Greetings from Viet Nam!! We’re not grounded anymore . . . and we’re so thankful that this ministry trip was given the green light by the interventional pulmonologist who is managing my health issue.
The cancellation of our trip to Ethiopia and Uganda May 22—June 13 was very disappointing on so many levels, but we leaned in to being home—for longer than we’ve been home in a really long time—and managed to get some things done that have been left undone for a really long time. Closets, desks, and the garage were all attacked with determination to purge the unnecessary and establish order . . . all of which I found quite therapeutic and Paul went along with. :)
We added several counseling days to our suddenly-open schedule, and met up with a number of people for meals, walks, or just hanging out. We took a few walks around Walden Pond, many walks on the bike trail, and chatted with our neighbors. We went to church three weeks in a row: as attendees and not as speakers. We enjoyed the blooming season of peonies, rhododendrons, dogwoods, and lilies. I was thankful to be able to attend two of the New England Patriots off-season women’s studies. And we were home to welcome several sets of out-of-towners, which was delightful in itself.
And I have had many doctors appointments, as well as a “bronchoscopy,” which is an outpatient surgical procedure to biopsy the nodule residing in my upper right lung lobe. It was a great relief to meet with the interventional pulmonologist 10 days later for the biopsy results, which confirmed that I have “cryptogenic organizing pneumonia.” It will most likely be treated with a long term course of prednisone. That will hopefully close the chapter on this interesting three-month health journey I’ve been on since originally being diagnosed with pneumonia on March 28.
Maybe the sweetest silver lining to this unexpected “canceled” month was being able to be with the Johnsons in Grand Rapids, MI, for our lively 2-year-old granddaughter Rachel’s hernia surgery. Expected since her birth, the surgical repair of three small hernias was scheduled for June 8, and I was so thankful to be with them for this outpatient event. She came through like a champ, thankfully, and was none the worse for the wear a week later. It was a great joy for me to help out with Nathan while Derek and Julie took Rachel in for her surgery. It was also such a delight to experience their new life in Michigan, which included going to their church, visiting their newly discovered parks, meeting their neighbors and friends, and falling in love with their newest furry family member: Sammy, the Bernadoodle!
I flew straight from Grand Rapids to Indianapolis to attend The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference. Kari and Lisa joined me there and we spent three days being spiritually fed and energized. The conference, attended by over 7,000 women from all 50 states as well as 27 countries, was full of solid, gospel-centered teaching and inspiring worship. Hearing the book of Deuteronomy exposited during the plenary sessions was both challenging as well as interesting, and the workshops I attended were inspiring. Becky Manley Pippert’s workshop on sharing the gospel was so refreshing. Her approach to evangelism is so natural and real and her passion for sharing the gospel is truly contagious. And Rosaria Butterfield’s workshop on her newest book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key was a true highlight. I’ve had such deep respect and appreciation for Rosaria since reading her first book, Secret Confessions of an Unlikely Convert, and it was a fulfilled desire to hear her in person. She’s is articulate, wise, and a great story teller, and I hung on her every word.
In between the sessions, Kari, Lisa and I had many sweet moments of fellowship, many cups of iced coffee, some great walks, and a few great meals together. We all wished Julie had been able to join us, but her work schedule prevented that from happening. We’re all hoping to attend the conference together in 2020.
Back to Boston on Father’s Day for a week and change before leaving for Viet Nam, we had two more counseling days, a HIM Board Meeting, several out-of-town guests, and times of preparation for the rest of the summer, which will be very full of speaking and traveling.
Though full of many great moments, this period has had the undercurrent of pain that our second summer of “no traditional CBS family camps” is underway. At this time last year, we had great hopes that in 2018 the CBS family camp ministry would be restored.
So though we are thankful for the opportunities the Lord has given us, and we are loving the new experiences we’re having sharing the gospel of marriage and family with new people and cultures, our hearts still grieve the loss of our lifelong involvement with and investment in families connected through the generations at CBS.
Our hope and comfort is in the faithfulness of our sovereign God and we continue to trust Him for our future ministry, whatever that looks like.
My next post will recount the amazing experience we’re having in Viet Nam! So for now, “Xin Chao.” (This is the Vietnamese word for both hello and good-bye, just in case you think it’s the only Vietnamese I know. I know at least one other word.) :)