Friday, January 30, 2009

Another update on Julia

Thank you all for your continued prayers for Julia. Please also remember to pray for the Secrest family. Below is an update received today:

Julia is worse. It did not seem possible that she could still be alive and be worse. She had five focal points of infection that have now augmented to 15. She is now on dialisis, as well. She has one focal point of infection behind the pancreas and they say there is nothing that can be done about it. They are saying she is not responding to the antibiotics of late. I talked with Cacho just a little while ago and he is calm. He said that the psyichologist wanted to know how they were coping and he told them that they were trusting in the Lord and that they had daily help from their Pastor, as well (myself, although technically, Cacho is not a member of our church, we have grown close in these months). The family is resigned to her death. Barb and I are at peace, as well. I thank God for my dad. Possibly the best advice I have received came from him. He told me to get a sort of tunnel vision in which I would focus on Christ and get through the situation as one gets through a tunnel. He mentioned that I should put it all in God´s hands and keep the emotions under complete control. I know nothing is an accident. The other two funerals which I administered this previous week have given me some help to maintain strength if Julia is to pass on. God knew. I have imagined trying other ways to slow down that van. I have imagined so many times... God knows... He always knew, even before it happened.Barry for Barb, Thomas, David and Anthony

Monday, January 26, 2009

Trip to Colon Argentina

Below are some pics from today sorry there are lots of posts but I am blogging from my phone

Trip to Colon Argentina

We ate lunch here and the Uruguayan beef is better

Trip to Colon Argentina

In colon Argentina on the rio de la plata. Scott used to design these types of sailboat masts

Trip to Colon Argentina

Crossing the bridge into Argentina

Trip to Colon Argentina

Reminds of the border shops in the states

Trip to Colon Argentina


Trip to Colon Argentina


Trip to Colon Argentina


Trip to Colon Argentina

Getting closer

Trip to Colon Argentina

The line of cars and trucks

Trip to Colon Argentina

Amparo and I were bored while we waited to enter immigration.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Update on Julia

Below is another update on Julia. Thank you for praying.

Dear Praying Friends,

To update you, Julia slipped into a coma yesterday and has suffered one
heart attack. She is not breathing at all on her own. The doctors say that if
she suffers additional heart attacks, they do not believe that she will survive.
Barry has gone to accompany Cacho at the hospital. It's not over yet. God is in
control. Unless and until He calls her home, we will continue praying for her
healing. Please continue to pray with us.

Thank you,

Barb Secrest (for all)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prayer requests

Please continue to be in prayer for the Smith family. Andrew has been showing signs of tumor progression. His latest scans also show signs of tumor progression. The doctor at NIH is recommending treatment with a medicine not normally used for DIPG.

Also this afternoon we received the following email from Barry Secrest.

Dear Praying friends,

Just about five minutes ago I came from Julia, Cacho
and Jonathan´s house. Jonathan had thrown the phone on the table when I
walked in the door. He is disgusted with a problem that just took place
with his mother. Julia just fell into a coma and Cacho is going to have to
stay in the hospital tonight. They have had to put her back on all of the
machines today. Cacho told me on the phone that the doctor´s report
was, ´Julia was very bad off before, but now she is worse´. This is
all happening in just a question of a few hours this afternoon. Please be
in prayer in favor of Julia´s natural life at this time as she fights for her
life in the hospital. Please form any kind of prayer chains that you might
have in your churches over this matter. Pray for calm for the family as
well. Pray for Barb and I as this is a difficult and stressful time for

In Christ,Barry Secrest, Uruguay South America. for Barb, Thomas, David and

Who is your Jesus?

This is a normal question for missionaries. We hear it often.

Last night while we were eating ice cream in the plaza in centro Colonia, talking with our friends Daniel and Amparo, seemingly out of nowhere a man showed up and posed that very question. Scott was ready with a response.

The way that man came upon us was unusual in that none of us saw him approach, and right away I felt very uncomfortable. He walked right up to Scott stood over him and asked, "Son Cristianos?" (Are you Christians?). Of course Scott replied in the affirmative.

Sitting down on the park bench, crossing his legs, and puffing vainly on his cigarette he asked Scott if he believed in Jesus. Again he received an affirmative response. This is where the conversation turned, well, frightening.

I wish I could tell you what was said after this but the man, clearly not in his right mind, (I would describe him as a maniac) was jumping so quickly from one thing to another and was so aggressive and antagonistic that I was doing more praying than listening. Especially as I watched while all the nearby people quickly got up and left the area.

I do know that at one point he commanded that Scott speak in tongues. Scott told him that he would not speak in an unknown language but he could speak to him in English. Scott was told that he couldn't speak in another language. So Scott started talking to him in English. That part was actually funny, and in my discomfort, I did giggle at Scott's response.

Suddenly he stood up, with the burning cigarette mere millimeters from Scott's face. From my angle I thought he was being burned. His voice changed from one of challenge to one of rage. He began calling Scott a pharisee and other things that I can't repeat. I thought that he was going to hurt Scott. Scott thought the same thing.

Obviously realizing that nothing could be said to this man Scott began to move away from him but the man wouldn't stay out of his face. He continued to say horrible things. At the same time Daniel began to move in between Scott and the man, while Amparo called for the Police. For several minutes he continued to follow us and yell at Scott, then just as suddenly as he appeared he was gone.

There are some interesting things about all of this. First, a message that was preached Sunday morning was out of the text in Romans 8 verses 28-31. At the time I was encouraged that we are protected by God. That nothing can separate those who are His in Christ Jesus from the love of God. Today, I have no doubt that God was preparing us for last night. Giving us a reminder that we are more than conquerers through Christ. Christ is the One who fights the battle for us! He was there with us, protecting us!

Secondly at the time this man appeared we "happened" to be talking about the Devil and how he can, and desires to, wreak havoc in our lives. And we needed to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions knwoing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 2 Peter 5:8-9.

Honestly, we all believe that man was demon possessed. He was more than drunk and more than angry. His questions were very pointed and were nearly spot on about some of the things we had been talking about. There is no doubt that Scott was steadfast in his response. I wish I could say the same thing, instead, I was in tears and truly frightened and doing all I could to stay out of the man's reach and praying he would not harm Scott.

Last night we were reminded in a very tangible way, that we are on the battle front. And it is God who calls us who will also prepare us to fight. We need your prayers! You all hold the ropes for us, please don't let go.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SIGMA Awards

The awards banquet was one of our favorite parts of the SIGMA program we ministered in while in North Carolina. A few weeks before the banquet Pastor Jim and Lisa Ogle along with the adult leaders would get together to brainstorm and plan. The decorating took a lot of work, and over the course of 3 days the auditorium was transformed completely and ready to surprise a bunch of really excited and hopeful teens and adults alike. The years we were at Emmanuel the themes varied greatly from a trip to Mexico to one under the water, and from a castle courtyard to a patriotic rally. Certainly we learned a lot about throwing a BIG shindig with a little bit of money. Most importantly we learned that it is important to "render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." (Romans 13:7)

Tonight we rendered honor and tribute to our faithful teens and also announced the winner of the 2nd SIGMA block. Though there was no change to the inside of the auditorium the change in many of the young people is evident. We are so proud of all of the young people and their hard work and faithfulness!

It's time to let you know who won......drum roll please.....and the winners are....... the Lopez Lions (los Leones). Pastor Daniel and his wife, Amparo, led the Lions: Eliana, Elizabeth, Kaitlin, Valeria, Nicolas, Yeni, and Ana (pictured above) plus Nahuel and Rudy. As a team:
  • They said 245 verses, plus an additional 44 of those were said in chapter form. Chapter verses have to be said twice in a row in order to get the bonus for those verses.
  • They completed 238 days of devotions.
  • They took 94 notes of sermons.
  • They served in the church 70 times.
  • They sang a special with their entire team.
  • They had 6 visitors in their team meetings.
  • They completed 3 community service projects. Though they only received points for 2 of them because they did not have their entire team present for one project. 2 of those projects were several hours of cutting and hauling grass and weeds and cleaning up yards. The other project was a stocked toy box for the church nursery.
  • One of the members completed a book report on Missionary Nate Saint.

These young people are the top two verse sayers from each team. Eliana said 46 verses, Brandon said 41, Tatiana said 52, Maria Eugenia said 146, Melissa said 40 and Kaitlin said 80.

These young people were faithful in completing more than 70% of their devotions for the 2nd block: Paola, Brandon, Nacho, Yeni, Eliana, Melissa, Kaitlin, Maria Eugenia, Eliana G and Valeria.
Thank you, once again, for praying for our work in SIGMA. It is a labor of love! We fell in love with youth work while in Bible College, so it is a particular blessing from the Lord that we are able to help and encourage young people to grow in the Lord here on the mission field. And train Uruguay's leaders of tomorrow.
We covet your prayers for the full SIGMA "year" that we hope to begin this fall (March or April). It will entail more work on our parts, however, we trust that the end dividend will be young people whose lives honor Christ!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We had a special visitor in SIGMA tonight, Santiago, Melissa's oldest brother. This is a tremendous answer to prayer! I thought I would share some statistics with you all from this block of SIGMA which ended tonight.

The young people collectively:
  • Said 584 verses.
  • Had 606 days of devotions.
  • Took 284 sermon notes.
  • Wrote 24 book reports on books of the Bible as well as Christian growth books.
  • Completed 3 missions projects.

The winning team will have to remain a secret for a couple more weeks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Summer = Busy

The time of looking forward to summer vacation passed a long time ago. Those days after the last school bell rang for the year were great! Weren't they? Because my birthday is in June summer vacation usually started with a birthday party. I loved getting to play outside. When I started in junior high I joined FFA, so my summer days were filled with getting my animals ready for the Farmers Fair in August.

Now, for me and Scott, summers are filled to the brim with planning and or supervising activities in the church. Summer camp, Vacation Bible School, a wedding, a bridal shower, and the nursery. And that is just the beginning. There's planning for next year that has to be crammed into these short weeks. Bible Insititute, SIGMA, and Ladies Bible Study all have to be organized.

Please be in prayer for us as we work and minister here through the summer. There is so much to do, and so many things on our plates that sometimes it's overwhelming. Much of what we are doing in the planning of the nursery, VBS and SIGMA are 2nd nature to us because we served in these ministries in the States. However, we are training the people here along the way so that these activities, and all the other ministries mentioned before, will become 2nd nature to them and they can continue on without us.

There's a lot of translation work to do. A lot of philosophy to impart. Many decisions to make. And even more to accomplish.

Even though looking at all there is to do is overwhelming, we are so thankful to the Lord for allowing us to serve Him here in Uruguay! Because we know we are serving Him ,we have confidence that "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Our dreams, our futures and our faith is summed up in that one little word above...HOPE. Today is the first day on a clean slate of a brand new year. What 2009 will bring forth for us is still unknown, nevertheless, our goals and dreams for our future, for our children's future, stand before us as bright beacons of hope.
As parents we desire for our children to have the best in life. As we gaze into their tiny newborn faces we wonder what the future holds for them. We plan for when they will go to college. We imagine their wedding day. We delight in the possibility of grandchildren. We aspire to be all for them so one day they can be all they need to be to make an impact in their world.
Millions of parents whose children suffer from debilitating, incurable and devastating diseases have the same hopes and dreams for the future of their children. Yet lurking beneath those ambitions is a disease wreaking havoc in their child's body. In some cases, reality takes over to extinguish their hope as the disease wins the battle and takes the life of their child. While in others hopes are dimmed for awhile then suddenly the fog lifts and the beacon shines bright again as better treatments are made, or cures are discovered.
In our family we have two children who have life threatening immune system related diseases. Brandon with his IgA nephropathy needs to take a drug used to control blood pressure. Keeping proteins from being pushed into his kidneys that would damage and scar their sensitive tissue. This drug has been an advance in his disease that has offered us hope for his future. One without dialysis and eventual kidney transplant. Though we are thankful for a way to control this disease we continue to hope for a cure.
Every day with Adeline is a gift from God. As you know she suffers from severe anaphylactic allergies and allergic asthma. Each day for her is a battle. If she misses one dose of her medicine the asthma advances. If she has ingested some hidden allergen her body, thinking it is helping her, catapults her towards death. The only safety net is her epi-pen.
This past year with her has been one of the hardest yet as we have struggled to keep her disease under control. It has literally been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Facing the possibility of having to put her onto a daily regimen of steroids was alarming. Knowing that the best medicine on the market here was also one that could cause an anaphylactic reaction was discouraging. Thankfully, we were able to import the one medicine from the States that is safe for her. Already we have seen a dramatic improvement in her daily peak flow readings.
Like Brandon, her disease remains uncured. Each time her numbers drop (or Brandons nephropathy acts up) the fog descends. Leaving me to wonder, will this medicine eventually prove ineffective? What will we do then?
Today the fog has lifted some as a beacon of hope shines brighter at the announcement of a possible anti-allergy vaccine. Though it may not be as effective for Adeline, because she is 8 years into her asthma and allergies, it still offers a glimmer of hope for her future to be asthma and allergy free...or at least diminish the results of her over active immune system.