Friday, March 9, 2012

With Heavy Hearts

Dear family and friends,

    With much prayer and discernment, due to health issues, we have returned home to the United States. Of the almost 6 weeks we were in Taiwan, our family was sick for half of that time. As is always the case, there is an adjustment period in a foreign country, dealing with "new" illnesses that our bodies have not been exposed to in the past, new foods, etc. All of this impacted John and I (Jackie) in an unexpected and mighty way.  I'm sure many of you remember one year ago when we began to answer God's call to Taiwan that my (Jackie) health was a primary concern. I have spent the past 7 years dealing with inconsistent thyroid treatment. Graves disease, and now for me hypothyroidism, is a result of a weak immune system. (An example of an autoimmune disease that you are perhaps more familiar with is Lupus. Though this is not what I have, it is a better known immune issue as an example.) After working hard this past year to manage and maintain a healthy diet, losing weight, natural dessicated thyroid replacement, and more, we could NOT return to the past - the hard place for our family that was a result of my health.

    To use Charley's analogy, it's a little like ripping off a band-aid - returning home and facing the fact that it was more difficult that we imagined to adjust and maintain my health overseas. It's shocking at first, but necessary.

    We are thankful to Go International for allowing us to follow God's call. We feel strongly that we might not have been approved with many organizations because of Jackie's health issues. But, Go Int'l graciously worked with us. As you are aware, Kentucky was recently hit very hard by tornadoes and there is much relief to offer the victims of our community. Soon, we are going to talk about how we might fit in to their ministry at Go. This year-long process has renewed within me, Jackie, a great desire to help people. I am praying for ministry opportunities in and around our community.

    Will you pray for the health of everyone at the Home of God's Love? It's been a particularly hard season for illnesses for them. Please pray also for their faithful ministry to children - their building plans, changing adoption laws, and day-to-day work. We were so very blessed to be a part of life at the Home. It is a difficult adjustment to return from that life to this one in the U.S. As is usually the case, we were blessed so much more by them than anything we had to offer the Home. In the coming weeks, I want to share with you more about how God used us. 

  The plane ride was difficult for John yesterday. His tummy is still not feeling normal and his sleep was fit-full. Thankfully, he fell asleep several hours after we arrived at Charley's parents home yesterday afternoon. Then, as his head hit the pillow he fell asleep last night and has continued to sleep this morning. He's often so busy and excited about life that he doesn't take time to slow down and sleep at nap time when he's away from home. We are thankful that he feels so comfortable here and is catching up on some much needed rest.  
   Will you pray with us as we discern God's will as we return home? Thank you does not seem to accurately say what we feel to both the Lord and to each of you. We are blessed by each of your prayers, encouragement, and support as we've walked by faith this past year. God has met us in mighty ways as we've sought after Him more each day. As Christians, when we say we believe in His provision and put our trust in Him it takes more than just takes action. His knowledge of our hearts combined with our acts of trust and obedience have met in a way that has left us in awe of His greatness. It reminds us that this life is mostly about the journey.

With the hope and love that only He gives, 
Charley, Jackie and John

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rough Week

     It's been a pretty rough week here for us. John got sick last Sunday, one week ago today, with a fever of 101 and then 103. In addition, he began to have diarrhea and stomach cramps. I went into to the Home on Monday and quickly returned back to our apartment to take care of him. Then, I began to get sick on Monday and am now on day 7 of whatever this is. By last Thursday we were going stir crazy and it was a mild day with little rain so we went to a park in town. It was beautiful and refreshing to see something different. But, it was not so fun to be sick in the middle of this public park where the facilities were less than desirable. And, of course, there is an issue of purchasing toilet paper for the restrooms or bringing our own. The restrooms were out of tp and we had only brought a small amount along thinking that we could buy some if we were stranded. And, all were squaty potties except the handicapped room. Needless to say we were exhausted and napped well when we returned to our apartment.

     Thankfully, John is over his sickness, we hope! His bowels are slowly starting to return to a normal state and his fever and stomach cramps have been gone for several days. His energy level and appetite have steadily picked up too.

     Did I mention that I am on day 7 of being sick?! It's taking it's toll and I am discouraged. I have been in the bed most of the time. The cramping comes in waves...once an hour usually. I was able to sleep through the night last night. I am going to the doctor/hospital tomorrow, Monday. I don't feel that dehydrated and I don't think they will offer me anything worthwhile. Maybe that is pessimistic. If only I had brought Cipro with us, we might not be suffering for so long. I will just have to get up and go over to help at the Home soon because I feel useless and ridiculous.

     Charley has stayed healthy almost all 5 weeks, thankfully! He is our rock. The rock might be a bit cranky from taking care of two sickies for so long, but he is keeping it together and trying to pull us through.

     Last Friday I went over to the Home to work. It was sunny and I washed toys. The girls brought the babies out for some sunshine and fresh air and the ladies cleaned inside. That afternoon Charley ran to the bank in town. I was fixing John and I a banana and apple in the kitchen. In the time that it took me to cut up the fruit John had gone out the front gate and walked over to the Lake by himself. It is about 1/2 mile to the street venders. That is where several housemothers found him after the whole Home had been searching for him. Thankfully, they volunteered to hop on their motorcycle and go look for him. I did not have transportation because Charley had gone to the bank with the car. I was already pretty tired and that just put me over the edge. By that evening we were so wiped out that John and I fell asleep on the couch in the living room.

I'll update soon about what the doctor says on Monday. I'm really looking forward to it. Can you hear the sarcasm and optimism?