Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quick Update

JM had his appointment today, and we really didn't learn anything new. They did some blood work, and the Dr. talked us through each option and explained everything in detail, which helped a lot. Two things that gave us a little hope was that he told us that people who do a lot of bush hogging and people who work with birds are more prone to histoplasmosis, and that he thought whatever was causing the lymph nodes to be enlarged has been going on for a while. This is good news to us, because while we were in Missouri JM was on the grounds crew at the Missionary Training Center and cut grass everyday. The place is also covered in goose poop. He started having constant allergy/respiratory problems while we were there and ended up with pneumonia in May. The few people we have heard of that have had histoplasmosis have also had pneumonia. We are still praying that this is what he has, as it will be the quickest to cure. We should hear back in about a week from his blood work, which will tell us if he has histoplasmosis.
We are still waiting to hear when he will be scheduled for the biopsy, but it should be early next week. We did find out that, as crazy as it sounds, it would probably be better for him to have lymphoma over sarcoidosis. Lymphoma can be treated and cured whereas sarcoidosis is a lifelong condition that could potentially keep us from being able to serve overseas...

That hurt just to write. We hope and pray that is not the case. It is our dream, our life's goal to be missionaries. To go to the ends of the earth. To bring the Gospel to those who have no access to it. But we know that God is in this and He directs our steps. We know that He does not need us. He could send another couple, a neighboring tribe, He could make the rocks cry out. But we pray that He still desires to use us, because we desire to be used by Him. We know that we must also be willing to be used in whatever way He asks- even if it means staying stateside. We have to put our desire to be overseas missionaries in His hands, and be willing to accept whatever His will is for us. That sounds strange doesn't it? Usually you hear of people placing their desires for "the American dream" in His hands and sacrificing those dreams and goals in order to be missionaries. But it works both ways. God's ultimate desire is that we believe and obey Him- no matter what. I think of the many wonderful missionaries at the Training Center who are now serving Stateside due to health or political problems in their respective countries. Most still desire to be overseas, but are submitting to the Father's will for their lives and ministry- even if it is not what they planned or even what they thought God had planned for them.

So, as you pray for us, we ask that you pray that JM just has histoplasmosis, but also that we would be willing to accept the Lord's will, no matter what. Please also pray for the financial aspect of all this. We are not sure about our insurance with all of it, so pray that the Lord would provide for all the tests and treatment, as debt from medical bills could also delay us from leaving.

Psalm 29:11 has helped me today-
"The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace."

and Peace. Thank you Lord for giving us both today.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where we are for now...

This is very hard for me to write. I know that may come as a shock to you considering the previous things I have written- one would assume that nothing is hard for me to write, but there are a few things that fall into that category. It is hard for me write, because I am still reeling from the events of this past week, and really still have no idea what to think.

We were on our last leg of paperwork for our visas. We were given the ok to come to PNG if we got our support level to 60% (we are currently at 51%), all our stuff is already on its way. We were preparing ourselves for our last Christmas in the US for the next 4 years. We were traveling hard and fast in one direction- a direction that we were very excited about, then we hit a speed bump. Well, more like a pothole really. A big pothole that causes your tire to blowout and your car to spin out of control and leaves you sitting beside the road wondering if your car is totaled or if you will be able to get back on the road again.

The Wednesday before last we had to have chest x-rays as part of the paperwork process in order to get our visas. Unexpectedly, JM's came back showing some enlarged lymph nodes. They scheduled him for a CT scan this past Thursday. The results from that said that the swollen lymph nodes were "extensive" and he had one of 2 conditions, Sarcoidosis or Lymphoma. We were shocked, scared, and very confused. We had a family Christmas party to attend that night, so we just held everything in and tried to get through it. We called a few people to tell them to pray, but decided not to tell his family until after all our Christmas events because we didn't want to ruin anyone's Christmas. So, Saturday night after all the family festivities were over, we told JM's parents. His sister was there who works for the best pulmonary doctor in the State, and she immediately got on the phone with him to get some help. She took the disk from JM's CT scan to him and he looked at it today. He said that he thought it was one of 3 things Sarcoidosis, Lymphoma, or Histoplasmosis. The latter was good news to us as it has a short and simple treatment, and is very common in the Southeast.

JM now has an appointment on Tuesday with this doctor and they will do blood work and a biopsy to determine what is really going on. As of now, we still feel very strongly about our calling to PNG. We do not feel like the Lord wants us to change our plans about going- He just might be changing our timing a little. We of course, are praying for the condition with the fastest healing time, so we can continue as soon as possible. We know that there are people living and dying everyday without access to the Gospel and the longer it takes to get over there- the longer they will go without hearing. We feel very confident about JM's health. He doesn't feel sick at all, and even if the worse case scenario of cancer is true- we know that Lymphoma is very treatable.

Right now, we are just trusting God with His timing. I don't understand at all. I mean this seems like a perfect time for us to go to me. We are almost done with paperwork, our support is almost where we needs it to be, jeggings are in style, and that is a look I will never be able to pull off, our stuff is already there... I don't understand, but I trust. I learned a long time ago that God is good. Knowing that, we are able to trust Him, love Him, and praise Him in every situation! Our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15) and there is no other place I would want them to be!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

6 years...

Six years ago today. JM married this girl...

She was just sitting there, bored looking, skinny, tan, well-rested. Why wouldn't he marry her? Before 3 kids and many sleepless nights gave her dark circles under her eyes. Before pregnancy gave her stretch marks and melasma. Before two c- sections caused her abdominal muscles to atrophy. I mean look at this couple? Aren't they attractive? I wish I could tell them not to worry. In six years, you will still love each other, and have lots of fun together. In six years you will be getting ready to move for the 2,389th time. You are getting ready to move across the world...for the second time. Don't worry, you have already lived in 2 different countries and 3 different States. AND, you have three kids...three daughters. I know, I know, that last part sounds scray, but relax, you won't have any more after that! :)

Actually, I am pretty sure that if I told that girl all that, she would have run away crying. She was a little high strung. She was also a little stupid. She thought it was better to spend her money on tanning rather than on food. Yeah, I think if I could talk to her now, I would simply tell her, "Eat a donut, honey, you don't know what you are missing."

I like the girl in this picture much better. She is a little jigglier, a little whiter (ok, a lot whiter) but she is a lot happier. Thanks JMGJ for making me a wife, mother, and better person. I love you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I am not an angry blogger

I wanted to be. I had full intentions on my next post being an angry post, but God did not want that for me... or you, so he humble and convicted me, and I am sure you are grateful. I know it has been a long time since I have posted, but I have been at the doctor, literally, everyday since that last post. You see, we are currently working on our third phase of paper work to get our visas for PNG. This phase is mostly medical tests to prove that we don't have TB, HIV, meningitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, the plague, the flu- both bird and swine, botulism, eczema, chicken pox, stephens- johnsons syndrome, erectile dysfunction, pre- menstrual syndrome, irritable bowl syndrome, hot dog fingers, count choculitis, etc. etc. etc. It has been a pain, but at least we know we are healthy. We also thought it was going to be very expensive, but God is good and always provides for us! The costs have been a fraction of what they are supposed to be! PRAISE JESUS!

This leads me to why I was going to write this angry post. You see, a certain someone that we know had a conversation with someone else about tribal ministry and what it costs. This missionary (we'll call him "Joe Missionary") was telling this other guy (we'll call him Sam Sacrifice) about the costs of the solar panels and appliance systems in a tribal missionary's house. When Joe Missionary told Sam Sacrifice the costs of these systems, Mr. Sacrifice asked, "wow, couldn't you just give up some things and not have as much?" as he pulled out his iphone to tweet about how missionaries should be willing to give up more. Really? These missionaries (myself included) are going to live in the middle of the jungle and have solar panels to power the bare minimum, have a bucket flush toilet, and have NO AIR CONDITIONING, but we should be willing to give up more??

See, that sounded angry didn't it? I was planning on writing a lot more when I found out that my 3 little girls had to have blood drawn for HIV tests. You see, I have a very hard time watching them go through medical stuff. I knew it would freak them out and they would not understand why we were doing this to them, but thankfully the Lord took care of them and provided us with some numbing cream through my Mother-in-law the pediatric nurse, so it didn't hurt. I am very thankful because I would have literally passed out in the doctor's office if I had to watch them scream and cry through that! I also got really angry thinking about Mr. Sacrifice's comment when I thought about how much money we were spending just to get this stuff done, but the
Lord provided, and reminded me that I have nothing to be angry about.

The truth is, we SHOULD be willing to give up more. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell ALL his possessions, to come and follow Him- not just some of them. All believers should be willing to give up everything- whatever He asks, to be obedient to Him. No matter how much I think I am giving up, if He asks me to live with less, I will. I can choose to be content knowing that He knows what is best for me, and what will bring him the most glory. Amen.

So, here it is. The not-so-angry post. After all, if I end up in a place like this, what in the world will I have to complain about?? :)

Yes, this in an actual photo, from an actual place where actual NTM missionaries serve in PNG. If the Lord called me to "suffer" here, I would do so gladly.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Aftermath...


Stop eating yourselves!!!!

Awe, that's better!


JM and I looked at this picture and got a very eerie feeling. You know, like the cake when it was intact, was us our first year on the field. All nice looking, and happy. But we are afraid that this is some sort of prophetic picture of what we will look like after 20 years. Our house all falling apart, and our faces bitten off. Needless to say, I was a little freaked out. Then, I remembered all the wonderful missionaries we met at the Missionary Training Center who spent years on the field, and who went through some crazy and difficult experiences but who came out looking like regular people. Our friends, Bob and Sonya, for example, had to emergency evacuate from not one, but two different African countries due to civil war. They lost their homes and all their possessions (including their wedding pictures) but they don't look like they've had their faces bitten off. In fact, they are attractive people. See?
This picture makes me feel a lot better. I think I will look at it instead of the one where my face is bitten off. I just can't handle that anymore.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Cake

Funny story...
So, I just recently had my 29th birthday. Don't worry, I didn't freak out. I know I have come across as a total spaz in this blog, and I am a total spaz about some things. Getting older is not one of those things. I am 29. Big Woo. My husband is 9 months younger than me which means nothing to me other than he was being conceived as I was being born. (That statement was for you JM...think about that..muhahahaha!!!) But he is constantly trying to make me feel bad for being older. My response is usually, "who cares", but he usually keeps it up. I think he is insecure and is not as comfortable with getting older. GET OVER IT MAN!!! IT'S HAPPENING!!! Anyway...

My wonderful husband wanted to get me something awesome that I would really love for my birthday. He knows I love cake. He knows I love to watch all those cake shows where people make crazy cakes that are really cool and make you say "that is a cake?" We have a friend in Alabama (Hey Ann-Marie!!) who makes said cakes. She should have her own show. Seriously. And, as it turns out we were going to be in Alabama for my birthday. I realized this and started dropping "hints" that I wanted an "Ann Marie" cake for my birthday. I did this by writing it on her facebook wall. Well...JM was way ahead of me and had already talked to her about getting me a cake! He is so sweet, and thoughtful, and hot! (Although, he did get mad at me because it ruined the surprise, and he pouted about that for a while, but I told him it should make him happy that he figured out exactly what I wanted all on his own... I also promised he could have a piece of the cake. I think that he was worried about that) Anyway...

I got a tribal cake. And it was AMAZING!!! Here are some pics:

JM starting a fire with sticks, and me holding baby Mia..

Lu and Mae hanging out the window...

I love all the little details...

And it was delicious too!!!

We haven't eaten any of the people yet. I think I will let each person each their own gum paste self. I am not sure who will eat baby Mia. I am pretty sure that I cannot. I imagine that will give me very strange nightmares! Anyway... My birthday made me very thankful that I have such a talented friend and such a thoughtful husband! Thoughtful and hot...check out those beefy arms! :)

I love you JMGJ!! Sorry I made you think about yourself being conceived!

**More on this picture to come. I am not ready to relive the events of this day yet. I might need therapy before that can happen!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why I am a terrible missionary...

1. Because I like Harry Potter, but have a plan if I ever get caught coming out of the theater after watching it. I will just say, "I am about to move to a place where witchcraft is commonly practiced and I am just doing research."

2. Because even though I don't curse, I think it is really funny when people use the first letter of a curse word instead of the actual word. I know it is a euphemism and the meaning is the same. Still funny.

3. Because I hate homeschooling, am a terrible teacher, and secretly wish I could send my kids to Hogwarts....for research of course.

4. Because I am still trying to figure out how to get my air conditioner to the tribe with me.

5. Because if I have to cross this in order for people to hear the Gospel, well, they just aren't going to hear. Not gonna lie.

6. Because I hate flying, especially with 3 young children, and I know that everyone else on the plane with me hates me flying with 3 young children.

7. Because I own a Britney Spears cd.

8. Because I just told you that I own a Britney Spears cd.

***Side note*** Speaking of Britney Spears, I think Justin Bieber is proof that the feminist movement has come a long way. Now teenage boys are being inappropriately marketed as sex symbols and not just teenage girls.

8. Because of shameless plugs like this one..

9. Because I only have 3 kids.

***another side note*** Speaking of having a lot of kids, who wants to take a poll as to whether or not the Duggars are going to go for an even 20?? And speaking of TLC shows, I used to watch Jon and Kate plus 8, but that was when it was still "Jon and Kate" plus 8 and before they got rich and famous and completely lost their minds. I think the fact that I stopped watching should go in a list called "Why I am a good missionary."

Ok, I have gotten way off track here, but I just thought I would share all my shortcomings with you. Thank goodness for the fact that when we are weak, He is strong!