Greetings from the beautiful Smokey Mountains. We are currently in Pigeon Forge, TN, participating in the Grace Fellowship International summer conference and workshop. Because of Joe’s illness last year, we missed 3 of these events; there was great joy when we walked in the office last Wednesday to see the ministry partners who have become so dear to us and who have had such a significant part in our personal growth. Joe and I each taught a session of the conference on Saturday. We appreciated the opportunity to give our testimonies and to share the crucial truth of Christ as our life. We will be leaving early Thursday morning to go to Michigan, where 2 of my sisters and brothers-in-law live. Joe will be giving his testimony at Robby’s church on Sunday morning and then we will be doing a seminar/ Q&A in the afternoon.
The travel and active schedule here has been difficult for Joe. He is experiencing some increased abdominal pain. Please pray that he will have the strength to endure the hours of being in the car, as well as the emotional endurance to talk with many hurting people.
We have been blessed to stay with our friend Pam, who has treated us like royalty. She planned a “girls day out” on Friday, complete with an outdoor breakfast at a lodge in the mountains, a wonderful hike, and a facial/manicure/pedicure experience at a spa. I felt very spoiled! Thank you, Pam.
Update, 7/26/13 – Muskegon, MI
I had intended to send out this email last week but… a funny thing happened on the way to the ER. Yes, that’s right. Most people visit amusement parks. We visit ERs. Joe’s abdominal pain increased to the point that his doctor at home urged us to go get checked out. We were blessed to have no waiting time at the ER, plus we had a great doctor who loves the Lord. The CT scan showed that Joe has a hernia, plus there were some other surprises that were seen. He has some sort of mass measuring 4 cm in the area of one of the major veins of the abdomen, along with some enlarged lymph nodes. Joe will need to have this followed up on when we get home and will have a biopsy. His right ureter appears to be enlarged again, so he will need to see the urologist. This is just another opportunity to trust God, which we have by continuing our trip. We were relieved that he did not need immediate surgery on the hernia, though that may happen in the future. We will know more when we check in with his surgeon who performed his Whipple surgery last summer. Though this caught us by surprise, it did not catch God by surprise. We will lean on Him to help us finish this trip, as there are so many who need to hear the message of Christ as Lord, Life, and Liberator.
Please pray for our safety and endurance to finish this trip.
Life and Peace
As I sit down to write this update, Joe is in the other room taking a New Testament Survey exam. We are amazed that he is back in his Master’s classes; last year at this time we weren’t even sure he would be alive. We went recently to see his eye doctor for the first time in over a year. He was shocked that Joe had had the Whipple surgery and that he survived it so well. Joe is continuing to do well with his shoulder and has very little residual pain in it. We are so grateful to God that Joe healed quickly and has regained much of his range of motion.
June was a very busy month for us in a number of areas:
– We are working on improving our website and now have a Facebook page. Next up is Twitter and LinkedIn.
– We are learning how to use Keynote, Apple’s equivalent to Power Point. I put together a presentation called “The Faces
of Addiction” as an introduction to our ministry and will put that on our website as soon as I learn how 🙂
– We have had some opportunities to counsel with and mentor people, some on a weekly basis. It is so exciting to see
what God is doing to change lives through the message of the Exchanged Life (Galatians 2:20).
We are headed to Tennessee for the conference/workshop at Grace Fellowship next week. There are still openings for both, if anyone is interested. It is a wonderful, life-changing time in the Great Smokey Mountains. The conference is July 19-20 and the workshop is July 23-25. Check out the Grace Fellowship International website for more information. http://www.gracefellowshipintl.com/pg/61.html
We will be headed to Michigan after the workshop to see family in the Muskegon area. Joe has been invited to give his testimony at Bridge Bible Church on 7/28 (my brother-in-law Robby Richardson is the pastor) and then in the afternoon we will be having a Q&A/seminar for that church and their sister church. There are a number of families in the church who are struggling with addiction issues. On our way home, Joe will be speaking at York Bible Baptist Church, York, PA, for their Wednesday night service.
We would appreciate prayer for the following:
– Joe will being doing schoolwork on the trip ( although he is working hard to get ahead beforehand). Please pray that he
will be able to get everything done on the road.
– Safety as we travel for 2 weeks.
– Prepared hearts who need to know that there is hope, that they don’t have to live in bondage to addiction.
– For the conference/workshop at GFI – Joe and I will each be teaching a session of the conference for the first time.
– Raising support is daunting, humanly speaking. We continue to ask God for churches and individuals who will commit to
supporting this ministry. We have been so blessed already and are trusting God to “supply all our needs according to His
riches in Glory.”
– Wisdom from the Holy Spirit as we work with hurting people. – Continued improvement in Joe’s health.
We appreciate you all so much!