Thursday, March 28, 2013


I finally did it. I had been stumbling over a packed suitcase for a week. I finally unpacked it, putting away clean clothes from a trip never taken.

Many months ago, we planned a trip to the WHM Sending Center in Pennsylvania for meetings, reconnecting, and conversations about our second term as missionaries. A detailed schedule was filled in for who was picking up the children, what after school programs they would attend, and all the other stuff moms do when leaving their children in the care of others for five days.

Travis had been experiencing pain and other unfriendly symptoms since his strange and extreme African fever illness. As the symptoms had only increased with medication, it was time for a colonoscopy. We joked that the GI specialist would probably see thousands of little African parasites doing the Conga Line or maybe Travis would win an award for the longest tapeworm brought to America.

But after we met with the radiologist and heard back from the pathologist, all jokes ended and our plans for that trip to PA ended. Cancer has a way of doing that.

Unraveling. Unpacking. Unnerving. Unplanning. Undoing.

So, I find myself undoing lots of things. And find myself doing things I would not have expected.

Undoing the packaging for eyecream as the crying-eyes-puffiness will not go away

Canceling flights, car rental, accommodation and registration for the halfmarathon we so doggedly wanted to prove that we still could.

Begging for a refund on a nonrefundable purchase of a vacation for just the two of us that we had dreamed about for 3 years now.

Being hugged by people I don’t know but know us, sometimes comforted, sometimes made uncomfortable

Fumbling to answer the question of “how are you?” as an acquaintance in passing asks

Confused by the severity of the treatment options when the tumor looks so small to me

Listening to the prayers of our sweet children who pray for Daddy to be better

Receiving clothes hangers from our friends who are, ironically, moving to Africa so we can take our clothes out of boxes and settle in a little more.

Chasing after our AfricanSoul Daughter who ran away in tears when she learned we will be delayed in returning to Bundibugyo

Amazed by the offer of a meal by a new friend who must listen well to the prompting of the Holy Spirit on the very day we met with doctors for the diagnosis

Humbled that a family member would come over and clean our condo while we were meeting with surgeons

Talking with current teammates and future teammates who are also adjusting their expectations

Eating healthy food and wondering if it is healthy enough

Trying not to be overwhelmed by the “what ifs” that can be loud in the day and whisper in the dark of the night.

Finally putting our mattress that has been on the floor up on a bedframe as it will be easier for future recovery

Sweetly surprised by a package of “home decor” that a friend thoughtfully mailed to give us one thing in our condo that is not borrowed or donated

Amazed for a good night’s sleep and grateful that someone prayed that we would supernaturally be able to rest.

Sobered by the lady’s bald head as we get on the elevator to our first appointment with the cancer surgeon.

Encouraged by the many emails that we have received from friends near and far, reminded that we are certainly surrounded by a loving circle

Startled by the intensity of song lyrics and sermons and readings, how they seem to apply to us so dearly, so pointedly reminding us that God is still good and He does love us deeply

Touched by the kindness of a new friend who wants to pay for karate class for Patton

Confused in the timing of it all as we simultaneously prepare for cancer surgery and my youngest sister’s wedding

Hugged by my other sister who came with her kids for a weekend, just to be close to me, just so I could cry over a cup of coffee and not have to explain the tears

Unwrapping a box of chocolates mailed to us by a longtime supporter of all things Bundi

Finding comfort in the words of the Psalms and gaining perspective on true suffering from the book “The Insanity of God”

Waiting and waiting and waiting to hear back test results that will determine the type of surgery and asking God to use even the process of waiting to teach us and remind me that control is just an illusion

Praying with others for healing and courage and for wisdom, both for today and in the days to come

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  1. Amy and Travis....I just love y'all. Praying with you daily. Heart with you throughout my days. Thank you for sharing some of where you're at. Love you MUCH! - Sarah

  2. Much praying being offered to you all! Asking our Father to pour out grace upon grace on each one of you.

  3. Amy and Travis...I wish you the both the best. I know in my heart that everything will work out just fine. I'm thinking and praying for you both. Best wishes, Kim