Hello friends and family!! We want to thank you all again for your prayers as Shad has walked through all the tests that lead up to surgery. After a disappointing trip to the hospital and rescheduling of his last test last month, we praise the Lord for a much better visit to the doctor this past Wednesday! Shad was able to have the WADA test done, his last big test leading up to surgery, where each half of his brain was put to sleep for a few minutes to see what each side was capable of on its own. Later in the afternoon, we were able to meet with the neurosurgeon and schedule the first of Shad’s planned surgeries for September 22nd! This first surgery will involve opening Shad’s skull on the left side and implanting electrodes on the surface of his brain. His skull will then be closed back up and he will undergo 24/7 monitoring while the doctors observe seizures and try to pinpoint where they are originating in his brain. If all goes as planned, this two-week testing will give the doctors the information they need to safely remove the area of seizure focus from Shad’s left temporal lobe (the second part of surgery), allowing him to be seizure free!! If they are not able to identify exactly where his seizure focus is located, the doctors will implant a device, called an RNS or Neuoropace, into his skull. This device will help monitor, detect, and respond to seizures by sending an electric signal within three seconds after seizures begin in the brain and stopping them before the effects are even felt.
Before we left the neurosurgeon’s office, she mentioned three other tests that Shad needs to have done before surgery. We were a bit disheartened by the fact that we’d have to make another two hour drive to the hospital to have those done in the next month. But then God surprised us by sending in a nurse who completed one test, an EKG, right there in the room! She then sent us to two rooms down the hall where the blood test and chest X-ray were quickly completed as well!! Praise the Lord for His goodness in giving efficiency for this visit– including a complicated, invasive test and recovery, three additional routine tests, an appointment with the neurosurgeon, and a date for surgery!!
In other news, new and returning students are beginning to arrive on campus this week!! We are excited to begin and continue building relationships with these families and individuals! Please pray that we would trust God to use us in their lives during their time here at the Training Center! Pray for the new and returning students as they pour themselves into preparing for the ministries God has prepared for them. Classes begin next Monday, and we have many preparations in the meantime, including helping new families get settled, attending staff meetings, and preparing to sit in on classes ourselves :).
Another big milestone in our family is the start of Braden and Brice’s school year! They will begin attending the public school here on August 21st, in 5th and 2nd grade, respectively. Please pray for them to have smooth transitions as they adjust to this new environment. Pray for us to have wisdom to lead and care for them in this new venture. Pray for good teachers and friends for them, and for opportunities to be a light among their classmates.
And of course, we covet your prayers for September 22nd and the weeks that follow!! Pray for wisdom for the doctors and skill for the surgeons. Pray for stamina for me as a wife and mother during those weeks, that I would not allow myself to feel guilty for not being in two places at once! Pray for wisdom as I plan for how to split my time and use the available help during the surgery. Pray for the boys as they spend time apart from Shad. Pray for us as a family to trust God with Shad’s care and wait on Him in the uncertainty!
Thank you again so much for your love, kind words, support, and prayers for us!! We praise God for each of you, and we truly can sense the power of your prayers in our daily lives! There are days when we are discouraged, down, and questioning. There are days when we don’t feel strong enough to walk through this surgery business. There are days when we feel like epilepsy has sucked the life right out of us. Please pray that we would continue to look to God, to trust Him, run to Him, wait on Him, and seek Him daily. This morning, God used the words of Psalm 121 to comfort my heart. He is my help, He is the One who holds me steady, who keeps me and preserves me.
We will keep you updated in the days to come… thanks again so much for your prayers!!
Clinging to our Help,
Shad, Sarah, Braden, and Brice Deal
Equipping the Next Generation of Church Planters at the Missionary Training Center for Ethnos360