Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Hello to our praying friends!! We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas celebrating our Savior’s birth! Our Christmas break was FULL of fun, family, friends, food, and fellowship 🙂 My (Sarah’s) family came here to Missouri to spend several days together, and within hours of their departure, we welcomed dear friends from Indiana, who stayed with us through New Year’s Day. It was nice to not have to travel, and we enjoyed the chance to host friends and family in our own home!!
On January 2nd, we kicked off the new year with a visit with Shad’s neurologist– his first since his brain surgeries last September. It’s hard not to place to much weight on a visit to the doctor these days, and I have to be honest that I came into the office with high hopes for solid answers and helpful solutions. Although Dr. Lanigar was very attentive and positive during the visit, we left with little else than more scheduled tests and a follow up appointment in May. On February 1st, Shad will undergo a follow up MRI (his first since hours after the surgery) and an EEG. These tests will confirm that the brain is healing well (no fluid, bleeding, etc.) and will check for any remaining seizure activity in the brain. On February 5th, he will see a Neuro Ophthalmologist to have his range of vision checked to see how surgery has impacted his vision and to discuss what can be done to improve his vision from here on out. In April, Shad will go back to see a Neuro Psychologist for a follow-up evaluation of his cognitive function. This test will show how he is functioning now in comparison to his test last summer. On that same day, Shad will also meet with the Neurosurgeon for his six month follow-up. Then, in May, he will go back to his regular Neurologist, who will recommend our next steps based on the results of all these tests. Two possible outcomes that we are hoping for in May are the recommendation for Shad to start driving again and a tapering off of his seizure medication. Please pray for good results for all these tests!
Thank you for your continued prayers for Shad during the healing process. He took a break from his Speech Therapy Sessions for the holidays, but will be back for his first session of 2018 next week. He continues to improve as he works hard on homework assignments and pushes himself to communicate more and more each day. Because of the nature of gradual progress, it’s easy for us to forget how far he’s come in just over three months. However, I was blessedly reminded on Monday of Shad’s progress when we attended a brunch and Staff Meeting here on campus. There I sat, next to Shad’s full plate of cold eggs and hash brown casserole, waiting for him to finish socializing! What a blessing to see him begin to return to his normal, chatty, social self!!
Many of you have asked how we are doing financially in all of this. We want to thank each of you for your special gifts and regular support through all of the transition!! Our support continues to remain rather stable, for which we are grateful! As we mentioned in our last update, we praise the Lord for good health insurance, which has paid so much towards Shad’s surgeries and testing. With the new year, we are back to paying out of pocket for expenses until we reach our $2,800 deductible. We expect to hit that mark after Shad has his MRI and EEG next month. Please pray that God would provide the extra finances needed to cover expenses before we meet our deductible! We know that He is faithful and more than able to meet our need!! Pray that we would be trusting Him and wisely managing all that He has entrusted to us.
We praise the Lord that Braden and Brice continue to progress in school! They just brought home their report cards on Monday, and we are so proud of how much they have improved since the beginning of the year! Please continue to pray for their attitudes and their hearts as they go to school each day. It’s not easy to be lights in a fallen world, and our prayer is that they would learn to lean hard on their God as they face temptation. Pray also that they would continue to progress academically. They both started the year behind grade level, but now they are almost caught up! Our desire for them is that they would do their best and learn to use the gifts God has given them for His glory. Pray that we would remember to encourage them, teach them, and live truth before them in our home.
Next week, classes will begin again here at the Missionary Training Center! We look forward to welcoming back students from their Christmas break. Shad will continue to work with the Maintenance Team here on campus, and I plan to sit in on classes as well as help one morning a week with childcare. We both will continue to be involved in our Elinc (discipleship) group as well as with our Elinc couple. We also hope to host an “Asia Pacific Night” where we can share with the students what life was like for us on the field. Please pray that God would use us in our weakness to be an encouragement to the students here! Pray that we will be obedient to Him in this unique season of life and ministry, looking to Him for our direction, our significance, and our strength!
Thank you so much for your prayers, support, and encouragement!!