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the hunts in prague


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Help Us Trim Our Tree

Part of the connecting aspect of our HMA is fundraising for our church planting work in Prague, and much of Jake’s time this fall has been spent meeting with potential new supporters. We have a monthly financial gap that we need to cover before we can return to Prague. Our monthly supporters are the backbone of the team that makes it possible for us to do what we do. Some give $10 a month, some give $100 or more. At any amount, consistent giving is a great way to be personally involved in our work at Faith Community Church.

To have us back in Prague with a healthy support account in the New Year, we are asking God to give us about 30 new monthly supporters at various amounts. We’d like to have that squared away before Christmas.

Hey, did someone say Christmas?

Hunts Back to Prague

What’s that? Why, it’s a fun and informative graphic! This delightfully funky Christmas tree shows the monthly supporters we need at certain amounts to get us back to Prague. When a slot gets filled, it gets a star ornament. Fully trimmed tree = Hunts back to Prague.

Would you help us trim our Christmas tree? There are at least 3 ways you can do that.

  • First, you can pray. This is a lot of support to raise in the next 2 months, but God can do it. Jake has spoken at several churches and continues to meet with lots of individuals and groups– please pray that those talks will result in new supporters who are excited to partner with us.
  • Second, if you’re able, you can give. Whether you’re a brand new supporter or a current one who’s able to increase your monthly gift, every dollar gets us that much closer.
  • You can also recruit! You know people we don’t know, and some of them might be in a position to help us out. Maybe your Bible study group would like to hear some stories about church planting in Europe. Maybe you and some friends could pool your resources each month, take one of those slots toward the top of the tree, and pray together for us.

Our time in the States has been a sweet gift that came at the perfect time for our family. Now it’s getting to be time for us to get back. Please pray that God will open doors, that the tree will be covered with stars, and that we’ll be on the plane on our scheduled departure date of December 30.


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Fall

Fall has been busier than summer, but also fun. A lot of the America stuff we miss is fall-centric, so we’ve enjoyed jumping back in.

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First day of school. We found out it’s actually legally required here to take this picture with the signs. Who knew.

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Creekside School’s HQ

In our fancy pants for Uncle Paul’s wedding

Foard turned this many in September

The boys’ first trip to Sanford Stadium, thanks to a generous friend

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Great fall weekend in the mountains with friends (Foard’s more excited than he looks)

A one-day blitz of American history

Not pictured: Jake or both of us have spoken at six churches and six more Bible study groups, with more still on the calendar. Whew!


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Summer

We have enjoyed a great few months in the States. Our purpose for our 6-month home mission assignment (HMA) is to connect with family, friends and supporters, to rest by changing our pace and stepping back from active ministry, and to grow personally and professionally so that we return to Prague energized and ready for another term.

Summer was a lot about resting after an exhausting 2013 and a busy spring. We timed our trip to get the maximum American summer days possible, and spent lots of time with grandparents, cousins, and friends– most of it in the water.

Hot weather and water were our chief goals for Summer 2014.

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Our temporary home was almost completely furnished and stocked by Charlotte friends. Amazing.

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You never know what mystery guests will turn up at Gaffer’s house.

Eliza turned 2 in August!

Eliza turned 2 in August!


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Reentry

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Day trip to Karlovy Vary in December. Our first time out of Prague together since July. Don’t worry, E’s in there somewhere.

December was quite a month. You know how Decembers are– super busy. Parties, presents, planning. And we were zonked. Energy level always low, a couple of hospital trips for E because we still have to watch her so closely. 

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Christmas morning bliss

We had a very restful, beautiful, quiet, celebratory Christmas. Pammie and Papa were here, about which more in a separate post. Their visit was great, and we loved them being here for all our Christmas traditions.

And then, with a deep breath, we started regular life again. Boys back to school, me back to work fulltime for pretty much the first time since E’s diagnosis. Eliza getting to be a regular baby, Melissa keeping everything together. And we are honestly a little surprised at how well it’s gone.

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We were going for “mean face.” This was the best Foard could do.

Today Eliza had her second monthly check-up. She always has blood work and a physical exam, and every other month (including today) an X-ray and ultrasound. All these results have been good. Each month we get nervous the day before, have a somewhat fearful morning while M & E are at the doctor, and I hold my breath waiting for the all-clear text. Maybe that gets better over time. I hope so.

At any rate, she’s gaining weight, learning words, standing on her own, and her hair is growing. It’s amazing. We’re still watching her tummy– I’ll spare you the details but it does seem to be improving, and they’ve ruled out any connection between her digestive stuff and her previous illness. Seems to just be one of those things.

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We got our fancy pants on for Sam’s school’s annual Burns Night fundraiser. Half the proceeds went to the children’s wing at Eliza’s hospital.

We are not all back to normal. Who knows if we ever will be. Little medical things scare us more than they used to, and it’s hard to think about the future without the what-if cloud. But the life-o-meter is climbing. We can handle more busy-ness now than we could 2 months ago. By God’s grace, we’re doing more than just surviving.

We would love for you to keep praying for us.

  • Pray for Eliza’s health to continue, for no more cancer ever ever ever, and for protection from all the winter germs as her immune system is not at 100%. Pray for her stomach to adjust so that she doesn’t need to take probiotics.
  • Pray for Sam and Foard, and our parenting of them. They’re still recovering too. Pray that we’ll be patient and attentive.
  • Pray for our marriage and for our walk with Jesus. We don’t want to unlearn the lessons of last year.
  • Pray that we’ll be bold and wise in taking on work and ministry, working hard but not taking on more than our family can handle.

Look at this little girl. You prayed, and God healed her. Thank you so much.

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I love me some snow!


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This is Eliza.

She used to have cancer.

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Today we crossed the finish line. There is no sign of cancer in Eliza’s body. Her chest X-ray and MRI are clear. Her AFP level, the liver marker they’ve been testing in her blood, is down to a normal level for a child her age. Her ENT physiology is normal, and she passed her hearing test with flying colors. She’s finishing a test of her kidney function this morning, but the doctors aren’t expecting anything from that.

Now cancer is sort of the gift that keeps on giving. So we’ll have monthly outpatient checkups for the next year, then the frequency will gradually go down for the next few years. The rate of recurrence is very low after successful treatment like Eliza’s, and it’s even lower after 2 years. But we trust in the living God, not in numbers. “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10).

There will be more for us to say, more thanksgivings to offer, more stories to tell. Today, with tears, we are just so grateful. God has given Eliza to us a second time. He has preserved our family through the valley of the shadow of death. He has given us an army of pray-ers and helpers. He has humbled us by showing us how little control we have. He has reminded us over and over again that nothing, not even cancer or fear or death, can separate us from the love of Christ.

Here we raise our Ebenezer: Our daughter is well. Our God is faithful. Amen.

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Hoping for a finish line

Eliza and Melissa are in the hospital tonight, getting ready for several big tests Monday and Tuesday. These include imaging scans (MRI, CT) and blood work to confirm that there’s no sign of cancer left in her body, and several benchmark tests to check for potential side effects of her chemotherapy.

If all these tests are normal, we’ll go into a rhythm of regular outpatient scans. We haven’t heard at what interval those will be yet.

Please pray that all the news is good this week. All signs point that way, and we are eager for a formal status change: done with treatment, regular checks to make sure we stay that way. Pray for no lasting side effects from chemo: for healthy kidney function, no hearing loss, and for E’s immune system to build itself back up.

This is sort of a finish line, and it feels like we’re crawling across it. As lots of people have told us, the adrenaline carries you through an actual crisis; it’s the aftermath that can really get you. We are so tired and weak. We’re eager for normal life, but not ready for it yet. E is basically still not supposed to leave the house, so daily logistics are tough. Our awesome boys are feeling some fallout from all the stress of the last few months. We keep committing to very simple things– Yes, I can meet you for lunch on Wednesday. Yes, M can buy flowers for our church Thanksgiving dinner.– and then having to bail when something happens. Nobody’s putting any pressure on us, but we still feel useless.

So the Hunts are still a mess. A grateful mess, and sometimes a hopeful mess.  I was frustrated and depressed the other day, with several things going wrong, and while running into the store looked in the back seat and saw Foard and Eliza holding hands. The things that are going well are much more important than the things that aren’t.

Please keep praying for us. Pray especially for Eliza this week, for good and accurate test results, and for us as we wait. Pray that we will enter God’s Sabbath rest and experience his peace.

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If you’re feeling stressed, I invite you to gaze upon this picture of a baby in a pea coat.

 


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No more port!

Just a quick note to say: the port is gone! We had to wait awhile because of an operation ahead of us, but when the oncologists noticed we were still there, they made some calls and got us in. After that, things were easy. The operation took less than 30 minutes, and Eliza slept through most of the time before she could eat and drink. Then she pretty much ate all afternoon, so we think she’s good to go.

When we started going to the oncology ward, it was mid-summer, before it gets hot here. Now it’s cold. Some of the same kids are there, but a lot of new ones. It’s so sad to see the ones in mid-chemo, and the freshly-diagnosed moms and dads trying to be brave as they learn the ropes. If you would, while you thank God for Eliza’s health tonight, pray for those families. Pray that their stories will go as well as ours seems to be.

Cancer is awful. And God is good. We are grateful for this big step for E today.

And now for something completely different: Foard made his own sandwich for the first time today. He was very proud. He has no idea how thrilled his parents are.

And now for something completely different: Foard made his own sandwich for the first time today. He was very proud. He has no idea how thrilled his parents are.

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