Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bill McDonald Up-Date

Our brother Bill went into the presence of the Lord on Christmas evening at 9:20PM.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Elliot Huges Up-Date

From: Jan Hughes
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,

Phil. 1:6,


Samantha Kerr Up-Date

Date December 25, 2007

(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 on Friday 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 Christmas, we are so glad she's still alive and healing. It could have been so much worse.

Bill McDonald Up-Date

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

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

Bill McDonald Up-Date

About Bill

"Unknown and yet well known…" 2 Corinthians 6:9

To many, our brother Bill needs no introduction. Through his God given gift of teaching and by his godly example as a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ for the past 7+ decades, Bill’s impact in the life of others has been palpable.

William MacDonald

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.


Wm. MacDonald Update...

Dear all,

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 Saturday evening. Please pray for wisdom and skill for the doctors. Please pray also for those who are helping make decisions about his care.

PS. Visit 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 Minneapolis 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.

In Christ,
Gary Clark


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

Bill McDonald Up-Date

Update on Bill MacDonald - noon December 20th

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,
Jim McCarthy

Elysha Brooks Up-Date

News as of 1:30 p.m. Thursday Dec 20th

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.

Thank you
Rachel Brooks
(Elysha's Aunt)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Elysha Brooks Up-Date

As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Elysha's sats (% of oxygen saturation in the blood) dropped to 45 and heart rate was over 200. The whole medical team showed up and now she is on oxygen (sats at 89). Praise the Lord she is at such a great hospital right now! Keep praying. There is still no news as to what the time the surgery will happen.

Rachel Brooks

Roy Aafedt Up-Date

Dear praying saints;

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 Minneapolis.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

In Christ,
Gary Clark

William McDonald Up-Date

Dear praying saints;

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

Prayer Request

Elysha Brooks is the daughter of Richard and Katherine and the grand-daughter of Don and Elva Brooks (Zambia). Elysha's aunt Rachel reports:

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.

Thank you,
Rachel Brooks

Roy Aafedt Up-Date

Dear praying saints

Here's the latest update on Roy Aafedt (as of 6:00 p.m. CST). Roy's surgery actually just began probably within the last 1/2 hour (it was originally to begin around 3:30 p.m.). 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 Minneapolis. 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)

In Christ

Gary Clark

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Prayer Request

Dear saints:

We have received this email from brother Gary Clark, an elder at Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel in West Fargo, ND 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 Minneapolis. 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.

Bill McDonal Up-Date

We received this note yesterday evening from Jim McCarthy...

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 on Friday 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
Jim McCarthy

Baby Elliot Up-Date

We have received this update regarding little Elliot Hughes from brother Scott Leach, an elder at the assembly where Josh and Angie Hughes are in fellowship.

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 Birmingham 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

Bill McDonald Update

Dear praying friends

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,

Jim McCarthy

Friday, December 14, 2007

Prayer Request for Bill McDonald

Dear saints

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 Sunday night 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."

Halsband Update

Dear friends,

Warm greetings in the Lord's name from Maun Botswana.

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 cell phones 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 digital camera 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 Botswana for 16 years, this is the first time any thing like this has happened to us. Maun 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

Prayer Request

This prayer request was received this morning from Sid and Karen Halsband in

Dear friends

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 cell phones, two
digital cameras 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