So much has happened in our lives since we last wrote you. As Bethany and I look back on 2016 we can truly see God’s hand of protection, faithfulness and steadfast love. Back in June, I found a great deal online for an Arabian cruise. Since we were not planning on coming back to the USA until the fall of 2017, we thought it would be a great chance to get away and have a small break. We left Malawi on December 8th to head to Dubai. However, on the flight to Dubai I began to have some chest pain. At first I thought it was just stress and being tired, or maybe that I had pulled a muscle, but by the second flight, I was feeling a huge amount of pain and it would not go away. When Bethany and I landed and got to our hotel, I was still feeling pain in my chest. So we decided it would be best to have it checked out.
The hotel called an ambulance and they checked my vitals. Everything looked normal, but I still had some pain. They took me to the ER in Dubai and after some bloodwork; they saw that I was severely anemic with a hemoglobin level of 5 which, normally for me, is around 11. They then said that I needed an immediate blood transfusion which seemed very scary to me at the time, and made Bethany and I very nervous. We had come to Dubai for a much-needed vacation, and now I was in the ER needing a blood transfusion. However, we felt the Lord’s perfect peace, and we know it was through so many of your prayers.
Bethany and I don’t talk about it a lot, but I was born with a rare type of anemia. I have not had problems with it since I was a small child, and have been in “remission,” so to speak. So it was strange that, out of the blue, my hemoglobin had gone down so much. However, the doctors think that it could have been because of the bad case of malaria that I had back in October. Since October, I had noticed chest pain when going up stairs and doing other things, but thought nothing of it. At the time I just chalked it up to stress and just being out of shape. It turns out that the malaria caused me to become anemic and going on the plane worsened that fact.
We are so thankful that God allowed it to happen in Dubai, where they have amazing doctors and hospitals, and not here in Malawi. One of my doctors in Dubai was even an American from New Jersey. As of now, they believe that the anemia was due to malaria and not the one I had as a child. However, I still have to go for regular blood work to see how my levels are holding up. Please pray with us that my blood levels will stay normal and there is not something more serious going on.
Through all of this, it was amazing to see God work out so many details. While we were in the hospital, God sent a wonderful Christian couple who had been living in Dubai to comfort and encourage us. The husband came to the hospital to pray with us and even took Bethany back to our hotel to get a change of clothing and some overnight things for us. The doctor also cleared us to go on our cruise and reassured us that everything would be fine. Even though it was not the vacation we both were hoping for, God used it to provide me with good medical care. If this would have happened in Malawi, it could have been extremely dangerous.
Since our time in Dubai, and since returning back to Malawi, God has shown us that He is leading us in a different direction. While we have been blessed to serve in Malawi, due to my anemia, it might be very difficult for us to stay. If I contract malaria again, it could cause more problems in the long run for my body. Please pray with us that God would give us clear minds and the wisdom for what we need to do over the next couple of months. Upon our return to Malawi, I had bloodwork done again and my numbers looked stable; however, we will need to continue to monitor it for the next couple of months. Please continue to pray that my numbers will remain stable as I get bloodwork done regularly.
Our time leading up to Dubai:
November was an exciting time for us. Two ladies from my home church came to visit us here in Malawi. One of the ladies is like an aunt to me and has known my family since I was a young boy. It is always a blessing to get to share Malawi with other people and to show them what God is doing on this side of the world. We were even able to travel to Dedza to see Agatha who is doing very well and can even talk now. They were also able to bring six suitcases filled with wonderful goodies from the USA! We are extremely thankful for that and to all who played a part in collecting and sending them here.
The Power of Prayer!
We are so thankful to all of our prayer warriors. In our last update we asked you to pray for rain and for the power to get better. Well, both things have happened! God has been showering His blessings down and we have gotten a lot of rain! We are also now receiving electricity almost every day. In the last couple of weeks, we have only lost power a handful of times. It is a huge blessing to see how the body of Christ from around the world can pray together and we can see God working.
Trusting God with everything in our lives can be the biggest blessing as a believer, but it can also be very challenging. We want everything to be OK and not to have to walk through hard times, but then it is through those difficult times that we draw the closest, and cling the tightest, to Him. While we were in Dubai, it was one of those times where we were both scared and worried, yet at the same time had perfect peace. During the storms in life, fear can overtake us to the point that we can’t seem to move forward. Fear can also be a chain from the enemy used to trap us down and make us feel like there is no hope. This is when we need to turn to God’s Word for truth. God’s Word tells us in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (NKJV)
Thank you for being part of our sending team. We hope that 2017 is a year full of blessings and that God rewards you greatly for your part in building up His Kingdom.
Together in His service,
Josiah and Bethany Frey
- For Josiah’s continued health and good reports on further tests
- For God to make clear to us what the next step should be
- For our marriage to be strong
- Our African health insurance did not cover the medical bills in Dubai. However, we are hoping that our cruise insurance will cover the whole medical bill. We have submitted the receipts and are waiting for the results. Please pray that they will be able to cover it for us. The whole bill was about $3,800. We praise the Lord that we had a credit card on hand that we could use to pay up front because, unlike the USA, they don’t treat you until after you pay.