July 16, 2011, Nashville, Tennessee~
Dear Church Family~
This won't be long, but I just wanted to let you know that I am out of the hospital and am back home, where I continue to recover from my injuries.
I am in some pain still, but nothing like I was when this first happened several weeks ago. I was attacked by several teenagers; it's a thousand miracles that I wasn't killed or paralyzed. I suffered a concussion, a bruised back and kidneys, several cracked ribs, interanal bleeding (that's since stopped, thank goodness!), a broken arm and shoulder (my left), and a sprained neck. The neck is just about healed, but it still gets stiff, especially in the morning when I first get up.
I am happy to say that the police found (and caught) the teenagers who were responsible behind the attacks. They are now in a juvenile facility for troubled teens. They will probably be there at least several months, according to police reports. I have been lifting the youngsters up in my prayers and hope that God softens their hearts to the point of repentance.
I also have been praying for their souls, that they come to know the saving mercy/grace that is in Jesus Christ.
I am not angry at the young men by any means, but I do feel sorry for them. I have forgiven them; now it's their turn to come to me and apologize for what they did to me. They may never do this, but then again, they might. God works in mysterious ways when one least expects it.
Toni (my wife) and the children are glad I am home. So am I. Being in the hospital is not fun, especially during the Fourth of July. I didn't get to see any fireworks, but I made sure my wife took the children to see some.
I did get my burger (with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard and ketchup, and Cajun seasoning) the day after I got out of the hospital, and it was very good. Toni sure is a wonderful cook! She is a whiz on the grille!
I will be preaching tomorrow at church, the first time since the attacks. I know everyone will be very glad to see me. Well, the feeling's mutual: I will be glad to see my church family. I have felt their love and prayers throughout this entire event, and I think that is one reason why my recovery has been fairly rapid. I pray this continues.
I will be talking about how no sin is too great for one to come to the saving power that is found in Jesus Christ. I honestly hope that the young teenagers who attacked me several weeks back will be allowed to come to church; I feel this message is directed at them, not to mention, anyone else who might be struggling with things or feel that God could never love/forgive them for what they may have done in life.
Well, my ribs are starting to ache again, and my cast is getting heavy, so I must lie down and rest. I'm not quite up to speed yet; won't be for at least several more weeks. Just keep those prayers/cards/good wishes coming; they are very much appreciated by me and my family! Thank you in advance; thanks for standing by me during this ordeal!
~Yours in the wonderful name of Jesus,
Pastor Bruce Bilkey, Senior Pastor at Christ Community Assembly of God Church.
~To be continued.~