Even though we are already a few days into 2019 I still find it very refreshing to look back and take note of what God did in the last year. So many things to thank Him for, and then to gain renewed vision for the year ahead.
It’s that time again….I’ve got enough things that feel worthy of sharing in a newsletter 🙂
In this update I had the privilege of sharing a bit of my story over these last few months, my experience at the recent Freedom Challenge, some updates from Tabitha in Zambia, and my next steps forward!!
Click here to read on – July 2018
I recently had the privilege of getting a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my spine.
It has been one of the best medical opportunities offered to me this past year…and now at 8 weeks post surgery I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
Nerve pain is horrible, and something that I had no idea about until experiencing it myself day and night. At first it was really hard to manage, but was at least still manageable. But over the last 10 months there literally was no type of therapy, medication or basic surgery that could touch it. It was so exhausting both physically and mentally. You don’t want to let yourself be physically controlled by pain, but practically you actually often don’t have a choice.
This past year has been challenging in many different ways. We may not always be able to control our circumstances, but we CAN control our emotions and actions. I have been encouraged by so many others who are going through incredibly difficult life situations, yet they don’t allow circumstances to shake their beliefs and therefore they don’t lose hope.
It is so easy to forget that our lives are a gift from God, and even when we feel pain and discouragement we are privileged just to be alive.
I am so thankful for the grace God showed me by letting me get this surgery done. It is definitely a success in reducing the nerve pain enough to regain a quality of life. My prayer is that it will continue to work well even in the years God still gives me here.
I am thrilled that I was able to start physio last week, and look forward to continuing to recover!
Greetings from Zambia!
I have been back and forth between Zambia and South Africa a bit the last few months…thankful to currently be in Zambia, until I actually must fly to Canada in a few weeks.
Click here to read my newsletter that explains the reason for my travel back to Canada for a period of time.
Thank you to all for your continued love and support on so many levels!
Click below for an update on what God has been doing here in Zambia over the last couple months!
‘Loosen the controls of your own life. This means being free from dictating to God the conditions in which you think you need to live.’ (Viv Thomas)
Two weeks ago I came down to South Africa for our bi-annual Africa Area leadership meeting and retreat. Five days after arriving I began experiencing sever back pain.
The summary of my Easter weekend was spent right next to Jesus, as I lay still with Him, seeking refuge from pain and in some minuscule way relating to the affliction he endured for me some 2000 years ago.
My colleagues all went back to Zambia on Tuesday, but I remained for further tests and treatment, thinking that I would fly back to Zambia by this weekend.
The last six months somehow felt like my spine was improving. However, my MRI has revealed otherwise.
I cannot fight or run from the reality, but I do continue to trust Him who designed and knows me best!
I recently read the following – ‘Inner freedom is where people no longer desire health more than sickness, wealth more than poverty, a long life more than a short life, honour more than dishonour but instead they desire what brings them closer to the end for which they are created.’ (Ignatius of Loyola)
I am tangibly experiencing that now, as my current state doesn’t permit me to travel or move around much at all. I have been restricted from any further movement until my appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon on May 10th.
May God continue to be glorified through His guidance and miracles upon my life!
‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!’ Psalm 27
I recently took aside 3 days to seek the Lord for insight into some the perceived challenges in my life – one of those being the persistent physical sickness and pain. I decided to leave my regular routine and home in Zambia, and go to a friends empty and quiet home in South Africa.
My main overall expectations of God during this time were to gain a higher and renewed spiritual perspective and insight into my life, to be discerning of the times I am living in.
So many amazing people have walked and prayed this journey with me over the last 18 months, and so it is my privilege to share a little bit of how God spoke during this most recent time of prayer.
God my Refiner
God is my refiner. He is busy purifying me in order that I may reflect Him.
The process of refining is a somewhat painful process, but God has not forgot me.
Does a silversmith watch while the work of refining is going on? He watches the furnace constantly, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree the silver will be injured.
How does a silversmith know when the refining process is finished? When he can see his own image in the silver…
God is more concerned with drawing me nearer to himself than just bringing physical gain. Both Him and I desire spiritual riches more than physical gain, that means this refining process won’t just end instantly.
“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Malachi 3:3
God my Author
He has already written each of my days in His book. My story is there, the whole journey already planned out with the best outcome possible.
What peace came from reading Psalm 139, and specifically verse 16. And then what desire I have to want to walk in this path that has already been written out for me, that on the day I get to heaven I may hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant”.
This verse reassures me of the purpose God has for our individual lives, as well as the deep peace we should continue to have in knowing that God knows.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16
God my Vision
In response to my request for discernment over my life events, God gave a beautiful vision of my life in analogy to a tree. He played the last 23 or so years of my life before me like a movie, with the analogy running parallel to the actual life events…how cool this was.
Foundational Time – The beginning of my life through my time on the Africa Trek in 2013.
This was a time of roots going deep down…the growing up and investment of my parents and Salem Church into my life. This was many years, as the foundation/roots are the key to long term survival.
Season of Growth –
This was where the tree started to grow and produce fruit, even if just little shoots coming up. Yet a strong trunk was growing…a solid time of growth and maturing.
Pruning Season –
This has been a pruning season and shaping of the tree. This is when sickness started in May 2015. Stress was put on the tree; a lot of pruning taking place by the gardener in order to allow the tree to flourish at a multiplied rate when the season of fruit returns.
I am currently somewhere in the transition between the pruning and the next season, or maybe still in the pruning…
The clarity I have received is great peace in trusting. This is unexplainable.
There was an incredible amount of specifics that God spoke to me during these 3 days devoted to Him, but the best part was that the main method of speaking He used was directly through His written Word.
Sometimes we ask God for His voice to be made clear, to speak to us so that we can understand. We pray and pray for revelation yet neglect to open our Bibles and receive that which God has already given us.
Through this I was reminded that when I am in the Word, I will be praying in response to the Word, which means I will already be praying in God’s will.
My story has already been written, now it is just my duty to continue seeking God, that I may be faithful to walk in it, resulting in glory to God.
“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendour of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.” Psalm 145:4-7
It is with overwhelming thanks and joy in the Lord that I write this testimony for you all to read, in order that God may be glorified. This story involves myself (the driver), Pharen (left side front passenger), and Brynn (rear right side passenger).
It was Sunday evening, around 5:30pm. We had just left the OM base and were driving back towards Kabwe. It was only about 5 minutes away from the base where we needed to make a right turn, which means crossing a lane of traffic (the steering wheel is on the right side here as we drive on the left hand side of the road).
Before we could turn right, we needed to wait for a few oncoming cars to pass. This process made us to completely slow down. As I looked in my rear view mirror I saw a semi behind me, which was able to also slow down without any problems. The few oncoming cars passed, and I began to turn right.
It was then within an instant that a large bus carrying over 100 passengers came speeding out from behind the semi, completely smashing into our vehicle and plowing us about a hundred meters off the road.
The time it took for our vehicle to stop being crushed by the bus seemed like forever, as we could all recall the thoughts that were going through our minds while it was happening.
Although the impact of the speeding bus hitting our almost stationary vehicle should have totally flattened us or caused us to roll, God did not allow that to happen.
The three of us in my vehicle were all in complete shock, as we were now inside a crushed vehicle, with a bus full of people pushed into us, yet we had no idea where the bus had come from.
We were all conscious and in a fairly level mind, knowing we immediately needed to find all of our valuables and get them together with ourselves out of the vehicle before swarms of people were around us and wanting to take advantage of whatever was in the vehicle.
Everyone in the bus was shouting and crying for us, as they all thought that we were dead. Thankfully Pharen was able to get out of her door right away to kneel down on the ground to shout praises and thanks to God for saving us. This even helped to keep Brynn and I calm as we also got our way out of the vehicle.
We were so humbled and thankful for one of OM Zambia’s leaders, together with a judge, who were the very first to be at our vehicle, help us get out, and then rush us to the hospital before any ambulance or police got to the scene. They were already there at the crash site before we got there, so they became good witnesses to the whole accident.
Although I am so incredibly thankful to God for allowing them to be there ahead of time for us, I am also deeply grieved for them to have had to see and experience the accident the way that they did.
They attended to the whole scene so well, and we just thank God for all that they did for us and are continuing to do to help us work through the aftermath of the whole situation.
It was only later that night, after leaving the hospital and giving statements at the police station that we found out what truly was happening with that big bus.
Its brakes had failed, causing the bus to start to go out of control on the road. It was not able to slow down for the semi truck in front of it, and was also approaching a large curve in the road. The bus driver knew that if he smashed into the semi there would likely not be any survivors inside the bus…he also knew that if he kept going, the bus would eventually start rolling…
We don’t know if he saw my vehicle or not, but as he smashed into us, we became like a shield for everyone inside that bus.
Walking through the halls of the police station late that night was almost a surreal experience for me. Many of the bus passengers were forced to sleep in the station overnight as they waited for another bus to pick them up the next morning to continue carrying them to their final destination.
As I walked past them all, they were all looking at me as if I was just an angel…they were so thankful for the way God used my vehicle as a shield of protection to them…but also how God shielded, protected and carried us inside my vehicle on his wings!
I will never forget that Sunday night…one minute I was together with family, laughing, chatting, drinking coffee together…the next I was in an accident that should have been fatal, yet God completely took control of the whole situation, allowing His name to be glorified in a magnificent way through it all.
All I can say now is PRAISE BE TO JESUS for his loving kindness towards me and my team members here. What a privilege it is to have been given more days on this earth to serve him!!!
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge: His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day…for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
How exciting it will be to fly back to Zambia again soon!
Take a moment to read my January Update Letter to hear more.
“It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.” Psalm 18
Thank you for continuing to be faithful in prayer, and trusting God together with me for full healing to happen in my body. It has been a long and challenging journey thus far, but I have not lost hope in our miracle working God.
The amount of medical tests, and re-tests that I have had done since July last year has been overwhelming, but I am thankful for each one that has brought clarity into this situation.
The exact time it entered my body is unknown (likely up to a year ago), but a specific bacteria invaded my body. Since its beginning, it has done a powerful job of multiplying itself within my tissues and harming a number of systems within my body.
As a result I have developed thyroiditis, neuropathy and myopathy, which has led to spinal osteoarthrosis, facet joint sclerosis and herniated discs.
I am currently on a good 5 day/week therapy plan where we are doing everything possible to reduce pain and inflammation and aim for regeneration and healing of the mechanical damage that has already been done in my spine and pelvis. Please pray that this month will bring miraculously quick improvements in healing and strength….the last seven months of pain and sickness have really exhausted me, but I continue to find joy in keeping my eyes on Him and am starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27