Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It is so nice to hear, and say, that word after a long cold winter filled with illness. Of course, it sure would be nice to have more Spring like weather, and as long as the sun is shining it's not too bad.

Adeline seems to be handling Spring very far. Which is a good trade-off because Silas has been sick all winter. He gets better and then I head back to church with him only to have him come down sick again the next day. I wonder if he just can't handle the time in the cold (no heat in the church) or if we need to do some heavy duty disinfecting. I have been sick a lot too and this past week something has attacked my throat...not fun.

Spring also means playing outside and that means accidents. Last night we were away in Montevideo for a BWM meeting and got a phone call that Silas had been hurt. According to Nehemiah, Silas was in the wagon and he fell out onto his face and was dragged on the ground...all while sitting in the wagon. Hmmm, I think, that just maybe, we aren't getting the whole story. I'm thankful that it wasn't any worse than it is.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Escogidas para Bendecir

This past Saturday we took a group of 18 ladies to the Fundamental Ladies Conference in Montevideo. The ladies here were so excited about the chance to fellowship and learn from the Word of God. It was wonderful for me too! I got to spend extended time with the ladies, and reconnect with friends I haven't seen in awhile. We also celebrated Mirtha's birthday!
A neighborhood just outside of Montevideo.
In the rental bus/van on the way to the meeting.
SURPRISE! Mirtha didn't know we were going to celebrate her birthday!
We took up 2 tables, picture me sitting in that empty chair at center. ;) There was a table in front of us with 3 women who were invited by the host church. None of them knew the Lord. During the lesson, Amparo (front right) and I moved forward to help them find verses in our Bibles. I was able to give each of them a tract before I was called away. Amparo sat and talked to them for quite awhile though.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sometime it is clear!

Below is an update on Andrew Smith about how the Lord provided for a very definite need in a very definite way. I trust you all continue to pray for Andrew and his family and I thought you would rejoice in this blessing with them.


In the middle of May, while considering the ramifications of switching Andrew's chemotherapy to every three weeks from every two weeks, I paid careful attention to a very special little girl in Utah. Sadie Huish was in the midst of a valiant battle with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Her parents had recently made the decision to honor Sadie's request to postpone treatment and hospital visits indefinitely. I had been following the blog for a while, had grown fond of sweet Sadie, and checked regularly for updates. Though I had never met her parents Zack and Tiffany, I was heartbroken for them as Sadie began to deteriorate. She passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, June 25th.

Early this summer when we began talking about bringing Andrew home from the hospital, we began to explore the possibility of purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van. Without it we knew that we would be extremely limited in our ability to transport Andrew, making even a spontaneous trip to get an ice cream cone a very complicated matter.

It was about that time that we had the opportunity to meet Keith and Brooke Desserich from Ohio, along with their daughter Gracie. The Desserich's older daughter Elena died in August 2007, 256 days after she was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. We became acquainted with Keith and Brooke through our connections within the DIPG community, and we became familiar with some of the details of Elena's story through the writings of her parents. Andrew enjoyed meeting Elena's companion dog Pablo, and he clung to the dollar given to him by Keith for days...even while he slept.

When the Desserichs became aware of our need for a wheelchair-accessible van, they set up the Andrew's Wheels Assistance Fund under The Cure Starts Now, a foundation dedicated to funding brain cancer research--a foundation born out of Elena's battle. As we searched for the perfect van, the Andrew's Wheels Assistance Fund accumulated cash. In the meantime we realized that we were looking at a $20,000-$30,000 purchase. By the middle of August I had decided that I really wanted to have the van by the end of the month. However, we also needed to order textbooks and DVDs for the new school year, and we had not even begun to think about how we were going to afford music lessons for Stephen and Charis Joy.

On the morning of Monday, August 24th, Make A Wish families in Utah received an e-mail letting them know about the sale of an orthopedic adjustable twin bed and a Chevrolet van with a wheelchair lift. A young mother in Utah thought of a little boy in Michigan who needed some wheels, and when I glanced at my e-mail that morning my eyes were drawn to one particular note.

Hi Sandy,
My name is Tiffany Huish, and we live in Utah. We belong to the dipg family, as our daughter Sadie passed away two months ago after a 16 month battle....

The note was signed with love, and the advertisement for the van was included. I responded fairly quickly.

I know who you are. I have followed Sadie's journey and even shared parts of it with one of our oncologists....

By that evening I had spoken to Sam, the gentleman selling the van, several times. And Zack Huish, Sadie's dad, had stopped on his way home from work to take a look at it for us. During our conversations Sam also mentioned a motorized wheelchair. Zack checked it out carefully to see if he thought it would work for Andrew. We trusted his judgment without question...because we knew that, with very little explanation from us, he understood exactly what Andrew needed.

The van was advertised as a 2002 with 40,000 miles for $5,500. Sam's mom had recently died, so he and his sister were selling the van, several motorized wheelchairs, and some other things...simply because they were no longer needed.

At some point that day I made a phone call to Brooke in Ohio. I had a question for her, though I was fairly certain I already knew the answer. I wanted to know how much money was in the Andrew's Wheels Assistance Fund. It was $5,650. Within the next couple of days a check was sent to Utah, a title arrived in Michigan, and the Huish family picked up a white Chevy van...for a family they'd never met.

Sam and his sister were kind enough to throw in the wheelchair for Andrew at no charge, and I was intrigued when Zack commented in passing that it was burgundy and black. Burgundy? As in garnet? What more could a South Carolina Gamecock fan in Michigan ask for...than a garnet and black motorized wheelchair from someone he's never even met in Utah?

After finalizing the purchase of the van, the next step was to get it from Utah to Michigan. Zack was willing to drive it to us--that very weekend. But Keith Desserich thought he could arrange for transport through a friend. When both options were considered, all involved felt that it would be best to have the van transported to Michigan. The Desserichs set out to raise the remainder of the money needed for transport, and the van arrived in Michigan on Tuesday, September 8th.

Andrew was admitted to the hospital for chemotherapy Monday night, and I spent the night with him. He was delighted when Daddy picked us up Tuesday afternoon in the new van. The title had been sent with a card from Sam and Emily in Utah. They included $100 with instructions to take the family out once the van arrived. We drove straight to Olive Garden where the whole family ate an early supper with Sybil, one of Andrew's nurses, and Kurt and Brandon, two of Andrew's Spartan hockey guys. Between Sam & Emily's gift and Olive Garden's kindness to us, the bill was more than completely covered.

Over the past week, we have made up for lost time. We have enjoyed shopping at Toys R Us, eating at Bob Evans with our friends the Rardins who are missionaries to Mexico, and being present in the Michigan Senate to witness the resolution recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness month. And the van means more to us than freedom to go.

When I climbed into my seat for the very first time on Tuesday, I noticed a marbled Team Sadie wristband hanging from the mirror--just as I had requested of Tiffany. This simple wristband is a reminder of a precious little girl in Utah who battled the same rare brain cancer that Andrew now battles, and a remembrance of the bond between two families who have never met.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Belly!

This morning Isabel officially turned six. She is still as adorable as the day she was born, though more outwardly stubborn.

She can still hold her own against her brothers sometimes a little too well.

She is finishing up her 1st grade year and is doing great! Some days are easier than others for her but once she gets past thinking everything is hard she does well. No doubt all those gold stars on her test chart are a huge motivator.

We look forward to the next year of Isabel's life. No doubt there will be changes galore in her life as we head back to the States for furlough, and as she continues to grow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Furlough 2010 Prayer Cards

After a few weeks of work, several changes, some advice, and even more changes we have the final version of our furlough 2010 prayer card. I also made a version of the front in Spanish to give to the people here.

The conversation around here focuses on our furlough as the kids (and their parents) talk about seeing family, and eating in favorite restaurants and shopping at Wal Mart!

Scott has booked about half of our furlough meetings and he has been so pleased with how the Lord is working it all out. Thankfully, we have an additional 3 deputation meetings booked to present our ministry.

Please continue to be in prayer for these last 3 months before we head back to the States. I keep running into road blocks with our presentation. And I still need to work on our display. I have started winnowing out things we don't need to keep so we have less to pack up (clothes, books, etc.) before we leave. We are thankful for close family friends who will stay in our home while we are in the States. They will guard our things and care for our dog, Hoss.

As always we are thankful for and covet your prayers!