Sunday, April 22, 2012

We are so thankful for you.

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16

As Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, he was thankful for the way that they had housed him and helped him grow his ministry there.  We, too, are so thankful for the people that have housed us, fed us, prayed for us, and remembered us in their own prayers for the last 13 months.  We find this blog to be an amazing way of connecting with people from all over the world that have resonated with our story and are continually floored by the way that people have supported us!

We have both been approached by a ton of people about what we are going to have to do in order to pull off treatment in Chicago.  We were asked by probably no less than twenty people (no joke) to let us know what our needs are.  Some even specifically asked us to put it on our blog.  We were reticent to say at first what we needed because people have already been so generous with us in the past, but I had someone argue with me: "Yeah, not everyone had the chance to be at the Rodeo last summer.  Some of us still want a chance to help."  Duly noted.  So let me start with a list of the logistics that I'm pulling together:
  1. Ryan will stay at CTCA's guest quarters four nights a week.
  2. Ryan will fly home four or five times to be with us on the weekends.  FYI, the only airline that flies between O'Hare and Muskegon is United.
  3. Colton and I will drive between here and Chicago once or twice before school is done, but once school is done we will be abandoning Michigan in favor of being with Ryan 24/7.  Our house will need to be looked after, our horses will need the same, and our dog will need a temporary home.
  4. The hospital has a cafeteria that Ryan will eat most of his meals at, but sometimes he has a hard time with the food, especially if he has any nausea.  Therefore, for a little bit of variety and/or a plan B, he will occasionally eat at Applebee's (really the only nearby restaurant).
  5. Ryan does a lot of things around our house that intimidate me, such as transporting garbage, weed-whacking, and doing minor car things.
That ends the logistical end of it.  Let's go to the other end, the personal-social end of this situation, which is much, much more daunting:
  1. Prayer.  The only way that this is going to work is if it's in God's will, and we believe that His ear is very much attuned to the desires of His people.  Please continue to intercede on our behalf before His throne that He would heal Ryan.
  2. Encouragement.  These weeks are going to be a long haul, and possibly kind of boring and lonely (especially for Ryan).  Cards, emails, words of encouragement, verses, etc. will be really helpful for both of us.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, Ryan would LOVE to have a cup of coffee with you. :)
  3. Understanding.  We might be more unavailable than usual, and we will surely be very protective of our weekends.  If we seem aloof, please be understanding of the reasons why.
  4. Attitude.  I realize that there is a "light at the end of the tunnel" and that my separation from Ryan is only temporary, but since he's been diagnosed with cancer, nights away from him are really rough on me...almost like a harsh reminder of what I'm facing if cancer takes him from me.
  5. Colton.  We are going to strive to have this be as smooth as possible for our son, but he's very, very attached to his daddy right now and I'm concerned about how he'll handle this disruption to his life.  We are planning on utilizing Skype and Facetime quite a bit so that he can feel connected to his dad, but if you can remember Colton specifically when you pray for our family, that would be so appreciated.
  6. Ministry.  Our jobs are our primary ministries.  To that end, we are hoping that we can both remain fully vested in our job responsibilities.  For me to be able to stay fully connected, I will need Ryan's treatments to go smoothly.  Thankfully, a lot of Ryan's job duties include doing things on the computer, which he can do from anywhere, and he is hoping to keep up with meetings by Skype.  Additionally, he will have some time on his hands to work on our book project, plus he would welcome the opportunity to speak at Chicagoland churches.
PHEW.  Okay, now that I type it out I realize that we do have a lot going on right now.  :)

Since Ryan has been diagnosed with cancer, we have had to learn how to say "thank you" instead of shying away from the generosity of others. About a year ago, we were lectured by a close friend about how giving is more about the giver than the recipient.  "Kendra and Ryan, do not take away someone else's opportunity to obey God's calling in their lives."  Um, okay.  When you put it like that, it seems different.  Truth be told, we really wish that we were not in this situation in our lives and that we are recipients of blessings instead of the givers.  It's awkward, and my pride is crippling at times.  But I do know because I have been on the other side of the fence, that God-prompted giving is a blessing.  So that's why we have learned how to say "thank you" when an eight-year-old gives us seven dollars from his piggy bank to put towards "Mr. Ryan's medicine" - who are WE to tell a child that his gift is not wanted?  The generosity of people towards us has taught a valuable lesson about kindness that we will carry forward when we are no longer in this position and we have the opportunity to pour love into another hurting person's life.  We so look forward to the day when we can be the blessers instead of the blessees.  Until then, we continue to give God thanks for people like you - people that read our blog, pray for us, and consider us worthy recipients of your kindness!

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