Dorothy has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH - a rare and serious lung disease) and most likely has Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease (PVOD - an extremely rare lung disease with no known treatment and doing a lung biopsy to confirm PVOD is dangerous to someone with PAH). Dorothy is on oxygen at all times and is unable to walk more than short distances. The Hazards are working with a specialist care center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. There are no plans for them to return to Africa or take on other overseas appointments for now.
Dwight is using his gifts and skills to minister in the SIM USA Office. He has joined the Information Systems group to assist in the setup of SIM USA's internal intranet, training returning missionaries in the risks and proper care in dealing with e-mail and Internet risks, documentation of policies and procedures and other duties while Dorothy's ongoing medical needs are being addressed. They are still on missionary support with SIM and plan to continue to minister through SIM as the Lord leads.
Our recent update:
What do you think of when you hear the word support? (2020-09-04)
To many fellow missionaries, it would lead to thinking of prayer and financial support. To those in construction it might lead to thinking of supporting walls, beams, electric and plumbing needs. Professionals might think of it in terms of resources of people, money and time to complete a task. For individuals and/or families facing physical or mental challenges, support might involve not just doctors, but also nurses, therapists, specialized equipment, and hurdles with insurance.
I looked up “support” in the dictionary. It means: 1) to bear or hold up (a load, mass, structure, part, etc.); 2) serve as a foundation for; 3) to sustain or withstand (weight, pressure, strain, etc.) without giving way; 4) serve as a prop for; 5) to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; 5) tolerate.
Within the last couple weeks, we have had to look at increasing the support structure around our family to meet changing needs. My need for help is increasing, which is also true of our niece who lives with us. We have come to the point where it is no longer safe for me to be in the house without someone I can call on for help. In order to bear up, we had to find some sustainable support. So, we turned to our church family. Meeting with our pastor, helped us plan for the long term.
Beka and I had devised a system months ago for me to easily communicate to her what level I was at in wanting to engage. Green light – go for it. I am ready! Yellow light – We can talk, but you will do most of the talking. Red light – sorry, but not now. We are fleshing that out a bit more to make it easy for church friends who will be coming into our home to know what is expected of them and what they can expect from me. (And yes, my creative and talented daughter will be graphically communicating this!)
Our pastor also talked to us about what mechanics could be put in place to support. I am more frequently needing help just to get up from the couch. A friend had suggested just a week prior to this that we go shopping for a recliner that will lift me out, but I wasn’t interested. When our pastor brought it up and then my beloved couch started giving me back aches, I knew the Lord was telling me it was time.
My friend and I went to store that had lots of chairs to try out and was only 40 minutes from my house. “Support” was the word of the hour. The young man helping us was amazing us, supporting us through his knowledge and kindness. The first chair I sat in was not comfortable and did not support my back. The second one was so much better. The third one was incredible! The chair was delivered the same day!
I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for all the support He continually gives us. Primary is the sure knowledge that I am His, He is mine and that He will never leave or forsake me. Second only to Him is my family, which includes our church! How do people go through challenges without Jesus, without a church family? Or maybe the better question is, why would one want to? Lastly, I think about some of the logistical things the Lord has put in place. We live in a one story home which is wheelchair accessible and even has a wheelchair accessible bathroom.
There is an African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I would add to that: “It takes a church body to support someone going through challenges.” Because we have this, I am able to say, “It is well with my soul.” I am more aware than ever of God’s providence in supplying all I/we need. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.19)
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.