January started with a gunshot. First order of business was to pick up 14 World Racers at the airport and transport them with their luggage to Puerto Galera. (It was a stressful trip for our ministry vehicle and one of the tires completely blew up on the way. Fortunately Alex was able to maintain control of the vehicle, and no one was injured.)
The World Race organization takes you for eleven months to eleven different countries to join with missionaries in their current work. Two of these small teams were assigned to us for the month of January. Since Pastor Al and his family were out of the country at their arrival, we played the host for the first couple of days, getting them some rest after their long journey from the heart of China and settled into their new home for the month.
Soon after their arrival, the back-hoe began its work preparing the area next to our ministry center for a brand new addition. One more small piece of land was purchased to give us room to add this onto the current facility. This new building will have 6-8 classrooms. Yes, it seems the next order of business for benefiting this community is to start a Christian School! Please pray with us for the Lord to bring in leadership and teachers as this project progresses.
The World Race Team members are also helping with the process.
January also marked the first surface shipment for Threads of Hope. Until now, we have been using DHL Air bi-monthly shipments to send our bracelets back to their distribution center (Alex’s parents’ house). But we are hoping to save some cost by doing monthly surface shipments, reducing the number of DHL shipments. It takes about one month for this shipment to make it’s way from door to door.
Pineapple crop update: Our first pineapple was stolen, so pray for integrity and protection for this investment Aninuan Christian Church and Threads of Hope have made. They expect the first major crop to be ready in April.
Our first pineapple that we were able to harvest!
We are moving forward with the next surgery for Baby Angel. An MRI has been done, plates have been printed and brought to her doctor. Now we wait for him to tell us his plan of action. We also had her slides looked at by a specialist in the states. His conclusion was as follows:
First, Angel has myelomeningocele aperta. This is the most severe category of spina bifida. She should have been closed up at birth when they did the other shunt on her head. (As you know, Angel did not have surgery at birth, she was over one year.) Now, it will be more difficult, but nothing they can’t handle in Manila. They may need to add another shunt. She will need continual checkups over the years because the shunts can stop working properly.
Reasons for the surgery to close up the spinal canal:
1. If she gets a cut there, spinal fluid can leak out causing Angel to contract meningitis.
2. In the past, when children didn’t have this operation, there was a significant chance of developing skin cancer due to all the cells being reproduced. These children usually died of skin cancer in their 20′s.
Angel is currently tethered. This means that her spinal cord is held back or connected. When the surgery is done to close up her opening, this will also de-tether her cord allowing her to grow without further damage.
It is highly unlikely she will ever walk according to our neurosurgeon.
Please pray for Angel to get the best care possible, and that God will do even more than we ask or imagine!
Angel being taken to get sedated for her MRI.