Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A letter from Tom

As way of keeping you all in the know, this letter explains the door that God continues to be widening. A ministry to those in tragedy. I sent this out today...


Dear Friends -              May 10. 2010
As most of you know, on June 28th 2009, our family’s world was turned upside down as our middle son, Jacob, was severely injured by 21,000 volts of electricity (If you need more information, see There was but one thing we were assured of: this journey would be a roller coaster. Indeed it has been, as Jake fluctuated between death and life, recovery and set-backs. Looking back over this past year, it is difficult to fathom all that has happened, but we know God has been in the midst of it. 
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3
We have seen the hand of God move: healing Jake, sustaining each of us, and calming our hearts with the reality of His presence. The community that has grown around us has been such an incredible encouragement to us. Jake is basically back to “normal”: surfing, riding his bike, driving, finishing his senior year. Now it is time for the next faith step. 
“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:4-5
Months prior to Jake’s accident, I was interested in becoming a hospital chaplain and was told to contact Larry Wildemuth, the chaplain coordinator and chaplain for MIC (Medical Institutions Chaplains) at Valley Medical Hospital in San Jose. Our first meeting, however, was not about a job, but was when Larry visited us in Jacob’s room in the ICU Burn Center. Over the last several months I have had conversations and interviews with Larry, other chaplains, pastors, as well as the board of MIC. God has prepared and ordained the steps before me and they MIC Board has been appointed me to be a chaplain with MIC serving at the same hospital we spent over 2 months.  
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, for that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8
There is a tremendous need for trained, dependable chaplains in the hospital system. Though there is a mandate to care for the spiritual needs of patients, the funding is limited. MIC is a faith-based mission, serving these chaplains who raise their own funds. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me as I walk alongside families, victims and communities in the midst of tragedy? During our journey with Jake, we received such a tremendous outpouring of prayer and support. God has uniquely guided our path for this opportunity. Hope can be so elusive, but in community we can gather around the hurting - helping them to find the peace and grace found in Christ.
“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes, so also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.” James 1:9-11
MIC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization so your donations are tax-deductible. They will provide ministry oversight, accountability and guidance as I grow this chaplain ministry. This will also include additional training and certification to increase my ministry as a trauma chaplain. My vision is to expand the ministry into Santa Cruz County as I expand my connections with churches and emergency response services. As a family, we have also begun to create a non-profit that specifically ministers to families during their time at the Burn Unit at Valley Medical. 
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Each meeting that I have, each conversation I hold, even the books that I read, confirm that God is moving me in this direction. It is a step of faith, yes, but so is each day regardless of what we think will happen. God is the one who fully holds things together and will affirm and direct us. There is beauty that comes through the ashes as we move along this “journey through fire” with our eyes on the cross. 
In grace and peace, 
Tom Kirkendall
Medical Institutions Chaplains     

 Tax-deductible support can be sent to: 
       Medical Institutions Chaplains
       751 S. Bascom Ave
       San Jose, CA 95128
 Note on check: Kirkendall Fund

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