David is currently in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the middle of his mission trip. I have been blessed to receive a text a day with an update from him. Some of the highlights from his trip so far include: several days of construction at the missions station, cutting down trees with machetes, enjoying the unique sights and sounds of life in PNG, the beautiful landscape, a week of training pastors to teach the Gospel, eating tacos made with crocodile meat, seeing a bat with a 6 foot wingspan and more! David is now gone to a village to live for a week. He will be "off the grid" for the next 6 days while he is in the village. He was blessed to meet the pastor he will be living with before the pastor's training conference and David said they have hit it off well so far. Please continue to keep him in prayers! He is having a wonderful time being His hands and feet in PNG and wanted me to convey his thanks to all of you for your prayers while he is gone. Lord willing, he will be back home in Texas March 13th and he said he can't wait to share pictures and videos from his trip with all of you.
OUR PRAISE: 4 days before David was scheduled to leave for PNG, we took Sidney to the pediatrician for what we thought was a possible ear infection. She was having pretty constant pain in her right ear and said she could not hear out of that ear at all. The pediatrician informed us that her ear was clear and not infected but she did notice an abnormality in her right ear. Sidney has a history of cholesteatoma's (cysts) in her right ear and all signs indicated she might have another one. In 2010, she had a cholesteatoma and by the time they found it, it had eroded away her mastoid bone and they had to put a cartilage plate and a titanium piece in that ear so she could hear again. Due to her extensive history of ear problems and surgeries, we called her pediatric ENT in Birmingham, AL who has taken care of her since she was little, done all her previous surgeries and explained the current problem to him to see what he would advise regarding her treatment. He tried to refer us to a colleague of his in San Antonio (about 4 1/2 hours north of us) but that did not work out. So after much consultation with her doctor and prayer, we made the decision for the kids and I to come back to Alabama while David was in Papua New Guinea for Sidney to see her pediatric ENT since surgery would be the only option if it was a cholesteatoma.
So, we saw David and the team off for Papua New Guinea on Tuesday afternoon and the kids and I were blessed to be able to fly back to Alabama very early Wednesday morning. We arrived in Birmingham around 10AM Wednesday morning and my parents picked us up to take us to their house. This trip was the kids first flying experience and they all 3 loved it as you can see by the pictures above.
We saw Sidney's doctor at Children's Hospital on Monday morning and after a very thorough exam and a CT scan it was determined she did not have a cholesteatoma which was a huge praise! We had so many people praying for Sidney so we know that this news was nothing but answered prayers. However, Dr. Hill informed us that her ears did in fact still need immediate surgery. He needed to do some reconstruction work on that right ear, her ear drum was also completely retracted and he wanted to put in new T-tubes in each ear too. He said he could look in her ears and tell she was hurting pretty bad so he scheduled surgery for the next morning at 7:30AM.
Sidney did great with his surgery (above is a picture of her not too long after surgery). The Dr. said he is hopeful she will regain her hearing in the right ear and that this surgery will be a success for her. The earliest he would see her for a post-op visit is March 14 and if all goes well we will be flying back home to Texas on March 19th. It is truly amazing the grace, comfort, peace and strength that the Lord can give you when you need it most. I know we had tons of prayer warriors faithfully praying on our behalf on Monday & Tuesday and I can honestly say I especially felt them during those 2 days. Having David on the other side of the world, Sidney having surgery, Abbey and Wyatt to still be there for because they were sad David was gone, and trying to balance it all was only possible because of prayer, our loving and gracious God, and much help and encouragement from my parents. Sidney is doing well post surgery and already back to her usual sweet and sassy self! We are so thankful for her wonderful doctor in Birmingham, how the Lord used him to help get her well, and for each of you who prayed for us throughout all of this.
- For more people who are willing to join our monthly support team. We are currently at 33% of our monthly living goal. To join our team, visit this link and choose our names: Johns, David & Gretta.
- That we would trust God's direction for our lives and for patience as we continue to wait to hear from our application for a possible missions opportunity after graduation.
- Pray for David while he continues to serve in Papua New Guinea. Lord willing, he is scheduled to arrive back home in Texas on March 13.
- Pray for Sidney as she continues to heal from her surgery and that her hearing will be restored in her right ear as well.