Operation Miracle

This is a modern-day story of love, hope, faith and miracles.  We have an awesome God!

He does great things too marvelous to understand.  He performs countless miracles.” Job 5:9 NLT

At a time when the news is full of sorrow, terror and discouragement, I am excited to share the story of my friends.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1Peter 5:6-7

A little about our two main characters, Ernie and Debra..

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. …The same Spirit gives a great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.” 1 Corinthians 12:7,9

Ernie’s Story:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63N-l5zvBrw

Ernie and Debra met at the hospital on May 15th but it did not go as planned.  There was a complication and the procedure had to be halted.  Debra was released after a day with some incisions and was told she would need 6-8 weeks to heal before they could go forward.

This is my command-be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Ernie didn’t let his fear of not being able to raise his young son show through.  He shared these fears with his wife, Gina.  There were so many things that he yearned to do with his family.  He continued to hope and pray.  He did more than that!

Four weeks later all were back at the same hospital – they knew it was on God’s timeline!  This was Ernie and Gina’s 8th anniversary!  The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration; it is the number of a new beginning.  Eight is 7 (which itself signifies an end to something) plus 1.  Eight is associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order.

As family and friends waited the long hours, Ernie’s mother began to hope again as news came that Debra had made it through the first part of the surgery and the transplant was moving forward.  She held a young child of a friend and stated how after Ernie recovered that perhaps “Ernie and Gina might be able to have another child!”  This wasn’t even a dream that had been hoped for until this miracle was set in motion!  Ernie groaned at the idea as we told him his mother’s dream as he was coming out of the anesthesia!

The transplant was a success!  Praise God!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

Debra did that as she took risks, not once but twice to give health and a new chance at life to Ernie.

 One of the secrets as to why God has shown favor to Ernie and Debra is not only through their faith and love in this process but in the way they love others daily.  On one pre-op visit Ernie encountered a family that appeared to be struggling. Ernie approached the family and asked if he could help them.  The sight of the baby tugged at his heart because he too has a young son.

As Ernie and Debra made the pre-op visit together before the second transplant date, Ernie told Debra about the family he had previously encountered.  He said he felt bad that he had not been able to help that family more.  As they were leaving, they saw the family.  The family was staying on the streets because the shelter in the area would not allow them to stay in the shelter during the day.  The father told a story of how he had moved the family to the area for work and he had not been able to find what he had hoped for and they were struggling.  Ernie asked if they could bless them.  Ernie and Debra went to a store and bought several essential items for the family, especially for the baby and brought them back to the family.

Debra told of how hesitant another person she met in the same vicinity was to allow her to give a hug until Debra assured her it was okay and she was extending God’s love.  This woman was so used to rejection that she didn’t know how to accept love from another human.  (She didn’t know she was in the presence of one of God’s angels!)

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”  1 John 3:18

Ernie and Debra serve as a reminder that we are here to serve others and become a miracle to other people; if only by showing a little love.

The Autism Brain Net https://autismbrainnet.org/

Sharon became my favorite sister when she was born a few hours shy of my sixth birthday.  This was about the same time I made the declaration I was going to become a teacher.  As Sharon grew she could serenade the cows in the pasture with her beautiful voice and perfect pitch but no one could understand a word she spoke.  When she was distressed, which seemed quite often due to not getting something she wanted, loud noises or who knew what, she would scream and cry.  Fortunately she had five siblings who would come to her rescue.  She had a way at an early age of gathering us around her.  Sharon was diagnosed with a disability when she was five and our family learned to navigate the launching of special education programs in the schools thus my interest in this area of education was born.  Sharon was later identified as having autism.  Sharon learned to speak as she grew older and she enjoyed many things like church, dancing and listening to music, summer camp and going to concerts especially to see her favorite singer Neil Diamond.  Sharon loved her nieces and nephews.  Some have grown to become volunteers with people with disabilities or have chosen a career in the field.  No doubt due to Sharon’s influence.

In her late thirties, Sharon was told she had Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation, a rare disease.  This is what ultimately led to Sharon’s early death a week before her 41st birthday.  Throughout her life and valiant fight for life, our family rallied around Sharon and learned even more about love, courage and strength from this remarkable woman. 

During this time period, as Sharon bravely clung to life, I learned about the Autism Tissue Program at an autism conference.  My family and I knew that this was a program in which Sharon could leave her legacy as a way to contribute to the research of this complex condition. Sharon Haugen is listed on the Memories of Hope page.

Carolyn Hare and Jane Pickett with ATP, now Autism BrainNet, made the whole process easier during this difficult time.  We would like to encourage others to consider the Autism BrainNet program  https://autismbrainnet.org/   It is much easier to sign up for the program before a time when emotional decisions are being made.  There are links on this website that will give the reader the latest information on the causes of autism and the implications for the future for those effected by this condition.

Sharon’s legacy lives on not only through the donation she made but more importantly through the imprint that she made on our lives.  We have a better understanding and caring for people who are different and perhaps appreciate our own differences and gifts a little more.