Praise the Lord, my current chemo treatment is continuing to control my cancer and keep it from growing! I still have one small lump under the skin on my back and a few tiny lesions on my right chest area that we are watching closely. I have been on this treatment since July, so that is a very long time for one treatment to continue working in my case.
My 3-week chemo cycle consists of 2 consecutive weeks of Gemzar and then 1 week off to recover, along with weekly Herceptin treatments. I continue to have chemo fatigue, extremely low energy, and enter the chemo “fog” for a few days after each treatment of my Gemzar. I am usually able to plan around this and, with Eric’s help, keep my schedule clear for a couple days each week when the effects are at their worst. The chemo also knocks down my blood counts pretty good, requiring 1-2 Neupogen immune system booster shots each 3-week cycle. These also add the side effects of light, sound, and touch sensitivity.
I am very thankful for my good days and the time I can spend with family and friends and doing things in my community. I am thankful for the strength and energy God gives me to be able to do “normal” things like playing outside with Asher, volunteering in the kids’ classes at school, and meeting a friend for lunch. Even on the bad days, God sends His blessings! If I can get a nap in during the afternoon, I can usually handle a bit of reading books or playing card games with the kids. And snuggles with the kids as I rest on the couch are always a special blessing!
I am so thankful for my wonderful husband and all he does for me and our family! I truly do not know what I would do without him. Thank you to all who have continued to pray for and support us these last 6 months as we were on our medical sabbatical. This time has been just what our family needed to rest, recuperate, and prepare for our next step. We were able to enjoy a break from weekly ministry work responsibilities, and focus on building up our relationship with God and our relationships within our own family. God granted us an amazing week long trip to Florida in October, where we experienced His amazing creation and did many fun and adventurous activities together as a family! Then we were able to have some low-key, relaxing holidays reflecting on what we have to be thankful for and finding ways to bless and encourage others around us.
The Next Step:
After the New Year, we began more actively searching out opportunities for our next ministry. One thing we have learned on this sabbatical is that God will always take care of us and provide for all we need and then some! Wherever He leads us, He will be there with us. We wanted to be open to whatever ministry God had for us. We began looking at the strengths and gifts that God has developed in us and how to best utilize those talents in our next ministry. We looked at leading a new church plant, assisting with another church plant, and assisting at an established church, among a few other specialized opportunities. We had to add the demands of battling cancer to the mix, so that eliminated some of the options before us pretty quickly.
We gathered much information, sought godly counsel, and prayed earnestly for God to make the next step on our path clear to us. We found out what Proverbs 16:9 really meant: “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” When we looked at things logically and what would be an easier transition and fit in our mind, we were inclined to a couple of opportunities before us. But as we gathered more information and sought God’s leading, those doors began to close for various reasons, and we were directed to an unexpected opportunity. This would require a big change for our entire family, but would use all the talents and gifts God had been developing in us throughout our lives and ministry experiences to help further church planting in the US, a passion of our hearts!
We began exploring this opportunity looking for God to shut the door somewhere, as it would require many big changes, including moving pretty far, finding a new medical team for my cancer treatment, and uprooting our whole family from friends and extended family, our support system, schools, and community. But as we looked at each one of these obstacles, God clearly showed how He would supply for each need and take care of us. The words of Joshua 1:9 kept returning to our hearts and minds, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So we can now officially announce the Wilmeths are accepting the call to go to Grafton, Ohio (near Cleveland) where Eric will become the Operations Manager at our mission agency, Baptist Church Planters! While we are sad to leave many near and dear friends in Nebraska and Iowa, we are also excited to see what God will do on our next great adventure!
In the mean time, we plan to report to our supporting churches here in the Midwest over the next few months as we prepare for our big move this summer. We would love to see as many of you as possible before we move, so check our schedule to see when we will be reporting in your area or contact us to set up a meeting! Please continue to pray for us as we work through the many details of our long-distance move, start to pack up our house, as well as travel to reporting meetings on weekends (visit wilmeth.org to see our schedule). We know that the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go!