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Thursday, March 30, 2006
Chemo changes
"Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him." Proverbs 30:5

I often find myself turning to the "Wisdom Books" of the Bible when searching for comfort or encouragement. I especially enjoy the book of Proverbs. There are exactly 31 chapters, so it is easy to read one chapter each day thereby finishing it in one month. There is enough wisdom to merit reading it 12 times a year! I like to choose one verse each day for meditation. For this day I choose chapter 30 verse 5. In a world where people's words are not always edifying, comforting, or even truthful, it is so completely satisfying to realize that God's words are pure--honest, dependable, sure. This protects my heart and thoughts from the inside out. He is a shield to those who choose to trust Him. This protects my heart and thoughts from the outside in!

Medical update: Malcom had his 16th chemotherapy treatment yesterday. The doctor made some changes in the protocol which we hope will reduce the neuropathy effects. In addition, the decision was made to begin the drug Avastin. Avastin is not chemotherapy--it is an anti-angiogenic therapy which works by attacking the blood vessels that "feed" a tumor, and is given in combination with chemotherapy. There are some risks with this drug, so please pray that there will be no complications and that it will be effective in stopping the growth of the tumors.

Happy Birthday to our youngest granddaughter, Kaycia, who is 1 year old today!

posted at 1:04 AM  

Sunday, March 26, 2006
Never forsaken
"They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; forThou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee." Psalm 9:10

It has been a pretty good week for us here at the Feistel house. Malcom has regained strength following the chemo treatment last week and has been able to enjoy some normal activities. We praise the Lord for this and it boosts our hopes that perhaps even better days are not too far away.

I know that many who read this blog are going through personal struggles and health issues of their own. The verse I chose today is for you. No matter how hard the trial, how dark the valley, how impossible the situation, I encourage you to run to the refuge of the most precious name of our Lord. Put your trust in Him because He has not forsaken you. Sometimes you feel forsaken, but the truth is that you are constantly in His care. May you cling to that knowledge. We are praying for you too.

posted at 12:41 AM  

Friday, March 17, 2006
Not of us
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

The light of the gospel is brilliant, able to illuminate the darkest soul. The power of the glorious gospel to save someone and change their life is totally amazing. Even more amazing is that God entrusts such a wonderful treasure to us, the "earthen vessel." Because we are simple, clay pots, we have nothing to boast. Granted, some stoneware is quite beautiful and unique. But narrowed down to the basics, it is still just clay...not fine china or exquisite porcelain. The thing that makes the earthen vessel special is the treasure within, proclaiming to all that the power is of God and not of us. This awesome truth humbles me and causes me to praise the Lord for choosing this earthen vessel to spread the gospel.

Last Sunday we had a wonderful time in St. Charles, MO. God enabled Malcom to have the strength to preach. But we feel that we were the ones blessed by being there. It was encouraging to sit in on an adult Sunday School class and hear someone call out our names in prayer. They didn't know we had come in! It was a God-ordained moment, as if God himself was soothing us with the proof that people are praying.

The week has been eventful with daughter Amy coming from North Carolina for a visit. We also celebrated daughter, Nancy's birthday. Wednesday Malcom started another chemotherapy treatment which will end tomorrow (Friday).

We anticipate having a visit with a new friend tomorrow. He is a young man from Shanghai, China. Pray that God will allow us to build a friendship with Louie so that we may be given a chance to share the treasure of the gospel of Christ with him.

posted at 12:45 AM  

Friday, March 10, 2006
Now why am I surprised??
"For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken." Luke 5:9

Peter and the other fisherman had spent the entire night fishing without catching a thing. Then along came Jesus needing to use their boat. For just a little while that simple fisherman's boat was transformed into the Master teacher's lectern from which Jesus taught the people. When he was done he instructed them to let down their nets for a "draught"--that's the old English word for a big catch! Obviously Peter thought there was a good possibility that this would be a futile exercise, but then why not? After all, it was Jesus who said to do it! The result was such a large catch that their nets nor the boat could handle it! Peter and all those with him were astonished.

A few observations:

This week has been a good one. Malcom has slowly gained strength each day and we recognize that God is helping him. This Sunday he will be preaching in St. Charles, Missouri. We anticipate that God will use a modest vessel to accomplish something great.

We are praising God for blessings in Taiwan. This Sunday, Dante--one of the young preachers in Dali Faith Baptist Church--will be baptizing a couple of new converts. It is exciting for us to see how God is growing our church there. We shouldn't be surprised!

posted at 11:57 PM  

Sunday, March 05, 2006
Great Sunday
"...Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power..." 2 Chronicles 14:11

We had an awesome day at church today. I was in awe of God and His empowering grace, experienced by both Malcom and I. Just having come off of his chemo treatment on Friday, Malcom was very weak and in pain. But the Lord specializes in helping those who are without power. He was able to stand and preach a powerful message which God used to speak to the hearts of many. Several days ago I was struggling with a respiratory virus and had started antibiotics on Friday. Scheduled to sing a solo today, I really didn't know if I could. But with God's enabling, the song was there! It is so humbling to be used of God even in our times of weakness.

Let me give you the latest CEA (tumor marker) figure: it is now 75.7 which is down about 30 points from the last time! This is fantastic news which indicates the chemo is working.

If you want to pray specifically for Malcom this week, pray that he will experience relief from the neuropathy. His hands and feet constantly hurt, while at the same time feel numb. He has trouble buttoning his shirt, typing on the computer, walking is painful etc. just to name a few examples. Imagine anything you do with your hands or feet...those are all painful for him. In spite of that he keeps a positive attitude and doesn't complain.

posted at 11:37 PM  

Friday, March 03, 2006
Hope continually
"But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more." Psalm 71:14

Hope is the thing which stands between courage and despair. It is that intangible ingredient that gives one an ability to focus on the impossible. Another word for hope is faith, unseen except by the eyes of the heart. Hebrews 11:1 describes it as "substance" and "evidence." Hope is more than a desire to believe, it IS believing, placing my fullest confidence in the object of my faith--God, whose ways are past finding out. (Romans 11:33)

The tulips in our yard are starting to show their leaves, a sure sign of beautiful things to come. I am reminded by these simple parts of God's creation to continue to hope and to hope continually.

Yesterday Malcom started chemo again. We also received the report of Monday's CT Scan. It was what I call a "mixed review" meaning some slight improvements in some areas and some possibility of further problems in other areas. Okay, so we are not going to despair, but continue to hope for the best and keep trusting the Lord. Today he had another thoracentesis done in which they drained 2 liters of fluid from around his right lung. We praise the Lord that it was successful.

Keep praying, keep hoping, keep praising!

posted at 12:41 AM