The FENX and Thinking Long: When the Sowing Turns to Reaping

Capitol Hill is not an easy place to plant oneself.  The hours can be arduous and the scenarios frustrating.  It is in this nexus of power and ideology that staffers find themselves.  A lot of time can be spent working hard to sow ideas, meet objectives, fix problems, and fight injustices – with no guarantee that a resolution will come or if/when it does you will be there to see the sowing turn to reaping.  It is in this environment that the long view of events must be taken and the long game played, worrying not about who gets the credit or when the victory comes, but just working to ensure that outcome.

However, there are those rare times when the sowing turns to reaping during your time; today was one such day, and there hasn’t been a day like this for awhile.  In October of 2008, a hospital in my Home Congressional District in Michigan came to my boss and I asking for our help.  This hospital was contesting  that they had erred in a Family Medical residency program that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies (CMS) had helped them get off the ground in 2004 to serve disadvantaged populations in Michigan.  I didn’t know anything about their plight then, but I learned a lot.   In short, if it was determined that this hospital had erred, the residency program would have to shut down and the funding from CMS paid back (and it wasn’t a small amount of money).  Over the next three years various attempts were made politically and legislatively to persuade CMS to admit there was no error on the part of this hospital; all of these attempts failed.  Late last year, the hospital took their case before a special review board hoping for a favorable decision.  In January of this year the review board ruled in their favor.  It’s important to note that the decision of this review board is non-binding, CMS does not have to comply with this decision if they do not wish to and 85%-90% of the time CMS does not.

Two weeks ago, after being involved in securing some congressional support for a letter being sent to the Acting Director of CMS regarding this issue, I worked to set up a call between my office and the Acting Director so that my boss could talk with the director.  Later that day I was told this call could not take place because of a special legal rule that prevented the Director from talking about the situation with this hospital while CMS was in the process of deciding to review the case or not to; if CMS decides to review the case, then the ruling of the review board is discarded.  A ruling on this case was not expected till early March.  At that point our efforts had reached a dead end and all options were exhausted.  I wrote one of the Sr. Execs at the hospital to let them know what was happening and that I felt there was little option left but to pray for a miracle – knowing full well that miracles are possible because I am a living example of that truth. So we began to pray (as did others, I later was told).

Today, all of that changed when I got a voice-mail to return the call of a individual highly placed within CMS.  I knew it had to be important if this individual was giving me a personal cell phone number to reach them.  During the call, I was told that CMS would NOT pursue the review of the hospital’s case, thus allowing the favorable ruling of the review board to stand.  I couldn’t believe what I had heard.  I was so shocked that my next words were “Are you serious, right now?” to which the answer was yes.  I asked a few more questions to make sure I understood things correctly and didn’t mishear or misinterpret something and hung up the phone.  Then I sat there, overwhelmed, and almost cried.  Did I mention that this was the hospital I was born in?  Almost thirty years ago, when things were dark and much seemed lost someone at this hospital stepped in to fight for me when others didn’t think I had a chance.  Almost 30 years later, I got to return the favor.

What problem are you the solution to?

This isn’t the first crazy thing I’ve prayed for and seen answered in spectacular fashion.  Before now, I’ve not really told the tale on the genesis moment for the FENX appearing on NBC Nightly News in September 2010.  It actually began two nights before I met Sheila Sears and her crew from the BBC.  It began one night in secret inside my apartment. During summer ’09 I was leading a small group of Capitol Hill staffers and interns from my church though a curriculum the church designed. One particular week, the subject of the study was prayer. At one point the study asked it’s readers to think and pray about something that they wanted to see God do in their life and sphere of influence, so I answered the first thing that came to mind “Lord, do something totally awesome with the FENX, you gave my Dad the skills to build it now use it to glorify Yourself”. I can’t tell you that I was serious about what I prayed, I just prayed what came. Sometimes we come up with these ideas and pray about them, wondering if it’s something God is really interested in. What I discovered was that God WAS interested in this idea, seriously, and I didn’t see it coming; I met the BBC crew two days later and was talking with the NBC producer a week after that (and readers of this blog know the rest of the tale).

What prayers of others are you the answer to?

Answer these two questions and you can begin to chase your destiny to a degree you never imagined.

“Now to Him who is able to exceedingly more than we can ask or think…” Eph. 3:20

Riding towards eternity,


Posted on by Aaron in FENX 4.0, NBC News, Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

One Response to The FENX and Thinking Long: When the Sowing Turns to Reaping

  1. Pingback: The FENX and the Forbidden Wing: A Potal into my distant past « The Adventures of Aaron and the FENX 4.x

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