In the weeks that have passed since we returned from this trip, it has been fun to see how God has used this ministry to produce fruit. We have seen a lasting impact with couples and individuals who continue to meet and work with the tools we shared during our few days in Romania. It has been encouraging to hear how this has impacted ministries and opened doors into the lives of men and women who these missionaries are ministering to.
Our time in Turkey had a different focus, but was also a great time. We were visiting some good friends in Instanbul, and were able to see first-hand the work they are doing both in this city and throughout the country. It was clear to us that this family is fulfilling a purpose in the community, and we are excited about the outcomes which can already be seen and the future potential of their work.
As you may know, modern-day Turkey was the center of the church for centuries. Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, and many of the churches mentioned in the New Testament are located in modern-day Turkey. Our friends’ vision is not only for a church to be re-established, but for this country to once again become a center that is impacting the world. It seems like an impossible goal, but one that is worthy of God’s attention and blessing. Please join us in praying for God to work powerfully and miraculously to bring this about.
Thank you for your prayers for Mark’s recovery and for his endurance on this trip. After six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, as Mark sat down on the plane, the realization hit that he was flying away from all the experts and caregivers who had been keeping him alive. The thought, “What in the world am I doing.” Seemed quite reasonable. But even as we left Minneapolis on that first flight, it was clear to all of us that God wanted Mark to make the trip.
The cancer certainly slowed Mark down a little during the trip, but he was a vital member of the team and participated in the teaching and the ministry throughout the week. God even used his sickness to help build relationship with the missionaries who felt even more loved because he had traveled to Romania in the middle of his cancer treatments.
Mark’s radiologist, who is a believer, was instrumental in helping to ensure that Mark was ready and able to make the trip. Though it was scary for him to get on that airplane, he didn’t realize how much of a miracle it was until he returned to the States and began to meet with his doctors.
“You traveled to Europe? Are you serious?”
“I can’t believe you were healthy enough.”
“You received the most extensive radiation we ever give. Most people end up in the hospital for weeks after this kind of treatment—not traveling overseas.”
But God was faithful. Not only did Mark survive, but he was able to encourage and minister to many.
This past week, after three more rounds of intense chemo, Mark’s cancer has been declared, “In remission.” Six months after a diagnosis of stage 4 esophageal cancer and a prognosis of 3 months left to live, we are rejoicing and thanking God for his miraculous healing. We look forward to the work that God has for Mark and for our team in the future.