Well, it is fall already... time keeps sneaking past us faster than we can keep up with it. The kids are back in school and loving it! Aaron and I feel like we are still running to try and catch up but thankfully.... the schedule is slowing down.
Transform 2019 - UNLEASHED
In July, Eden and I (Eileen) headed to Athens, Greece to work with the Transform Team for the 2019 conference. 160 people gathered from 30 nations to worship, learn, teach and prepare to go out and share the gospel in many creative and practical ways in Greece, Athens, Albania, Turkey and Romania.
We had a great time this year, as always it was great to see how God touched so many of the staff, volunteers and participants.
The above picture is one of my favourites from the conference and two dear friends I (Eileen) never see enough of, the middle is Tony (affectionately referred to as Uncle Tony) his wisdom, grace and compassion is always both an encouragement and challenge. the Far left is Nontsikilelo a woman who searches daily for the heart of God in every situation an amazing example to all who meet her.
The summer was busy... but we managed to find time to have some fun along the way!
International GO Conference - August 2019
This year we again went to the Netherlands as a family (well, most of the family) to help with the GO Conference.
For two weeks those going out for 1 year or more are given training for some of the many things that they can expect and some of the various issues they will face. Two weeks is never enough time to even begin the process but the connections and relationships they make during this time will hopefully help them through those even harder times.
We (Aaron & Eileen) both work on the operations team, this is dealing with the practical issues around the conference. The teenagers both helped as volunteers (Eden running the Kids program for those aged 0-5yrs, Nathan worked with the A-Team). Zachariah & Jeremiah both enjoyed participating in the kids program (it's like two weeks of full day VBS, they love it).
Eden - Africa Trek
At the end of August Eden jumped on a plane to South Africa, she is participating in the Africa Trek. It is a three month intensive discipleship program. During her three months she will visit various African countries, working on many practical projects, share the gospel and grow in ways we can only imagine.
Please pray for Edens time in Africa and if you would like to hear more about what she is doing let us know and we will add you to her updates.
She will get home at the beginning of December and anticipated going to work with the OM Belgium team in January.
Friends for Dinner - Thanksgiving 2019
October 14th was Canadian Thanksgiving. Friends for Dinner worked on matching 179 international students with Christian hosts to enjoy a meal as they look at the traditions and beliefs behind the custom.
Each student who participates is given a small gift bag containing various items, including Bibles in their own language and information to digital links to learn more about the Gospel.
We are now looking at preparing for Christmas 2019!
Oasis International Fellowship
During the summer we had the privilege of spending a few days in London which allowed us to attend Oasis. We are always encouraged to see how it is growing and the people that God is bringing into the church.
So many of the church members risk so much to learn more about Gods love for them and their desire to share it with others and bring kingdom living into their everyday lives is encouraging.
We have missed being part of this ministry and look forward to being involved again next year.
Thank you all so much for your prayers for Zachariah. We were honestly touched by hearing from so many of the care and concern for him and our family. As you can imagine, we weren't prepared for how those weeks unfolded. From the initial start of the illness we were always told "oh he will be able to go on as normal". It became very clear that he was NOT able to go on as normal.
We were thankful to be in the very fortunate position of having a specialized children's hospital very close to our home.
All that to say that after a few hospital stays and way too many Dr's visits we are now at the point where we will only see one specialist every 3 months (for his Kidneys) and the other every 6 months (for his liver).
We have also been assured that for the kidneys there will be no longer term affects due to this illness.
As for the liver we need to continue to pray that there are no changes in the growth they found. The Dr we spoke with believes it is an internal vascular birthmark and nothing to worry about. Over the next year or so as they measure and test the growth we will know if he is correct or not.
The interesting thing about HSP is that it can continue to reoccur until the child is about 12. It doesn't always, they just know that in some cases it does.
So, although we are very thankful that Zachariah is MUCH better we do ask you to continue to pray for him.
How to specifically pray:
Kidneys: That the appointments continue to go well and his kidneys heal completely.
Liver: That the growth found is just an internal vascular birth mark that neither grows or is something we need to be worried about.
HSP: We are praying that the HSP infection continues to be under control and that we will NOT be dealing with reoccurrence of this as time goes on.
February has been a hard month for Zachariah. On the 7th, after being home from school sick for a few days he went to CHEO (the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario). The Dr's gave us a diagnosis of Henoch Scholenien Purpura which is a blood infection that also causes pain in the joints. This gave us a clear understanding to why he was so unwell and why he was unable to walk comfortably. He went home and we waited for him to slowly get better. Unfortunately the Dr's did tell us this could go on for a while before he feels better (some cases lasting 4-6 weeks)
By the following week Zachariah had not been able to eat or drink anything, had a consistently high fever and a lot of abdominal pain. So... back to CHEO we went. On this visit it seemed the Zachariah is suffering from some of the more severe side effects of this diagnosis. They are all known but not as common so we hadn't really been prepared for them. After three days in the hospital Zachariah looked much better thanks to the IV and nausea medication. The Dr's told us what to watch for and when to come back in.
Zachariah started this week well with attempting to go to school on Tuesday, that only lasted 2 hours and he was back at home with stomach pains. Although he had stomach pain we didn't rush him back to the hospital but thought maybe he needed a few days to regain his strength. So a couple of more days home from school and Thursday morning found us back at CHEO for another 2 day hospital stay. This time more meds, another ultrasound, an IV and steroids and we are good to go...
all that to say we are now home again and Zachariah looks like he is feeling better this morning. We have three weeks worth of medication to give him and a long list of instructions of when to bring him back to the hospital.
In saying all of that this is what we would like you to pray for: ULTRASOUND RESULTS: Swollen kidneys, growth on his liver and the intestines are telescoping into themselves (this is the one that cause his pain). MEDICATION: He is now on a strong does of steroids for the next three weeks to help the swelling and telescoping, pray for no side effects from the medication. He is also taking a second medication to protect his stomach from the steroids ENERGY: Zachariah is very run down from this illness, he needs to build up his energy and his reserves (having lost 3kg's in two weeks he needs to gain that back). WISDOM: please pray that we have wisdom on when to go back to the hospital or not. It is easy to both downplay symptoms because you already have a diagnosis and also to overreact to the smallest amount of pain. ONGOING TREATMENTS: We now have appointment for the near future with both the Kidney and Liver specialist, please pray that when they come around his little body has healed enough that we don't have further issues from this.
The first stop for us after leaving Ottawa was to visit some good friends in VA.
Our first stop was with friends who we knew when living in London, UK. They had also been there for a while and our families had quickly become close. The kids loved reconnecting and for us (Aaron & I) having time with them was good for our souls, refreshing and relaxing.
We took a trip to "Texas Beach" which is not in Texas and not a beach, its along a river and a wonderful place!! We had so much fun, a perfect place for a family with lots of age range.