“THE YEAR I WAS ALMOST NOT HERE“
In March of 2012 as most of you know I had a sudden low blood pressure flow, and we thought it was time for me to go. It caused the heart to stop & my body to drop (3 times).
Thanks to JAH and being marvelously made (Ps. 139:14) my life continues today with the security of a BIOTRONIK Cardiac Pacemaker. Many have wondered, “how did that happen with Steve McDowell? He’s always been in pretty good shape”. Well, this was due to Ecc. 9:11 “unforeseen things happen” and in this case, I took the wrong medicine for my bronchitis and it caused a sudden drop in blood pressure and I passed out after trying to eat dinner. I was so happy to be in the right place at that time. We were on vacation in the States visiting our dear friends W. & G. Felder in one of the Long Beach congregations, being there as the guest speaker for the Memorial. Thankfully they live near a hospital but for some reason I had to be rerouted to a better hospital that specializes in heart and lung diseases. I went out a second time in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. After 2 days of testing and a $8000 bill they found nothing wrong with the heart or blood pressure. I had no insurance so they planned on releasing me. Before releasing me, they suggested that I wait for one more specialist to at least see me. She suspected what the problem was and gave me what they call “THE TILT TABLE TEST”.
They say that within 45 minutes to an hour The TTT can imitate and diagnose the cause of sudden drop in blood pressure that causes the heart to stop. Well in my case, after 20 minutes horizontal(that’s laying down) I was OK. Then within 3 minutes of being strapped in a slightly vertical/standing position I felt a little wheezy in the stomach and suddenly I went out like a light. The two medical technicians at my side were shocked that my heart quit in just 23 minutes into the test. It was record time for them and they could not believe I was gone so fast. They stalled 30 seconds before reacting and starting to revive me. Then they informed me afterward about what happened and that my problem is not the heart, but sudden low blood pressure in the vessels . The female specialist said “just as a backup it is best to have this special reactionary pacemaker put in”. It will be set to only kick on if the heart rate drops below 50bpm. ‘OH no! How am I going to give the Memorial Talk this Thursday, our Special Program and the Public Talk recuperating here after this surgery? Well, since I wanted to live forever and through the “Great Tribulation” within 4 hours the operation started.
By the time Roni found out, I was already preparing to go into surgery. I was given the Gold Standard BTK Pacemaker and the female specialist thankfully recommended me for the hospital’s special financial assistance.
Recuperating with Roni just after SURGERY.
Roni now a lil better 🙂
The hospital had a program to help non insured patients pay a part of the bill. I filled out the paper work but they ask for some money on good faith. We only had our $500 vacation money that Roni tried to get from the hospital ATM but because it was in a foreign account, it did not work from the hospital ATMs. Their agent told me “don’t worry, get it out later and when you leave the hospital just bring it with the papers to the Financial Office. I will be waiting”. Well after the Saturday surgery, that Monday I checked out and forget to take the agent the money. So Tuesday we went back to her office and she was not there. No one was there and I noticed a JW Calendar on the wall. “Somebody here is a ‘Witness’ I thought”, a lady came to attend us and asked for my information to check in the computer. When she saw the WATCHTOWER information, she was all smiles and introduced herself & another Sister. I explained that we are missionaries on vacation when this happened and explained our $500 situation. She said “just leave the financial assistance paperwork and she will have the original lady submit it”.! They didn’t ask for the money.
SISTERS THAT WORK IN THE FINANCIAL OFFICE 🙂
About a month later I received an ambulance bill and then a letter from the Financial Aid Committee of the Hospital that said they considered my case (Missionary and X Firefighter serving abroad) and as a result, my $103,000 Hospital Bill’ has been completely covered. I didn’t have to pay the hospital anything, not a dime! And If I didn’t start to cry I’m telling you a lie. Roni and I just felt Jehovah’s backing through this whole experience. He lets some things take their course, but he’s there to support. Many times we have seen “the hearts of men in the hand of Jehovah” for the sake of us, his people. Well, that’s one less bill for the ‘Organization’ and a little bit more $$$ left in the pockets of the McDowell’s.
LA ESPECIALISTA/THE SPECIALIST: Using the “MILK” resources of the nations to help me :- ) ALICIA MONTANEZ, MD
I was still able to give the Memorial Talk a few days later, but the rest of the week was modestly canceled and spent in Palm Springs just eating and recuperating.
Taken to Palm Springs for a lil solitude with dear friends.
My uncle from Palm Springs & my Only Brother of 6 Siblings in the Truth from Houston, TX come to here the Ressurection Talk.
We have heard that some areas are not very appreciative, not receptive to these special arrangements for encouragement. Well, not to be offensive to others, but the ‘California Friends’ are famous and still so attentive and appreciative of us Special Fulltime Servants who arrive there with talks and programs for spiritiual interchange of encouragement (Ro. 1:10, 11).
ENJOYING THE EAGLEROCK BROTHERHOOD & THE FOOD THAT’S SO GOOD :-).
Giving my favorite Talk #145 “WHO IS LIKE JAH…?
YES , the BROTHERHOOD is GOOD (John 14:35) Again, we thank you ALL for your fine spirit (3John 5&6)!
6 MONTH CHECK-UP DUE, TO MAKE SURE THE PACEMAKER WILL FUNCTION FOR YOU.
In conclusion, we say thanks to being wonderfully made by our God JEHOVAH to be able to recuperate. To date there has been no relapses. I still run 2-3 times a week and lift light weights. I was still warned I should never be dehydrated or let my body get into a weak state especially living here in the Hot Tropics. The device is checked every 6 months and every time I’ve gone in, the Specialist & Pacemaker Technician are impressed at the stability of my circulatory system. I’m sure it helps also to live the calm protected yet active missionary life with the support of a firm yet good wife.
So in this last year, what would I have missed if I wasn’t here? Not only Roni, but simply “these blessings of JAH that makes rich” (Prov. 10:22). Now for more of what I would have missed this year.
1ST KINGDOM HALL I EVER ATTENDED BACK IN 1971
BLESSINGS NOT MISSED
Every time we go back to Cali, it is a blessing to see many friends in the Brotherhood, but this time there were special blessings. In April, I had the opportunity after some 33 years to have a reunion with us 5 brothers, who I came into the Truth with, in the same congregation back in the 70s: HOLLYPARK, Lennox, CA. We have not all been together since our weddings in 1980-81.
Benny Harris: now a Sub. C.O. as a teen was the second brother who studied with me & provided assoc.
Terry Wilson: was his right hand man that I had not see in almost 20 years, our Live Wire,
Michael Lewis: a high school enemy who I studied with and then became my roommate at Bethel and then my Best Man at my Wedding=The Truth’s power!
Robert Hurd: a Reg. Pioneer/former singer with the Group ‘Rose Royce’ who had to battle for the Truth.
We have never all 5 been together until we all met at Benny’s home in Long Beach, CA 4/12.
It is great to see those you know still in the “Fine fight for the Faith“, yes who are still with us and not taken out by Satan’s world.
“BIG JAY MC NEELY” MY 1ST BIBLE TEACHER IN 1971 AND I HADN’T SEEN HIM SINCE THE INTNL. CONV. IN 2003. WAS A FAMOUS JAZZ SAXOPHONIST/ELDER/PIONEER.
Grammy Museum Interview PROGRAM
“BIG JAY” IN ACTION
APPRECIATION LUNCHEON FOR A SPECIAL FULL TIME SERVANT. C.O’s Wife “Sister Hawkins”
Appreciation for the older generation in a BEAUTIFUL GARDEN.
ANOTHER ANGLE LANDSCAPED GARDEN (Well done Russell :-))
These heart touching events are just a preview of what it will be like with even greater joy for all of us in the reunions of family and friends in the ‘New World’. For now in this crucial ‘time of the end’, many of us are so busy and separated while serving Jehovah’s Kingdom Interest. But in the ‘New System’ time and Paradise will be on our side. So “keep on keepin on” Friends! It’s already worth it!
In April before coming back to PANAMA, we attended the “Safeguard your MIND” Circuit Assembly. Saturday a powerful Baptism talk and Sunday a Governing Body Guest Speaker.
SAMUEL HEARD Gov. Body
Firery baptism Talk by the late Great Nate Emanuel
SAM HEARD at the MIRALOMA ASSEMBLY HALL, SO. CALIF.
And then in May the “Safeguard your HEART” District Convention in paradisiacal surroundings.
Finally I was given special permission to attend with my fellow X 13 year Panama Missionary Scott McKeel the week long Congregation Elder’s School there in Lynwood, So. Calif.
THE INSTRUCTORS: D. CIRANKO & C. VALORES – “MEN of this sort, we hold DEAR”
Two excellent instructors, District Overseers, schooled at the feet of the “Governing Body”. I could not have received it that good, any better here in Panama and it was in English too, the language of the Truth. My appreciation for JAH’S SOVERIGNTY was greatly enhanced! We are so blessed with our spiritual education in this ORGANIZATION (Is.54:13)!
After getting back to Panama, some of those salient points about taking care of our own spirituality, I was able to share here when having parts in teaching the Local Elders km School and the Ministerial Servants km School. And I used the next four months in Family Worship sharing all I could with the Wife of my life. A good way to do a review too! 🙂
After 2 months recuperation, we return home in June to share our many blessings with others.
What a coincidence that the same two missionary couples, our dear friends that welcomed us back to Panama in June are themselves reassigned out of Panama.
Our roommates Jose Manuel & Patri Rodiel (here 6 yrs.) on to Mexico to start the Manhattan P. Public Preaching there. And with the sign Mike & Heather Laschinski (here 9 yrs.) to continue the Traveling Work in English in Belize. THANKS FOR YOUR FAITHFUL YEARS HERE WITH US(Col.4;11)!
We continued here in Panama with our Limited Third World Public Witnessing 🙂
On the Inter-American Hwy at two Markets where many tourists go by on their way to vacations in our Caribbean & Darien Jungles & Beaches.
A Servant, a Pioneer, & a Publisher. All with zeal for the field.
With the computer at JW.ORG set to ‘CALEB” to attract Children. Then the Children bring their PARENTS :-).
Also in August 2012, the newly constructed Kingdom Hall that is 6 hours away in Yavíza, Darien Jungle was dedicated. Many of you saw our Floods in Panama Blog where the floods wreaked great destruction to entire towns and even to our Brothers homes. 23 had to be rescued after being stranded 5 days in the water beaten Kingdom Hall there (See 3/11/2011blog for details). Anyway, in these last two years through your generous voluntary contributions, 5 new homes were constructed for them and a new beautiful country style Kingdom Hall. We have participated in the constuction of three Kingdom Halls in the last year.
2011 RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NEWLY BUILT YAVIZA KINGDOM HALL AFTER THE FLOODS OF 2010.
DEDICATION DAY FOR THE TOTALLY REBUILT YAVÍZA KINGDOM HALL.
The Floods, relief, rescue, clean up and construction during and after the floods there, have been some of my most emotional & memorable experiences being here as a missionary, thus seeing and feeling that the ‘Brotherhood is Good!” Yes we are what we should be known for John 13:34-35 LOVE!
WE ARE NOW ALONE IN THE CHEPO MISSIONARY HOME AS OF SEPT. 2012
In October 2012 and January 2013 we had special visits from the Mexico Branch brothers to see how we are doing since my pacemaker surgery and to talk to us about a possible assignment change out of the country. Since 2010 and even more so now, that has been heavy on our minds and hearts. Where do we go now? We are from the old school training so we were taught to be willing to go where we are sent. Still waiting, but in the meantime still busy on the assembly and local levels.
Since 2010 and even more so now, that has been heavy on our minds and hearts. Where do we go now? We are from the old school training so we were taught to be willing to go where we are sent. Still waiting, but in the meantime still busy on the assembly and local levels.
S.A.D. the “Faithful SLAVE” is comparing the CONSCIENCE to a COMPASS. To what does your conscience incline you?
More blessings: Keeping busy locally
We forgot to mention that we were assigned to a new congregation in Panama while there in the States. We are in a new Congregation of 50 publishers that started March 2012. It started with 1 elder, 5 servants, 16 pioneers. All from our mother Congo Chepo that reached 130 publishers. At our return to Panama in June 2012 we were reassigned there. It is only 10 minutes from Chepo to the next town over, called Las Margaritas (No! They have never heard of the “Drink”:-). Since arriving two of our pioneers moved to serve where the need is greater, 5 others participated in the 2013 Summer Pioneer Routes/Assignments for 1-3 months.
3 OF THE MANY MARCH AUX. PIONEERS PUBLIC WITNESSING FOR THE MEMORIAL.
Another couple was reassigned which left us with 46 publishers and now here’s the clincher. Of the 42 baptized publishers, 40 were PIONEERS in the month of March due to God’s motivating Spirit in this 2013 Memorial Season. Also three of our unbaptized reached over 30 hours including Lil Nazareth a 10 year old student of Roni’s who loves the preaching and teaching work.
She has two bible studies of her own and put in 93 hours. We also had appointed in March two of those Auxiliaries to Regular Pioneers, so that is now 21 Pioneers with us Missionaries, 7 ministerial servants and still just us 2 elders. So again I’m confessing, that Jehovah is blessing.
. The Congregation meets in a family’s homeso we had our Commemoration of JC’s Death in a local gymnasium. I was privileged to give the new Outline Talk, focusing on the blessings of Jesus sacrifice for the “Other Sheep” and 108 attended here.
Both Roni and I conduct 10-12 studies a piece each month when they all study. We have plenty of studies but our greatest challenge here is getting those of our evangelical/catholic neighborhoods to come to the meetings. Meeting in a house doesn’t help (“they see a cult”). We get about 60 in attendance. So we pray that we will soon be approved for a Kingdom Hall construction real soon. You can pray for us too! Thanks.
2013 Zone Visit
Last month April 15th-28th we had our 2013 Zone Visit for the Mexico Branch and 7 Central American countries. The Missionaries and Translation Teams (268 of us) were brought in for the weekend April 19-21 to Costa Rica for special meetings with Branch Bros.
BEAUTIFUL COSTA RICA RESORT REGISTRATION AND WELCOME REFRESHMENTS.
AT THE MISSIONARY MEETING SITE. ME & RONI PREVILEDGED TO BE HERE THIS YEAR 🙂 (Missed 2012 😦 )
THE BEAUTIFUL COSTA RICA MOUNTAIN VIEW FROM OUR ROOM 🙂
A MODERN JESUS only gives a shoeshine. Then afterward, washes his feet too! 🙂
The encouragement came by two NY Bethel Branch Zone Overseers with two Service Talks and an update on NY Betel including “Warwick” which will be separate from the U.S. Branch.
FIELDING THE MISSIONARIES WITH ?s ABOUT THE CENTRAL AMERICAN FIELD MINISTRY.
Bro. MOLCHAN: BE GENEROUS & YOU BENEFIT YOURSELF.
PUT CONFIDENCE IN JAH & USE INITIATIVE!
ME AND RONI ENJOY SEEING A BEAUTIFUL COSTA RICAN PARADISE LIKE SCENE
Then there was the interchange of association between us fellow Missionaries of Central America, reminding us that we are not the only ones out here battling in the foreign ranks .
Good stuff! But it just wasn’t long enough. Too short! WE all came in on Friday and back to our assignments on Sunday (1Kings 19:15, 18).
SPECIAL DINNER, ENTERTAINMENT & ASSOCIATION