Saturday, 20 August 2011

Heavy Hearts

It's been quite a week for bad news - before I explain, it's nothing to do with Nicolas' health or anything within our immediate family (so don't worry mom). We have some friends that could really use your prayers, so I'm sharing.

When we were in DRC, we stayed with a couple, Joel and Kristie, who were basically the champions of Congo. They had been there so long they should have purchased real estate and started to grow their own food. Since they had plenty to tales to tell, as we sat around killing time (and by time, I mean hours and hours and hours), we got to hear stories of what they had experienced. One of the names that I heard over and over again was Reagan. Reagan is the mother to Theo, and she is apparently quite cool and tons of fun (and was also wickedly sick at one point). In addition, Reagan was the reason that I had bottle liners and nipples (she brought and left extra, and I didn't bring enough), dish soap, and probably quite a few other things that I got from the community stash. Anyhow, she and Theo got home before we left, so our paths never crossed directly.

A few months after they got home, Theo got pretty sick and they thought he had an infection. The infection turned out to be leukemia, and not just any leukemia, a very rare genetic variation that is particularly hard to cure. He went through chemo, and they were told he was in remission. They went in for the second round of chemo this week, and found out that the test that put him in the remission category was inaccurate. He was not in remission at all, and he would need a transplant. Theo has no known biological siblings to give him bone marrow. His odds of being matched on the bone marrow registry are one in a million. Apparently there is the possibility of curing him using cord blood, and finding a match for that should be a little easier. Either way, this is going to be a long hard battle for his family. Please take a minute to pray that a match of some sort will be found. Pray for little Theo, who barely had time to adjust to his new home before he had to move into the hospital and spend day after day being poked, prodded, and pumped full of medication. Pray for his mom and dad and older siblings and they soldier on through this difficult time of having one parent living in the hospital and one at home. If you have a minute, you might also consider contacting the national bone marrow registry and signing up to be a donor if you haven't already become one. It's easy - just a cheek swab. You probably won't be Theo's match (unless you happen to be of African descent, and if so please please sign up because minorities are very underrepresented on the registry), but you may be someone else's one in a million.

The other family I would love for you to lift up in prayer is the Vargas family. We met Susan and Lineu Vargas when we lived in Evanston. They were members of the young adults group that we joined shortly after we began attending First Pres. They were married right before we met them, so I always knew (and thought of them) as a unit - and they were one of those couples that are so obviously right for each other. Lineu was sincerely charming and kind, and his love for Susan was so evident in the way he treated her and talked about her, and I think the way a man treats his wife can tell you a great deal about his character. Lineu was a man of great character and of strong faith.

This week Lineu was killed in a car accident, along with his step-father and uncle. While I am so thankful to know that Lineu is hanging out with Jesus, I cannot even begin to comprehend what Susan now faces as she contemplates life without her husband and goes through the process of mourning his loss. The day we found out that Lineu had died was also the day that we found out that Susan is pregnant with their first child. She is in her first trimester. It adds something to our sadness to know that there is a child who will never know his or her wonderful father, and to think of what an amazing dad Lineu would have been, but what a joy that part of him will continue on in this tiny being he helped to create. Susan has traveled to be with Lineu's family (he was with them doing business when he died). Lineu's mother had to bury both her son and her husband on the same day (and this is the second husband she has had to mourn, as Lineu's father also died suddenly). Lineu's uncle leaves behind a grieving wife and son. Lineu also has a brother who now must shoulder a great deal of responsibility in the wake of so much loss. Please cover this family in prayer. They have lost so much so quickly. Susan and her baby are especially heavy on my heart. Obviously I am more sensitive than most to all of the things that might go wrong during pregnancy, so I am so concerned for the health and safety of the child in her womb. Thus, I beseech you to take a moment (or many moments) and lift them up in prayer.


mary said...

I am so sorry. Praying

Gretchen said...

So sorry.... Will be praying too.