Saturday, May 31, 2008

Missionary Biggest Loser #9---Another Fish Story

My memory seems to recall a certain promise made by Matt Jones on his May 10th blog. The blog was entitled "Not the Biggest Loser" at the top of the page there was a picture of a rather handsome and skinny looking man. Anyways, if you read read past my nemesis and Christian brothers' usual bloviating you'll notice a bold promise. "Next week I'll hit the 250 mark or I won't drink a pepsi for another four months." Yet as I checked the following weeks blog entry, no mention of hitting the 250 mark and no mention of the once bold promise. I am not suprised--having known him for four years now I'm used to his fish stories. After all, a leopard can't change his spots--I guess it would have been just as realistic for Matt to promise "If I don't grow wings and fly by next Saturday, I won't drink another pepsi for four months." Having returned from the States there is no doubt that Chicago is still my home, but as I exited the aircraft my sense of smell alerted me to a beautiful aroma on the horizon--to this day I can't decide if it was the smell of Polish donuts or simply the smell of coming victory--either way I find comfort. You can check out my nemesis and Christian brothers progress over at his blog, and as for my update.

May 31st/ Week #10: 249

Mental State: Chicago is home but Polish bakeries are heaven

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Airport Update

Well, I got all checked in and said goodbye to my friends who dropped me off at the airport, only to then find out that the flight has been delayed two hours, for all you Polish speakers I'm thinking "daj mi spokoj". I'm not bitter or anything, just ready to see my family. I want to thank you for praying, I am heading back to Poland in great health, and no lingering medical problems with my kidney. We are excited about some ministry opportunities in the coming weeks. First, be in prayer for Tim Reid, he is flying to Poland as we speak to do his internship with us for the summer. Tim is going into his Jr. year of college and is quite interested in Poland. We can use all the missionaries we can get over here. Poor guy is stuck with me for 9 weeks though, so you can pray that he won't be immediately scared off, especially with the drive from Warsaw to Siedlce : ). We are planning to help in a Family Camp in June, also we are currently putting together a teen camp for the end of July. Summer break begins near the end of June in Poland and we will be having a "Teen Night" every Friday through the summer where we hope to see several teens from our neighborhood step into the doors of a Baptist Church for the first time. We would appreciate your prayers in these areas. Ginger and I are about half way through language school but excited to be able to begin ministering more directly.

One final note, you have to understand that language school is only half the battle for us. To really become fluent we need to use it constantly in everyday situations and have families over for lunch or dinner so we can be completely immersed in the language. But, with all the grammar and vocab we've learned to this point, and with all the conversations we've had our language is still almost entirely secular. Unfortunately, no curriculum has yet been developed in Polish to aid missionaries who desire to work cross-culturally. That means that there is an entire set of Christian vocabulary that we have not even begun to acquire. One of the ways I am looking to acquire this language is through opening the church service with a short 5-10 minute challenge completely in Polish. It is my hope that this will speed my acquisition of Polish as it pertains to ministry. I would appreciate your prayers as I take this step and I might even send a short video clip of the first message if you promise not to laugh. Well, you can laugh, but just don't tell me that you laughed at me. Ahh, I just typed this letter out and looked at the clock---I've still got about three hours til the plane boards. I guess I was kind of hoping that the update would take a little more time.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Missonary Biggest Loser #8--I have not yet begun to fight

So I was reading my nemesis and christian brother's blog, and noticed he was hinting at me dropping out of the contest. I figured he would try to weasel out--what with his "miracle scale" breaking and everything. I must admit that I considered throwing in the towel with the weight loss thing when I was on the miserable plane ride home. But something happened over the Atlantic--I arrived at an epiphany right about the same time this one little kid wouldn't stop crying two rows behind me. The choice was either get up and smack him or refocus all my energy into this battle for the ages. This calling I now have--to represent people with one kidney everywhere, is my higher motivation. The politically correct term is "kidneylogically challenged." And I wonder if Matt Jones is awake at night with the fear that not only will he lose on June 21st. I will have beaten him while enjoying 7 of the 25 burgers on Red Robin's menu.

May 24th/ Week #9: 251 lbs.

Mental State: humble as usual

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Update On My Health

I want to start off by thanking all of you for your prayers, the notes, and all the phone calls that we have received in the last week. My purpose in this note is to give you a quick synopsis, without going into gory details, yet at the same time I'd like to share some specific prayer requests as well as specific answers to prayer. Over the last few weeks I had been experiencing some symptoms of a kidney infection and then on Saturday night those symptoms just went out of control. Long story short, Saturday and Sunday were two of the worst days "physically" that I've ever had. Ginger and I weighed carefully the decision for me to fly home. Health care in Poland is adequate, however I only have one kidney (I had the other removed 12 years ago), because of my previous problems I had some real concerns that I needed to see people who knew my history and/or could readily access my files. Flying home was a major hurdle though, because 1.) I didn't know if I could physically make it, and 2.) last minute flights are normally outrageous. Ginger and I started praying and began seeking advice, we were only finding flights for $3000-$4000 and then a last minute search on brought up a non-stop flight from Warsaw to Chicago for $1000, this was a great rate, you'd be hard pressed to get that rate booking two weeks in advance, and we had the funds in our bank account. So when that fare popped up I decided to get back to the US for treatment. The flight was really bad for me, I almost asked for medical assistance but held off fearing a "guantanamo quarantine" : )

While I was in the air my parents were working in the US trying to help me get a doctor. One answer to prayer was a lady in their church is a nurse at a urology clinic about ten minutes from their house. She discussed my case with the doctor and his advice was to get me to the emergency room. My dad met me at the airport and we drove to the Clarion West Emergency room in Avon, In. I got there around midnight, they started running tests and administering antibiotics through an IV. I was there through the night. In the morning they released me and I was set to follow up with the tests results later in the week with the Doctor I previously mentioned. I met with him today and as we began talking about my history it turns out that he did his internship at the very facility were the new surgery was preformed on me 12 years ago, there's even a chance he was observing during the actual procedure. Just a coincidence of course, no "Sovereignty" involved : ) In all seriousness it was another specific answer to prayer that I could see a doctor with firsthand knowledge of my history and the contacts to speedily get all my files. Praise the Lord, I'm recovering but it looks like my kidney will be susceptible to this for the rest of my life. To prevent this from happening again the doctor is sending me back to Poland with a year's supply of antibiotics and I am to complete an entire round whenever the symptoms begin, this is to avoid any damage to the kidney. Further tests may be needed in a year but I am thanking the Lord for the clean bill of health. I would appreciate your prayers for good kidney health, and pray for Ginger and the family in Poland without me for another week. I am so thankful for my wife, she has been a great confidant and been so strong through this, the kids are in great hands.

In Christ,

Jason Stover

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Missionary Biggest Loser #7

The picture on my nemesis and Christian brother's blog last week reminded me of a burger I once attempted to eat. This is a picture of a special burger called "Ethyl" made exclusively at "R Place Restaurant/Truckstop" in Morris, IL. Ethyl weighs four pounds after being cooked, and the guys from Bible Baptist Church in Romeoville, IL. took me there to conquer it before I left for Poland. If you can eat it all within an hour, the burger is free but you cannot get up from the table for the entire hour. I eagerly dove in, and for its size the Ethyl burger was fantastic. However, 45 minutes into the ordeal I reached the breaking point and had my first "dry heave"--the thought of everything I ate coming back. . . .uh well you get the idea. I cried "no mas," and as the waitress took the burger away she took another shot at my pride by telling about a twelve year old girl who came in the day before, ate the entire burger, and then ordered and finished off an entire desert. Of course I thought this was an urban legend but the proof was on the wall. You see they have two spots on their wall, first they have a place for the handful of people who have ever conquered Ethyl--and there was the picture of the twelve year old girl. The second place on the wall is for those who have tried and failed miserably. If you go to "R Place" today you can see a picture of me on the loser's wall looking pale and on edge.

This story has so much meaning, you see I had been training for years for that moment via Big Macs, Whoppers, and all 25 burgers on Red Robin's menu (including the one with the fried egg on top) only to come up miserably short. My confidence was shattered, my pride was smitten. It was just a few weeks later when Matt Jones and I began the contest of raising support for the mission field. This was my shot at redemption, my way to get back on the horse, and the fact that he refuses to admit defeat, gives me no closure and no rest. Mind you he refuses to admit defeat even though we raised his target for support before he did, that's right, by at least two weeks. He, like Hillary Clinton, refuses to acknowledge defeat. Sighting technicalities he continues with this facade. Incidentally, an example of his suspicious tactics can be viewed on his blog regarding what has been termed "the scandalous scale incident" of a few weeks ago. So this is it, the Alamo, the final contest, the "Battle of the Bulge" if you will, my chance at closure and vindication. As this story unfolds in the coming weeks remember this, "two pastery shops diverged in the Polish wood and sorry I could not visit both, I--I chose the one with more donuts, and that has made all the difference."

May 10/Week #7: 254 lbs.

Mental State: Skinny people make me sick

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Missionary Biggest Loser #6

Well, I reached a new low this week but I'm not talking about my weight. Because of a Polish holiday everything was closed Thursday-Sunday which means I couldn't go work out at the end of the week like I normally do. I'm so desperate and so committed to this contest that I actually broke down and did a Tae-Bo video with Ginger. Yeah you read it write, afterwards I purposely nicked myself while shaving just to make sure I had some masculinity left in me. The one positive out of the whole event was that the leotard fit surprisingly well. Now as to the contest with Matt Jones my nemesis and christian brother (incidentally, I wouldn't even wish the tae-bo thing on him) and the scandalous scale incident from a few weeks ago, we are sligthly changing the rules of the contest. At this point we are basically identical in weight so now the winner of the contest will simply be the person who weighs the least at the end. Because he started before me, his last weigh-in will be June 12 and mine will be June 21, you can check out his progress on his blog.

May 3/Week #6: 257 lbs.

Mental State: One measely pound! Billy Blanks the Tae-Bo master is so overrated