Clinging to the promises of God!
It can be hard to cope when things are not going the way we hope. Sometimes our expectations and plans are not what God has in store. With all those who are struggling and thinking their life has not turned out the way they wanted, there is still hope in the Lord. After all, I have been through in the last six years I have had to rely on God for the strength to get me through each day. I used to be able to run, jump and work a ten hour day without worry. Now, a good day is when I can walk up and down the stairs in the house to say good night to my kids. The Lord has taught me to be patient, rely on Him for my strength, and to change my pain into an opportunity to serve. Without Him (Jesus) I would have been bitter, angry and confused.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 When Paul was struggling he was told by Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul chooses to boast in his struggles and weaknesses so that Christ may be glorified. I have had many chances to share my faith, pray for those in need, and encourage others who have been struggling because of this pain. God has been so good to us during this time! I really want to serve the Lord and do what He desires. There are times when I get discouraged and think that there is a lot more I could do if only I was well. Then I look back and see what the Lord has done in my heart because of this illness. God is changing my heart and helping me to become a man of prayer and faith and I am learning to fully trust in His plan. I still have a long way to go and still have days when I do not want to go on, but I am always encouraged to see how God will use me in the future.
I did meet with the specialist today (April 11) and have some news to report. I am getting an MRI, a bowel cancer test (which will help in ruling out cancer), and an appointment with the surgeon for the removal of my gall bladder. All of the above tests he has marked as urgent. I am to be booked with the best surgeon in Saskatchewan! This is a huge answer to prayer as it gives us a plan to look forward too. Unfortunately, the last procedure, in March, did not help with the pain that I have been having so we have another round of tests and an aggressive approach to helping my body. I have been suffering a lot after the last procedure. Extreme fatigue along with the constant pain has been rough on the entire family. Thank you for your prayers as it has been a long time fighting this illness and it would be impossible to keep a positive attitude without your help. God is good and we are looking forward to all that He has in store through these tests.
This has been a stressful time for the family, as hope was had and then gone. However, we all continue to look to God for the peace only He can provide. The kids have been dealing with it in different ways, sometimes acting out, sometimes not wanting to leave us. We have had to have more patience and understanding with them. However, they are asking good questions like “Why doesn’t God heal Daddy when we ask Him to?” It’s so hard to answer that when we don’t know the answer ourselves. All we can do is point them to the Scriptures that tell us that what we go through is for our good, and that God has a good plan for our lives. We also point out all the other answered prayers and show them how God has used Greg’s illness for good things, too.
We have seen growth in each of the kids during this time. Ellie and Khaya are so faithful in doing their daily devotions. Kenya never lets us forget to do family devotions after supper and Ethan is retelling us the stories from Sunday School. All four of them are faithful in learning their memory verses as well. Ellie was baptized just before we moved to Outlook in August, 2009 and Khaya and Kenya have been asking if they can also be baptized soon. They will soon be meeting with our pastor and discussing this. We are so proud of them as they learn to trust and rely on God.
Another decision we have made is to go back to homeschooling the kids next Fall. Ethan will go to Kindergarten, it is every second day, and he will homeschool on the “off” days, but the other three will homeschool full-time. We are all very excited and content with this choice.
As for work with Teen Missions, Greg has been on medical leave since December, but we pray that he will soon be able to be back in the office. This summer we are hoping to run another week long Day Camp at the Camp here in Outlook. The town responded well to it last year and people have already been asking about this year’s camp. The theme this year is going to be Princesses and Squires: Followers of the King. It will be run August 2-6, Lord willing. We need volunteers, so if you’re free that week and want to help, let us know!
The first weekend of May will also bring a Barefoot Walk to Outlook. Volunteers will be going door-to-door barefoot (if they want) asking for donations of shoes and $2, to cover the cost of shipping, for orphans in Africa. Then these shoes will be sent either from here or Florida to help the AIDS Orphans ministry that Teen Missions has in Africa. We are very excited for this event. Even though Greg will not be able to go door-to-door, the kids are excited about doing it.
We thank each of you who pray for us and support us. We could not be here without you. We would be discouraged and run-down, but because of your prayers we are lifted before God and He gives us the strength to keep going. Words can’t express how much this means to us.
Yours In Christ,
Greg, Amy, Ellie, Khaya,Kenya, and Ethan