On April 26, Linda Bengtson, Lutheran Brethren International Mission missionary in Japan, changed her profile picture on her Facebook page to feature the following statement: “Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.” Two days later, her husband Dean suffered a major stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body and impaired his speech. Life is fragile indeed.

While in the ICU at a hospital in Sendai, wondering what would come of this drastic turn of events, Dean came to rest in the firm belief that all this was for the glory of God. Now, four months since the stroke, Dean is back home and well on his way to complete recovery. Both Dean and Linda report how they have indeed witnessed the glory of God as they have walked through this valley. Because of this “sickness,” many around Dean and Linda have been exposed to God’s glory and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through his care and rehabilitation, Dean and Linda developed lasting friendships with doctors and health care providers who witnessed and heard about their faith. Dean’s primary physical therapist has personally visited three times since Dean’s discharge and wants to get together more often. Neighbors close to Dean and Linda have seen clear evidence of the power of prayer in Jesus’ name. As these relationships lead to conversations and questions about the hope that they have, Dean and Linda are ready with an answer… and God is glorified.

Dan Venberg serves the Church of the Lutheran Brethren as Director of Lutheran Brethren International Mission.

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