Monday, August 29, 2011

They are precious in His sight

Rona is in the middle of the front row, standing to Sylvia's left.  This was a picture of some of the Sunday School workers who had come for training in March just before we returned to the States for home assignment.  Janet is standing just to Rona's left; she lost her younger daughter just about 2 weeks ago.   She is pictured with Sanya her oldest.
Our hearts broke this week as we received the very sad news that one of our Christian ladies in Vanuatu passed away unexpectedly.  Rona lived directly behind our house when we first moved to Vanuatu in 2003 and got involved in our church early on.  She was our dear friend from the very start of our ministry there.  We rejoiced as we watched God bless her life and her marriage and her family.  She was like a lovely flower opening to the glory of God.  It breaks our heart to think about her husband William and their two little boys, Peter (5) and Nathaneal (3) and all the family who called her Mama and Abu and sister and friend.  She was my (Sylvia's) prayer partner and faithfully attended the Lydia Prayer Group meetings that met each week.  She was a faithful Christian woman who served God and her church with all her heart.  She traveled as a representative of the Vanuatu Church of the Nazarene - meeting other Nazarene's in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.  How we wish we could be there to cry with all who like us are grieving her loss.  We are crying here but we are so far away.  As much as we want to come, we cannot get there quickly.  We pray that God, the God of all comfort, will be near as they gather together to cry and to remember our dear sister.  William is one of our Nazarene pastors.  Please pray that he will seek God for comfort and will focus his thoughts on the life God has promised for those who believe.

Please remember Pastor Peter and Pastor Jenny in your prayers as they care for Pastor William and his family and also another of our Nazarene families who just lost their sweet, little 3 year old girl, Maowe, two weeks ago.  Funerals and the customary week-long family gatherings can be exhausting.  Pray that Peter and Jenny will be strengthened and upheld by our Lord's strong hand as they carry on the work in our absence.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
John 14: 1-3

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his godly ones."  
Psalm 116:15

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God's Healing and Other Reasons to Praise!

I am so thankful for the peace and joy that has kept my heart and mind at rest these last few weeks of waiting. On August 12th, I waited at the hospital for the nurse to call my name to go back to be prepared for a total mastectomy. David's sister, Beverly, from Colorado Springs had flown out to be with us. Three wonderful ladies from the Amherst Nazarene Church also joined us at the hospital. I was taken into surgery earlier than expected since my surgeon was ahead of schedule. After delivering me to the recovery room, Dr. Lindfield reported to David and the others who were waiting that the lymph node biopsy did not show any cancer cells! This was the best news we could have heard! I stayed the night in the hospital in a very comfy bed with an attentive nurse to make sure I was not in pain. David stayed with me in a very "un-comfy" bed that he made with 3 very straight chairs. L I was discharged the next morning and feel stronger every day! I will return to see the surgeon on Thursday to hear the results of the tumor pathology report and to possibly have my drain removed. As the pathology reports come in, we will be informed of the options regarding further treatment; please continue to pray for us as we make these decisions. We are so thankful for God's healing touch in my life and so very thankful for each of you who have held us up in prayer! 

"...yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; 
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." 
Habakkuk 3:18-19

The weekend before surgery, our family was able to gather together at my parents' farm in Michigan. We drove with Joel and Bekah and the girls from Buffalo; Jeffrey drove down from Ionia; and Wesley flew in from Montana. You can see some pictures of our time together on an earlier blog if you click here.

We were so excited to hear news from home in Vanuatu! Skype makes it possible for us to see and hear our partners! Peter and Jenny reported to us that their friend, Pastor Knox from PNG, flew to Vanuatu with his wife and visited our churches in Port Vila. The pastor from Bundaberg, Australia, was also visiting during that time. The two pastors preached to a special gathering of all the Nazarene Churches with an incredible response from all those who had come together. Then, the two pastors met with all the church leaders for a day of discipleship and holiness teaching. Pastor Peter said that everyone was challenged by what they heard and was praying and seeking God.

Jeffrey graduated from his aviation technology program the same day I had my surgery. Today, he completed the written portion of the second Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam that focuses on the engine of the plane. He has already passed the first exam which focused on repair of the structure of the plane. Tomorrow morning he will complete the oral and practical exam. Then he will be looking for a job where he can get experience as an airplane mechanic. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness to Jeffrey in completing the program and these important exams!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Surgery Day

In just a few hours, Sylvia will be admitted to the hospital for surgery to remove the cancer in her right breast.  We thank you all for your prayers for her and for the surgery team who will be doing the operation.  David and Sylvia are experiencing God's peace in an extra-ordinary way, just as He promised in Philippians 4:6-7.  We are trusting our loving Heavenly Father as we continue this journey.  Please keep our partners, Revs. Peter and Jenny Isaac, and all our pastors and churches in Vanuatu in your prayers as well.

Here are some of the promises that have been an encouragement in these days leading up to surgery:

Psalm 23:1
The LORD is my Shepherd.  I have everything I need.

Deuteronomy 31:6 
Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of [this cancer], for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Habakkuk 3:18-19 
...yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Family Time on the Farm

Potter family with Sylvia's parents who hosted our gathering at their farm in Michigan.
Blueberry picking
 We thank the Lord for the days our family had together in Michigan.  David and Sylvia drove with Joel and Bekah and girls from Buffalo, NY - a 10 hour trip.  Jeffrey only lives an hour north in Grand Rapids, but because he is still finishing up his classes at SMAT, he had to drive back and forth to school each day.  He was able to be with us on the weekend and in the evenings.  Wesley flew over from Laurel, MT, where he has been helping to build a house with James Johnson this summer.  Jeffrey's friend, Kristin, came for the weekend.  And, our niece, Lydia, from Denver, CO, was also with us! 

This is a picture story of our time together!
Sylvia and Dora were very keen at finding the bluest berries!

A trip to the "swamp" to see the pond and have a stroll through the woods.
Wild black raspberries we ate in the swamp.

Feeding Grandpa Great's chickens.

Sylvia petting Kristin's hedgehog, Sasha.

Dora's favorite way to travel around the farm.


Grandpa Great taking us for a ride in the cart behind the tractor.

The weather was very nice for our visit with Sylvia's brother, Phillip, and family.

The golden rod is in bloom.


Sylvia helping locate some squash.
Harvesting with Grandpa Great!