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Making the Most of These Days

So much has happened since our last update, and we’ve been very busy but I wanted to share with you a quick update, so here it goes! (Don’t forget, you can click on any one of these photos to see them full size on your screen. Just click the arrows on your keyboard to move to the next photo)

Sunday, October 12

Our first Sunday back to church was probably one of the hardest days we’ve faced yet. On top of all the emotions we already had; emotions we have when we do anything for the first time since Anna’s death, it was also the Brazilian holiday “Children’s Day,” much like Mother’s or Father’s day in the US. The service was filled with Children’s programs and a baby dedication. Poor Ruth cried the whole service! I was able to keep it together until getting home, and then just pored my heart out to God in terrible grief. It turned out to be a real important day of more healing for Ruth and me, but you know something? Healing hurts! But there is a great grace, a very deep, profound grace available to those whose refuge is the Lord, our Rock, our Strength! I’ve only begun to learn, really.

The rest of the week just ramped up in busyness as we were getting ready for this year’s MDA Conference. Basically it’s a conference where pastors and leaders from all over Brazil come to the middle of the jungle to learn about missions, discipleship and church growth from some of the most fruitful church planters and pastors of our time. Last year’s conference was amazing – read about it here.

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Update

A Ruth Update – by Ruth!

I want to thank each one of you for all your prayers during the last weeks. Nate and I have felt them and they have carried us through the most difficult time in our lives. After 9 days in the hospital, I was finally released on October 3rd. Leaving the hospital was very difficult because my arms were empty. But God is so faithful and gives us the peace and strength we need each day. And our prayer is that we can live our lives for His glory!

As I was reading my Bible the first morning home, I read about the prophetess Anna, whom along with Joanne my mother-in-law, we named our daughter after. In Luke 2:37b, it says, “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day…” Our little Anna is accomplishing the purpose she was called to do – worship our Lord night and day! She is forever in His presence! Of course, I cry because I miss her, but I know she is so happy, worshiping Jesus!

The first night I was home, I kept waking up in the night every time I would roll over, reaching out with my arm to make sure my IV line was not in the way. I almost laughed out loud a couple of times. I’m still on antibiotics, and once those are done I go in to get blood tests to make sure the infection is completely gone. But praise the Lord I’m home! I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and get busy! I feel like I’ve been out of commission for weeks! We love you all so much and can’t thank God enough for all your support during this time.

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Lives

Ruth’s Home!!!!

Ruth’s home!!! We got her test results back, and even though she’s not nearly completely recovered, she was good enough to be released. It was a bittersweet trip (mostly sweet) as we pulled out of the hospital and tears came to our eyes as we remembered the happy return trip from the hospital we had planned – a trip with Anna Rebecca. But praise God, we’re moving on and this is a big step forward in the overall healing process.

As Ruth continues to recover at home, we’ll now be confronting little reminders of all the plans we had. It’s hard but necessary, sad but we have hope. We are so thankful to be home and know that God will be healing our hearts, bodies and lives – and what’s more is there is a wonderful future ahead of us. We’ll continue to keep you posted on our progress, as we so covet your continually prayers. Praise God for this most excellent day!

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Lives

Ruth’s Getting There!

Good news- we got Ruth’s test results back and her white blood cell count went down from almost 25,000 to around 15,000. Praise God! The plasma treatment and change of antibiotics seems to have made a tremendous difference, and now we will continue in the same line of treatment until everything is normal again. The doctor said this could mean staying in the hospital until Saturday. Even though that’s a lot longer than we would like, we are very thankful that not only are the test results looking better, but Ruth is feeling much better as well. We thank you for all of your prayers, they are making a powerful difference.

Emotionally, we’re hanging in there. As life goes on, there are more and more things that remind us that Anna is gone – and it’s good to deal with them as they come up, but it also hurts a lot. Today Becky’s sister-in-law Christine Huber arrived in Santarém to spend some time with us. It was a real healing time to cry and laugh together, telling stories of good memories. I shared with them that I prefer the way things happened than for Ruth to have never become pregnant and for us to never have known Anna Rebecca. I must agree with Alfred Lord Tennyson who said “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Because not only was she our precious daughter (reason enough in itself), but she has made my life better – I’m a more broken, humble, dependent man on God and others, and a good portion of my heart already lies in heaven. What a great motivation to make the most of my life here on earth while I still can! Let’s remain faithful to the calling and never, ever doubt the goodness of God.

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Lives

An Update on Ruth

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, Ruth has felt pretty lousy. She’s swollen and a bloodtest done Saturday showed that her white blood cells were extremely high (signifying that there’s an infection, possibly from the same miconium stool that took Anna’s life). Fortunately last night Ruth was less sick and this morning she was a lot less swollen, but still nauseous (probably from all the meds). So this morning we had an additional blood work done to see if the infections getting better. The results were the same, so our doctor called a specialist in the area of infections, and he will come tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to check Ruth. He prescribed a new antibiotic for Ruth and we are going to have an ultrasound done to see if we can’t further locate the source of the problem, helping us treat it and get Ruth out of there!

We are truly feeling all yours prayers and your love. We are humbled by the amount of people interceding on our behalf and as you can see, it’s making a tremendous difference. Over the past 4 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) almost 1,700 have visited and read our story!! What an amazing encouragement that is to me- to have so many praying. About twice a day I drive from the hospital to the PAZ office to download our emails, approve comments on the website, check our facebook and do the updates. I then take it all on back to Ruth and read them to her. So even though you may not have heard back from us (just yet), we are receiving and reading all of your comments, and they mean so much. Even though Ruth doesn’t always feel well, she’s in really good spirits and it encourages me so much to see her spirits high, joking around.

I couldn’t imagine going through this without a wonderful family of believers like you who are interceding for us. What does the world do in these kind of situations? Where is their hope? Where is their community of support? Oh, it’s so important for us to be involved in a good church and be involved in ministering to others, because when the day of trial arrives, the man with many good friends stands firm in the Lord. I have a new purpose in my life and passion in my heart to share the great love of the Father to all of those without hope, that they may know the everlasting joy awaiting us. What great promises are in God!