PASTORAL PERSONAL NOTE OF TESTIMONY AND THANKSGIVING
A SPECIAL PERSONAL NOTE FROM OUR PASTOR:
A fuller (more complete) and more personalized version of the post below is available on our podcast at the link at the bottom of this post…
MY TESTIMONY AND THANKSGIVING FOR THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD AND FOR THE PRAYERS, ACTS OF LOVE, AND GIFTS OF SUPPORT GIVEN TO US DURING MY BATTLE WITH CANCER
Since so many have asked about my present health and reports AND because so many have called, sent us cards and have given us such incredible expressions of love (from all around and beyond the country) and have sacrificially sent us gifts of support, I want to give a brief testimony here about the present situation AND express my humble and deeply emotional gratitude to all those how have prayed for me, my family, and church family, and who have so generously given of themselves in supporting us during this time. We received many cards filled with some of the kindest and most uplifting words, as well as gifts and aid of other kinds. Because the conditions at the time were very chaotic (with constant travel to doctors’ appointments, tests, scans, treatments, and surgeries), I was not able to keep track of the envelopes the cards came in and, in a number of cases, did not have a mailing address to send a thank you card. PLEASE forgive me if you sent us something (whether a card, gift, or other communication) and did not hear from me directly, letting you know just how deeply thankful I am for your love and support. I cannot even begin to express the emotion and appreciation I feel for you and for what you have done for me and my family during this time of crisis, and I pray that all those who sent us messages, cards, money, or gifts will read this and know, without doubt, how much you have meant to us. God bore us through this process, as brutal as it has been, on angel’s wings – and you have been the angels He used to lift me up and carry me.
The last year has been particularly challenging for us. After about two years of health issues (that the doctors could not resolve), a scan was finally done in October of 2021 that revealed invasive and aggressive cancer in several parts of my body. The diagnosis at that time was dire, including a very limited period of life as well as no possibility of any surgery or treatment that could remove or bring it into remission. Aggressive chemotherapy was the only option and was presented as, at best, only able to extend my life a short bit longer than without it. Despite that diagnosis, the chemotherapy almost immediately began shrinking the cancer, and my CEA numbers (that can be markers of the presence of aggressive cancer) almost immediately began slowly going down. The doctors were stunned at the progress though they continued to state that this was not a reversible or surgically correctible condition. After about two months of chemotherapy, the cancer (in all parts of my body) had gone down more than 50%. At that point, one of the top liver (where the bulk of the cancer was present) cancer surgeons saw my scans and said that he believed he could remove or burn up (with microwaves) all of the cancer in the liver – which was the principal cancer threatening my life. That surgery took place in April and was, blessed by the name of the LORD, completely successful. I then underwent surgery on the other mass of cancer in my body in July. God be glorified, it was also completely successful, and the scans following it have, thus far, shown NO CANCER presently working in my body.
I will be having one additional surgery in the near future (not yet scheduled) to essentially repair some of what the last surgery required to be done to remove the cancer. Then I will continue to have periodic scans to make sure it has not returned. It is our prayer, and I know you will be praying with us that it remains in remission and I can return to my full strength. Other than when recovering from surgeries for a brief time, I have been able to continue in my normal capacity in the ministry, though, due to several factors which we hope the surgery to come will resolve, and to a slightly compromised immune system, which is getting stronger, I have not been up to traveling yet or to be able to sit in an extended meeting. It is my hope and prayer that will be resolved by the end of this year or early next year since I LONG to see my brothers and sisters in the churches that, between COVID shutdowns and my own health crisis, I have not seen (at least not outside our area in Ohio) for the past 2-3 years – and I want to thank each of you and all of the churches, here in this update, but far better yet in person, when I am able to do so, for your prayers, love, support, shared strength, and all that you have done for me, for my family, and for the church that I pastor. THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU AND DEEPLY APPRECIATE YOU The audio of the complete and more personalized testimony and more detailed thanks can be found at the link below (or through the regular podcast links):
Apple Podcasts / iTunes