Love is in the air…
February provided some great opportunities to celebrate our relationship and marriage. Even with Julie’s treatment in full flow, it was good to take some time out to celebrate Valentine’s Day and our 17th Wedding Anniversary by going for a meal in one of our favorite West Country restaurants. Our current circumstances might be challenging but we have purposed ourselves to enjoy the journey and take every chance to laugh together and have fun! Every day we have a choice to allow the circumstances to get on top of us or for us to take the initiative and make the most of whatever comes our way!
God continues to protect and provide!
This past month has felt like we have been on autopilot! We have driven more than 3000 miles visiting the hospital every day for 28 days radiotherapy and 192 hours of chemotherapy. The 110 miles round trip became very familiar to us and Mark tried his best each day to avoid the many pot-holes and dips in the road to make the journey more comfortable! We have been very blessed to have our friend’s house in Taunton to ourselves while they have been away and have also enjoyed having them home for the final 10 days of treatment. We were told to make a plan to stay closer to the hospital for the final 2 weeks of treatment as the consultant said Julie would not be able to travel very far or sit for long periods due to the pain. We had an offer to stay with Christians from a church in Bristol, who we didn’t know before and were so thankful for the offer of them opening their home to us. As Julie miraculously suffered very little side effects and has taken no regular pain medication, we decided to stay with our friends in Taunton right up to the end of treatment on 2nd March. When we sent out last month’s Newsletter we asked if anyone knew of somewhere we could rent for a few months for Julie’s recovery. Finding something affordable is not easy and we were really blessed when our friends who head up Joyce Meyer Ministries in Europe called us to say that one of their staff was a trustee for a Christian charity that owned a cottage in the Cotswolds for use by ministers on retreat. Surprisingly the cottage was not occupied during March and April and they said we could use it for 8 weeks for Julie to heal and regain her strength, paying only for the weekends to help them cover costs. We hope Julie will be OK to travel to Wales for Easter as we have to move out for a week due to the only prior booking the charity had. Having the opportunity to use this cottage is a real answer to prayer and we are so grateful! We will not have a landline or Wi-Fi for 2 months, but hopefully our mobile provider will give us some internet access. We are sure that we will figure out a way of keeping in touch and sending updates!
Friends have been so encouraging…
We have been overwhelmed by friends from all over the world, messaging us, to let us know they are praying for us. More than 200 people are praying daily against the side effects and sending encouragement through Facebook. We got to Skype with the CFNI Missions Team in Dallas, who are doing a great job of ‘holding the fort’ in our absence! It was fun to see their smiling faces! We look forward to being back with them as soon as possible! Our hairdresser, knowing that Julie has to avoid infection, came to visit us at home to cut our hair. Julie’s hair was thinning after the chemotherapy drugs and Alison did a great job of making it look amazing again. We have never been so isolated from people, with only a few visitors in the past 8 weeks. We enjoyed catching up with Courtney for coffee and cake. She came from CFNI in 2014 to serve with us in Wellington and is still faithfully serving there for her second year. Our good friends Anne and Jack came home from Australia recently and we took them out for a meal to thank them for allowing us to stay at their house and looking after us so well in the last few weeks of treatment. We really appreciate the cards, flowers, phone calls, text messages and visits from good friends this month. It has made a real difference! With treatment now over, it’s time for the recovery process to begin. We are writing this from our cottage retreat in the Cotswolds. This is such a beautiful part of the country! The neighbours here are really helpful, putting the heating on and cleaning right through prior to us arriving. We are looking forward to being back to full strength and are ready to get on with all that God has in store for us next. Thank you for your love and support!
How you can support us.
Pray for a quick recovery! Please pray that the areas affected by chemotherapy and radiotherapy will heal quickly. Pray for Julie to regain full control of her bodily functions and for the pain and soreness to remain manageable.