As many of you know, the past year has been an exciting, busy, hectic, joyous, educational, and stress-producing one for our family. Here is the "run-down":
May 2006: By the grace of God, I graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
June 2006: After getting rid of most of our possessions, we moved from Wake Forest, NC. We left behind many sweet friends, especially our church family at Messiah Baptist Church.
July 2006: We spent the first half of this month with my parents in Savannah, GA. Around mid-month, we drove to New York State, stopping to visit Gettysburg (PA) on the way. While in NY, we visited with Alice's parents for a few weeks.
August 2006: Our first stop this month was a one week vacation at my uncle's cabin on Seneca Lake in NY. After a relaxing week there, we drove to Richmond, VA for our orientation for overseas work.
August - October 2006: We lived at a learning center (a campus of 30 or so buildings) in VA being equipped for all sorts of activities overseas. Living there was a bit of culture shock, since we resided in a small building with three other families. I guess this helped prepare us for the real culture shock of moving overseas.
October 2006: We departed from VA, leaving many new friends behind. Some we would never see again because we were all about to scatter around the globe. We arrived back at my parents' home in Savannah to begin the mad packing process. In mid-October, we flew from Savannah to Detroit to Amsterdam to South Asia. What a change! We spent about a week in a big city, and then flew on to our smaller city. What an even bigger change!
October 2006 - February 2007: This was a time of highs and lows for our family. Living in a new place produces a lot of stress, even if you can speak the language. Where we had moved, it seemed like almost everything was different. Things that matter in the USA (efficiency, time management, cleanliness, quiet) simply aren't that important there. Things that matter less here (kind greetings, interpersonal relations, time spent with family) are of great importance there.
Because of all of these differences, we learned a lot, which was both exciting and stressful. It is certainly something we will never forget nor regret. Also, we were able to fly to Thailand for a few days around the New Year. It was very interesting to compare our new South Asian culture with a different new culture.
March 2007: In late February we noticed a lump on Bobby's neck. That led to several doctors visits in our city. That led to a trip to the capital city to see an ENT. That led to admittance to a hospital there. That led to a diagnosis of Lymphoma. For a few minutes there, it felt like our world was falling down around us.
However, God was supporting us through it all. With the help of some news friends, and with the prayers of many, we were able to fly back to our city, pack up much of our stuff, and then fly back to the USA. We were extremely tired after the 16 hour flight.
No rest for the weary! The day we arrived back in Savannah, we had our first of many visits with doctors here.
March - May 2007: Chemotherapy, hospital time, visits from friends, more chemotherapy, watching lots of TV with Bobby, reading many books, drinking lots of coffee, more chemotherapy, exhaustion, encouragement through emails, many gifts, more chemotherapy, and most of all, amazing support from the hand of the Lord.
May 30, 2007: A clear PET scan! Bobby is free of cancer! Praise the Lord!
I am constantly reminded of Isaiah 41:10, which says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
God is faithful. He has been throughout this last year, and He will continue to be.