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REMAINING THANKFUL


Boyce Mouton wrote this story when he ministered in California many years ago:


“In 1954, a young missionary recruit to Alaska was stricken with a paralytic disease which left her bedfast for the last 10 years of her life. Her name was Marie Napier.


The first time I met Marie was in her home in Sunnyvale, CA. As I stepped into the front room, I immediately discerned the sickening pulsation of her breathing machine. It was a rocking bed, the first one I had ever seen. The bed, patient and all, was rocking back and forth in large gyrations.


Marie was emaciated and pale. She had not moved in over five years. I awkwardly tried not to stare at her shriveled body.


I clumsily looked at my feet to conceal the expression of shock on my face. I raised my eyes to concentrate on her face, and there I saw a broad and understanding smile.


Gradually, I grew more comfortable in her presence and we began to talk. It was evident that even a simple conversation was a difficult task for Marie. She timed her words to coincide with the proper movement of the bed and spoke in short sentences. When I left there that day I walked with an invigorated step. I had been exposed to a contagious mixture of warmth and courage.


I visited Marie on other occasions and each time I found the same emotion when I left. I had come to give, but I had left receiving.


The last time I saw Marie before her death was in the Santa Clara County Hospital in San Jose, CA. A power failure had stopped the rhythm of her bed, and by the time she arrived at the hospital the flame of her life was burning very low. I came the next day for scripture and prayer. The pulsing collar of the iron lung had left her neck chaffed and raw. The doctor had given her a brief respite from the painful lung to a less efficient device that did not hurt her neck. It was a ‘breathing ...

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