Friday, August 31, 2007
After the doctor explained how well the surgery went, he explained a serious concern of his. When they were inside testing the cells for cancer, they found a positive hit on a nerve and a blood vessel. The removed what they could, and traced it all the way to the base of the skull. When they ran tests there, it was still positive. So, the doctor says that this finding is serious. Most likely the cancer is on the other side of the skull. However, he did say that they have it located and that they will be able to focus radiation therapy to this area in an attempt to eradicate it.
Thank you all so much for praying. Please continue to pray for mom. It was very difficult for her to see him in the ICU after the surgery. Today they are going to start weaning him off of the medication that is keeping him sedated and comatose. We will know more later on today.
If you haven't been able to you, please read the post below on the reflection on the airline flight. This is something that the Lord was brining to my mind as I was preparing for yesterday's surgery. My hope and trust never has been in the technology or the doctors. Don't get me wrong, the doctors that we have are wonderful. However, they have no authority over this situation other than what the Lord has given them. Therefore, join with me in asking the maker of Heaven and of Earth to heal dad. I also ask that the Lord would exalt himself make His Name great among our family.
In all things...Christ preeminent!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sitting in the row behind me with members of our mission team, was an off-duty Southwest Airlines pilot talking. What happened next was a sudden drop about 500-1000 feet (estimate given by the guy sitting behind me.) The cabin shook, people went "whoooooooo." My heart started jumping. Yes, I'm okay with admitting that. I didn't really want to go down in a plane crash. I started thinking...why didn't I drive, why didn't we drive!!! I don't know why I think that somehow I have more control over my life when I am the one driving. I don't know why I am so arrogant to think that by worrying I can add an hour to my life. It certainly is illogical and unreasonable to think that you or I have any more control over our own life or death. (Don't read into this...just take it for what it is...I am not saying that you can cast off restraint, live like you want, because it doesn't matter...you would have to be a fool to believe that.) What I am saying is that it was silly of me to think for a second that God is not in control of absolutely everything that was going on around me and despite what comes, God will not be shaken, taken by surprise, and certainly will never be out of control. I can rest assured of this promise. I can also rest assured that life is precious, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and that our lives are here today and they are gone tomorrow. Isn't that what the scripture says from the earlier quote in James? This kind lesson on the airplane brought me back to reality that I am not in control, and that at a split second, our life can be over, but God is Sovereign!
We are getting ready for another reality check just like this. No, I'm not getting on a plane this month, that's coming in November. However, this next event involves dad going in for cancer surgery. Tomorrow morning, in less than 24 hours from right now, he will be undergoing a 10-14 hour surgery to remove most of his tongue, replace it with tissue from somewhere else. He may have a bone replacement, he may die in the middle of surgery, he may have further complications, or they may find no cancer tomorrow. Nothing is certain other than God is on His throne. Though we may have the most skilled physicians and surgeons in the area, they can only do what is allowed and ordained by the Lord. Therefore, it would be foolish to place our faith and hope in anyone or anything else than the God who is there.
I know that no matter what the outcome of the surgery, the Lord's Name is worthy to be praised. Please to pray for my family tomorrow, please do pray that there will be no cancer, that would be incredible, but most importantly, pray that our faith may indeed be strengthened in Jesus Christ, our only hope both now and forever.
Thank you again to everyone who has sent cards, letters, and other correspondence. They have been greatly appreciated. Rachel and I will be posting updates on dad's condition throughout the surgery. Please understand that we will not be taking a lot of calls, and will be making even fewer during this time.
How deep the Father's love for us! How vast, beyond all measure!
In all things...Christ preeminent!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
This past weekend, Rachel, Olivia, and I made a trip to my hometown, Thebes, IL. Nothing much has changed since the last time, sure there has been some additions to the town, some more "small town controversies", but that was really about it. Something that strikes me in this small little town of 500, is poverty, houses falling apart, and kinds roaming the streets with no direction in life, little or no supervision or care. It's kind of sad if you think about it, because it is just a continuous lifestyle that many people in this area continue to live. This once thriving little town, formally the county seat for Alexander county, Illinois, now gone down hill in many areas, though there are some that do not fit this description.
It reminds me of how quickly our own hearts turn from that which is good, sufficient, satisfying, and turn to that which is harmful. This is no new problem, it has been going on for a long time. If we too are not careful, we will find our hearts wondering away from the truth of Christ and find ourselves wanting to have the "easy life" with no struggle, no responsibility, and the end will lead in destruction. Our entire culture has been infected by this lazy, lackadaisical mindset. Is some ways you can see this is the "effeminate slackness" in men in our society. We have just set back, and let things just happen. We have lived our lives with the philosophy of "'m ok, your okay and we will both be the same, if you stay out of my way." Sad...devastating.
Why am I saying all of this, well...my prayer for the village of Thebes is that they may turn to Christ. Pray for the ministry of the First Baptist Church and their Pastor Carl Fisher. Pray that in the midst of this small community that there would be a great awakening to truth and that the culture would be transformed as a result.
Update on Dad
Mom and Dad will be coming in to St. Louis today to settle in over the next few weeks. They would like me to thank all of those who have sent letters and cards of encouragement and exhortation. We will need your prayer and support over the next several months, because this is going to be one of the most, if not the most, difficult experience that we have gone through to this point.
Dad will go to the doctor tomorrow and have his final visit to prepare him for surgery. At 8:00am on Thursday, the doctor's will begin the 10-14 hour surgery. I will try to keep people updated on how things are going. I don't know how to say this any more lovingly than this, please check here for updates, because I am not sure how many phone calls that I will be making during this time. I hope that you all understand.
Following surgery, dad will be in the hospital for at least 2 weeks. (The doctor does not want him to remain there longer because of the risk of staff infections.) After this, mom and dad will remain with us for a while since they will have follow up visits.
Please pray for my family that will be here. There are several people who do not known Christ. They have never trusted in his loving kindness that has been extended to all who believe.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
On Sunday evening, I spoke with Daniel from Centenario. It was good to hear his voice and to visit with him. He, of course, wanted to know when we were going to return. I was very firm with him that I would not speak to that because I do not want to say something and then it not be able to come true. He understood. However, he did state that he is looking forward to our return. Please pray for this young man, my hope is that in November, I can have some time to speak with him further about the gospel. We had great discussion about the gospel over the summer, so the door is opened.
You said November?
Yes, please pray that the funds and the right airfare will come along because I will be making a return trip to Centenario the weekend of November 9, 2007. I have not explained this yet to Daniel or others in the area because I have not purchased the tickets or finalized the arrangements.
What about missions for next summer.
I had a great conversation with Rod Conner from To Every Tribe Ministries. I expressed our desire to bring two groups down during the summer next year, with the following changes. (This is a great new direction).
- Our desire is to put together two teams of 25 people each
- Each team will spend 1.5 days in Texas for training, teaching, praying, and we would like to have a tour of the School for Pioneer Church planting.
- Each team will serve one full week in Mexico rather than 4 days.
- We will do our own orientation and our own arrangements. There will be no day before and day after meetings.
- We will also take teams down at various other times, as necessary, possible, and feasible.
So, I have two sets of dates that we are proposing for the trip next summer. They will be available very soon, so please check back! (I hope to have the dates posted this week, but next week at the latest). The application for consideration (new form) will be available online by this Friday, perhaps sooner.
How can you pray?
- We need the participants for the trip.
- We need financial assistance for those who have gifts that can be used, but yet are short on funds.
- Pray for the people that we already know, that we will continue to work with. (Daniel, Ivar, Carlos, Mitchel, and others!)
- Pray for the village "delegado" and the commissioner. Pray that we will continue to be welcome back to their village and that we might be a blessing to them.
- Pray over the fact that many people are trapped by the lie of Catholicism. I understand that this statement might be offensive, however I don't know how else to explain it. It is quite possible that we will come in to conflict with others as we discuss this.
- Pray that we will have the boldness to understand that the gospel is going to be an offense. People will be offended, but we should not shrink in fear or neglect preaching the whole counsel of God.
- Did I mention, we need participants? Consider whether or not you have the gifts that are necessary for the trip. I will list them in a later post.
How can I get more information about future mission opportunities?
Thank you all for your prayer and support! Rachel, Olivia, and I do value this very much. We are all doing well. Please also pray for us as dad's surgery is next week. That is going to be heavy on our minds, and if you have a moment and can pray for us specifically next Thursday, August 30, it would be much appreciated. This is the day of the surgery and it is going to be a very, very long day.
In all things...Christ preeminent!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This area includes the villages of Media Luna, La Poza, and Centenario. All of these villages are areas where we worked over the past three summers.
Please remember these people in prayer as they are preparing for what could be a devastating situation. Most areas are still not fully recovered from the great Hurricane that hit 2 years ago.
Also, Rachel and I have some friends are are located in downtown Cancun. We are going to try to contact them before time for the storm to hit that part of Mexico.
I will try to keep posts here as I get information. Though the map right now shows what could be a direct hit, things change at just a moment's notice. As in all things, the Lord is in control!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Charo Washer has received several emails this evening from her parents who live in Peru. They also emailed her the phone number of the hotel where the men with HeartCry are staying. Charo said I could call the hotel and that I should speak very slowly and clearly. I called the hotel (unsure as to whether they could even understand me) and they put me right through when I asked for Paul Washer. Paul said that they are all fine. They were in a taxi at the time of the earthquake and that the taxi began to move up and down and so did the street signs. It looked like the van behind them was trying to bump them. At that point they realized that they were in an earthquake. They got out of the taxi and stepped across the street away from the tall buildings (in case they would start to come down). The men were all in their rooms at the time of the phone call. Everything seems to be fine with all of them. Paul had been trying to call out, but had not been able to.
We are thanking and praising the Lord for this good report. The HeartCry conference in Lima started this past Monday morning and has been going well. Approximately 100 men are attending the conference and the theme is "Justification & Regeneration" . They are scheduled to start the second conference in a different city a few days from now. They will be flying in a small plane to get there. Please pray for continued safety, and for the communication from Lima to be restored. The men are to return to the United States, Friday, August 24th.
Thank you for praying at this time.
Because of Jesus,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.
Though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her,
she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
Monday, August 13, 2007
For those interested in the Hispanic Ministry in Arnold...please continue to pray that we might have more and more opportunities for evangelism throughout the week. Sunday we had our first family (husband, wife, and son) attend our 8:00am service!) We are very excited about this and we had two new contacts this week, so pray as we follow up with them.
In the area of Student Ministry, I am working with a few others in putting together a monthly gathering of high school/twenty something students. The purpose for this gathering would be for cooperate worship, teaching/preaching, prayer, and intelligent conversation. Not really sure how things are going to work out...but we are going to start with just one meeting...sometime in September...and see where things lead from there.
Finally, regarding missions to Mexico, I need you to pray for a group of us that have been traveling to and from Centenario, Mexico. Here is what is before us. We are considering how we will be involved in the future, and the financing for future trips. Our intent would not be to set up permanent residence, but to evangelize and train so that native inhabitants may then, in turn, lead the church and participate in future missions.
For now, we are looking for the teams and the finances for a weekend trip this fall, over the winter, and in the Spring. We have a team for the Spring, and we are looking now to set the date. For those who might be reading this and would like to be considered to be part of a missions team, you will soon be able to find an application for consideration on http://www.rockportbaptist.org. I hope to have it available sometime this week.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Yesterday, we went to the specialist at St. Louis University Hospital. They completed a quick biopsy on the base of dad's tongue, and it came back positive for cancer. In the words of the doctor "this is not near as serious as prostate, colon, or lung cancer." However, the treatment options were as follows: we could do nothing, radiation and chemo and see what happens (with this option the radiation would kill his jaw bone and would have to be replaced...pretty bad idea), or surgery with minimal radiation therapy following the surgery. The latter is the option that we have chosen as a family. I say we, because it is up to mom and to dad but the rest of us stand behind their decision all of the way.
Dad is having a PET scan today to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the tongue/mouth area...the doctor doesn't believe so, but he will not consider treatment until he knows for sure. Second, dad must undergo some testing to determine if his body is fit for the 12-14 hour surgery that he is facing. He will loose 50% or more of his tongue. They will be doing tissue replacement from his leg...and perhaps some bone replacement. There is a 1/20 chance that the body will reject the tissue that is being replaced.
They will have to do a tracheotomy, he will have a feeding tube for a while. The doctor told us to prepare for a year, but he doesn't think that it should last over 7-10 days...just depending on his recovery.
Once he has been cleared for surgery, he will be scheduled. (I think that this will happen within 1-2 weeks.) We are hoping for sooner...and mom is convinced that it will happen next week.
Hmmm...well...this is not a road that I dreamed that I would be going down...but I know that my Redeemer lives...and I know that I have a great High Priest whose name is Jesus Christ and He shall supply sufficient grace in our time of need. (Hebrews 4).
I would like to encourage people reading this to consider two resources...first, an article written by John Piper. Oh how I wish that all of my family would read this article and see this cancer for what it is rather than look at this as something simply to defeat. I pray that my family my come to know Christ and be transformed by new life in Him! The article is entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer." It was written by John Piper when he was diagnosed in 2006.
Second, the book by the late Pastor/Teacher Rodney Stortz. Listening to Rodney's sermons over the years has greatly touched my life and has given me great insight in to God's Word. Rodney died of cancer a few years ago, but before he died, he wrote a book entitled "Diary of a Cancer." Both items I suggest for your to benefit your soul and understanding of God's Sovereign will in the lives of His people.
Oh how I pray that someone might look at this article and find not me rambling on, but that someone might think for just a second "why aren't these people absolutely angry and bitter about this?" I pray that others might be stunned at the grace of God and because of this cancer, they might know that apart from Christ they stand is God's judgement. After realizing this they might see and know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Now, what is up with this title??? Well, I have to tell you...in the midst of all of the news of treatment, prognosis, possibility of death, etc., I saw my dad very serious and asked of the doctor a most interesting question. He looked at the doctor and said, "I have a question that I really need to ask you." I was thinking..."oh boy...here we go, this is where everyone is going to break down because we are going to talk about life support." Instead, Dad looked at the doctor and asked very seriously, "I just purchased two deer tags for the season coming in November, do you think that I ought to sell these?" The doctor looked at him and smiled, "If I were you, I would not sell those deer tags just yet, because I think that you will be ready for hunting by November."
In all things...Christ preeminent!
Friday, August 3, 2007
I wanted to post this video that you may be challenged, that perhaps there would be an unbeliever that might stumble across this page and this message would make you consider your life.
Here is a message by Pastor/Author John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Video footage is from the bridge collapsing on 8/1/2007
There is also an excellent article written by John Piper as he was putting his daughter to bed following the collapse.
I would like to take this time to ask you to please consider watching this film. It is about the most shocking and most convicting sermon that I have ever heard in my life. I would ask that you please consider inviting others, especially young people, to listen to this message.
This is an intense message delivered by Paul David Washer of Heartcry Missionary Society to a youth conference in 2002.
Feel free to leave comment and to discuss.
In all things…Christ preeminent!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
My parents asked the doctor to make it plain to them and the doctor in Cape Girardeau has told him that he will defiantly loose his jaw bone and most, if not all of his tongue. He is also going to have to undergo chemotherapy.
My reaction? I know that that there will be times of overwhelming emotion very soon. However, I am asking for something specific. John Piper wrote an article entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer" as he was undergoing treatment. Keeping this in mind, I would like to ask for prayer in this area.
First, of course, I am praying that this is not cancer, and when they come to the hospital next week (St. Louis University…thank you Rob and Kristi) the doctor confirm that it is a non-cancerous tumor. Secondly, I am praying that no matter what…the Lord will bring many in my family to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
Can I ask for a favor? Would it be possible for people to write notes of encouragement to my parents? Their names are Jim and Linda. I am praying that they might find strength and comfort in the Lord alone. I pray that the Lord might provide this time for them not to waste this opportunity to embrace the Sovereign Lord for help in our most desperate time of need.
In all things…Christ preeminent!