifetime.  She gave it to me because she wanted me to be sure to write about all the things Anna had done.

The night that Anna died, we had to make those very difficult phone calls back to the grandparents in the US.  We tried to wait until a late enough hour in Indonesia that we were not waking people up in the middle of the night.  But we also tried to time it so that we were calling people on the east coast and the west coast about the same time since we knew that they would be calling one another.  That first phone call with my mother and father was horrible.  But that is not my point right now.  The next day (or later that same day for my mom) she called me back and we had a longer, more relaxed talk about Anna.  My mom made the comment that Anna had lived more in her nine years than most adults do with their 70, 80, or 90 years.  My mother was talking about Anna’s life experiences.  I have at other times connected my mom’s thoughts instead to Anna’s spiritual life–that it was complete, that she was a mature believer and follower of Christ.

Then the other day I found the list my mother had made for me.  It was like a list of memories.  I think all of them are good memories.  I would still like to tell all of the stories, but I don’t know if I ever will. For now, I just want to share my mother’s list with you.  These are the things my mom remembers about Anna:

Bungee jumping in Bali

Elephant ride in Thailand

Carousel ride at Pier 39 [in San Francisco]

BART and cable cars in San Francisco

Disneyland rides

Shopping at the Dollar Store

Walking across the Gold Gate Bridge

Hair braided in Bali

Train ride in Indonesia

Love of horses

Pictures she drew and painted of horses

Staying all night at the yurts [Google it if you don’t know]

Hiking to the falls in Yosemite

Going to the beach in Half Moon Bay

Going to the beach on Lake Michigan

Cutting down a Christmas tree on a farm in Louisville

Tea party in Riverbank

Playing in the river in Riverbank

Playing with the farm animals at Lisa’s

Made a quilt for her cat–wanted me to bring my portable sewing machine to Indonesia the next time I came.  Loved picking out the colors for the quilt top and putting it all together.

Her report card on the cat

Parts of her book

Pictures–I have all her letters to me.

For various reasons–the travel needs this summer, my dad’s hospitalization, our job situation–I have not really had time to think about my mom.  It seems as if her passing quickly became swallowed up by other things.  (There is a theological thought in that sentence screaming to be made!)  But I was pleasantly surprised to find my mom’s list, written in her hand, full of memories about Anna.  It is like a two-fold keepsake.  It will go into the stack of useless papers that we keep.


Borgers are Moving to NC

14 07 2009

This past year has seen many changes in the lives of Timberley, Samuel, and I.  We have experienced the death of our daughter, relocated to a new (and always temporary) location, changed our ministry and work, endured the sickness and death of Todd’s mother, and then rejoiced in the sickness and recovery of Todd’s father.His will in certain things.

Through all of these trials we have experienced the surety of God’s hand in our lives.  That hand has not always been comforting, but it has always been certain.  His hand at times has seemed severe, yet it has always inspired confidence.  We have learned through this year to trust in God despite turmoil in our lives, uncertainty about our future, and sorrow about loved ones.

God has led us through some decisions, and the results of God’s leading have led us to better understand, in part, God’s will and design for our lives, and to understand, in part, the events of the past year.  I say “in part” because there is still a vacuum that no understanding will fill.  And it is that vacuum that we must learn to live with and to offer our selves to God’s care and providence without knowing, or liking,

All that being said, I need to let you know about some recent important changes in our lives.  On July 1, we began our leave of absence from the International Mission Board.  That means that although we still have a formal relationship with the Board, we have no responsibilities and are not being supported in any way from it.  That decision was made as it became clear that we were not going to be able to return to Indonesia at this time.

As the time drew near for that break in service to begin we were contacted by a friend at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, about an opportunity to join the Old Testament faculty.  At first I did not think much would come of it, for various reasons, but perhaps the biggest being that it did not look as if they would be hiring anyone for almost a year.  We needed to find some other work before that time.  But I responded that I would be glad to talk to them about it.

As it turned out, they did want to hire someone now.  I have been invited to join the faculty of Southeastern Seminary beginning this fall.  We are working out details now, but it looks as if we will be moving to Wake Forest, NC on August 1.

It seems as if God is bringing together some new things that only He could do.  Southeastern is a place where I can be involved in training young men and women (and probably some not-so-young men and women) for gospel ministry including service overseas.  But the relationship between Southeastern and the Mission Board is such that I will still be able to see to fruition some of the goals I had made while I was in Indonesia.  It became very important to me while in Indonesia to develop theological education in other countries so as to help strengthen the local national churches and conventions.  This was a difficult task while on the field because of limited resources available and other factors.  I can see now how God might be working in a new way, however, as I will be at a seminary with greater resources and with an institutional focus on seeing God’s gospel of salvation go out to the whole world, seeing churches around the globe strengthened, and training pastors of all nations for gospel ministry.

The Swedish Tank

11 07 2009


Timberley has her dream car.

We have a new 1993 Volvo 240 Classic.  For those of you who care, 1993 was the last year Volvo made the 240 model.  To finish production they made 1600 cars specially designated as Classic.  They are individually numbered on the dashboard.

We bought this car from a local used Volvo dealer, Mike Butenko.  In the course of working out buying the car we found out that he and his wife are members of a local Baptist church and that our family had attended a missions banquet at their church in 2006.  They remembered us from that night.

The car has 132,000 miles on it.  We told Mike that our goal is to get it to 500,000.  Mike said, “I think you are seriously underestimating this car.”

Later on I talked to Samuel about it.  We figured out that if we drove 20,000 miles a year, he would be 31 years old when we get to 500K.

For another view, here is Timberley next to her baby.


Compassion in Times of Trouble? A brief note from my devotion this morning.

7 07 2009

Your compassion in difficult times is perhaps most difficult to discern, yet it is most prominent at those times.  Perhaps because I know that the difficulties ultimately derive from you as well and so I am left in a quandry.  Do I rail against you for those straits in which you have placed me?  Or do I fall before you in gratitude and take comfort from your compassions that fail not?

Life is complicated and so are you, Lord.  Your compassion is needless without the straits and the straits are cruel without the compassion.  It would seem that the wonder of serving you is that we don’t have to choose.  With one breath we can ask “why”?  With the next we softly say “thank you.”  With one hand we form a fist that we shake in frustration and despair.  With the other hand we lift our thanks to you.  Shall you accept the praise and not the despair?  Shall you accept our gratitude and not our questions?  Shall I accept good from God and not disaster?  I believe the only answer to all these questions is no.

And June Came and Went (part 2)

7 07 2009

So we wrapped things up in southern California and made our way home.  That was on a Sunday.  On Monday Dad had to go to the hospital for some tests before having the angiogram.  And then Tuesday came.  We went to the hospital bright and early.  One of the pastors from his former church was already there waiting for us.  It was 6:30 AM.  His new pastor came a little later.  My oldest brother, Richard, was in the waiting room with us.

We had been told that the doctor would use the angiogram to take a better picture of Dad’s heart.  If nothing was needed then Dad could be released that same day.  If they saw something that needed to be fixed, then they could do an angioplasty (less likely) or place a stent (more likely) using the same entryway as that for the angiogram.  If that was the case, then he would be released the following day.  The worst case scenario was that he would need surgery.

We met with the cardiologist after the angiogram and he explained that surgery was imperative and that it needed to be soon.  Dad had several blockages in the arteries of his heart.  The doctor showed us at least six places that the arteries were at least 90% blocked with several of them 100% blocked.

We spent the day with Dad waiting for a hospital room.  He was admitted that afternoon and we met Dr. Fung that evening.  Our cardiologist, Dr. Lai, was at times brutally honest about Dad’s condition.  He didn’t hold back any punches.  I think all in all my Dad appreciated that.  It was hard hearing the truth at times, but it was better to know where we stood.  But if meeting with Dr. Lai was like taking punches from a sparring partner, then meeting Dr. Fung was like getting in the round with Muhammad Ali.

We were all gathered in my Dad’s room.  It was my brother and his wife and I.  I think a nurse was there.  And another patient, of course.  Then Dr. Lai and Dr. Fung came in.  All of us standing around Dad’s bed.  Dr. Fung began.  “Mr. Borger your heart is in very bad shape.  It is very weak.  [Pause]  I can operate on you but there is a chance, maybe 10%, maybe more, that you will die on the operating table and there is nothing I can do.  [Pause]  Your heart is in bad shape.  If you survive the surgery, I cannot guarantee what will happen afterwards.  There is a good chance that you will have some kind of stroke that will kill you.  Or you might never walk again.  Or you might be a vegetable the rest of your life.  You might lose the use of your hands.  Perhaps you will go blind.  I don’t know.  [Pause]  Your heart is in bad shape.”  At every one of his pauses I could see my dad’s eyes getting wider and wider.  Finally, when he came to the end of his list of possible ways my Dad might die, I asked the doctor, “Excuse me, Dr. Fung, is there any possible good result from having the surgery?”  He seemed startled.  “Oh, yes, if I am successful (and I can’t guarantee that your father won’t die) then I think he has another 5-10 years with his heart.”  At the end my Dad had to decide if he was going to have surgery or not.  The doctor said that if he elected to have the surgery, they would start the next morning.  It was already about 8 PM.

…And June Came and Went… (Part 1)

2 07 2009

Wow, a lot can happen in a month.  I have much to tell, but some things are not quite ready to be told yet.

The biggest news is about my dad.  After my Mom’s death on May 2, I stayed with my dad in California.  We worked on getting things together at the house, getting his finances in order, finding out where Mom hid things in the kitchen, etc.  After about two weeks he began complaining about a problem sleeping.  He said that at night he would lie down and then begin having trouble breathing.  He would grow anxious thinking about his breathing and thinking about Mom and then he would not be able to sleep.  For several nights this continued.  I asked him at one point, “When did all this start?”  He answered, “About the time your mom died.”   Hmmm.  Might there be a connection?

I suggested we go to the doctor and have him checked and perhaps get some medicine to help with anxiety.  We got right in to see his regular doctor.  He agreed that this was probably related to stress fro his grieiving process and prescribed some medicine that would relieve his anxiety and help him sleep.  But he also wanted to run some heart tests “just in case.”

We had planned two trips at this time.  One was to fly out to Kentucky and see Samuel at his school award ceremony where he received his Winston Churchill Award.  The other was an American Airlines retiree convention taking place in Las Vegas.  We asked the doctor if it was all right to make these trips and he said it should be alright as long as Dad was able to sleep.  So we set off for Kentucky.

While we were in Kentucky my dad received an email saying that he had been scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist for July 6 (this was on May 22).  There was no explanation given, but we knew that it was as a result of his heart tests that had been done.  We started to try to contact his doctor’s office (no mean feat, let me tell you) and find out what was happening.  When we finally contacted a nurse in his doctor’s office my dad was told to be sure not to travel.  “Well,” my dad explained, “that will be difficult for me since I am in Kentucky now and I won’t be able to see the doctor in July unless I travel back to California.”  The nurse seemed a little put off that my dad had already traveled to Kentucky, but we were a little put off by the fact that we had great difficulty getting any information about what was wrong with my dad.

What really bothered us was that they had scheduled an appointment six weeks away for my dad.  But at the same time the office is telling him not to travel.  If it is serious enough to put this restriction on him, isn’t it serious enough to get him into the doctor sooner than that?  We were puzzled and frustrated.

When my father and I returned to California we met with my dad’s pastor for breakfast.  When he heard about my dad’s problem, he said, “We have one of the best cardiologists in the area right in our church.  Let’s ask Peter on Wednesday night what you should do.”  So on Wednesday night prayer meeting we met Dr. Lai (Peter) and went over my dad’s symptoms.  He promised to look into it and get back with us as soon as he could.  Thursday we received a phone call saying that he wanted my dad to come in right away and see him at the office.  We made an appointment for Friday morning.  On Friday we met the doctor and after looking at the initial heart scan said that this was very serious and that he wanted to do an angiogram next week.  We made an apppointment for Tuesday morning.

Since we had the weekend free we made a trip to Southern California to visit my Aunt Alice, my mom’s sister, who was in the hospital with several issues.  We had not seen her since my mom had passed away and we thought this would be a good time to see her.  We had a great visit with Aunt Alice and her children.  It was the first time I had seen some of them in close to 30 years.