Dear Friends & Family,
It is so good to finally be able to sit down and catch up with you all! I always think next time I will do more frequent, short posts…but hasn’t seemed to work out yet. So please bear with me as I try to keep this short.
Our Angel Janely – Janely had her 6th surgery where she received a programmable valve to try and manage the liquid in her brain from the Hydrocephalus about one month ago. For 5-6 days Janely was more awake, moving more, making more sounds and it appeared the surgery was a success. Around a week later though all the signs started showing again of too much liquid in her brain, i.e. excessive sleeping, little responsiveness to stimulation, etc…). Since then we have been through several doctors visits, brain scans and the usual cycle to figure out what to do and get her treatment. The wonderful thing about a programmable valve now is that they can make changes without any cutting (yay!). Last week Janely had her setting lowered a little bit (when there is more liquid and pressure we are told the setting goes lower, so sort of works the opposite). The day following the change in Janely was significantly different…even more sleepy to the point feedings have been very challenging. We made it through the weekend watching her closely and continued the testing right away on Monday with urgency and had a long talk with one of the Neurosurgeons that is helping with her case. In the end we agreed to lower her setting one more tenth of a point. Right now she runs the risk of her brain bleeding if the brain separates from the skull due to the pressure change so we have to be very careful since her setting is already so low, but it also seemed to be the only other option that didn’t also run a risk of infection or not involve surgery. We are very confused at this point to see Janely get worse from a procedure that “should’ve” caused improvement and in all the other cases they’ve seen it does. Right now no one really has any answers for why other than Janely’s case is very severe and complex due to her history of infection and having toxoplasmosis.
As you can imagine we continue to grow closer to her and really love her, so it is very heartbreaking to see the ups and downs, to see her to be able to respond to our voices and the next day get a blank stare at times. We want the best for her and what GOD wants for her so we are seeking that. Since her latest adjustment two days ago she is a tiny bit better…and we are so happy for that!! Without
your support, the constant visits to doctors of all types, physical therapy, etc… would not be possible because we would not be able to give Janely that kind of time. So thank you so much! GOD does continue to show me more and more how the hospital is my mission field, because it is where He has me most of the time these days. Thanks to a previous donation I’ve been able to take in lots of little handouts or tracks that explain the gospel and share Jesus. I’m looking each day for more opportunities because each time I go I must go through the charity wing of the hospital that is filled with very poor, sick, disabled people needing hope, light and Jesus. Many days though it is not easy. I still struggle with the language and there is often a feeling of helplessness of “what is next”, “why”, “when can she get that surgery”, etc…All of this is certainly taking Juan Ma’ and myself to deeper levels of trust in GOD’s sovereignty and to learn to really search our hearts and give ALL our cares to Him in times when things are difficult in many ways but especially emotionally and the temptation is to try to control or be an anxious mess.
Let me just say we continue to just enjoy her to pieces. It is so precious having a baby in our home and we love smothering her with affection, singing to her and involving her in as much as we can. Out of all the lessons GOD is teaching us through this something that has really become so apparent but also more important to me than ever is how precious each and every life is…GOD designed us all and He knows the number of hairs on our head, he formed us in the womb (Psalms 139:13)…and so we are all precious in His sight no matter what we can or cannot do. I see how this world, and most of us if we are honest, our worried about our performance, our capabilities, our looks, or what others will think and I grieve. I grieve because I know I’m guilty of looking at myself and the world that way and I grieve because I know of so many men, women, boy, girls, babies that are left alone in an orphanage or home of some sort because that can’t do more and are such an enormous burden to others due to their need for care. I know and understand there are many times where the family is simply not able, like in Janely’s case. So all that to say I see this …we see this….as an awesome opportunity to take care of one of GOD’s little girls and she is just so very precious regardless of what she can or cannot do. We’re learning to be more grateful and joyful for every little thing she does…like today when she was able to make her arm touch my face!! So please keep praying for her health, for GOD to give us wisdom in how to care and make decisions for her, and to be joyful and trusting in Christ through it all!! Thank you!!!
Counseling Ministry – I’m so thankful to a few special women who have babysat for me often on a weekly basis so I could continue the counseling ministry. I want to share briefly with you a little of what kinds of opportunities GOD has given me through this ministry. GOD has brought in a young woman that struggles with anger and in her marriage that is Muslim. I’m excited about working with her because I am begging GOD for her salvation…this is what it is all about…spreading the gospel and GOD’s kingdom. GOD has opened the door several times to “go there” and talk about Jesus and the differences between Muslim and Christianity…freedom! I want to also share with you about another client that is a missionary here struggling with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from a previous trauma and it has been awesome through GOD’s grace and help to help her uncover many lies from the past and the enemy, like shame in herself, and be on the journey with her to freedom. Some of my other or previous clients have come for help for a number of issues to include past abuse, anxiety, and confusion about Christianity. I know it may sound weird but I so enjoy this work…every time I leave I am so encouraged and just so humbled that GOD allows me to this work…so thank you again!! If it is in your heart would you please pray for these women – that they will have healing from their traumas and give their lives fully to Christ.
Women’s Prison – I have had rare opportunity to visit the prison but have been able to remain in touch with one of the prisoners I told you about before who is really seeking to honor Christ in the midst of some very hard things. I actually was scheduled to go see her last Friday but all the women except those with children were moved in the middle of the night earlier that week to another, new prison about 2 hours away. I receive news regularly about their status and as of now it has been very, very hard so please pray for them. They are getting very little to eat, and went without water for several days. They are just getting to contact their families after being there for at least a week and have triple the amount of restrictions. So it has been a very hard and scary thing for them all. I am hoping to get a chance to join one of the trips out to the new prison as soon as possible to encourage the women and continue counseling with the woman I’ve told you about before. If you would include in your prayers, we are waiting on the decision if they will allow the Bible Study to continue in the new prison, please pray for a big “yes”!
For His Children – Since my last update I have had the opportunity to facilitate another Bible Study out at the orphanage with a new group of young volunteers. It was so neat to see how God allowed us to go deep with barely knowing each other. When asked specifically what she wanted to learn or grown in while in Ecuador one volunteer said her intimacy with GOD. Another young woman had just been saved a year ago and was on fire to learn more about Him. And lastly there was another volunteer who was very open about not knowing if heaven existed and though he enjoyed reading the gospels admitted he had not accepted Christ as His savior. So we pursued these questions and topics together and I am hoping they will stay in touch as they settle in back in the states and that GOD has planted some seeds in their hearts that will lead to full surrender to Him.
Well thank you as always so much for reading if you made it this far : ) I have included a few pictures as we recently got the privilege of celebrating Janely’s first birthday on September 2nd. We treasure you all and absolutely love hearing from you, how you are doing, and what we can be praying for you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so faithful to GOD to support us consistently and give us the honor of following His call here in Quito, Ecuador! Please also know if you are ever interested in coming to visit and/or do some mission work beside us we would love to have you and can help with setting all of that up!
Your Partners In Christ,
Juan Manuel, Shawna & Janely
2 thoughts on “JESUS rescues: Update Sept 2014”
Very much enjoyed your update and hearing how God is using you both! Praying for you always! Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:46:32 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shawna you are so blessed to be about the Fathers business!
Please know that I will be praying for all whom you have requested prayer for, including you. And know that I love you very much.
Praise God for all that He is doing in and through you. OXO