Archive for July, 2008

Cancer’s Unexpected Blessings

A friend shared this with us.  It truly expresses our thoughts and feelings about Dan’s situation…
When you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change.
Tony Snow
July 20, 2007

Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23 Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced that the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen—leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but resigned August 31. CT asked Snow what spiritual lessons he has been learning through the ordeal.

Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick? We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.   (to be continued)

July 20, 2008 at 11:37 pm Leave a comment

Another Blessed Day

This is Dan writing.  I’m doing very well today.  We will see the surgeon Monday morning at 11:15 and he will look at the CAT Scan pictures, read the report, and examine me in person. Then he will tell us whether he thinks the mass can be surgically removed or whether we have to look at other options.  That will be the first time we can start to make any definite plans about what to do.  Please pray that God will make it possible for it to be completely removed by surgery here in Fort Worth.  

Now, this is Anne writing. I’m asking you to pray with us that God will heal the mass by His Word.  He is God and He can still heal if He so chooses. The mass is the size of a grapefruit and growing exponentially – doubling in size each time it grows.  The oncologist said Friday, “If the surgeon thinks it is too large to be removed, we will have to shrink it down to the size that can be removed by surgery.  We will probably use a combination of radiation and a ‘mild’ chemotherapy.”  He went on to say, “Even though it is ‘Mild,’  it is still chemo…and will have side effects.” I WILL WRITE AFTER WE SEE THE SURGEON MONDAY.

We have been blessed to be participants in a Missionary Re-entry Workshop led by Dr. Dottie Schulz.  It helped us a lot.  Dottie is a former missionary, and a very skilled therapist.  We are also deeply grateful for all the messages our friends have been sending.  In times of serious illness, support by friends is important. We are truly walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death spoken of in Psalm 23.  But with David, we can say, “We will fear no evil, for God is with us.  His rod and staff comfort us.” Ps. 23:4 adapted — Anne and Dan

July 20, 2008 at 3:39 am Leave a comment

Thoughts to Carry Us Through

A friend shared this thought with us today.  “The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  

Another long time encourager sent this thought from  Deuteronomy 33:26, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.  The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” — Anne and Dan

Check here for more info after the Friday afternoon appointment with the oncologist.

 

July 18, 2008 at 2:47 am Leave a comment

Back in Texas

We are thankful to be back “home,” staying with Dr. Dottie Schulz covered by the prayers of many loving Christians.  Our travel was the smoothest and most blessed we have every experienced.  God promises that He will not allow anything to happen to His children that we cannot bear up under.  That is still true even now.

Dan talked with his personal physician minutes before our plane took off from JFK.  She moved up all his appointments.  She saw him early this afternoon.  She believes he has a new sarcoma. He will have a CAT Scan Friday 9 a.m.  His oncologist will see Dan at 2:45 p.m. Friday.  Until then, we don’t know what we are looking at…probably surgery and radiation.

What we are asking is for you to join us in asking God to heal Dan completely without surgery or radiation.  Jehovah Rapha still heals today.  He heals broken hearts, lost souls, bodies that are not well.  Job never did learn why God allowed him to go through all that misery.  What Job did was to remain faithful to God no matter what happened.  — Anne and Dan

July 17, 2008 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Every day brings a blessing in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania

A great place to play and eat

A great place to play and eat

 

 

  

Arpad likes to practice English with Dan

Arpad likes to practice English with Dan

Storks like Romanian Summers

Storks like Romanian Summers

Rodica & Anne Share a Common Love

Rodica & Anne Share a Common Love

Istvan Directed Boy Scout Camp This Week

Istvan Directed Boy Scout Camp This Week

We Break for Lunch at Agape Workday

We Break for Lunch at Agape Workday

Marioara, Sebastian & Dan Enjoy Sandwiches at Agape

Marioara, Sebastian & Dan Enjoy Sandwiches at Agape

 

Anne Enjoys Shopping at Trident Supermarket, July 11, '08

Anne Enjoys Shopping at Trident Supermarket, July 11, '08

 

Attila, Zsuzsa joined us for dinner at an outdoor restaurant

Attila, Zsuzsa joined us for dinner at an outdoor restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Istvan Reads with Dan

Istvan Reads with Dan

July 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Beautiful Country, Fine People We Left Behind

  

 

Outdoor Magyar Historical Museum

LST Workers Visit Outdoor Magyar Historical Museum on Day Off

Istvan, in the center, is Red Cross Camp Director & LST Reader

Istvan, in the center, is Red Cross Camp Director & LST Reader
Dan reads with Jozef in our apartment

Dan reads with Jozef in our apartment

Eniko, Red Cross Office Mgr, Ildiko, Village School Teacher & Dan read in our apartment

Eniko, Red Cross Office Mgr, Ildiko, Village School Teacher & Dan read in our apartment

Romanian Mountain Mist

Romanian Mountain Mist

July 7, 2008 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

Every Day Has a Blessing for Us in Transylvania

Some Highlights from the Past Seven Days

Saturday Visit to Ancient Church and Fortress

Tea with Attila and Zsuzsa

Rosemarie Visits the Farm

Anne Begins 20 Hour Training Course at Pro Nobis Counseling Center

LST Party Was Like Family Reunion

First Hungarian lesson

Dinner with Alpar and Reka, Little Anne and Sara

Practicing Conversational English Over Lunch

Last Saturday, June 28 We Visited Ancient Church and Fortress Just a 20 minute drive from here is a beautiful church built in 1223 A.D.  (Yes, we drove the dreaded Blue Van!)   During the 1500’s, the villagers built a huge fortress around it with rooms for all the villagers during times of attack.

Having been completely restored in recent years, it is a delight to visit. The museum area has a number of rooms with clothing, furniture, weaving and farm implements.  You can tour the inside of the fort, look out the holes where hot oil was poured down on the attackers, and imagine what life must have been like.

Before Columbus discovered American, Saxon (German) people were worshipping God in that church building.  A small group of Lutherans still worship there today.  There would be more, but during Communist rule, the Romanian Government sold large numbers of the Saxon descendants to East Germany. The people had no choice.  They were shipped to a country where their ancestors had come from in the 1200’s.  Even so, the village of Prejmer is a thriving little community with several restaurants where you can have delicious fresh rainbow trout!

To Get to Attila and Zsuzsa’s House, Go One Block South from the church on the Main Street.  As soon as we phoned on our cell phone to announce our arrival, Attila hurried to open the gates so we could park the van inside their huge fence.  (Most of the houses have tall fences in front as well as on the sides and back.)

For tea, we sat outside on their large covered patio that is attached to the house.  We were served delicious Hungarian dumpling soup, creamed spinach fresh from the garden, and two fried eggs with wonderful potato bread.  To drink, we could choose from 100% orange juice, bottled pure sparkling mineral water from one of Romanians 2,200 natural springs, coffee, or fruit tea.  But the best part was the long, deep discussions that we had.

Having grown up on a large farm in Germany, Rosemarie particularly enjoyed visiting Reka Papp’s uncle’s farm with us.  Nestled up against the graceful foothills of the Carpathian Mountains (the Romanian Alps), Uncle Dezu farms the land his father, and grandfather before him farmed.  The main difference is that Dezu cuts his hay with a scythe, and rakes it with a large wooden rake while his father had modern farm equipment which was “donated” by the Communist Regime to the many farm communes they created by not only taking the tractors and all the equipment…but by taking the land too.  Most of the farmers have never recovered from that devastation.  When most of their land was returned by the government after Communism fell here, no one replaced their equipment.

Adolf grilled center cup pork chops and mitz (a special Hungarian sausage) for our dinner.  Reka added fresh tomato, cabbage, and onion salad, and boiled potatoes.  There was that marvelous Hungarian potato bread too!  For dessert, we had ice cream sundaes already prepared with the strawberry syrup and whipped cream frozen in the container with the ice cream!

Anne Begins 20 Hour Training Course at Pro Nobis Counseling Centerwe do work on the weekdays by the way!  Dan and Rosemarie read 5 days a week with a total of 20 LST individual Readers between them. Wednesday this week, I began classes for the psychologists using an excellent book, Parenting From the Inside Out.  Andrea did advance translating to get all the scientific and psychological terms translated into Hungarian.  She is a gift from God.  All of my students (degreed psychologists, social workers, teachers) are gifts from God to us.  They are intelligent, kind, love God, and are dedicated to making Romania a better land by helping one person at a time grow.

The LST Party Wednesday Evening Was Like a Family Reunion.  We have come to love the Readers.  They all sat around and talked sharing our stories like old friends until after 10 a.m.  We sang, ate wonderful Hungarian salads and desserts which they brought to go along with our Texas chili.  (Some had already made chili themselves as soon as they had the ingredients and recipe.)  They were really sad to see Rosemarie return to Texas…and so were we.  We miss you, Rosemarie!  

Our First Hungarian Lesson was delayed until last Friday – we had to wait until the end of June for the teacher to finish her school year.  Kati is a cheerful, intelligent, patient, excellent teacher.  Dan learned many words – being a Linguist, he loves languages and learns easily.  I began to understand the alphabet (only 48 letters!) and learned a few words.  Kati is going to come every weekday morning for an hour.  She gives us assignments using our Hungarian CD’s and book set.  We are focusing on learning to converse.  I’m not making any predictions about my success in learning it, but with God’s help, we’ll both be able one day to communicate with those who do not speak English! 

Dinner with Alpar and Reka, Panna (Little Anne) and Sara Thursday evening was a good send-off for RosemarieThey have bought a lovely 100+ year old house, completely restored and modernized it almost completely by themselves.  Alpar is amazing.  He is a computer consultant in business for himself, and can do almost anything.  Their garden (the side and back yard) has a large place for the girls to play, flowers (lots of roses), fruit trees, vegetable garden, with a huge grape vine covering one entire side of the house.

For dinner, we had a special eggplant spread on that good bread with fresh tomatoes for salad, and fresh peaches and a sort of jelly roll with a chocolate covering for dessert.  We could choose from sparkling mineral water, juice, and coffee.  Alpar and Reka were some of Dan’s first LST Readers two years ago.

Attila and Zsuzsa’s English has improved 100% since we first met 5 years ago.  Given their work hours, we have to meet on the weekends.  He owns a large-business machines company and internet company.  She is a Clinical Psychologist who works with autistic children, and families. Today, sitting in a large garden restaurant with giant trees providing a canopy over our heads, we enjoyed excellent food and more deep conversations.  

Dan’s leg is doing very well. He walks fine.  We both are well.  We thank God that we are able to serve Him in such a beautiful area with all the conveniences of life, and good friends who enjoy learning with us.  We miss our friends and family, but we would not miss God’s call to serve Him here at this stage in our life. Thank you for sharing in this work by your prayers, and financial support. Our friends here still find it awesome that some of you care about their needs enough to help us be in St. George.  

Tonight, God gave me this scripture to share with you – “…be made new in the attitude of your minds; and put on the new self, created to be like God in righteousness and holiness….In our anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the Devil a foothold.”  Eph. 4:23, 24, 26 & 27. (We praise God that He is helping us to achieve this goal that He has set for all of us.) —  Anne and Dan

July 5, 2008 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

True Stories from Transylvania

TOP STORIES OF THE WEEK – (See details below list.)

Rie Vali, Professional Web Page Designer Donates Web Page for God’s Children

Rosemarie Hitesman Makes Donation to God’s Children in Memory of Charmion DeVed

Anne Learns How to Blog on gods-children.org

Many Obstacles Overcome to Apply for Long Term Visa

A BIG THANK YOU goes to Rie and Peter Vali, Lewisville, TX, dear friends for many years and now longtime supporters of our work in Romania.  Rie, a professional web site designer, created the beautiful web site for our new non profit organization, God’s Children!  Take a look at gods-children.org to see how talented she is AND read about the benevolent works God has led us to help support. Peter and Rie were the first to make a cash donation to God’s Children.  Ed and Judy Duncan were the first to make a donation on line. Aren’t they smart!

Rosemarie Hitesman, LST Team member 2 years in a row, is the first to make a donation ($500) in memory of a dear friend, Charmion DeVed.  Being here 6 weeks, Rosemarie’s heart was touched by the medical needs of the children here.  We’re can’t wait to see Dr. K’s face when God’s Children presents her with funds to help the children she so faithfully serves.

Anne and Rie spent 2 hours on Skype while Rie trained Anne how to use the blog for God’s Children.  If stretching the brain keeps one healthy, my brain ought to be the healthiest 73.5 year old brain on earth!

Applying for a long stay visa seemed impossible.  The list of requirements was unbelievable, but we worked hard to get everything we could while in the U.S.  We’d been here 8 days when the list was shortened!  All we lacked was a Romanian Dr’s. statement that we have no diseases that pose a threat to the citizens of Romania. Well, that should be simple enough to get…or so we thought.

But no…we had to apply for National Health Insurance, and once approved, we could choose our Dr.  THEN, she could write that letter. I predicted, “When we apply, they are going to tell us that we have to first have the long stay visa!”  Sure enough, the government insurance rep said we had to have the long stay visa to apply for health insurance!  But, Adolf read all the laws pertaining to foreigners and Romanian Health Insurance.  After he had that straightened out, we were ready to go again to the Immigration Office to attempt to give them all the papers to formally apply.

Are you falling asleep yet?  Hastening to the conclusion, 2 more forms had to be filled out again because we’d dated them on the day we filled in the form!  Taxes had to be paid at 3 offices, and, at last, our applications were accepted!  They have 30 days in which to reply. Depending on who is assigned to our case, we may get a 5 year, or a 4 year, or a 1 year visa.  It’s all in how one reads the laws.  ; > )

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  We lead a very interesting life here surrounded by friends who want to help, study with us, be kind to us.  As Blanka said with amazement at the LST party last night, “There are people all over the world who need help…and God sent you to our little city!” 

Sherrie Hammond, RN, and wise friend explained it when she wrote, “Jesus says, “Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them is like a man building a house.  He digs down deep and builds his house on solid rock.  Then, the floods come, and the water tries washing the house away.  But the flood can not move the house, because the house is built well (Luke 6:47,48-SEB).”….Building our lives on Christ’s Solid Rock foundation requires that we “dig down deep into our soul.”  We go deep into the core of our being until we reach that “solid rock” purpose upon which everything makes sense.”  We pray that God will help you also reach that “solid rock” purpose for your life. — Anne and Dan

July 3, 2008 at 8:26 pm 4 comments

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