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