Pilgrim United Methodist Church has a long history of supporting missionaries both in the US and abroad, as well as sending groups on short term missionary trips to Haiti and Jamaica. If you are interested in reading updates on some of the missionaries we support, check out our missionary update page here.
The Schafer Family are Missionaries in the Kora Valley. They have had a lot of spiritual warfare going on there as of late. Here are some of the emails that they have sent Pilgrim. We do support them financially and prayfully.
||Tue, Feb 19, 5:59 AM|
Well, the Schafer family had yet another adventure Maybe some wouldn’t call it that, but I am choosing to call all the things God brings along as an adventure… So far, they have all been unexpected, and somewhat scary (really scary at times), but He has been there with us, holding us, and showing us who He is through it… so it’s an adventure – an adventure in finding out yet more of the Heavenly Father we serve! Although this adventure has a happy ending, in the midst of it, there were some scary moments.
Friday morning, Craig woke up feeling a bit off. However, he had a lot to do, different things with translation, lesson prep, and some supply buying for some of our friends who live interior. So, he raced off to the market to buy the fresh veggies for that team, but by the time he came home – he didn’t look so good. He was obviously uncomfortable and losing some color in his face. He ate a bit of lunch and went to our room… by the time I got everything cleaned up and checked on him – he was writhing in pain, pale and sweating. What was going on! I called our friend, Karen, who is a nurse and she graciously came to our house and checked out everything she could – she had a few hypothesizes and told us to call our friend who is a doctor. This doctor, Wijnanda, was gracious enough to stop by our house before she picked up her kids from school. By the end of a urine test and physical examination, she also had some ideas as to what it might be, but she wasn’t completely sure of any of them. She suggested that we get down to Sentani as soon as we could to get an ultrasound, to illuminate any other issues and hopefully make it clear as to whether it was a kidney stone or something else.
I quickly called our pilot friend, Daniel Perez, who is with MAF, and do you know what? He dropped everything he had planned that evening and got the plane ready for us! By 4 pm we were up in the air and flying over the mountain range that cuts our mountain home off from the rest of the island. Craig was still in a bit of pain at this time, but something about the pressure in the plane had helped ease his pain and he fell asleep!
We landed and were met by an ambulance! Yes, a for real ambulance! We had been asked if we wanted it, and I had thought at the time – “If we get an ambulance, I don’t have to worry about renting a car or getting a taxi or even driving for that matter!” (which in the end, a few of our friends met us at the airplane, 2 of them (Matt Musser and Kevin Miles) followed us in their own vehicles to the hospital, and Emily Musser took our kids home for pizza and a movie!) So Craig and I were escorted to the hospital in an ambulance!
Saying Goodbye at the Airport Feels weird to be boarding a different plane than Daddy!
Getting placed into the ambulance Waiting for test results
Once we got there, they took a urine test, which confirmed blood in his urine and at that time, they were pretty sure it was a kidney stone… then then gave him some pain meds and sent him home for the night – with instructions to come back around 9 am for an ultrasound. This we did, and Craig slept well with the pain meds. The next morning, we went to the hospital, and were able to receive an ultrasound quite quickly… then we waited for 7 hours to see the doctor who was supposed to come in about 2 hours into that wait! For 5 hours, we sat in a hot open courtyard! (Can you guess what our kids were doing? The Musser family invited them to go to the beach with them for the day! Isn’t that great! So, they didn’t have endure that wait and had a super blast with their friends!) Finally, the doctor came in – basically stated what we already knew by what the ultrasound guy had already told us – Craig had no kidney stones in the left kidney and one small one on the right side. The ultrasound report also stated that there was a small mark on Craig’s prostate that wasn’t supposed to be there. The doctor at the hospital said we needed to get a CAT scan and return in a week and a half (because he was leaving the island for something)! We went back and forth about what to do. Do we leave it and hope that the next episode won’t be as bad? Do we go somewhere where we can get it taken care of? We consulted our 2 western doctor friends, and they both said, that at some point it would need to be taken care of, so if this was a good time, we should get Craig to a place that was capable to take care of it. So… On Monday morning, Craig flew to Singapore and the kids and I flew up to Wamena.
The final to this story – and why I am writing really… is to ask you for prayer. Craig did see a doctor in Singapore, who said Craig should get his money back for that ultrasound because the guy didn’t know what he was doing Craig’s prostate is totally fine – so that has relieved my fears of scarier things, but he does have a fairly large kidney stone in his left kidney! One, that if not taken care of, would not be able to be passed! This kidney stone was totally missed in the ultrasound we had done initially! Praise God! He was so gracious to get Craig to a place where he can be taken care of! So the Blasting Therapy will take place tomorrow around our time at 5 pm (Singapore time 4 pm). Please pray that they are able to blast it quickly and completely, so he can come home soon! Please pray that everything goes smoothly and Craig is not in too much pain afterwards. Also, please don’t forget to thank our Gracious God for taking care of us once again, and being gracious and gentle with us through this whole episode. He showed us His love and His hand through His children that have once again surrounded us, dropped everything they were doing, and cared for us and our kids so well – filling in the gap where we were in need! We are so grateful for our friends and community here!
I have to be honest, as we were flying over the mountains on Friday… Craig laying on a cot on the floor… I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how much more my heart could take! It felt weak and I wasn’t sure how this would all end up… and I cried out to God to help our family glorify Him no matter what the outcome or what else He brought our way… He brought this thought to mind – “God is the strength of my heart.” I don’t have to worry how I will handle something before I have to face it. I can know, that whatever He brings my way, He will be the strength of my heart – He will keep us moving and placing one foot in front of the other! A friend from my childhood (a believer from the Molbog tribe that my parents were missionaries to) shared this verse in response to what we were going through –
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…
The Lord Almighty is with us… He says,
“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD; I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH.”
Let’s all really think about what that verse says and be totally content and secure in the God we serve – and the God who has invited us to call Him “Abba” or “Daddy”! What an amazing thought!
Resting in Him,
Shelly for all of us Schafers