Thank you so much for praying for our family and ministry; truly we have never been more aware of our need for prayer in our entire lives! Much of this prayer letter will be about our son Jonathan’s health emergency, as this is what the Lord has allowed at this time. Though we may not understand all the Lord is doing, though we feel broken at times, we know God is good, and we trust Him. In our helpless state, we have seen the Lord work in many miraculous ways and felt His grace surrounding us like never before. It seems our whole world was turned upside down upon finding out our son had a cancerous brain tumor.
Flights and Emergency Surgery
By God’s grace Audrey has demonstrated strength and beauty in a marvelous way; the longer I am married to her, the more thankful I am. We landed in Chicago and were met by Audrey’s parents with the hugs we had so desperately needed. They drove us straight to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where we were warmly greeted within 10 minutes of arrival by Dr. Maryam Fouladi, the head specialist for the hospital’s neuro oncology departments. Jonathan was admitted and had surgery not long after to put in an EVD (drain) to relieve the pressure of the hydrocephalus from his brain. The doctors were shocked to know he had spent 18 hours on flights in his condition and tolerated it so well. Truly the prayers of God’s people were sustaining him! A few days later, we watched our little guy be taken back to where he would be in surgery for the next 14 hours under a team of 10 doctors and nurses to remove a baseball-sized medulloblastoma brain tumor with a subtype of Grade 4 nodular desmoplastic. This is an extremely rare subtype with just a few hundred per year around the world. The tumor was pushing Jonathan’s brain stem over completely, and the scans did not clearly show a clear divide between brain stem and tumor. We had a very sobering conversation with the head surgeon, Dr. Stevenson, the day prior to the surgery, as he informed us that if in fact the tumor was attached to the stem, there would be very, very difficult, life-altering decisions to be made on the operating table. We humbly offer our thanks to the Lord that at the end of the surgery, the doctor met with us, informing us that he was able to remove ALL of the tumor without touching the brain stem at all. God is so good to help Jonathan fully recover by one month after surgery. He is one tough and brave little man!
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Since medulloblastoma is such an aggressive and deadly cancer, it is necessary for Jonathan to complete a 71-week cycle of chemotherapy to kill remaining microscopic cancer cells in his brain. His prognosis for survival is good according to the doctors, and even greater according to the Great Physician, we believe. This is low-dose chemo and does not include radiation. He is just finishing his first cycle of chemo now. Please pray for the cancer to be completely eradicated from his body, never to return, and that God would protect him from the harmful side effects of the chemo. This is a long, difficult road, but we try to be ever mindful of all our Father has brought us through and how many miracles He has given us since this trial began. He will see us through to the end, our Jehovah Rapha!
Trip Back to the Philippines
Please pray for me and my father-in-law, Bill Moran, as we are making a trip to the Philippines August 23 through September 14. Our family left the field with three days’ notice, so our people are, of course, having a difficult time. Thankfully, our only staff member and assistant pastor, Jesse, who was scheduled to start a church in July, has postponed his church plant to oversee our church until we know more about Jonathan’s future. Lord willing, I will continue going back to the Philippines every two months or so. We have enrolled our three daughters in a local Christian school here in Cincinnati. I have preached out only once, and that was in Cincinnati area. I will accept preaching engagements as close to Cincinnati as possible and, of course, pending on Jonathan’s health. We are blessed to have Bro. Darryl and Mrs. Joanie Bolton volunteer to fill in the pulpit for us as HBC for a month and a half. They have visited our ministry many times and are familiar with and much loved by our people, a great encouragement for them. We are thankful to have a strong church of Christians who are sticking together and are looking to the Lord to get them through tough times.
Thank you so very much for every card, gift, special love offering, phone call, email, text, and most importantly prayer. We feel so very loved by every church and supporter.