Dear Friends,

If I were to choose two words to describe this past year they would be CHANGE and WAIT.  You know what? I have never done well with either of those concepts, much less when they became just about daily fare.  I really hope the bombardment of change/wait this year is beginning to affect, in a positive way, how I face life. I hope it is creating more trust in my Heavenly Father.  I hope it is increasing my patience.  I hope it is helping me see others through kinder eyes.  I hope it is making me pause more often before I speak.

Some changes have been, of course, universal because of the pandemic.  These are behaviors we have all changed and are still waiting for when they will no longer be necessary. (As a nurse, it is incumbent upon me to say that we should never stop washing our hands, though!!)  Other changes have been just for our family.  Some changes seemed totally bad until looked at in the light of subsequent events.  

Let me give you an example of the latter . . . 

David fell off a ladder and broke his arm up by the shoulder.  Bad change.

He took some pain and antiinflammatory medications that caused him to retain lots and lots of fluid. Bad change

He went into congestive heart failure and we had to be evacuated from Mazamari and then repatriated to the US, two months prior to our planned Home Ministry Assignment. Really bad change.

After usual treatment didn’t cause improvement for David, it was determined that his CHF was due to his mechanical heart valve that needed to be replaced. Who knew? They’d told us that valve would last a lifetime! Really, really bad change.

David had open heart surgery, and has improved to the point where his heart function is stable.  Really, really, really GOOD change.

In addition to the above, we are thankful for some other good changes:

I no longer have shoulder pain or knee pain, thanks to months of physical therapy.

David does not need surgery on his broken arm as we thought he would.

David was able to have a long-ago wrist injury repaired with the least limiting procedure, and he looks forward to being able to use his wrist with no pain.

Something about which we are still waiting for an answer . . . 

When will we be able to go back to Peru? Once David’s wrist occupational therapy is completed, we will be cleared to go back, from a health standpoint.  But what about the continued serious virus situation in our neck of the woods in Peru?  When will it be wise to return there? Our biggest prayer request at this time is for clarity about our return to Peru.

An ongoing prayer I have prayed these past months . . .

Between the two of us, we have interacted with many, many health care professionals since April.  Some we have seen once or twice.  Others we have seen week after week. I trust I haven’t only become known as “the lady with the really interesting stories”, but also “the lady who is kind, who does not criticize, who is thankful”.  I trust that David, in his full-time job as “keeper-up with the insurance stuff”, has been recognized as kind and patient as he deals with billing errors or payment confusions. I trust that the folks at Cardiac Rehab see in him a christlikeness which, even though they might not call it that, they are drawn to.  Indeed, I pray that our waiting and dealing with changes has made us better tools for Christ’s service, day in and day out.

As we look back on this changing year, what a comfort that our God has not and will not change!  The details of how we celebrate Christmas this year may be different.  But the Christ whose birth we celebrate remains unchanged.  His selfless act of substitution for us on the cross has not changed. His plans to come again have not changed.

May your Christmas joy be based upon the unchanging Christ as we wait with expectancy for glorious things to come!

Merry Christmas to each of you!


Rachael & David