Moving In, Praying On

I want to first apologize for not having provided any updates in recent days.  Since my last blogpost almost two weeks ago, I have spent less time on the computer and internet since I have been blogging three years ago (for good reason, of course).

If you have not been made aware, Donna Ascol (Tom’s wife) has posted a lenghty update on Tom’s health over at Tom’s blog.  As I mentioned in the comments of the last post, I do not think that Tom’s original post reflected the severity of the lightning strike, and the impact was not fully experienced until several days after his own personal reflections.  To catch everyone up, Tom has met with several doctors, including a cardiologist and neurologist, who both have given promising reports and expect a full recovery.  However, due to the fact that so few people have survived lightning strikes, there is apparently little reliable research or support to determine the intensity or extense of Tom’s recovery.  It could take anywhere from three weeks to three years (or more).

The Ascol family has been resting at the home of some friends in Michigan for the past week where they have been able to enjoy some sweet times of family worship and relax in the serenic countryside of the rural north.

I don’t know of a pithy way of describing the progress of Tom’s physical condition.  There are days where Tom is beginning to return to normal activities, such as walking, exercising, and sleeping (all of which, I would argue, we take for granted).  Yet there are nights where Tom is awakened to horrible nightmares and dark thoughts, and there are days that succumb to the unpredictable pain and discomfort of nerve regeneration and disorientation.

While the Ascol’s will be arriving back in Cape Coral by early next week, Tom is scheduled to speak at a conference in Alaska shortly thereafter.  Please continue to pray that God would give Tom strength, wisdom, and patience as God confirms His work in Tom’s heart, body, and life.  I hope to provide more updates as necessary in the days ahead to keep everyone informed on Tom’s progress.

Last Sunday, I preached on God’s providence and our pain, focusing on two main points: (1) God is sovereign over all the circumstances that bring pain and suffering to our lives, and (2) God is intimately working in and through such circumstances to do us good and advance His glory.  I concluded with the evening message dealing with providence and prayer.  Starting this Sunday, I will be preaching on the prayers of Paul for the churches as we (GBC) are currently in a two-month season of praying about church planting plans in SW Florida.  I am really looking forward to this series of growing in our devotion to prayer as well as learning about what to pray for when it comes to God’s work in the hearts of His people and the outworking of His redemptive mission in the world through His church.

Last Friday, we finally closed on our home.  That evening the truck arrived, along with over 50 people from Grace who gave up their Friday night to serve us in bringing in our belongings.  One of our neighbors came by and noted the massive amount of help and said, “Usually when people move into a new town, they don’t have any help.”  I replied, “Well, these are folks from our church.”  After exchanging a few pleasantries, she concluded, “Well, it is evident that you are loved very much.”  With a smile on my face, I shook my head in agreement as she departed.  It was then that the words of Jesus echoed in my mind, “By this the world will know that you are My disciples, by the love that you have one for another” (John 13:34-35).  I am grateful that such love was visibly and tangibly expressed to my neighbors in the early hours of our new home/gospel outpost.  🙂

I want to express my thanks and heartfelt gratitude to all you who are and continue to pray for Tom, the Ascol family, our church (Grace Baptist Church), and myself.  The immediate demands of preaching and teaching along with other matters of pastoral care and planning continue to challenge and stretch me in ways I never imagined, and I am excited about the deeper levels of desperation and dependence I have upon Jesus, that His Spirit would use me, I pray, to serve God’s people and preach His gospel.  May He own His gospel, His church, and me so that there would be more worshippers who love and praise the name of Jesus.

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6 Comments on “Moving In, Praying On”

  1. Jerry Says:

    If we had been in the neighborhood we would have helped you out as well. You are loved.

    Thanks for the updates on Tom. We continue to hold him up in prayer.


  2. I didn’t know not many people survived lightning strikes! That makes it even more amazing that just a few days after I read about Tom Ascol on your blog, a friend of mine was struck (again, in Florida) inside her sons house while unpacking. It jumped from the sink and melted a hole in her blouse.

    I also wanted to say my mom and I are both still chugging away at the Puritan Reading Challenge (7 done, 5 to go!) and really learning a lot. Thank you for blogging about it!

  3. Johnny Helms Says:

    I do pray, Timmy, that God will continually bless you and your family as you all take on these great ministries at your chuch. And even more so that He will strenghten Brother Ascol and his family, especially Mrs. Ascol, as he recovers. Pastor’s wives have enough to deal with already.

    I hate moving. But when I and my family moved to my first church there were so many men from the church there waiting as we drove up that I actually had fun. In seminary at Southeastern when a new family arrived or a graduating family moved out, the brethren in our apartment complex poured out to help. It is glorifying to our Father when we bear one another’s burdens, even little ones like moving.

  4. Adam Winters Says:

    Keep on preaching that gospel, Timmy. It seems God has brought you down to Cape Coral for such a time as this. I’ll keep Tom in prayer. I hope God uses this ordeal to make Tom’s life and ministry even more fruitful in the future. But for now, I’ll just pray God gives him the grace to appreciate such things as walking, talking, and sleeping.


  5. Thanks everyone for your very kind comments. The past two weeks have been really challenging, and hopes are that by the end of next week life will start to be a little more normal. I have often reflected on where I am right now in life and how God has placed me where I am today. Blogging has given me opportunity to get to know many wonderful and encouraging people, and while I may have never met some of you in person, I am truly grateful for your prayers and support.

    Adam, my hopes and prayers are the same. Great to hear from brother. Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Greg Bailey Says:

    Dear Timmy:
    We continue to pray for Tom, Donna and all the little Ascols. But we also pray for your expanded service at GBC-CC and the health and growth in grace of the church at large. It is rather awesome how God brought you to the church just a couple of months prior to the churches need. I pray you and the great Ken Puls and the other officers and members of the church are blessed even in Tom’s debilitation.
    In Christ Alone,
    Greg Bailey


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