Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Date: Dec 24, 2007
Dear praying ones,
Just a quick update on Elliot: the surgery is scheduled for 8:00 am on January 4th to attach the esophagus to the stomach, remove the upper left lobe of the left lung and reroute the vascular ring around the trachea. They are planning to go ahead with hopes that the esophagus will be long enough. Regardless, they will do surgery on that date, and if it is not long enough, they will stretch it for a week. Please pray for Dr. Georgeson and all the staff.
Have a blessed holiday,
(Samantha is a cousin of Daniel Scott who was on the GNOM team last year.)
Beka Scott writes:
Samantha and Abby Kerr were driving home from their Christmas shopping the 14th. The roads were icy and a blizzard was blowing. A small truck in front of them spun off the road. Sam stopped and got out, thinking to help the driver. Suddenly the car behind them slid into her car with such a momentum that it kept going.
It smashed against Samantha and flipped her into the ditch opposite the first car. Sam's leg was pinched between this car and her car. But rather than being smashed, her leg merely popped open with the pressure - riping muscles and tendons and cleanly fracturing her leg. Her opposite leg was badly sprained and bruised.
On the passenger side, Abby, while hesitating within the car, was barely bruised. If she had stepped out she would have been killed judging by the velocity that the car had smashed into their car. In all, I think 5 cars were involved.
Samantha has had many small cleanings of the wound after a surgery inserting a pin sewing it up. She has two small sections where the skin is too thin to sew up, so she will need skin grafts. This morning they are doing surgery to remove the dead skin on her calf.
Now recovering, Sam is sitting up much more and has physiotherapists coming in to exercise both legs.
Although we are deeply disappointed that Sam will be in the hospital for , we are so glad she's still alive and healing. It could have been so much worse.
Don Robertson writes:
Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for your prayers, love and support of Bill through this trying time. It hurts me to write this particular update because of the pain it will cause to so many of you. Although my earlier update today suggests the "numbers" are improving they did not tell the whole story.
We have just received news from Bill's personal doctor that the blood tests, that we did not have this morning, show that Bill is now in renal failure. His kidneys can no longer function properly. In his present condition Bill could not tolerate kidney dialysis, nor would he want to. Because his
kidneys are in failure we must stop feeding him through the IV. His care will now need to change to comfort care until He passes into the presence of His Lord.
His Master is calling Him home. It's where Bill wants to be. He will finally be able to see the Lord Jesus face to face. We could feel jealous for him, but we will have to wait our turn, or wait for that shout and the meeting in the air. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
Pray that the Lord will now quickly take him home without further suffering.
PS: We want to clarify that Bill is not alone. Although we are not providing a round-the-clock watch, it is nearly so. We have asked a select group of close friends and prayer warriors to sit with Bill at different times throughout his sickness. We deeply appreciate the care and affection they are showing to Bill. Many read Scriptures to him, hold his hand, pray with him, sing songs of praise to the Lord or just sit quietly by his bed praying. Most have seized every opportunity to witness to the nursing /medical staff as well. Thank you to all who have sacrificed time and sleep to be with Bill.
Monday, December 24, 2007
|About Bill|| |
|Recent Updates|| |
Monday, December 24, 2007 (12:16 a.m.)
We returned to the hospital at about 6:30 p.m. last night and have just returned home. Here is the latest on Bill's current condition. There is a slow, steady improvement hour by hour. His blood pressure is improving, his respiration is good and improving. His fever has come down from 102 degrees to 99 degrees. He became more responsive as the night progressed.
As always, The Lord has manifold purposes in trials. The Lord continues to bring new nurses to Bill's aid and this gives us the opportunity to share about the Master Bill has served all these years. We are able to use this opportunity to share with them about the Lord and give them gospel literature that Bill has written. As we pray for Bill's physical health, let's remember to pray for the souls of these precious ones who minister to Bill. And remember Bill's doctors as well. He has witnessed faithfully to them over the years.
As another treat, the Lord has brought in a charge nurse at this critical time who just happens to be a Christian, and just happens to attend one of the local assemblies here, and just happens to be a personal friend of Bill's and just happens to be the nurse who attended to his step-mother during her final years at Bethesda Christian Retirement Home until she passed into the presence of the Lord at the age of 100.
The latest update is that it has been verified that Bill has another intestinal blockage. We have consulted with the surgeon, the cardiologist, his pulmonary doctor and his personal physician. All of his doctors have positively stated that surgery is a must and that Bill is strong enough for
it. We have consulted with Bill's elders and they concur that surgery is appropriate. We spoke with Bill and he seems to be at peace with the decision.
The surgery to straighten out a kink in his intestines is scheduled for 7 p.m. PST . Please pray for wisdom and skill for the doctors. Please pray also for those who are helping make decisions about his care.
PS. Visit http://www.fremontcalvary.org/williammacdonald.html for
information as soon as it is available. Thank you for praying.
Roy Aafedt Update...
Dear praying saints:
Dean Solum gave me a call this afternoon. Dean has been faithfully staying at the hospital with Roy's wife, Cindy.
Roy continues to do very well under the circumstances. Days 4-7 after the aneurysm are critical days. Today marks the 5th day for Roy. During that time the risk of brain spasms is present, which can cause a stroke. Thankfully he has not had any symptoms of spasms yet. Yesterday he was in considerable pain, but today is feeling much better. He will be in ICU until Monday or Tuesday if everything continues to go well. His hospitalization after that will continue to be in University Hospital in for a week or so.
Roy and Cindy are very aware of many saints praying for them (including many who do not even know them). This gives them great encouragement. Cindy and Dean have been able to be a good testimony in the hospital, as they have had opportunity to be with family members of others in similar circumstances to Roy. Please also pray for Cindy and family (daughter Makenzie and Roy's mother, Mary Dawn) and Dean.
Elysha Brooks Update...
DECEMBER 22, 2007
Elysha came through her surgery safely and is still in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Sick Kids. She is on a ventilator which is being used to try to "balance her system" and although it is taking a little longer than expected, our surgeon did tell us, "it will take some time for Elysha's
system to adjust to her new physiology".
The surgical procedure (BT Shunt)is a temporary insertion of a Gortex tube (~4mm diameter) between the aorta (artery from heart to body) and the pulmonary artery (from heart to lungs). The main pulmonary outlet from the heart was "tied-off"to prevent "back-flow" into the heart. So now the single aortic outlet from the heart supplies all the blood from the heart to the body and to the lungs (via the shunt). Elysha's pulmonary outlet was narrowing (stenosis) and had been restricting the blood flow to the lungs. This surgery is intended to "buy time" until the next more complex surgery (hoped to be when she is at least six month old).
One setback that is currently being addressed is that a part of her intestinal track has necrotized (basically "died" from lack of oxygen supply. When there is a shortage of "good blood" the body redirects it to the major organs and as such the bowels "do without". The treatment involves
antibiotics, muscle relaxants and NPO (no food by mouth). Every 4-6 hrs an X-Ray is done to track her response to this treatment. This morning's report indicates that she seems to be responding well (surgery is a final option, but we pray that isn't needed).
As we waited for news during Elysha's surgery we read the following from "Daily Light" a devotional that compiles verses on a single theme for each day of the year.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: ... I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
They brought young children to him, and he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant. The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.
Richard and Katherine Brooks
Friday, December 21, 2007
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Bill MacDonald has done well the last two days. The machine that was helping him breathe has been removed. He has been sleeping better. His temperature is normal. His mind is more settled. His sense of humor is intact. His digestive system has yet to restart and his mind is still clouded from medication, but the doctors are hopeful that he will make a full recovery. Please continue to pray as Bill still has a long way to go and is very weak.
In Christ's Love,
Elysha just went into surgery 1 p.m. EST.
She will have .5 hour prep, 1.5 hours of surgery and then recovery so probably a total of 3 hours.
Please pray for God to guide the surgeons hands and give them wisdom.
Pray for Elysha's parents Richard and Katherine Brooks.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I talked with Dean Solum this evening and here is the latest update on Roy Aafedt. Roy is doing well today. He had the angiogram tube removed from his leg and had a drainage tube put in his neck. His speech and vision are fine (which could have been adversely affected by the surgery). He was getting much needed sleep this evening. The next few days/weeks are still critical, as complications can still set in (stroke, spasms from the blood still in the brain area due to bleeding, etc.). He will be hospitalized for at least two weeks in .
Thanks for your continued prayers.
The latest word we received from Don Robertson is that Bill has improved. His lungs are clear right now and he was able to communicate in a limited way with Don through nods. The lung and heart specialist was pleased with Bill's progress. However, he does have an infection and a blockage which they will be dealing with over the next few days. He is not accepting visitors and needs lots of rest.
Thank you for your prayers.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Elysha is being admitted to the hospital today and the surgeons plan on doing heart surgery tomorrow. We do not know the exact time of the operation yet. They will be putting a shunt in from the pulmonary artery to the aortic artery to allow better transfer of oxygen. Her oxygen level today is 65. It is hoped this procedure will allow her to grow to 6 months of age before
major surgery. Elysha has six heart defects that we know about.
1. her heart is turned to the right instead of the left.
2. the pulmonary artery and aorta are flipped
3. the pulmonary artery and aorta both feed off the right ventricle
4. the ventricles are reversed; the right on the left and the left on the right.
5. the pulmoary artery is narrowed and has restricted blood flow
6. there is a hole between the ventricles.
Please pray for Elysha and the family.
Here's the latest update on Roy Aafedt (as of ). Roy's surgery actually just began probably within the last 1/2 hour (it was originally to begin around .). After arriving this morning they did an angiogram to determine the extent of his problem and to determine how to best operate. The good news is that they reported that most persons don't make it to where he was this morning/afternoon.
They considered different options with surgery, but have decided the safest way is to go directly through his skull. The doctors originally reported that he would be in surgery 4-5 hours. Roy's wife, Cindy, and daughter, Makenzie, are doing well at Fairview University Hospital in . Several family/friends are with them, including Dean Solum and Kevin and
Elaine Brown from our assembly. Roy's mother, Mary Dawn, and his sister, Tara and her husband, and others are with them.
They are aware of the prayer request going around the country/world and are very appreciative. "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16b). "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them...O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" (Psalm 34:7-8)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
We have received this email from brother Gary Clark, an elder at Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel in concerning a family in their assembly.
Please fervently pray for Roy Aafedt, who suddenly became very ill late last night. His wife rushed him to Innovis Hospital's emergency room. They have determined that he has a brain aneurysm deep in the frontal lobe of his brain. The neurosurgeon recommended that he be flown to University Fairview Hospital in . The helicopter flight left Innovis at about 5:15 or 5:30 a.m. The flight will take about one hour. Once there they will do further scans/tests and make a decision about the type of surgery needed.
I was at the hospital from about 4:00 a.m. until the flight left. By that time they had him on medication and his pain was controlled. He was alert and talking. He is aware of the serious nature of his illness and requests that everyone be in prayer for him.
Please also pray for Dean Solum as he drives Roy's wife, Cindy and his teen daughter, Makenzie to the hospital. They are probably enroute by now.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
Following hernia surgery on Sunday, December 9, Bill MacDonald had several difficult days. Internal bleeding was the primary problem. Thursday things turned for the better and the bleeding stopped. Bill had good days and Saturday and was moved out of the intensive care unit. He was talkative and was able to eat some soft food.
Sunday he became disorientated, probably due to exhaustion. Today he aspirated gastric fluids and had to be sedated to have his lungs pumped clean. He is now back in ICU. Tubes have been reinserted and he is breathing with the aid of oxygen. He will be sedated for the next two days. Pray for strength for Bill and wisdom for Don Robertson and Mary Rodriguez as they
organize his care and make healthcare decisions.
In Christ's love
Thank you for praying for little Elliot. We were able to spend several hours with him and his parents last Tuesday, and saw Josh & Angie again last night. Elliot is now about 8 pounds, 6 weeks after birth (10/31/07).
Elliot's surgeon has determined to attempt to connect the unattached parts of the esophagus the first week in January. They will also remove the upper lobe of his left lung, which has been collapsed and non-functional since birth. There is some concern that the two parts of the esophagus will not have grown enough to attach to each other. There are several options then,
all of which would require more surgery, including using a portion of his colon to make up the gap between the two parts. The hope is the one surgery would be sufficient for now.
It will be a major surgery and they have told Angie & Josh that he will be a very sick little boy for a while after it. They will keep him very sedated for the first week afterward to keep him from crying or any other strenuous activity which would potentially undo the surgery. This is anxious news for the parents. They are leaning heavily on the Lord. They truly love their
little babe, and have spent all of their available time with him. They are presently staying at the Ronald McDonald house, just a few blocks away from the hospital. Josh has been able to work, but comes "home" to as soon as he is off.
Your prayers for this dear couple and there little baby are much appreciated. While perfect health is our natural desire for Elliot, we do pray and ask according to the Lord's will for them all, and that His will would be accomplished in all of their lives.
Yours in HIM
Sunday, December 16, 2007
We just received this update from California:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Bill MacDonald is doing much better this evening. After a poor recovery period Monday through Thursday, Friday he started doing a bit better and today he is much improved. The tube has been removed from his stomach. The internal bleeding has stopped as the chemistry of his blood is good. He is sitting up, speaking clearly, and having his first (light) meal since Sunday.
Bill has said he no longer feels he needs to have someone sitting with him in his room. He still has congestion in his lungs that needs to clear and he has been through a lot and is weak, but he appears to be on the road to recovery.
"O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting" (1 Chronicles 16:34).
In Christ's Love,
Friday, December 14, 2007
We have received word this morning that our beloved brother William MacDonald is in need of our prayers. Brother Jim McCarthy writes:
"Bill MacDonald had emergency surgery for a hernia/entrapped bowel and is still in the intensive care unit. He has not recovered well. He has been on a blood thinner for several months to help him avoid clots and this has contributed to internal bleeding that has yet to stop. The doctors feel Bill is too fragile to go back into surgery and have been trying to stop the bleeding with clotting agents and transfusions. The last few days have been up and down. Bill wants to go to be with the Lord, as you would expect. Yesterday was his worst day, and we thought that might be the case. In the evening, he rallied some. Today will probably indicate best where things are headed."
We have been asked to pray for brother MacDonald's comfort at this time. Also for wisdom for those involved in making the medical decisions.
Brother McCarthy concludes:
"Despite all this, [brother MacDonald] is still caring for others, persevering without complaint, and testifying of the Lord to hospital staff."
Warm greetings in the Lord's name from .
Thanks so much for praying us through this nasty ordeal. We have been overwhelmed by the many e-mails of love and support. Many have inquired as to what actually happened and if the thieves have been caught. This will be our last general correspondence regarding the robbery unless people specifically write for more details. We won't trouble you anymore.
Andrew and Tanya, our son and daughter in law, live about 5 kms away from us. We have a 911 neighborhood watch program here in the village. Everybody who is involved in it are armed with a hand-held CB radio. It is to be kept on all the time so that if there is any type of emergency everybody responds.
The night we were robbed, the thieves went straight for my radio before I was able to call for help. When they left, I could not find it so we phoned Andrew on the land line since our were stolen. Of course at 4 am he did not answer. I phoned the police but their phone was not working. Then Andrew phoned back so he called and alerted the 911 people on his
radio. Several people arrived in a few minutes with the police. The whole day was taken up with statements, looking for finger prints, making casts of foot prints, etc. I installed a burglar gate on our bedroom door, and repaired the burglar bars that were broken to get in.
Dec 12, the morning after our robbery, I was awakened at 3:30 am by the 911 radio. Apparently a butcher shop just down our street had been broken into, then 90 minutes later, another break in at a safari lodge, then at 6:30 am a bunch of 911 guys and the police were chasing some thieves who had broken into another house. The police had been tracking the thieves with bushmen all night. They called for back up and then I heard Andrew's voice on the radio saying he was on the way. I decided to head out there too just to see if these were the same guys who had hit us the night before.
The police caught them in a house and totally hammered them (police here have their own way of doing things). I was told to go to the police station and wait there until they arrived with the thieves. As they entered, I stood at the door of the police station and said to the thieves "Hi fellas, it's nice to see you again."
The soldiers were following behind with the loot from their evenings activities. That's when I noticed a pair of my shoes that had been stolen. They had arrested three of them. We have since learned that there were 5 in total. We only saw 4 when they hit our home as the 5th guy was likely a look out.
Later that day we were told to go to the police station and identify any of the items that belong to us. There we found one cell phone, a and the little bit of cash they had stolen. But no laptops. The police said that they were sure they would get the laptops back as they were still hunting for the the other two thieves. I didn't share their optimism.
This morning Dec 14, the 911 radio went off again. The three that had been previously captured had some how escaped police custody and a massive man hunt was being carried out. We continue to pray that they will all be arrested, and that the Lord will be glorified in this whole thing.
After living here in for 16 years, this is the first time any thing like this has happened to us. is usually a very quiet peaceful village. Because of this we have been some what relaxed when it comes to security. We will make some changes security wise but nothing too drastic. Our dogs will now have the run of the whole plot and we will have a security system installed.
We feel quite good through the ordeal. We have had over 80 email notes of support and encouragement. I hope this does not turn anyone from ever coming for a visit.
Thanks for your prayers!
In the Master's service
Sid and Karen Halsband
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Just a quick note to ask for prayer. Last night at the early hours of the
morning 4 men broke into our house. They entered our bedroom where Karen
and I were sleeping. They told us "we know you are people of God and we
don't want to hurt you".
We were told to cover our heads with the blanket, while demanding where our
money was and our safe. We told them we had no safe but our money was in
our wallets. Two men kept harassing us in the bedroom while the other two
went through the house looking for valuables.
We started to pray under the covers while they went about their business.
The whole ordeal lasted about 45 minutes then they left. That's when we were
able to alert the police. They took 2 lap tops, two , two
as well as a number of other inexpensive things. We thank
the Lord that they did not harm us. The police have been here most of the
We don't care so much about the things that were stolen but the fact that
four men violated the sanctity and privacy of our bedroom is what is hardest
to cope with. Brethren pray for us!
In the Master's service,
Sid and Karen Halsband
Friday, November 30, 2007
This was received from Elliot's grandmother, Jan Hughes:
Thank you all once again for praying for our little Elliot. I will try to keep things as brief as possible:
Tuesday of this past week, Elliot received a Central Venous line (CVL -a tube out of his chest) which will allow feeding intravenously rather than through the stomach. It seems the first surgery which placed a band around the fistula failed and stomach contents came up the trachea and into the lungs causing his recent pneumonia. He cannot receive mother's milk any more until after his big surgery.
Dr. Georgeson stated he is now convinced that the upper lobe of the left lung is non-functional and will need to be removed.
They now use the stomach tube to drain by gravity the gastric juices so they cannot go into the trachea and lungs.
After the CVL was placed, Elliot became more at ease and content, not showing the signs of pain as before. We were told that what he was going through (stomach contents going into the lungs) was very painful.
He finished his antibiotics (against pneumonia) yesterday.
Weight gain - Elliot lost three ounces the other day and the doctor is concerned. He needs to gain weight so the esophagus can grow. He did gain 1.5 ounces last night and a dietician is to be called tomorrow to begin assisting the doctor with a nutrition protocol.
Pray that the intravenous feedings will not overly stress major organs especially the liver as it tries to metabolize the nutrients.
Pray the pneumonia will not come back since he is now off antibiotics.
Pray for perfect timing for the surgery - the doctor says he will not do surgery until the esophagus is long enough - he still needs about three centimeters.
- we have been so blessed to see Elliot more peaceful this week - Josh and Angie are now able to hold him which helps both parents and child. He also is now off nasal oxygen - doing fine on room air.
Continued contacts at the hospital - Buddy was able to speak to a Chinese man whose son was critically ill. "Di" really seemed to appreciate our prayers for his son - Buddy hopes to have further contact with him.
Nurses - we see such a need for circumspect nurses. We have been blessed for the most part, but it only takes one to make things go haywire. We pray also for our testimony to them and that we may speak a word in season.
Thank you all again - I could never say it enough. We thank God for each and everyone of you.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Fast Facts: Tulsa is the second largest city in the state of Oklahoma with an estimated population of 382,872. For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname "Oil Capital of the World" as one of the most important hubs for the American oil industry. Tulsa has been credited as the birthplace of Route 66. Located near Tornado Alley, the city frequently experiences severe weather. It is situated on the Arkansas River at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma. In 2005, the city was selected as one of "America's Most Livable Large Cities. Tulsa's economic base is in the energy, finance, aviation, telecommunications and technology sectors. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is the most inland river port in the U.S. with access to international waterways. Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa are located here.
The Work: Brother Clayton Cox, with his wife and two sons, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1927 at the request of friends to help establish a work there for the Lord. The believers began meeting in a home that year with 6 people in fellowship. Tent meetings were held and some souls were saved. In 1940, the group rented a storefront location. By 1957, numbers had increased to the point that the group felt they should acquire a building of their own. The Lord has blessed this work, and today there are over 100 in fellowship at East Tulsa Bible Chapel. The group has a nice distribution of ages, ranging from infants to dear elderly saints. The believers there have a good evangelistic work with children. They also support camps, retreats,
and conferences to encourage young people to live for the Lord.
News from Tulsa, Oklahoma:
We thank the Lord that despite delays everyone arrived safely and the team is reunited here in Tulsa after a Thanksgiving break. It's great to see each other again and prepare for a week of outreach with the saints here. Most team members arrived around 3 AM Tuesday morning, so please pray for extra strength to keep going despite the short sleep that night. Lord-willing we'll have a full week with several outreaches including some which have already occurred. Tuesday evening a couple brothers had opportunity to share at a Children's Club at the chapel and the others passed out CDs and talked with students on the Oklahoma State University - Tulsa Campus. Early Wednesday morning two of us had the wonderful opportunity of sharing the Gospel at a once a month chapel service for an entire private Christian Elementary school. Wednesday morning has begun our outreach on the Tulsa University Campus. We plan to have a book table set up in their activity center Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, while others
share the Gospel with students and pass out literature outside. Three plan to share at the prayer meeting Wednesday evening at the chapel. On Thursday two plan to continue the outreach at the TU campus and share the Gospel at an international student gathering at lunch time. Please pray that we will be able to present the Gospel clearly and have wisdom in
communicating with those who have a limited knowledge of English. Others plan to commute to Siloam Springs, Arkansas for the day, Thursday, to help a widow from the assembly and to share the Gospel with students on campus there. Thursday evening, some recreational time is planned in a rented gym.
Friday afternoon outreach will continue on the TU Campus. The Lord has opened the door for brother Jabe Nicholson to share the Gospel at a free lunch Friday which will lead up nicely to a "Stump the Preacher" event Friday evening at 6:30 PM (Central Time). During our classes at the chapel this week Jabe is teaching on the book of Genesis. Saturday morning the Broken Arrow Christmas Parade will be taking place. We hope to use the opportunity to speak with the crowds of people that will be walking the sidewalks. Sunday morning two brothers will have opportunity to share with the adult Sunday School and two others with the children.
Thank you all for your faithful prayers. The Lord gave us a beautiful day Tuesday with bright sunny skies. We'll pray this keeps up all week! The Lord continues to be at work, answering prayers, glorifying His name!
Daniel Kresina and Eric Smith for East Tulsa Bible Chapel and "Good News on the Move"
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Romans 12:1 NASB)
Not for Thee my weak desires,
My poorer, baser part;
O not for Thee my fading fires,
The ashes of my heart.
O Choose me in my golden time,
In my dear joys have part;
For thee the glory of my prime,
The fullness of my heart.
(Thomas H. Gill)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Bible Fellowship rented the main auditorium of the local science
center for an outreach a week ago with the title, "Are we Alone in the
Universe?" The invitations and advertising expanded on that title,
specifying that the evening was intended to help answer some of the crucial
questions concerning God and His plan. Jabe Nicholson was with us to bring
the message. He spoke for an hour and 15 minutes, addressing the Bible's
teaching on these issues, and that was followed by a brief break and then an
hour-long question & answer time.
We were very grateful for the turnout as approximately 100 unbelievers were
there for the evening. We were even more thankful that there was a great
deal of interest, as evidenced by their careful attention for the entire
time and also the fact that virtually nobody left early.
We would greatly value your prayers for the work of follow-up. Most of the
unbelievers who attended did so at the personal invitation of one of the
Christians, so we now have opportunity to meet and talk with them about what
they heard. This will require wisdom, grace, and boldness. Also, every
attendee received a gospel CD (Hope in the Storms of Life) and some gospel
literature. Please pray that these tools will find their way into many
Monday, November 19, 2007
I am so thankful for the opportunity to share another update concerning
Elliot. He was rushed back up to NICU last weekend with a final diagnosis by
Monday of Aspiration Pneumonia. On Tuesday, the doctor scheduled a
bronchoscope to see into his lungs and bronchi.
With much apprehension, we heard that the left upper lobe was probably not
developed and therefore could not inflate properly. This would mean probable
removal of the upper left lobe during the esophageal surgery. The doctor
assured us he would not take out the upper lobe unless he was completely
sure it was underdeveloped. Although the news wasn't good, we seemed to have
a peace about things.
The doctor also said that he was extending the esophageal surgery another
two weeks which makes things fall around Christmas rather than at Joe and
Sandy's wedding. Due to the pneumonia, Elliot will probably stay at
Children's Hospital throughout this time rather than send him home to let
the esophagus grow.
We desperately covet your prayers:
1. Elliot's surgery this week (possibly on Monday) - that they can find Dr.
Jorgenson (we hope he is not out of town). He has done the first surgery and
the bronchoscope and is more familiar with Elliot's body and mapping of
blood vessels. Also, that things will go well during surgery with
2. The esophagus to grow - it has grown at least a centimeter and needs
three more to go!
3. Josh and Angie - Josh is flying now some days as well as being a husband
and new daddy. Angie is shining as a mom and we all feel she should get her
honorary nursing degree after all this is over!
4. Grandparents and great grandparents - I think we have all put on a few
years since this has happened. We just want to be used of the Lord - Randy
and Nina and Buddy and myself. We not only are concerned for our precious
Elliot, but also for our own children, Josh and Angie, as we see them
physically drained from it all.
5. To continue to anchor our thoughts and actions in the Word of God.
6. His left lung - please pray they don't have to remove it, but that it
actually is developed correctly.
While waiting for "my turn" by Elliot's bed tonight, I pulled out my Bible
while sitting in the waiting room. I decided I needed a refresher on Hebrews
12 - to encourage me concerning the Lord's love for me even during the
discipline in my life. I pondered the thoughts of being God's own child and
being treated like a child, i.e. chastening included.Â With the thoughts of
God's love flooding my mind, I still felt that my and my families' lives
were being catapulted up and down and over cliffs and crevices.
I continued to read until the end of the chapter, when I saw what I think
God really had for me to learn. Hebrews 12:28 states: "Therefore let us be
grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us
offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a
consuming fire."Â Case closed - God is not moved because of all of this. He
is in control. May our hearts be overflowing with reverence and awe of His
might, power and unending love!
Thank you for continued prayers
Sunday, November 18, 2007
From Grandmother Hughes
Thank you so much for your concern and prayers. Elliot does have pneumonia and they are doing a bronchoscope Tuesday, the 13th, to see if the left lung is developed correctly. They had suspected this earlier and then seemed to not be concerned anymore about it saying that the lung sounded fine. Now that pneumonia has set in, they are searching deeper. Please pray the lung is okay. If it is not, they are hinting at having to remove the upper lobe when they do the esophageal surgery. Needless to say, this is not good news. Pray that there will be a normal lung with developed bronchi so that he can keep his upper lobe.
Thank you again,
From Grandmother Hughes:
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 2:02 AM
I am sorry for not updating everyone sooner concerning Elliot's condition. Days are packed with prayer, intercessions, supplications, work, grabbing a meal, trips running back and forth to the hospital, and waiting rooms. The week began with Elliot convalescing on sixth floor neonatal intensive careâthe unit which takes care of the 'sicker' babies. We saw Elliot be taken from a heated bed to swaddled blankets, from IVs jaunting from his head to no IVs at all. He lost five ounces one night, but we had hopes of regaining that swiftly. His cardiologist counseled that the hole in the heart was not one that would mandate surgery (probably) and that he felt that he would do fine. Praise the Lord! The left lung began to open and to the best of our knowledge, he has all of his lungs working well. Another answered prayer! The orthopedist stated that it may be that they let his little thumb grow for about two years before they decide if they need to really do anything at all. The spinal ultrasound seemed okay although the column ran a little longer than usualâwatch and see in six months. Elliot had a beautiful pink color and precious eyes. We began to think that healing had truly begun although we were cautious to continue to watch for any changes. Our prayer daily was that his little esophagus would grow. We received news Thursday night that Elliot would be transferred to the third floor intensive care (a step down unit) which assured us that he was doing much better.
I had planned to take my Saturday afternoon to update by e-mail, but received a call that Elliot was not doing well. We were off to the hospital speedily to find Josh and Angie with reddened eyes and trepidation as to the recent turn of events. They had noticed some wheezing earlier as well as a pale color. After some blood tests, they discovered his white blood count was inching upwards. He was still losing weightâabout a half ounce a day. He just "looked" sick and was crying more. They moved him back to sixth floor ICU and took him off the regular feeding. They have the IV back in his head and he is back under the heat lamp. Virtually, he looks like he did a week ago. He looks pale and tired, but is still fighting like crazy. He grabs everyone's heart. We come by his bedside and talk to him and pray.
We covet your prayers. Some special things to pray for are:
1. The new "infection" will be quickly taken care of with the IV antibiotics. They should know soon what exactly the infections areâmore than likely they lean to it being respiratory.
2. He will begin to gain weight. Our goal for waiting six weeks is for the esophagus to growâhe therefore needs to grow and put on weight.
3. The esophagus will grow---the preferable surgery is to use his own esophagus since it is muscle, but it must be where it will reach to attach to the stomach.
4. Josh and Angie---needed strength, both physical and spiritualâthis is a lot for a young couple to go through---they look to their Father to help them through.
5. Hospital contactsâa wonderful place to talk of the Lordâmay God give us opportunities and may we use the time wisely for His glory.
6. Grandparents---Randy and Nina in Kansas---very hard to be long distanceâmay the Lord carry through with added strength. Buddy and Janâmay we know exactly how we can help mostâbeing sensitive to Josh and Angie's needs.
I suppose that a believer reads verses over and over in a lifetime, but it seems that when times like these happen, certain verses loom off the pages and strike right to the heart. Psalm 139:5 has been such a verse, "Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me." We know God's loving hand is upon us and upon our dear Elliot for He is working in our hearts to serve Him to the praise of His glory.
Thank you everyone,
Elliot has esophageal atresia (EA). This is when the esophagus fails to develop as a continuous passage. Instead, it ends as a blind pouch unconnected to the stomach. Elliot was transported to Children's Hospital in Birmingham for surgery. The surgery attempted to attach the esophagus to the stomach, but it was too large of a gap. Elliot also has a fistula (an abnormal passage or connection between two parts of the body) connecting the stomach to the trachea. His fistula connected where the trachea bifurcates, which is unusual. This caused added difficulty to the procedure that removed the fistula from the trachea and closed the hole left in the trachea.
With the Lord guiding the hands and minds of the doctors and nurses, the operation was successful. They also placed a feeding tube into his stomach so that he can be fed his mother's milk directly into the stomach. He is in the NICU unit on a ventilator to help him breath temporarily and to allow the incision to heal. He will now be allowed to "grow" for six weeks until they feel the esophagus is long enough to attach. Right now it isn't known when or if he will go home between the two surgeries. He's doing very well.
Things to pray for:
1. His left lung: There is some concern that the left upper lobe may be collapsed. It seems to be doing better, but if it is collapsed, there is a higher risk for pneumonia.
2. His heart: He does have a small hole in his heart, a ventricular septum defect (VSD). The ventricular septum is the wall between the left and right ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart. A hole in the ventricular septum is called a VSD. It's not life threatening at this time, but could cause major problems if not addressed in the future.
3. His left hand: There is something different with the thumb.
4. His left kidney: It's not draining as well as expected, but the doctors say this is the least of their concerns. He is voiding well.
5. Blood vessels around the trachea: The doctors think that he may have a vascular "ring" around the trachea which will have to be re-routed to prevent major complications.
6. Infection: It's always a concern after any surgical procedure. There are no signs of any infection to date.
7. Bleeding: This is another post-surgical concern. There are no signs of any bleeding so far.
8. Josh & Angie: God is gracious and holding them closely as they trust Him with their little one.
9. Randy & Nina: They are in Birmingham, a long way from Kansas.
10. Buddy & Jan and all the boys and girls. Joe & Sandy's wedding is scheduled for Dec. 15, near the time of the next surgery.
Please pray for healing and strength for Elliot's little body. And for strength, encouragement, wisdom, and knowledge for Josh & Angie.