“The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” Psalm 145:13b (NIV)
Our last update on this site was at the end of July… it is now unbelievably almost mid November. Life for us has become very normal again and very busy so time goes by fast.
As mentioned in our last update our son Charles, daughter-in-law Sarah and grandchildren Evelyn and William came to visit us from England. We, along with our other son Toby and his wife JoAnn and children Charlotte and Lucy, all had a blessed and happy week of fun
together with different activities every day and meals together. We are planning another 3 family reunion in 2017, this time in England.
Noel’s health has continued to improve and I, although I did have a slight set back after a car accident in late August have continued to do well after the heart attack, although I still have some issues getting past the trauma of both and getting my high blood pressure
Noel had a 2-month checkup in September and has just had another one today, November 10th and we are happy to report that all continues to be well, for which we give daily thanks. Noel’s oncologists are still extremely happy with everything. And although Noel does still have some bothersome GVHD sores in his mouth, this may just be the way
it will be now. He has been able to come off all his many prescribed medications, except for the blood pressure one he has been taking and the prescribed over the counter vitamins and minerals which is is still taking along with the prescription mouthwash and a special toothpaste to relieve his sore mouth.
Noel has been able to return to his ministry work much as before, so along with his Poppa duties he is kept very busy. He will report on this himself.
We made a trip together last month to attend a conference in Virginia Beach. We lived in this area for about 11 years before we moved north 7 years ago. So besides being at the conference were able to catch up with seeing some friends which was a great blessing and lots of fun.
You will no doubt remember reading some time ago that we had discovered who the young man was who donated his stem cells to Noel was and that he also lives in Virginia Beach. We were able to arrange to have dinner with Ryan and his wife Beth. They are a lovely young Christian couple who put others first before themselves. Our words of thanks and gratefulness are not enough to thank them. Ryan’s gift of life to Noel must be the greatest gift our family has ever received. We thank God for yet another miracle of healing in our family. God is so good! From our first moments together we never felt like strangers and after talking for 4 hours we eventually had to say good bye as the restaurant wanted to close! But we have promised to stay in touch with each other and as is the modern way have become Facebook friends! We are amazed at God’s goodness in that Ryan volunteered to go on the Bone Marrow Donors list 2 years before Noel became ill. And we know the possibility of a 10-point perfect match that Ryan was for Noel is a rare one. This means that our Lord was preparing for Noel’s healing way ahead of the illness.
As Thanksgiving gets closer our focus is not only on all the amazing blessings we have received and are receiving daily but it’s also on our trip to the Global Interaction (GI 14) of military Christians from more than 100 nations being held in Cape Town, South Africa. Around 500 people are expected to attend. We fly from Boston on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving Day… to London and then on Saturday evening arriving in Cape Town about 48 hours after leaving home in Glens Falls. It’s a long way! The conference should be a great reunion for many internationals we have not seen in years. Noel is speaking at GI 14. After it is over, we are staying on for a long overdue visit with Noel’s cousin, Frances, and her husband Mike, we fly back to London on December 15/16. Traveling up north to
Newcastle for Christmas and New Year with Charles and the family. Our first one ever with Sarah, Evelyn and William. Followed with time in London seeing all our siblings and their families. We fly back to Boston on January 12th. After Noel’s next appointment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute on 14th we will finally be home the next day, hopefully not too much snow! And not too exhausted from all our travels!
Meryl included much in this update and her two previously published ones and now here is my bit. After our family vacation in early August, and with the wonderful help of a friend, I managed to get one of my small boats on the water and we had a pleasant afternoon in reasonably brisk wind on Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks. This was my first sail in four years.
During August, I was asked and, after praying about it, accepted a volunteer leadership appointment with the Lay Chaplaincy of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincies Jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). This is an exciting development in this growing ministry organization. I celebrate one year as a Lay Chaplain on November 15th.
The rest of August and September disappeared in a whirl of very welcome Poppa duties and getting ready for the ACCTS Staff meeting in early October and a Welcome Home Initiative (WHI) retreat later the same month. The latter, particularly, involved much work over the two months leading up to it. Also, Meryl’s unexpected car accident in mid-August led to the blessing of a new car, a 2006 Ford Freestyle, in excellent condition and one year younger than it’s predecessor with 40,000 fewer miles on the clock. It had arrived at the dealership where we bought it from just two days before the accident – it was like it was ‘meant’ just for us.
The ACCTS meeting for a week at White Sulphur Springs, south central Pennsylvania, was another pleasant success as we prayed and planned future ministry of assisting in the development of Christian leaders in the armed forces of the world. ACCTS is a close family and it was good to see so many of our friends there. We have now been staff
members for 20 years, which is barely believable!
The WHI Retreat at Greenwich, NY went extremely well. Thirteen Veterans (11 men, 2 women) attended as well as 2 wives. Several Veterans were deeply wounded in soul from challenging events they had been involved in during combat duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. All who came received healing to their unseen wounds in different degrees. This was the first retreat I had led at the Spiritual Life Center, Greenwich, although I led one at Dayton, Ohio, just weeks before my transplant in 2012. I was blessed with outstanding teams of helpers and ministers at both.
At the end of October, Meryl and I drove 600 miles each way to Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to meeting Ryan for the first time, we attended a key military Christian conference examining how better to bring the Gospel of Good News and healing to the military unbeliever. We took part in a think-tank/seminar on how best to bring hope and healing to our Patriots. Also, We were warmly received at Sunday morning Eucharist at the church which ‘sends’ us out as missionaries to the military.
I originally planned for two more ministry trips this month but have decided to forgo both. One was to attend the annual meeting of the military Christian fellowship of Canada, of which we are members from our active duty time in Alberta in 1987-89. The other was again to Virginia Beach to attend a Board meeting of Olive Branch International and help Fr. Nigel Mumford with the first WHI Retreat to be held in Virginia Beach. We decided we need to spend our last two weekends at home preparing for South Africa and Meryl asked me not to leave her on her own as she continues to recover from the traumatic effects of her car accident and heart attack.
So, in closing, we wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas season and New Year 2015. We also wanted to let you know that this year we have decided not to send out lots of handwritten, mailed Christmas cards. We plan to produce a newsy news letter in the early New Year once we are home again. Our mail will be held for us while we are away so please do send us your Christmas newsletters, which we will look forward to reading on our return.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV).
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and all you hold dear.
Meryl and Noel