Summer has come to Wyoming, and brought 90 degree weather along with it. We are missing the cold, but are thankful for some extra rain over the past month that has helped provide some much-needed moisture for our area.
It has been a challenging two months since our last update. James has been about the same overall, but has also been dealing with an eye ulcer that's fairly painful, especially in the bright summer sun. The eye doctor prescribed two types of drops for him to use, and we are praying for full healing over the next few weeks.
Elizabeth took a turn for the worse as well. She had a "routine" surgery to re-open her airway in May, and the doctor discovered that the stenosis had advanced beyond the trachea down into the the bronchi, and was almost entirely blocking the passageway to her left lung. They were able to schedule a second surgery the following week, with the addition of a pulmonologist, and cleared it about halfway. She will be going back again next week for another surgery with both doctors, and we are praying they will be able to open things up the rest of the way. It also looks like the Wegener's is not fully in remission yet, so she had to start a new low-dose chemo treatment to suppress her immune system entirely (similar to what she was on previously in SC). We are expecting the fatigue to get worse over the next few weeks or months, but so far she has not experienced any other major side effects. Please pray with us that these treatments would work and she would be able to resume full ministry and other responsibilities again soon.
We also experienced losing the first pet of our married life - our sweet Sammie, who had been with us for twelve years. She had a tumor that spread to the brain and started causing strokes and seizures, and we had to put her down a few weeks ago. It was a very emotionally difficult week. But we are thankful that God has provided a new puppy to fill our hearts and home! :) We recently adopted McCoy, a one-year-old cattle dog / mixed breed last week, and are enjoying getting to know his unique personality. Pets truly are a gift from God that enrich our lives so much!
On the ministry side of things, we continue to serve in Kemmerer and Cokeville. Things remain steady in Cokeville, with the addition of one or two seasonal attenders. We are making plans for VBS in late July, with the help of several people from Grace Baptist in Kemmerer, and would appreciate your prayers for a few more volunteers and plenty of engagement with the kids there in town. Many people have been asking about it already, so we are praying that means we'll see a good turnout - and also praying that God will already be working in hearts, especially those who have heard the gospel the past two summers.
We are also happy to report that God is continuing to work through the process with the Army. The VA completed their review and gave James a 60% disability rating. That will be used to determine both the VA benefits (such as home loans, etc) as well as the Army's decision about retirement vs discharge. Please continue to pray with us that God will lead the Army to do the medical retirement as it will mean ongoing health insurance for us and some other benefits.