Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Go Go Go Joseph

Joseph & John One of the difficulties of missionary life is the need to say good-byes.  Our friendships are formed with people from all around the globe that are constantly coming and going.  Yesterday, we bid farewell to a longtime friend named Joseph.  John originally met him in 2002 during our CAN soccer tournament/Jesus Film showings in front of our house.  At the time, he was a refugee from Sierra Leone.  Over the years, he and John became good friends.

Joseph has a wonderful talent for making wooden pens and desk sets.  John helped him start a business and he has been successfully making a living doing this for the past several years.  We’ve had the joy of presenting several of you with pens and gifts made by Joseph.

Sierra Leone is now beginning to stabilize following almost 10 years of civil war that ended in 2000.  Joseph has decided to return and reunite with his family and reestablish his life.  It was difficult to say good-bye but we are very happy for him as we know this is something he’s been looking forward to for several years.  Today, he presented a special handmade YWAM plaque to John.  We will be continually reminded of Joseph because we see his pens and handmade nameplates on desks of many of the businesses we visit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flip Flop

Sorry to leave you in the dark for the past couple of weeks.  There’s really been two reasons:  Burnout and John’s Health – the two are probably related.  Now it’s time to try and get things back on track.

Update on John’s Health:

John’s been really slowing down the past few weeks and been suffering from feelings of confusion and delusion…very similar to the symptoms that led us to the discovery of his thyroid imbalance back in April.  After some tests, it appears we haven’t been monitoring things close enough over the past few months.  We discovered his medication has been overcompensating and his condition has actually reversed from having an overactive thyroid to underactive.  The doctor has completely changed John’s treatment and medication.  Now we’re going to spend the next few weeks trying to bring things back into balance again.  We’ve been going to a different medical clinic which we have a bit more confidence in.  The service has also been better and much cheaper.

When we first arrived at the clinic and explained the purpose of the visit, we were referred to an orthopedic surgeon who was the first doctor available for consultation.  This seemed like a total mismatch based on the treatment we were seeking.  But in God’s perfect way, He had a bigger purpose for the choice of doctor.  John has also been suffering a problem in his ankle and foot for the past couple of years.  In recent months, the problem has grown more severe.  His right foot and ankle has swollen to about twice its normal size.  He’s been fearing that he will require some type of surgery to get it corrected.  He brought it to the attention of the doctor during the consultation to get his advice on it.  As it turns out, this particular doctor was John’s attending physician in Mali following our car accident in 2003.  Because of John’s memory loss, he doesn’t remember the doctor.  But the doctor recognized John right off.  After a few basic questions, he said, “There are some things you’re not telling me.  I need to know EVERYTHING that’s been happening.”  This led to John mentioning his staph infection.  The doctor responded immediately by saying, “Did you get a prosthetic as part of your treatment?” He then zeroed in on the foot problem being related to John’s shoulder injury and the infection has spread to his foot.  He ordered some blood tests to confirm his suspicion.  It turns out that what we thought was an initial referral to the wrong doctor, turned out to be the best choice of doctor in Mali!  He was the only person with the background information on John’s medical history to pursue this avenue.  He said no surgery should be necessary and thinks everything can be treated with oral medication and locally applied cream treatment.  Wow…two big discoveries in one visit!  Now it’s just a matter of getting through the next few weeks and hopefully things are brought back into proper alignment.

Update on Christmas Outreach:  CANCELED!!

This has been a huge blow to John’s ministry.  The Board of Directors of BCA has rejected the idea of having our kids share the Christmas message with our neighborhood this year.  John has been devastated by this decision as much of his current ministry has been based on this project.  It is VERY difficult for him to understand why the Board feels it’s more important to “preach to the choir” and have the kids spend so much time and energy sharing the Christmas message with our missionary parents who know the story backwards and forwards when there are literally hundreds of people living footsteps from our school that have NEVER heard the Christmas message.  Even with his pleas of “If we don’t share it with them, how will they ever hear?”  The response has been, “Then you share it with them.  We don’t want our kids involved.”  John is really rethinking about his vision of involving our kids in missions projects when the parents seem so resistant to their involvement.  It is difficult for him to understand why so many missionary parents don’t seem to want their kids to follow in their footsteps.