Update: Anabaptist Church’s ministry moves Bronx nurse to tears

Last evening Rich shared an update that left me in tears. It is so beautiful, the doors God opens, and how the care of His children gives the weary frontline workers a safe place:

***Quick report on today’s opportunities to deliver Subway/ DD/deli sandwiches, sodas, box of Joe (DD) and box of hot chocolate to the ER workers at Jacobi Medical Center. Our contact, the director of communications at Jacobi, asked us to meet her at the ambulatory entrance to the trauma center, so we pulled up there and offloaded our food and drinks, enough for about 60 people. Our friends Stan and Sharon from our church made these cool little cards with verses on one side and “If you need prayer” contact information on the back and we taped the cards on the sandwich wrappers. Sandy prayed with our hospital friend who received the food with gratefulness. She said that her father has just been admitted to the hospital this morning, and she talked about the stresses of this time at the hospital. She also took a small packet of masks that our friend Sharon had sewn and told Sandy that they could definitely use these masks for patients and other people who come to the ER.

Our friend Brendan from our church got the Subway sandwiches, so it was a neat team effort. Our daughter Bri was closing down the Eastchester Dunkin’ Donuts this afternoon because the owner (he has seven Dunkin’ Donuts) needs to consolidate his dwindling work force. So the owner told Bri to give the doughnuts and bagels to her parents to give to the hospital. Sandy returned that afternoon to DD to pick up those items and she spoke with a police officer in line. She had the opportunity to speak with that police officer and pray with him, and he recommended that she take the free doughnuts to the EMS station. Sandy thought to herself that this is what she loves to do, pray for people.  She took the doughnuts and bagels and headed off to where she thought was the local EMS station, but the GPS took her back to Jacobi. So there she was at the Jacobi Medical Center. Sandy sat in the car and prayed about what to do. She saw an ambulance pull up and decided to go up and offer the food to the paramedics. A male nurse came up behind her from getting out of his car and said “May I help you?” She said “I just came to encourage you today.” He lifted his glasses to look at her and told her “I had to step away from the madness for a little while and take a break.” The man started to cry and Sandy asked if she can pray for him. She stood there, praying for this big male nurse, with tears running down his cheeks. The man told her that he and his coworkers had just stepped outside earlier that afternoon and held hands and prayed, because there is so much stress. Here is this big guy, broken up and crying, telling her “I just had to step away from it for a while.”

Brianna has two coworkers who have each lost family members to COVID-19 in the past week. One of her co-workers lost her Grandpa, and they couldn’t even go to visit him while he was in the hospital. Another of her co-workers lost her Uncle. The co-worker who lost her Grandpa is now at home, sick.

Our friend up the block on Corsa Avenue is perhaps a few years older than us, and she has been hospitalized since Friday with COVID-19. Today they had to put her on the ventilator, which seems kind of like her health is headed in the wrong direction. Please pray for our friends and neighbors around here, and pray for us. The “news” out there gets more real when it is the news right here in our community.

Rich ***

Today they planned to serve the local EMS.

Again, if you would like to financially support the costs of this ministry,  the following email is the church’s PayPal: bjcgive@gmail.com


One medical professional, I am told by a friend, had to wrap over a dozen dead bodies in black plastic yesterday, March 31, 2020. Unless we are them, we cannot possibly imagine being responsible for that task. The strain of this, knowing that with each infected body they are exposing themselves to this virus, and with that exposure they risk infecting their families at home, is almost too much for some. Yet they press on, knowing they, too, could be that body. You don’t work that closely with death and not feel your own mortality. It is no small wonder that a medical professional would be reduced to tears when a kind strangers shows up to care and pray.

It is my hope that hearing these inspiring stories will give more believers the courage to be bold in love, practical service and prayer in this COVID-19 crisis. We live with pre-conceived notions about the people around us. A big tough nurse, on the outside, does not show us a tender soul on the inside, taxed to the endth degree by present circumstances. To be surrounded by thousands dead and dying in your city and hospital, as these healthcare professionals are in New York, would be most difficult. Not only is there sickness and death, there is the awareness that loved ones are being torn apart in their time of suffering.  That is a form of suffering all its own; one these healthcare providers are obligated to enforce. One we do well to be aware of, to pray for the healthcare providers, all frontline workers, the sick and dying, and to support those in our lives who are isolated in ways that wear down the mind and body.

I think of my brother fighting a hard battle with cancer. He has been courageous, as has his wife. We, as family, have tried to visit regularly — with some able to go more frequently than others — and cook for them. Now they are isolated, going through this battle without the physical presence of friends and loved ones. I hear her voice, the loneliness and heaviness of the journey, and ache for them.

These are difficult times for many. I am more introvert than extrovert — ambivert would be most accurate — and adjust easily to being home, or being alone, though I do miss friends from time to time, and especially miss seeing our children and grandchildren. For many this is depressing and lonely. For those in abuse situations, this is a terrifying time. As someone who grew up in violence, I remember well how times of stress and financial hardship escalated violence and death threats. For those spouses and children, this isolation is a most hellish thing.

In some way most of us, or all of us, have been impacted, in big or small ways, and for many this increases the risk of depression and suicide. As believers in Jesus, we have love and hope to offer, even if only by extending a listening ear.

For this reason the churches who insist on meeting, rather than allowing themselves to be ‘scattered to serve’, boggle my mind. Whatever the motive — whether to prove they can do their thing, or to keep the money rolling in, or whatever else might be their motives — it does nothing to convince the world of love. Absolutely nothing. It is selfish.

If we would all lay aside our temporary losses and call one another to love, prayer and kind deeds, would we not exemplify the love of Jesus beautifully? This is what drew me to the little Anabaptist church in NYC. They are heroes. They are human. They are not seeking to be noticed or idolized. (So please don’t). But they are living the love of Jesus well. They are preaching with their hands and their feet, and encouraging through prayer. They inspire me… make me ask, “What can I do to show His love?”

And amid the pressure of completing this term of university, I’m trying to find little ways of making a difference.  In the weeks and months ahead, we will have opportunity to serve our fellow mankind,  to rise up like we never have before, to carry the burden of the inevitable cost and consequences resulting from this tragic time. We need to prepare our hearts today for this call, and the doors God will open for us to take His love into the world around us.

To have one foot firmly planted in the present reality — so we can be present and supportive, and the other firmly rooted in eternity, with a heart invested in Jesus and people, this is my desire and my commitment.

My prayer for you, for me, for us today is quite simple, “Jesus, hold your children tonight. The lost ones. The found ones. The struggling ones. The secure ones. We invite you to be present in our stories, in every part. Help us, who know you, to be mindful of those in need around us… to lean in and listen to the fears around us and offer love and compassion… to hear the hearts that feel lost and alone, and offer encouragement. Help us to represent you well. Always. And in all ways. Thank you for loving us in our brokenness. Now, help us love others in their brokenness too. Amen.”

NOTE: If you have a good news story you would like me to share in the midst of the tragedy of COVID-19 , send it to my personal email. There will be no shortage or tragedy in coming days, and that tragedy needs to be acknowledged. But we also need to hear encouraging stories, and see humans coming together to support one another, and blessing those who are in the front lines.

As always…

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

Dead for One Hour

Yesterday I received a most fascinating message from my friend Norma Blank, from Pennsylvania, after she read that I had died:

“O my word friend…the post that someone put on ur wall made me go absolutely crazy…Like u passed away….I’m just so relieved that u r still here!! What In the world…”


About an hour earlier, another friend, who lost her daughter in March, had posted a note to my wall in memory of her daughter, and Norma saw it. Not knowing my family, she had no idea that the woman posting it was not my mother, or that the note was not intended as written to me.  What my friend saw, looked like this:

A note to my daughter

I close my eyes as I wipe a tear.
I just keep wishing you were still here.
I will hold all the memories deep in my heart.
Through these memories we will never part.

I close my eyes as I wipe a tear.
I just keep wishing this pain would disappear.
I didn’t get the chance to say my last good-bye.
I just didn’t think you could ever die.

I close my eyes as I wipe a tear.
All of your love I will always hold near.
In my heart and my mind I will never be alone.
When my time comes……
I will meet you in heaven!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to die, and watch people as they react to it. And I’ve even wondered if the spirits of the dead are aware of our goings on, as we try to reconcile our loss with all the other facts that play in. If the person has been ill for a long time, we are relieved that their suffering is over. If they died in a crash, instantly, we are thankful they did not suffer long, and yet the horror of it torments us. If they are elderly and all their friends have passed on, they may have longed for the day, and we are glad for them. But regardless the dynamics of the story, and ‘how’ or ‘why’ of death, we are left with grief and loss, and need to somehow reconcile that with every other aspect of these dynamics.

Do the spirits of the dead see this? Hear this? Who knows for certain. But it is a curious thought that has entered my mind, on occasion, since childhood. Having contemplated this in the past made it that much more intriguing to experience it in real life.

I read Norma’s message again, and that is when it struck me. She actually thought I was dead! I wonder how long she thought it… What did she feel… think… do?  I wrote her and asked her…

“Is it okay that I’ve had a good laugh about this? Too funny! Now I know what it feels like in real life, to have someone’s heart sink when you die. Sorry that I find that funny. I have to ask… how long did you think I was dead?  (and how did you figure out I’m still alive?)”

She wrote back: I thot u were dead for like an hr….so in the middle of not knowing I decided to wash my car and I was like goin in circles literally and wondering how in the world this all happened so fast ..and ur poor kids ..and husband ..and the funeral will prob b on Sunday and I’m just wondering why I was so crazy with it all!” Her next message was, “And then !!! U posted something!!!!’ and u were alive!!!!!!!”

I could see it all playing out in my imagination. The need to do something, to be busy, as the adrenaline of the shock runs its course. It’s distressing, that kind of thing. If not quite funny under the circumstances.

I responded with: “LOL!!!!! I’m so sorry for your loss! Your grief… whatever! But that just kills me laughing!”

I gave Tim a play by play, as I read the messages, and his very calm response was, “Maybe she could come any way, and wash our car for the funeral”.

Norma agreed. “Lol!! Yes I’m a pro car washer by now!! Went in like 35644749 circles today!!! It’s clean!!”

Then a few minutes later she wrote, “Hav I told u how glad I am that u r alive? Well I am.  so after I finally realized that u were still alive and kickn I pumped up my bike tires and went cruzin’ down the road for another hr! Not goin in circles lol! Just cruzin’ and feeling so relieved.” 

“That was a great way to celebrate,”  I wrote back,”I dream of owning a bike, one day, but as I get older, I dream less of it  So…. if ever I do slip into heaven… Go on a bike ride for me to celebrate my life.”

“awww yea”, Norma wrote back, “I’ll make a Tshirt just for u…cruzin’ for Trudy! Or make a shirt for when I go see Gods not dead….God’s not dead and neither is Trudy!! Lol'”

Now that I know what it’s like to die, and be missed and have my life grieved and celebrated by a friend, I can lay that question to rest. However, the mystery of what lies beyond that moment of exhaling here for the last time, and breathing eternal life for the first time, is left to my imagination, and I will have to wait for it.

I think of heaven often, these days…

This world is tired. The darkness that hovers all around has exhausted it. It groans, and I groan with it. I’m tired. My spirit is not at home here…. Never really was… Never really will be… Even as a child, before anyone taught me, I longed for another world and knew I was not made for this place…  And, even if I live to be 100–God helps us all if I do–that truth remains. This isn’t my home.

Don’t get me wrong. I love life. I love my family, my friends and I love what I do. And there is still so much I want to accomplish. I want to publish my first book, and a second, and a third and a fourth,… And maybe more. I want to travel to numerous countries to speak, not the least of which are plans-in-the-making for New Zealand and Australia. But the unrest, the tragedies all around, and the ‘dark side’ of my work with ongoing sexual abuse in Christian cultures… These are in desperate need of redemption.

While I wait, I will celebrate the life of One man who died for me… A God-man, who allowed Himself to be cast into the grave and hades, for my sin. Like my friend Norma, His friends rejoiced–and we still rejoice with them–because His soul was not left in hades, nor was His body left to decay in the grave. (Acts 2:31) After three days, He rose to life again to be my eternal hope.

Because of what He has done for me, I have no fear of death. What’s more, because of Him, I am offered full life, abundant life, while I here. So, because of Him, I will give the best that I have, and all that I am, to Him and His cause, and live life to the fullest, while I am here.


© Trudy Metzger

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“Your Father Died an Hour Ago”

As a young teen, and pre-teen, living under the iron fist rule of my father, in a house filled with hate, violence and death threats, I used to imagine what it would be like to not have parents. What if they died, and left us to be orphans? My older sister, Anna, would be quite capable of running the household. She had practically done it by age eight or nine. My other sisters would help, and my older brothers would manage the property. We’d be okay.

My parents usually did the grocery shopping together, for two reasons. One, because mom couldn’t drive, and the other because dad had to control the grocery money. During the worst times, I watched them drive out the lane together, and prayed a guilty prayer. I’d request a two things of Almighty God, one of which was not noble.

“Dear Heavenly Father…” I would begin, like any other prayer, and then continue with a deep, desperate plea, begging him to make my parents ‘Christian’, to be sure they both accepted Jesus. And then my prayer would wander into survival, and trying to feel noble, for my intent, I would suggest that maybe they could hit a bridge or run over a cliff and both go to heaven. In essence, I felt as if I was asking God for a mercy killing.

It was traumatizing to live a life of constant fear. And the worry that one or both of my parents might die and go to hell for what they did, added pressure and trauma of another sort. I had no confidence, if they apologized, that things would ever change. We had gone full cycle too many times for me to have any faith in that bringing about any kind of lasting change. My prayer was the only way I knew to take care of it, once and for all.

There was one other option that several siblings and I had discussed, that we felt might be effective. But the risk, should we get caught conniving such a thing, was too big. It could potentially cost us our lives.

My father had an ungodly fear of ghosts, in the sense of ‘divine messengers’. And his ‘reverence’ for God presented itself more as debilitating fear.

One evening I, and my three siblings next older than me, started scheming of a way to use this to bring dad to full repentance and transformation. We would need one of mom’s galvanized steel tubs, some rope and a large white bed sheet. One of us would have to be the ghost, and sit in tub. We would attach ropes to the handles of the tub, and gentle lower the volunteer ‘ghost’ from Wil’s window, which was situated directly above mom and dad’s bedroom window.


The ghost would rap on their bedroom window, swaying gently back and forth, and begin to call dad, in German, by first name, in an eerie, ghost-like voice. We would then tell him to be afraid, very afraid, for the sins he had committed, and to repent and treat his family well, or certain doom would be his. We practised what that should sound like, and laughed until we almost wet ourselves, as we imagined how he would dive out of bed and onto his knees.

By the time we had created the scene, we had released the stress and tension, and never quite had the courage to follow through, which disappointed me terribly. I was ready to try anything to inspire change.

After I moved out at age fifteen, and for many years after that, I tried to imagine how I would respond at news of dad’s death. Would I be relieved that the demons of fearing for my life would finally be silenced? Would I be sad, because there was a side of dad that was fun? And even if we disagreed on just about everything from religion to politics, and everything in between, I enjoyed some of our discussions. We definitely disagreed on prophesy, revelations and end times, something that devastated him, as though he had failed me personally. Would I miss those times? Or would the relief override all of that?

In dad’s last years, as illness slowly killed his body, literally, my terror of him disappeared. At family gatherings, until that time, if he left the table for anything at all, my mind immediately created a scene of him returning with a gun and opening fire. Not once in his healthy years did we get together, without that fear being very present for me.

But as his health declined, and his brute strength gave way to feeble bones, and weak muscles, that fear left. I no longer saw a vile, evil man, but a man destroyed by his own sin. During his extended hospital stays I tried to go visit him several times a week, even though I was pregnant and it was a ninety minute drive both ways.

When it was just the two of us in that room, talking heart to heart, I got to know my dad. He had told me bits of his story ten years earlier, when he was arrested and placed in a locked down psyche ward for uttering death threats. But that was different. In the hospital, in his old age, I heard his heart. His fears. His grief.

We talked a bit about what life had been, at home, when I was younger. He looked at me then, with tears in his eyes, and asked me to forgive him for all the evil things he had done against me.

“I forgave you a long time ago, Dad,” I said. “It’s what set me free from that stuff.” We talked a while longer, and then I left for home.

How times had changed. God answered the prayer to bring dad to repentance for the evil things he had done, but sparing his life.


On February 21, 2003, a beautiful, spring-like day, I was busy washing windows when the call came.

For all that I had imagined, in days gone by, of what I would think or feel, nothing could have prepared me for that moment.

“Your father passed away an hour ago… It was sudden… We think it was a heart attack…”

There was no undoing it. No bringing him back to life to talk about all that had been. No saying, “I love you”, one more time. I had started when he was in the psyche ward, to hug him and say those words. He never knew what to do with it, or how to receive it, and he could never really respond, but that was okay with me. It wasn’t about comfort, it was about overcoming and breaking generational chains.

For several nights after his death I had brutal nightmares, and then they stopped. Nightmares that had haunted me all my life, of fighting to survive against gunshots or knives, stopped. And they have happened but once or twice since. They were over.

But the ‘relief’ never came. The moment of ‘thank God the terror is over forever’, never hit. Only a sad awareness that many years were stolen by sin, and the overruling joy that dad saw it in time, and asked me to forgive him.

Ten years ago today, I lost my father. If I could sit down with him for one more cup of piping hot coffee–so fiercely hot that it has to be poured into a saucer to drink it–there is much I would say that I never had the courage to say then. I would ask more about what happened to his heart, in all that chaos. I would try harder to help him know himself, and find deeper healing. And I’d do it sooner.

In spite of moments, like today, where I remember with an element of grief, I don’t waste time with regrets, rather I try to learn from the past….

canstockphoto12188171I encourage you, parents… Call your children. Get together with them to talk heart to heart. Tell them you’re proud of them. Tell them you love them. And, by all means, take ownership and tell them you’re sorry. That conversation is the key to freedom for you and your children. I can’t promise that it won’t get worse before it gets better. But it’s the risk you have to take, even if you don’t see the reward for many years. Or ever.

And children… Forgive your parents. They are the product of what life did to them, of their own suffering. If you don’t forgive, you will become like them. You will fight it with all that you are, but you will look in the mirror one day and see your dad, or your mom.

Forgiveness is the key that opens a new door, to a new future, a new life. It opens the door for your children to forgive you one day, when you sin against them.

Today that door stands before you. Will you take the key you hold in your hand, and use it?

Photo Credits

The song I have chosen today, is a secular one with a powerful message. It has been my theme song, in my relationship with my father, since his passing. I think I listen to it every year, and thank God that dad and I had that conversation in the living years. I apologize if it offends anyone that I, in ministry, would post a secular song, but I unapologetically leave you the message it holds:

Living Years, Mike & The Mechanics

“RIP, Dad. In spite of all things, I have always loved. you. I always will.”

© Trudy Metzger

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