Hello once again! We have had a crisis here in Florida with John's health! For the past two + weeks life has been pretty hectic, although much better now!
John had not been feeling well for about a month. He described it as "something is not right". We were going to go to the doctor after Marty's eye operation and after the holidays. Additionally, a companion was going with John from the UK, and John was concerned about the loss of finances he might suffer if he had to cancel his flight. For various reasons he waited. We were to go to PA on January 6 and then he would go on to the UK the 11th & on to Kenya on Thursday the 14th. All of that has come to a screeching halt!
We went to our family physician and he couldn't see us and we were advised to go to the emergency room if we felt concerned. That is what we did, and when John described his symptoms - dull pain in the left side of his chest, occasional dizziness, heart palpitations - they immediately took action. While there, his heart went into "ventricular tachycardia" (v-tach), which is a rapid, uncontrolled and radical beating of the ventricle. There was a lot of activity in that ER, including pasting some defibrillator pads on him just in case the heart did this some more. . The heart regained its rhythm on its own. With v-tach, if the heart doesn't regain its rhythm, sudden death is imminent. He was transferred to the main hospital and the next day was told that there were several times in the night that they feared he wouldn't live until morning. John kept telling all of the nurses that he had work in Africa that must be completed, so he wasn't going to die.
On Tuesday a cardiologist did a heart catheterization to examine his arteries to assess if there was a blockage causing the heart problem. None! His arteries were clean! I might add here that for the last few years we have deliberately eaten a healthy diet, unless it is not possible to do so. We also try to get regular exercise, except when circumstances dictate otherwise. The doctor told us that John has the dubious distinction of being in a very rare, small percentage of people who experience v-tach but don't have blocked arteries. The condition is caused by a malfunction of the electrical impulses in the heart.
A few days later, after unavoidable delays, another heart surgeon, performed and electro-physiological survey to determine where the damage was and then repaired it by cauterizing the spots causing the "shorts" and then putting an "Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator" (ICD) in his chest. This little computerized device has wires going from it into John's heart; their purpose being to cause the heart to beat properly (faster or slower if the occasion demands) and if it should go into serious v-tach again it would shock the heart into normal rhythm. The device really a back-up - just in case - for his heart should be repaired owing to the surgery. He is getting used to having this foreign object in his body and his "insides", for want of a better word, are settling down; i.e. he has fewer strange feelings in his chest area. The bruise from where they implanted the defibrillator/pacer device is stunning! Changes colours every day.
RESUMING WHAT WE HAVE TO DO
It has been 2 weeks since his implant surgery. We are beginning to resume what needs to be done regarding the Widows Farm Project and Paul the Pastor. John would have been in Kadawa and Kisumu by now organizing an Operations Team and setting up procedures on how that team will manage and administer all of the details for getting the farm up and started. As we have said time and again - communication is the key issue for doing anything in Kenya. It is difficult while there to get things accomplished and get them done in a timely manner. Now, all of it must be organized and implemented at a great distance. There are ways - we know there are - but we need input from those with experience in similar situations.
PLEASE PRAY: For wisdom for John on how to pace himself. He can gradually resume normal life - totally normal - but we need to be discerning about the timing.
For the funding to continue to come in for the farm expenses - a fence, a house for the watchman, money to plow and harrow, seed, fertilizer.
For qualified team members; including a team leader.
PAUL THE PASTOR
We talked with Hesbone on Monday 1-18. Paul began hemorrhaging from the cancerous wound in his mouth Sunday night and had to be re-admitted to hospital Monday morning. He received a blood transfusion. Originally he was to check back in on the 20th to resume chemotherapy. We have had no updates since.
PLEASE PRAY: A miracle is required for Pastor Paul. Please continue to intercede for his total healing. We received enough money to pay for all expenses up until he was released from the hospital for the holidays. There is some money remaining for these next steps in his treatment. We are trusting the Lord for continued funds for this saint. Father God knew about the terrible tragedy in Haiti before it struck. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and His hand is not short that it cannot provide - for Paul and for Haiti.
We have no current photos. We expected to have plenty for you by now - the camera was ready for John to capture the newly plowed 1 1/4 acres on the farm and the goats we will be giving. Also photos of the medical facilities in Kisumu where Paul is being treated. However, we have given instructions for 5 goats to be purchased and distributed for now - more when we get back in July or August - and Violet will take photos of the goats with their children and send to us. She will also get photos of the plowed land. We DO have one of John as he was coming out of anesthesia from his implant surgery (he knew it and agreed) but Marty really doesn't have the heart to show it.
DIVINE INTERVENTION - PEACE, PEACE, PEACE!
Be blessed dear friends. God is good! We were told that if the v-tach had occurred on an airplane it would have been sudden death. We can't imagine what would have happened if he had been struck in the bush in Kenya. We praise Him that is was revealed before he left. You may wonder why it happened at all. We don't know, other than the fact that there is no guaranteed that bad stuff will never happen to Christians (ask Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, Martha, Mary, etc., etc.). However he does guarantee that He will go through it all with us and NEVER abandon us. What is REALLY neat about it is that at no time was either of us afraid or worried. Marty slept each night - although sometimes not well. We were aware that we were at peace the whole time. It is strange and hard to articulate. However, we did not have to take time to go to the Lord and ask for or appropriate our peace. We didn't have to search our hearts for the Word of God to gain or keep our peace. God just DID it! It was just there! We didn't have to look for it . It was THERE! Amazing! John NEVER had a doubt about dying - he knew, that he knew, that he knew that he had to get on with the work that we are called to do - his destiny!
We go to the doctor on the 27th to find out the next steps in our lives - physically! Then we will continue with our plans accordingly.
Blessings to you all!
John & Marty