A few of you are not on FB but have been praying for my brother Zarias. You might not know what happened the last 4 weeks. If you have not seen the 5 minute video up date, please click here: ZARIAS FIGHTING SCLERODERMA
6 THINGS IN THIS APRIL LETTER
Fighting for Zarias to get home - what you did not see in the video.
2. Hit by a car (did not see me) on my bicycle while praying for Zarias.
3. Was overnight in hospital with some bacterial infection
4. My Vasculitis is back...
5. Learning to read and write Thai
6. Masters's update - Module 3 of 6 starting next week.
As you know, Zarias and Inge sold everything to come to Thailand where they hoped the weather would be a "constant good factor" to help with the Blood Flow (Scleroderma) The first 3 months went great. Inge became a trained English Teacher (she wont tell you but the best of 40 in her class) . She had tremendous favour and I saw it first hand. This is why I was not worried about them after my first visit.
I went to visit him about 4 weeks ago and Zarias was still fine. Weak as usual but not blue at all. Right after my visit things suddenly went backwards to the degree that my brother FC decided to fly to Thailand to visit him. That in hindsight was clearly from the Lord and His incredible kindness.
The doctors in Sukhothai gave an update on his kidneys (bad news), his lungs (bad news: 50% hardened), his heart - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - Enlargement of the heart (excessive thickening of the heart muscle) which is really bad news seeing that he REALLY needs the blood pumping. And to top it all, pneumonia in his lungs.
FC was with Zarias for just over a week when he rang me. I know my brother... and I know his tone of voice... he did not even need to ask me to get into the car. Penny, my house buddy for over 11 years said that she would drive with me to Sukhothai (5+ hours away) and catch a bus back the following morning (She is leading a Discipleship Training School and will be leading a team on outreach in the M.E. soon... yet she was willing to do this)
Because Zarias and Inge lived outside of SA their insurance expired. They had no idea Zarias will take a turn for the worse to this degree and a new insurance company would only take them onboard in 60 days. Too late.
This is where the fundraising started. THANK YOU to all who gave. And a double thank you to Nolene for setting up the legal TRUST!! In the meantime we avoided the extreme cost of the Private Hospital and Zarias stayed 3 nights in the general hospital while FC and I packed up the house... I do not know how FC did it... but he was a genius at packing the car...
On our 2nd last day in the hospital a Thai man right next to Zarias started to make really strange noises... he was dying. His eyes rolled back and we just looked at each other thinking the same thing "He did not know Jesus. The hopeless panic on his face is quite haunting. There are 0.4% Christians. Inge and Zarias were the only white faces in town... and well known - if you are an english teacher to the police's kids... the entire city knows about you and if you are a foreigner driving a motorbikes with a side car that says "South Africa"... :-)
Before we drove back to Chiang Mai in the North where I live, I delivered a box of amazing Comic Thai Bibles to the school as a gift for the (Buddhist) children and some key influential people that Zarias and Inge got to know in the city. We were not leaving without sowing seeds of the Word for God to water.
We drove to Chiang Mai with a very sick man in the back of the car and a 2.5 year old who hated the fact that his GodMother made him wear a seatbelt for 6 hours!
Zarias was badly swollen, could not walk anymore and in much pain. FC carried him everywhere. Because of Thrombosis and the meds to help clear the blood clots so that he could get the clear to fly home, he could take no medication to help lessen the inflammation. I felt deeply sorry for him.
The next day we went to the general hospital in Chiang Mai but between 4 grown ups we could not find the entrance to the hospital. I have been there before. Instead we came out at the street that was the street for the entrance to the Private Hospital that I was well familiar with... and I said: "We have enough money given to us by people - lets go there" Within 20 minutes Zarias was with a specialist! All 4 of us believe that God confused us in the car to get us to the right place.
This doctor knew of new treatment that would allow Zarias to get the much needed anti inflammatory while still taking very strong meds for the thrombosis.
After 2 days on the new medication Zarias managed to gain enough strength to walk upstairs to my room for a shower. (FC had flown back to SA) He never got to the shower but collapsed on my bed... (This part is in the video ) but the part I did not show... his eyes rolling back into his head - the same as the man in the hospital. Inge and I tried to keep our cool! Inge... what a wife to have. She started to speak to Zarias about their Son Alexander... about the future. About arriving in South Africa... It was a sacred moment. His eyes suddenly had life again! It was as if he had gone and come back. I think he lost too much oxygen to his brain.
We kept telling Zarias that we had to get him downstairs while he was conscience. Somehow he managed to find strength to lean heavily on us while we took step for step downstairs. We made it. By then Penny was back home with the car and we rushed to the hospital.
He had to fly in 24 hours... I was really worried but suddenly and very clear heard Holy Spirit speak in my head. He quoted PS18:29 "...with my God I can scale a wall." I told Zarias and we took courage. God has been whispering wonderful words to Zarias as well. Because he could not sleep, he would start to worship Jesus in the night times. He said that every time he would enter worship, the peace of God had a way to lift the heaviness of the pain, making it tolerable. It is for Zarias to share the other things God spoke but as his sister... I cannot tell you what it meant to hear that God was so involved with my brother through it all. He is not healing him yet... but that God is WITH US is clear.
FC, my brother who came to visit also asked God for clarity. God answered him with LUKE 15:32 "...But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
Back at home, mom, dad, Jacques our youngest brother, FC who came and had to fly back, and many extended family and dear friends waited for the family of 3's arrival.
THEY NEARLY DID NOT MAKE IT. 4 hours before Cape Town a person came to check on Zarias on the plane and said: "If your vital signs are still the same in 5 minutes we have to turn this aircraft around and go back to Dubai"
Long story short - he made it and collapsed in Cape Town!
HE WAS HOME. Zarias, Inge and Alexander are now with family recovering.
MY APRIL NEWS UPDATE:
HIT BY A CAR:
I went to Thai class on my bicycle and while driving back I prayed for Zarias. A car from the opposite traffic turned over to cross our side and did not see me. I never saw him (a good thing because my body was totally relaxed as I hit his front bonnet on the side, sliding over it to the other side!) Tired from Thai class and my mind constantly thinking about Zarias while praying for him, I was at the moment looking down going very slow on my bicycle. In the end, I stood up, put the gears back onto my bike and drove off... another 5km before I was home.
I just looked at the man who hit me, told him "I am ok" while he kept looking at the scratches on his car. My bike had zero scratches. He had not a care that he just hit me. I just thought "Your a muslim (he was) and I will choose to forgive you right now) Then I left. Grateful that I did not get hurt and that I knew how to put gear-cable back onto my bike.
IN HOSPITAL WITH STRANGE INFECTION
In the light of Zarias, I decided at the time not to tell anyone.
I was overnight in hospital with some bacterial infection. It took two sets of antibiotics but it seems that the pain in my back and organ effected are gone.
VASCULITIS are back
Most of you know that Vasculitis took me out rather bad while I was leading the 2012 Create Int'l DTS. Steroids gave me "fake energy" to complete that season but it took nearly 3 years to enter remission. I think the last 4 weeks placed stress on my physical body and the tiredness, out of breath and dots (veins bursting with inflammation) are back.
MASTERS PROGRAM & LEARNING THAI
At least I have a good week before our third of six modules for the Masters Program commence. In the meantime it is going well with Thai. I made up for all the classes I have missed and THIS MONDAY we start with reading and writing! I am so excited. June I will be in South Africa for another 2 week intensive for the Masters - our topic for this Module is "Human Development" Exiting.
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES - UofNbooks.com
In the mean time I am also preparing for training staff in Europe and will hopefully have a new handbook ready for this - Time is the problem!
So much to do.
So little time.
Thank you for all your prayer, involvement and sponsorship!