Sunday, March 29, 2009

All Systems Are Normal – NOT!

We went to the doctor on Friday to have John checked on.  The doctor did a pretty extensive exam then ordered a lot of tests.  The office has a full lab on site so John was able to take care of all of his tests in one place on Saturday.  The doctor ordered several blood tests, a chest x-ray, EKG, and ultrasound of all of John’s internal organs.  We arrived at the office at 8:30am and the results were all available by 2:00pm.  After looking everything over, the doctor says everything looks normal.  He did find evidence of gall stones, but that wouldn’t be causing the symptoms John is suffering from.  We will go back on Monday for further evaluation.  Please keep John in your prayers.  He continues to be very weak, tired, and is shaking a lot.   You probably wouldn’t recognize him as he’s lost 70 lbs. since our trip to the States last summer.  About half of this is due to the healthier lifestyle in Africa and the rest is a result of the sickness.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Still Here

Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement.  We have heard from a lot of people and it has helped lift our spirits.  We also had a chance to sit down with a couple of our leaders and talk through the things we’re going through right now.  They were very encouraging and supportive.

We have concluded that language is one of our major stress factors.  On the advice of many people (and finally coming to the conclusion ourselves), we have decided to attend a formal language school.  Our leaders have referred us to a school in Switzerland and we’re now making plans to attend classes this summer.  Please join us in prayer as we work to raise additional support for this vital training.  We’re also hoping that a trip to Switzerland will provide a break from the African cultural struggles we’re currently facing.

The other big issue that we’re still battling with is health.  John in particular has been in poor health for the past couple of months.  He has recently lost 15 lbs and his energy level is very low.  He’s also been very susceptible to the heat this year.  He’s had a couple of near fainting incidents and has difficulty standing for extended periods of time.  He has finally agreed to see a doctor.

Again, thank you for your prayers.  They have been a very big boost to our spirits.  We’re still struggling, but we’re going to keep pressing on.  Easter Break has officially started at BCA so maybe some family time will help too.  We’re traveling to Koutiala next week for our annual YWAM Mali meetings.  That within itself comes with it’s own stress factors.  We’re holding on to the promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Silent Service

Yes…it’s been a very long time since we’ve updated our blog.  We have been busy in many different tasks, but for the most part we’ve just been biding our time.  To be quite honest, we are really struggling physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We are feeling burned out and not motivated to do a lot right now.

One of our biggest obstacles is still language.  It’s been very frustrating to have been here so many years and still not be fluent in French.  We can carry out day-to-day activities, but we really can’t engage in conversations or personally share with people.  We are looking into taking on some intensive language study.  We  realize this needs to become a priority.

We’ve been suffering from a variety of health problems the last few months.  Hot season has also arrived with brute force and we’re feeling slow, lethargic, and unmotivated due to the 110° daily temperatures.  It’s affecting our work and ministry.  Julie is feeling especially stressed at Bamako Christian Academy.

We’re also struggling with culture shock.  Yes, even after being here for so long, for some reason we’ve really been hit this last month with frustrations of Malian life.  Most of the time we can just brush it off, but this time everything seems to be adding up.  This is especially true in our worship ministry where lack of quality or desire to give one’s best to the Lord is really taking a toll on us.

We’re disengaging from some of our ministries and beginning to isolate ourselves.  In all, everything is adding up to a point where we’re looking at options to leave and relocate somewhere else.  We know this is probably an irrational response, but we’re so down right now.  We can really use your prayers and encouragement as we walk through this valley.