Hello from South Africa!  Thank you so much for your prayers for our family over the last couple of weeks.  These weeks have certainly been eventful.  Your prayers are still urgently needed though, especially for this coming Tuesday.

I was absent from Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola for the past two Sundays because of the emergency with Allison, but I hear from Jill that the services went ahead just fine and that Lord’s house was full both Sundays.  

Last Sunday, I had already scheduled one of the young men from our church who is praying about God’s Will regarding full-time Christian service to preach for me.  He is a good guy, and is developing into a good preacher.  My only regret is that I was not there to hear him preach.  

Our special speaker last week at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola.

This week our assistant Pastor preached for me.  His sermons are always encouraging and well-received.  I was sorry to miss his preaching too.  

Please continue to pray for the spiritual growth of the members of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola.  Please also pray that the Lord will speak clearly to call young men into full-time Christian service and to give them confidence about their calling.

The week before I left Zambia with Allison I was out visiting and was able to lead a lady to the Lord.  She confided in me that she had said a prayer years ago, but really did not understand all of what she was doing, that she was just looking for an escape from Hell, and not for forgiveness of her sin, and a new life in Christ.  Carefully, I took her through the scriptures and shared with her about Jesus and His great gift and she bowed her head and confidently asked Jesus to save her from her sin.  Please pray for this lady to grow and mature in her Christian life. She is facing many challenges with her family.

It is normal for me to sometimes draw a crowd while I am out soul-winning.  Recently, while I was out visiting in an area where white folks are not usually found, a group of about 12 youngsters approached me cautiously.  I spoke to them in Bemba and they giggled and ran away. I could not understand what they said as they were running and laughing so I asked the young man with whom I was visiting, and he sheepishly told me that “they think that you are Mr. Bean”.  Jill and Allison got a good laugh out of that when I told them.

Mr. Bean and me. Honestly, I do not see the resemblance.

Thank you very much for your urgent prayers the last few days for Allison.  Allison is stable and is in good spirits but this is a difficult time for her emotionally as well as physically and she has good days and bad days.

Since Allison is an adult, we would like to protect her privacy, so we hope that you will understand if we do not get too detailed about her physical symptoms and testing.  We appreciate your understanding.

In the past 9 days Allison’s testing has been extensive.  At first, the gastroenterologist was very sure of a diagnosis.  But time and again the tests have come back normal.  This is a mixed blessing.  We praise the Lord that she does not have these awful and debilitating illnesses that we are testing for, but also we are disappointed that we do not have a diagnosis.

Many of you have contacted us with suggestions and ideas.  I have written every suggestion down and have presented them to the doctors.  Slowly we have worked through the list and ruled out various illnesses.

On Thursday we asked to be referred to a different specialist and within 20 minutes of sitting down in his office he was very confident that he knew the problem.  According to him almost all of Allison’s symptoms over the past year point to a specific diagnosis.  He referred us to a specialist surgeon and on Tuesday Allison will have exploratory surgery to see if this suspected diagnosis is correct and if so, to correct it.  Unfortunately, there is no blood or imaging test for what the doctor suspects, it can only be verified through sight and then taking a biopsy and sending it to the laboratory.

So our family is asking for your prayers for us for this Tuesday.  Please pray that Allison will go through the surgery without complication.  The risk of complication is minimal but not 0%.  Please pray for the surgeon and her team as they complete the surgery and look for the problem.  And lastly, please pray with us for our family as we await the results.

The Lord and His Word is a great comfort to us especially at this time.

I have always loved the passage in the Bible in Mark 5:25-29 where Jesus is approached by the woman who for 12 years has suffered with a debilitating illness.  

Mark 5:25-29 
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,  26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His garment.  28 For she said, If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 

Such confidence, such courage, such faith, such desperation.  

I am particularly touched by verse 26 where it said that she had suffered many things of the physicians.  If testing now is rough, imagine in Jesus’ days!  Not only that, it also says that she had spent all that she had and was not any better, but actually she was worse.

  • ~ She had spent all – it seems that she had used up all of her money for medical testing and treatments that did not help her. In Luke 8:43 the Word of God says that she had spent all her living on the physicians.  All.
  • ~ She had suffered (physically) at the hands of the doctors through their testing and treatments with no resolution.
  • ~ She had endured emotional suffering and societal exile because of the nature of her illness. (Leviticus 15:2; Numbers 5:2)

Some of you have been in the same situation that this dear woman was in, and you understand what she was going through.  

(In our testing for Allison, I think that we understand a little bit about feeling worse after all the doctors poking and prodding and procedures.)

But when the woman with the issue of blood came to Jesus she found acceptance, compassion and healing.  That is our Lord, our Savior.  He is overflowing with compassion, mercy, and love.

We are acknowledging that Jesus is the only source of physical healing and asking that if it is His will, that He will heal Allison completely, either miraculously or through the doctors and surgeons.

Many of you have shared with us your health issues.  There are so many of you with symptoms in the past and present that are similar to Allison’s.  Please know that Jill and I are praying for you.

As you pray for Allison to be made completely whole will you also pray for our friends Cathy and Jerry who are being treated for cancer?

Thank you for your prayers for Jill as she is in Zambia watching over things while Allison and I are in South Africa.  Please continue interceding in prayer for her safety.  It is hard for a mother to be away from her children when they are ill.

Our heavenly father is taking great care of our family during this crisis.  

  • ~ He has opened doors to specialist physicians in amazingly short times that people have assured us were impossible to open.  
  • ~ He has put people in our path who have been kind to us and helped us. 
  • ~ He has given us an amazing network of supporting churches and individuals and prayer partners who are lifting us up faithfully before His throne.  

Truly, we serve an awesome and powerful God.  What a blessing to be a part of His family and know Him as our Lord.

I will try to post an update on Tuesday or Wednesday after Allison is recovered from her surgery.  Thank you for your patience and understanding, and especially for your prayers.

Thank you also to those of you who have shared these requests with your friends and asked them to pray for us.  You can never have too much prayer!