In our June prayer letter, we opened with “Jehovah Jireh,” as we were in awe of the Lord’s perfect timing and provision. In case you missed that prayer letter, we were able to pay cash for 600 square meters of property. Our entire church was humbled to see the Lord move in an extremely evident way. He truly answered our prayers in giving us land. We were all on the mountain top together, with our faith increasing day by day. Though we had nearly liquidated our church funds in order to purchase the empty lot across the street, our church family was continuing to give sacrificially each week, and we started bringing in several dump trucks with landfill. It was so exciting to see. Then we took down the roof piece by piece, as well as the steel, in order to move the structure across the street. That is still ongoing this week.
During this time we noticed our 23-month-old son Jonathan, who was normally always happy and would let anyone hold him, begin to change. At first he was just a little grumpy, and we did not think much of it, figuring a new tooth was coming in or maybe it was the terrible twos. A few of our church members commented that Jonathan was not nearly as good a walker as Julie had been at that age. He then began to fall down daily, as well as look up with his eyes almost rolling back in his head. It was not a seizure but was definitely not normal.
We took him in for an MRI on Friday, June 17, and they found a tumor on his cerebellum, measuring 4.7 x 4 x 3 cm. It is attached to his brain stem and is blocking his fourth ventricle, which helps in balance and mobility. Thankfully, the Lord has allowed three different radiologists from different parts of the world to view the results. The consensus is that this tumor looks highly likely, even up to 95% chance, to be cancer. I don’t like using percentages, but I am just quoting what they told us. After much prayer and counsel with our missions agency, American doctors, and Filipino doctors, we felt the Lord leading us to get Jonathan back to the States to have the necessary surgery there. This has been devastating to our church members, especially as one Sunday all was well, and the very next Sunday we had to tell them we were headed to America. Thankfully, Brother Jesse, our only assistant pastor, is postponing his plans to start a church this July in Bago City to oversee the work in our absence. I do not have time nor space to write just how good the Lord has been throughout every aspect of this valley that we are in. Tuesday while on the plane flying to Manila, Audrey and I were reading out loud Isaiah Chapter 43. When we came to Verse 5, it smote us in the heart. Isaiah 43:5, “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west.” We both began weeping with joy and peace.
Please be much in prayer for our flight on Thursday 12:30 a.m. Philippine time from Manila to Chicago. Please also pray for the surgery to be a success and for the Lord to heal our son. We have posted much on Facebook in order to keep friends and family informed of everything, as many decisions are still being made. We are still considering which hospital to go to. Please pray that we will stay out of the way and let the Lord continue to work in a miraculous way. I expect our regular monthly support will be a bit tight, as the ministry is going forward in our absence, the rent coming due for our house in the Philippines, and expenses being incurred in the States as well.
In the Lord’s hands,