I have a prayer request and a praise report for you. I want to share with you some things that have been happening over the last six months. Please know as you read this letter that I have already thanked God so many times for this adventure that is before me. At the end of every situation, I trust God. No matter what happens, I know that my Father has only good plans for me. Though I may not fully understand His choice of direction, I am confident in His plan. So, as you read these words, know that the Father has given me great peace.
Since April, I have been dealing with some health issues that I hoped would be resolved without having to tell you what was happening. While in Cameroon, we were very blessed by all that we saw God do. But as you know, the food overseas is sometimes very different to what we are accustomed to here at home. As a result of that, I got worms and parasites. Certain symptoms came with having this problem, but when they failed to go away, the doctors suggested other tests. In truth, I have not felt well since April. However, I have found the Father’s gift of strength all-sufficient.
Though I was not well, I was able by God’s grace to share in Russia in May, Brazil in June, many states in the U.S. in July, Northern Ireland and Ireland in August, and Liberia in September. Even since I have been home, I have been very busy with ministry; teaching Bible studies, doing puppet shows, making new equipment, and having an outreach at my house for a hundred friends last Saturday night a week ago. Many times I felt that I simply didn’t have the strength to do what I needed to do. I thank God that always, He gave me all that I needed.
I wish I could tell you this news in person so that you could look into my eyes and see God’s peace that fills my heart. The Father is faithful. I hold to that big truth! I have a growth in my colon that has resisted all the doctor’s efforts to diagnose. They know that it should not be there. So on November 17th at 7:30 a.m., I have scheduled surgery. They will remove a section of my colon and I will probably be very ill for some time. They will biopsy the growth and determine whether or not I have cancer.
Please pray that they are able to do a laproscopic procedure, as that only requires a 3-5 day hospital stay. They are concerned about scarring from previous surgeries and may have to do the surgery the old-fashioned way, which will require a hospital stay of up to 10 days. Also, I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma, which have created concerns about the surgery. I will be at Parkridge Hospital in Chattanooga and would appreciate your prayers about these specific matters.
Mostly, pray that I will be a bright light as I walk this way! I have had and will have many more opportunities to share the hope of Jesus with the doctors and nurses that are taking care of me. When you remember to pray for me, please remember to pray first of all for the children of the world to hear about Jesus Christ and His love. Then, pray for me to have a sweet testimony. Finally, pray for the health issues.
Since this all began in April, I have not cried once, but last Wednesday ,a week ago, I fell apart. I had just had another visit with the doctor and I realized for the first time that I would have to go through this experience without Mike’s arms around me. Through the years, I have never enjoyed excellent health, but always, Mike held me. It took me three hours of tears and prayer, but God is a husband to the widows, and I am okay again. I know who holds my days. I know that nothing can happen to me that God does not allow.
Last weekend after this battle, I taught a Bible study in Baltimore about the steadfast love of the Father, His forgiveness, and His faithfulness. It is no accident that I fought this battle in my heart the night before I started my trip. Because of all those hours of prayer, my heart was in the right place to hear what the Father wanted to teach those dear ladies. We had an incredible time together and I was very blessed by their willingness to let God change them in areas where He convicted them. I could speak with power because of all the Father has walked me through with Mike’s death and all of the things He is teaching me today. How good God is!
Thank you for showering me with your love and prayers. My deep concern remains that the children of the world hear about Jesus. To that end, my Assistant Director, Sam Shaw, and I have made plans so that the ministry will continue without any problems in January. Please pray for the many details that we must arrange. The doctor has told me that I can travel to Romania in January if I do not have cancer. If I do, Sam will come to the U.S. and lead the trips from here. Also, pray for strength for the next two weeks before my surgery. I have much to do. I am sharing and speaking at two mission conferences in Atlanta & First Baptist Atlanta and Midway PCA. The Saturday before I have surgery, I have a group of people from Alabama coming to the house to train in puppet ministry. I am very excited about this opportunity!
Thank you for your prayers.
Love in Jesus,