September 14, 2017
Dear Prayer Partners,
Isaiah 26:3-4 says “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the LORD forever, because in Yah, the LORD, is an everlasting rock!” We currently find ourselves between The Rock and a hard place. What a comfort it is to turn to The Rock. (HSCB)
So, we are praising the Lord for inflammations! Shortly after we returned to Brazil, Jim came down with an inflammation in his bladder. His doctor in Crato prescribed an ultra-sound which showed an irregularity. The doctor then ordered a CT scan. The scan revealed a large tumor on Jim’s left kidney (that had nothing to do with the inflammation). Jim’s doctor recommended a surgeon in Fortaleza, the best in the state. He was not available to see Jim for a couple weeks. So, we contacted a doctor friend in Fortaleza, the state capital, who set Jim an appointment with another urologist, the best in the state. During that appointment, this urologist confirmed everything Jim’s doctor in Crato had said, and immediately picked up the phone to mark an appointment the same surgeon Jim had tried, unsuccessfully, to see previously. Jim got an appointment with the surgeon that same afternoon.
The tumor is quite large, larger than most benign kidney tumors. They plan to do laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumor and the lower part of Jim’s left kidney. The images seem to indicate that it has not spread. They may have to make a larger incision if the tumor is bigger than expected or if, during surgery, they feel they need to remove the entire kidney. The surgery is scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd. We appreciate your prayers for skill for the doctors, peace of mind for us, and that the Lord will take care of every detail in this adventure. This was not in our plans, but it was no surprise to the Lord. Isaiah 25:1 says, “You are my God; I will exalt You. I will praise Your name, for You have accomplished wonders, plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness.”
To be honest, this is way out of both of our comfort zones. It’s a bit overwhelming. We will be in Fortaleza, one of the most crime-ridden capitals in Brazil, 330 miles to the north of our home. We will fly out on Friday morning, the day before surgery, so that we can get a bit settled before our adventure begins the next day. Without a car, we will depend on taxis and friends to get us around. Jim will not be able to drive and should have very minimal physical activities for one month. High blood pressure, or a bump could lead to a hemorrhage where he would need emergency treatment. The rough roads and numerous speed bumps will be a challenge. Flying home may be alright 10 days after surgery, if everything goes well, so we may return home early in October. We haven’t made any plans that far in advance since our region in the interior doesn’t have much for emergency medical care.
We appreciate your prayers for every detail. There is much to do in the next week. This Saturday we will travel 5 hours to the south for a church missions conference which was already scheduled. Jim still needs to do a few pre-op exams. We need to pack for an unknown length of time with just small bags which are allowed on the airplane. We need to plan for our classes while we are gone. Some students are looking into the possibility of internet conference calls for our classes while we are away. Otherwise we’ll have to find ministry friends who can substitute for us.
Today has been a heart-breaking day. Jim has counseled and prayed with two men, one a pastor and the other a respected church leader. Both of their wives have left them for careers and are not interested in reconciling their marriages. Both men realize their short-comings in leadership and would like another chance to restore their marriages. Please pray for these couples.
Jim’s trip to Venezuela was cancelled for the 2nd time. Back in December he was not allowed to cross the border because of the political instability at that time. On October 10th he was planning to travel with a large missions team from several of our churches. Their plan is to put on a missions retreat for ten churches in Venezuela who up until now have had no missions program but are wanting to get something started. The team will go on without Jim. Five pastors, former students, are a part of the team and will do a great job preaching and teaching the missions workshops. But he will certainly miss this great opportunity to minister alongside them.
So we thank you, our prayer partners, for remembering us in prayer. Usually we focus more prayer on the ministries, but this time we ask you to pray for us. God bless you.