This has been a heavy week in many ways.
But for now please pray for three things that are on our hearts:
- Surgery for Annelise. On Tuesday Annelise Pierce, who is on a short HMA in the US right now, will have her thyroid gland removed. This is a complicated surgery necessitated by the fact that she was born with an abnormal gland, and while it has given her intermittent issues over the years the doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital determined that it would be safer for her to be without it, especially living in Africa where we can not follow and treat changes in her hormone levels as closely. The way that God orchestrated her appointment on Friday, bringing her into contact with the best possible specialist through a “chance” meeting in the hall with a friend, and clearing his schedule so that the usual two month wait was reduced to a few days . . . Gave us all assurance of His hand in this care. Please pray for Annelise’s safety, courage, recovery, for the preservation of all the other essentials in her neck (!!) for talking and swallowing. This will delay their return to Uganda for another month, so pray for faith and hope all around, and for God to give them good rest and family time in the interim.
- Evaluation for Chase Gray. In just over two weeks the Gray family will also be taking an unexpected trip to the US. We have been becoming more and more concerned about Chase’s development. He is 8 months old, but unable to roll, sit, grasp toys, babble, or eat solids. For the last month we’ve been hoping he was just a little behind the normal curve, but on Friday we sat down with the Grays and expressed our conviction that this is a more serious problem. It is hard to believe because he’s so cute, smiling, interactive watching faces, and chubby . . . . But his head size and length are significantly below even the lowest normal measurements for his age. We would like him to get a more extensive evaluation to see if there is a definable cause of his problem, and we encouraged a trip sooner rather than later because developmental delays can be improved significantly by early intervention with physical and occupational therapy. The possibility of life-long challenges with learning and movement is very real, which is devastating for any parent to face, and even more so for the Grays who have just been through years of surgical procedures with Grant. Our hearts grieve with them; this is truly where the rubber of faith meets the road, and so many families who have tried to work here have been attacked through problems with their children. Please pray for them to be visited by HOPE, to sense the presence of Jesus with them in their discouragement and confusion.
- Kwejuna Food Distribution. Lastly please pray for tomorrow’s food distribution to Kwejuna Project mothers; we anticipate it may be the biggest ever, with over 150 families expected. Pamela is the primary missionary coordinating these days, and this will be the last one before she finishes her term, though her supporters have offered to fund the distributions for another year (!!). We see the day as an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to the poor and sick very literally (Matthew 25), and it also gives us an opportunity to follow-up on mothers and babies who do not otherwise come in for care. There are interviews, weight checks, blood tests, counseling, devotions, fellowship, laughter, tears . . . It is always a very demanding but worthwhile endeavor. Pray for us as a team as we serve these families.
Thanks so much. I’ll close with Lamentations 3 from the Message, which spoke to me in the grief I feel especially for the Grays in the past few days. Please pray through this for them and for Annelise in particular, that they would enter the silence of God’s presence and wait for hope to appear.
With love and gratefulness,
Jennifer for the team
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
The taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember--
The feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
And remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning,
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
To the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
Quietly hope for help from GOD.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
To stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
Go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever
Walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
In throwing roadblocks in the way . . .