Monday, February 24, 2014

Thanking God Today, and Always

To our friends and family who have been praying for Mark's surgery today ... here are the words directly from our daughter, Cristy, shortly after her husband's surgery (as she shared on their CaringBridge site):

"The surgeon came out with good news at 3:10!  He said everything went well...he believes he was able to get all of it and although the tumor did have the look of cancer, he did not see any signs of cancer anywhere else.  PRAISE GOD!!!  We just give him all the praise and glory for his healing and mercy and love!!" 

You are invited to read more details on their CaringBridge site - click here. We thank God for caring for our dear family in TX today! They are praying for a good report with the pathology result on Friday, as well - thanks so much for continuing to pray for them as Mark recovers, and as they continue on the journey with their daughter needing a kidney transplant in the near future.

As I was reflecting on past times of trial, I was reminded of several other difficult times we have gone through in past Februarys ... and shared my thoughts in a post on my Pursuing Heart blog. You are invited to read it - click here ... or you can read the small print version (below) on the digital scrapbook page I made of the post, for our family album ...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our News & Prayer Update - February 2014

February Greetings!

We were able to escape the cold Nebraska weather for the first week of February, when we traveled to Orlando, Florida, for our annual Cru High Leadership Conference. This is always a valuable time to gather as city directors from across the nation, to hear from our leaders, as well as from guest pastors, and to connect with other staff. We always come away from these times filled with thanks for being able to serve together in reaching students for Jesus. The two photos above give a glimpse into our time together - three days of meetings, and also a break during one of our days when all of us spent some time together at Disney World in sunny, warm Florida!

Special Family Prayer Request:

Thank you for praying for our granddaughter, Crystal, as she awaits a kidney transplant. In the last step of being tested to be a kidney donor for her, Mark (Crystal's father) found out the troubling news that he has a solid lump on one of his kidneys that needs to be removed as soon as possible. This news was quite a blow to their family (and to all of us) considering all they have been through already; yet, we thank God for the discovery of this lump before it became life-threatening. PLEASE PRAY for Mark's surgery, which will take place on Monday, Feb. 24 at 1 pm, and for their whole family as they walk through another step of the journey they are traveling. Click here to see a recent photo of their family, and to read more details of this update.

Cru High Happenings to Pray For:

CRU CENTRAL HIGH: Please pray for our first student meeting to be held on campus (as a school club) - this coming Thursday, Feb. 27. Our plans are to begin meeting on campus one week each month now, in addition to other weekly meetings off campus.
CRU FORT CALHOUN: Our student leaders are planning a special event, Monday, March 10, to reach out to FCHS Freshmen students.
CRU ACCELERE: Pray for a way for these students to be discipled one-on-one or in small groups, in addition to the weekly meetings we hold with them during their school day. There are many disruptions in the lives of these 17-21 year-old students, as they pursue their high school diplomas in this urban, alternative school.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Prayers Needed for Our Son-in-Law, Mark

Another update on our dear family in Texas, as they await Crystal's kidney transplant ...
(Left to Right: Crystal, Luke, Mark, Cristy, Brianna, Abigail)
Our daughter, Cristy, and Mark, and their four children have been on quite a journey for the past twelve months. Click here to read of the diagnosis they received in early 2013 - that Crystal has a rare genetic kidney disease, which will require a kidney transplant. And click here for our last update in January.

Our new update is that we are requesting prayer for our son-in-law, Mark. He was in the process of being tested to be a kidney donor for Crystal, and on the last phase of testing, the doctors discovered a solid lump on his left kidney. Mark was told that when something like this is seen, it is "lights and sirens", and needs to be removed as soon as possible. They are highly suspecting that it is cancerous, so the lump along with a small portion of his kidney need to be removed.

Please pray for Mark's surgery, which will be Monday, Feb. 24, at 1 pm. They have an excellent doctor to do the surgery, one who has done 1200 surgeries utilizing the robotic surgical system that will be used, and he has also done 250 of the exact type that Mark will have done. Please pray for a successful surgery, and that all traces of cancer will be removed. Also, please pray for peace and strength for each family member as they walk through this time.

This latest news about Mark has been quite a blow considering all that our Texas family has gone through in the past twelve months. And at the same time, we thank God for His mercy and grace in revealing this problem so that it can be cared for before it would become life-threatening.

Of course, Mark will no longer be able to be considered as a kidney donor for Crystal. Please pray for the right donor to be found, at the right time. There are several other family members who are offering to be tested, and it is still a possibility that Cristy will be able to be the donor if the cyst found on her kidney turns out to be of no concern. Please pray for strength for Crystal as she awaits the time of transplant, while continuing to experience nausea and fatigue each day. Her kidney function is now at 24%, and the doctor is thinking that she may be able to wait until summer for her transplant, giving a bit more time to find a donor, as well. 

Thank you so much for praying for these needs - Mark & Cristy are so very appreciative of all the prayers and support that they feel through this difficult season of their lives. You are invited to return here to our family/ministry blog for an update after Mark's surgery and periodic updates throughout Crystal's kidney transplant journey. You are also invited to visit Crystal's CaringBridge site for updates that Cristy shares with family and friends - click here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Family Soup Night & Sara's Birthday

Sharing a few photos from this past weekend. Time for a Family Soup Night, and time to celebrate Sara's birthday (which was early in the month). Such a treat to spend time together ... not an easy feat, as each of our grown kids have very full lives. We thank God for the time we could spend together on Saturday, Feb. 15 ...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cru High Leadership Conference

Once each year we travel to Florida for our Cru High Leadership Conference ... a time for the City MTL's (city directors) of Cru High to gather together for training and inspiration. It's a good time of year for this conference, as we can spend a few days in a warmer climate! This year the temps in Orlando were in the low 80's while we were there - a great contrast to the freezing temps we have been having in Nebraska. 

So thankful for this time to spend together with other staff, and to be encouraged and inspired by time in God's Word together. The time went by too quickly ...

Sharing our thanks to God through digital scrapbooking pages ...

Click here to view two more digital scrapbook pages (on Cherry's Pursuing Heart blog) from our time in Florida, including an evening at Disney World's "Magic Kingdom"!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Our News & Prayer Update - January 2014

Here is an online version of our first newsletter of the year. We sent this out to many friends and family by email at the end of January - if you did not already receive this by email, please let us know of your email address, and we will add you to our MailChimp email group for our next mailing. Thanks for your interest ...

Our First News & Prayer Update of 2014!

One month is nearly finished of this new year, and here is our first update! We are so grateful for each of you - for your prayers, gifts, and the multiple ways that many of you are part of Cru High - Omaha. God certainly uses a team to accomplish what He desires to do in the lives of students.

OUR CAMPUSES - This new year has already been full of significant happenings in Cru Omaha. A few highlights from some of our nine Cru campuses: Students fromCentral High recently were able to get permission for Cru to be a school club on campus! We praise God for opening up this door for us to be able to hold events right on campus (in addition to weekly meetings already held off campus). Students from Fort Calhoun High are initiating and planning an event to draw more Freshman into Cru. And we ask for your prayers as one of our newest volunteers, Takiela, is working on having Cru approved as a school club at Bellevue East, on the edge of Omaha. She is taking the lead in opening up Cru on this campus!

DCC HIGH - We are grateful for how the Denver staff welcomed our students to DCC High, a student conference held in Denver from Dec. 28-31. (See the two photos at top.) Our students loved it - a highlight for them was an outreach held where they were able to personally purchase and give items to homeless people on the streets of Denver. Click here for more photos on our Cru Omaha blog of our time at DCC High.

FAMILY UPDATE - We greatly appreciate all your prayers for our granddaughter, Crystal, as she awaits her kidney transplant. She continues to experience nausea and general fatigue as her kidneys continue to decline, and her levels will be retested again the first week in February. Also testing continues for her father, Mark, to see if he will be able to be her kidney donor. Click here for more info on our family/ministry blog. And at the start of this new year, here are some photos of our ten sweet grandkids!

Five Grandsons!

Left to Right: Jake (4), Luke (12), Cruz (5), Cole (4), Levi (11). What a lot of fun these boys are! Levi belongs to Amy & Joe, Luke to Cristy & Mark, Jake & Cole to Sara & Sean, and Cruz to Carrie & Tyler. There is never a dull moment when these guys are together, as was the case this past Thanksgiving when these photos were taken. Luke & Levi are off in their own world whenever they are together, and life is filled with adventure when the younger ones play!. Such a blessing to have five grandsons! 

Five Granddaughters!

Left to Right: Brianna (7), Abigail (17), Eva (1), Ali (6), Crystal (15). Ali belongs to Amy & Joe, Abigail & Crystal & Brianna to Cristy & Mark, and Eva to Carrie & Tyler. Abigail will be graduating from high school (in TX) this spring. It will be a busy year for our TX family, as Crystal will most likely also be having her kidney transplant this spring or summer. Please pray for them! Brianna & Ali would love to live closer to each other. And little Eva is a joy and delight to everyone. We thank God for five granddaughters!