Close ministerial friendships are one of the kind gifts of God. Myriad have been the examples of close friendships shared by ministers of the gospel throughout church history. One thinks of Andrew Bonar and Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne, or John Newton and William Cowper. Who cannot see the fruit that was born from the friendship between Martin Bucer and John Calvin? Scott Manetsch notes, “it was Bucer’s friendship and fatherly support that helped Calvin regain his sense of vocation to Christian ministry and proved decisive in shaping his future career as a church reformer.”
While I have been blessed with many close ministerial friendships, PCA pastor Jeff Windt has been very close and special friend to me over the years. For a number of years, Jeff served as a pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC. Jeff supported me during a season of ministry when many others did not. I will eternally be grateful to God for my friendship with Jeff. As the old adage goes, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Jeff has been such a friend to me.
On June 19, 2020, Jeff suffered an extremely severe stroke from a carotid artery. I was on the phone with Jeff when he had the stroke. Words cannot express the grief and agony I felt when I found out what had happened to my dear brother and friend.
At first, we weren’t sure if Jeff was going to make it. He had lost all function in his speech and movement. By God’s grace, Jeff made enormous advancements in his mobility over the past year. As our God loves to hear and favorably answer the prayers of His people, we have seen Jeff overcome incredible odds.
Sadly, Jeff’s speech has not improved much. He is able to say three or four words. He is mentally sharp and can communicate with those who know how he thinks or what he is trying to say. Jeff can write words to some extent. The aphasia he suffered from the stroke was severe.
Some time back, the Windt family heard about a special treatment for aphasia patients at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan Aphasia Program (UMAP) provides intensive speech and language therapy for people with language disorders after a stroke, brain injury, illness, or other neurological disorder. Jeff has the second most severe type of Aphasia and therefore our ideas of what his improvements will look like afterwards must be realistic. After looking at the data outcomes and reading personal testimonials from individuals that have his same degree of Aphasia and participated in this program, there is no way he would walk out of this without having made some sort of improvement and any improvement at all is going to improve his quality of life no matter how small.
Ruling elder, Mel Duncan, of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC has put together a GoFundMe page for Jeff’s treatment. We are hoping to be able to raise the $30,000 necessary for the Windt family to be able to afford this treatment. Supporting Jeff and Mariah Windt at this time will cover the costs of 3 weeks of treatment and associated costs in November 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Please consider helping a brother in need who has poured himself out in the service of the gospel and in the care for the people of God. If you would like more details about how you can support the Windt family, please visit the Jeff Windt GoFundMe page.