Monday, March 3, 2014

What happened to February?
February. It's the shortest month of the year. But this year, our February seemed both shorter and longer than it really is.

The month slipped by without us posting a single thing to the blog. We're sorry about that. We managed to send our monthly e-newsletter out today, and we thought we'd share part of it here in the way of explanation and prayer request. We're still here. February was just a little... different. 

As we came into February, we were tempted to be a bit discouraged as we faced an empty calendar. Coming off the holidays, it has proven difficult to secure speaking opportunities with churches. Jeff was considering attending one conference, but had nothing booked as far as sharing with churches.

As always, the Lord had worked this for our good. 

In our last couple of newsletters, we’ve asked for prayer for Suzanne with regards to her kidney disorder. (She has medullary sponge kidney, which basically makes her kidneys stone-making machines) We’ll let her tell the story from here.

Around Thanksgiving, I had an unusual and very painful week-long episode which culminated in passing between 30-40 stones over a four-day period. Since that time, the stones have continued to pass with varying degrees of pain. But at the end of January, things began to change. I struggled with an infection for most of the month that required two rounds of antibiotics to clear it. Stones continued to pass, but some seemed to get stuck in very uncomfortable places. A couple of different doctors prescribed a couple of different medicines to try to help with the constant discomfort, but they didn’t really offer any consistent relief. Last fall, we met a sweet Christian friend who is a licensed massage therapist. She had helped me after the Thanksgiving episode, so we decided it was time to see her again. After about an hour of intensive massage, I passed a wad of stones but, on the way home, I started having some intense flank pain. I took my pain meds and went to bed; the next day, February 27, I passed a wicked-looking stone* that actually appeared to be several stones fused together. After a month of much pain, frustration, and lots of prayer, relief had come. 

And we understood a little better about why our calendar had been clear. Jeff was home and free to minister to me, encourage me, to drive me to doctor’s appointments, help keep the kids focused and the household running. And in between doing all of that, he was still able to study, disciple a couple of men, and network with two new pastors in hopes of building partnerships with 20schemes.

And the work of 20schemes goes on. Right now, a mission team from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is in Scotland as part of a partnership with 20schemes. The following week, five potential church-planting couples will be in Scotland on a Vision Trip as part of the exploratory and interview process for candidates. And here in the states, 20schemes will be present at the Ligonier’s Conference, Shepherd’s Conference, and Together for the Gospel (Mez will speak in a breakout session). 

God's work continues... in us, through us, and in spite of our weaknesses... all to His glory.

By the way, let us know if you'd like more information on being part of an upcoming Vision Trip, or if your church might like to partner and participate in a mission trip.

*And if you're one of the curious types who just has to see the wicked-evil kidney stone, click on the beach graphic at the top of this post. It's ugly. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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