We Are Coming Home
First, we’d like to thank everyone for your prayers and continued support of our family. We are so incredibly grateful to you all for everything that you’ve done for us and the Peruvian people. Here is an update. Please excuse the length and lack of pictures from this letter.
As many of you have read on our recent blog, we have had some medical issues in our family, especially with Hannah and Hudson over the last number of months. Hannah had started to gain weight, but now she is starting to “plateau” again and has started sweating, complaining about abdominal pain and does not want to eat again. We have done a number of stool studies, but continue to have negative results.
Hudson has also had some serious growth delay and even though neurologically he is meeting all milestones, he is severely underweight. We took him into the hospital a few weeks back and found that he has severe inflammation in his small intestines which explains why after just a couple of bites of food, he loses his appetite and starts to fuss. We tried to do stool cultures and an MRI, but have not come up with the cause for all of the inflammation. Due to the inflammation, he has little to no appetite and even though we give him anything that he’ll eat, he still has serious growth delay. In May, we noticed that he had dropped off the growth chart and now is even further behind the curve that he was on 4 months ago. In June, we got some limited testing done on him while we were in the US and found infections and figured that this was the cause. We treated him and he seemed to feel a little bit better…for awhile. At this point he was at the 1st % for weight (this means 99 out of 100 babies his age weighed more than him). But then starting in the beginning of July, he again was not acting right. With weekly weights, we have now found that he had gained only 3 ounces in the last 10 weeks. This put him somewhere around the 0.1 % range (999 out of 1000 children his age weigh more than him). The most concerning part about this all was that he didn’t get better with antibiotics and he tested negative for campylobacter and C. diff that he had previously had in the US and now over the last week he has lost nearly a pound.
This of course is all very concerning to us and so we contacted Hannah’s pediatric GI doctor in Denver. He had previously been in favor of us returning to Peru, but with this new information, he is now not so comfortable. In fact, he is giving the recommendation at this point to not only return for further testing, but also to return for long enough that the kids have time for “catch-up growth.” This is more of a long-term type of treatment. Crystal and I have been praying about these recommendations and discussing them with the kids’ doctors here because of the implications of the recommendation. After much prayer and many tears, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our children to return to the US indefinitely. This has been a very tough and trying decision to make, because we really enjoy living here in Peru and because God has been using us in the ministry that is being done here at Hospital Diospi Suyana. We also have really enjoyed all of the people that we work with and feel like we are letting them down, as well as the patients that are waiting in line, by leaving. All at the same time, we know that this is the right decision and our leadership has felt the same way. We can’t with a right conscience, stay here and ignore the needs of our children that God has given to us to personally care for and to protect. We have always said that God comes first, then family, then our ministry. With that order, our kids’ needs are what we need to take care of.
Right as we were in the middle of deciding what needed to be done, we were at Bible study studying the book of James and came to James 4:13-17 that says: “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” We really felt convicted that even though God had called us to Peru, maybe the duration of time was our idea and not His. After praying about it, although we are very sad in our hearts for having to leave such wonderful people and such a great ministry, we know that God has other plans for us elsewhere and we just need to be ready and willing to leave behind our pride and listen to what He has asked us to do.”
We have talked with our leadership and have been given the okay to return home in mid-October and we will get appointments set up for the kids shortly afterward. If it is the Lord’s will, we would love to connect with each and every one of you over the next few months to talk about the great things that God has done and the ministry that will be continuing here without us.
So that being said, we just want to say thank you SO MUCH for all of you who have been such a tremendous support for us! We could really not have been able to make the impact here without each and every one of you. Since starting work at the hospital, John has been able to see over 2,000 people, of which every one of them has heard the gospel! We don’t know the eternal impact that was made during this time, but we are sure that many more people will be with Jesus in eternity because of all of your faithful support.
Please continue to keep John in your prayers as he will be presenting an idea to the local community church leaders that will get them as well as other church members involved with talking to patients, listening to their stories, troubles and pains and also sharing the gospel with them as well. We feel that this will be an even better way for people to truly understand the gospel in their time of need, as well as to get local Christians involved in spreading the Good News of Jesus. Please pray that we will continue to stay focused over the next month so that we can finish the mission that was set out for us here in Peru.
Thank you all for your incredible support of the work being done here in Peru as well as for our family. We have felt so loved through this entire process and wouldn’t have been able to be a part of God’s work here without you all! May God continue to bless you all in your own personal ministries as well!
· That Hudson’s weight doesn’t drop anymore and that he and Hannah will start to grow again.
· For peace with our decision, that we can find work quickly and that God will continue to do great things in Peru!