November 25, 2016
Dear Beloved Friends and Family,
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year because it gives me the opportunity to intentionally focus on gratitude. I am so thankful for each one of you and I know I don’t express it enough! This past year has been full of loss (some of it healthy & normal, and some of it unexpected): my dad’s death, my mom’s house burning down, changes with my health, our youngest son graduating from college, transitioning into a new role as regional missionaries, and moving my mom to FL to name a few. Through it all, your prayers have sustained us, and truly given us strength. Although scattered around the globe, each one of you is part of our community of faith, and you weave the tapestry of love and grace that wraps around us and gives us hope.
My Latest Diagnosis
At the beginning of November, I had my third colonoscopy this year. (Yes, I’m an expert on this medical procedure now!) Despite changing my diet to vegan, gluten free and adding additional nutritional supplements, my Crohn’s Disease was still active. In fact, the inflammation looked worse, though it had not spread to other areas. The good news is that my biopsies still came back negative for malignancy.
So, what happens next?
This coming Tuesday afternoon (November 29) I have a CTE scan scheduled that will take detailed images of my abdomen and intestinal area. This will allow the doctor to see if my Crohn’s is impacting any other organs, or my small intestine. I have also undergone more blood work. Sometime in the next month or two I will begin treatment with Humira or Remicade which will treat the inflammation but also suppress my immune system. I have an appointment in early December with my gastroenterologist to discuss the medications and treatment options. She said it would be a 1-2 year process.
My Work with IM Can Continue
International Ministries is whole-heartedly supporting us during this unexpected medical adventure. We have permission to remain in the U.S. for my treatment. And the good news is that our new regional role can continue no matter where we live! David will initially take on more of the international travel since my immune system will be compromised for a while. But I can continue to be involved in our ministry of teaching Spiritual Formation on-line, helping IM develop member care resources, and facilitating Spiritual Formation retreats & Bible studies.
How can you pray for me?
1. I grew up believing in miracles! So, I would love to go into my CT scan next Tuesday and have the results show absolutely nothing wrong with me. I know God can miraculously heal me if that is God’s desire for me.
2. However, if God has me traveling down a different path with this diagnosis, then I ask you to pray for my immune system. That while I’m undergoing treatment, that I would not contract any other bacterial or viral illness.
3. Pray for peace—the peace that is not of this world, but comes from our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.
4. I also need prayers for wisdom for how to keep evaluating naturopathic alternatives that might assist my recovery. What I have tried so far has not worked. However, there could be options I haven’t explored yet, that will.
5. Also, pray for David, Ian and Aaron as they walk beside me. As many of you know firsthand, seeing someone you love thrust into a series of medical tests, procedures and treatments can be daunting. They need your love and support as well.
What you can do this weekend
God has impressed on my heart that I can’t do this by myself. I need community to surround me. I need each one of you! So, if you have a cell phone, then I invite you to add an event to your calendar this Saturday, Sunday or Monday that says, “Praying for a Miracle.” This is a reminder to not only pray for me, but also for any other person in your family, church, neighborhood, or work place that needs a miracle too.
If you’re not tech savvy, then simply choose a day and time this weekend that you will set aside to pray, and tape a reminder to your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
If you like to motivate people, then invite your Sunday School class, your Bible Study group, or even your entire church to participate in a 24-hour prayer vigil where each person signs up for a half-hour or one hour slot.
Or, a model that our Mexican Baptist churches implement is to gather everyone at the church for a prayer vigil from 8pm to midnight, allowing for times of prayer, silence, scripture reading, and songs.
The World Needs Hope
It is an honor and privilege to be partnered with you in mission and ministry. More than ever, our world needs the hope and light of Jesus. The power of prayer is one way where we can join our hearts and minds to transform one another with God’s grace and love.
May we listen to each other from the heart,