An Update on Jen’s Health

Thanks to all of our friends who have been praying for Jen and her health. If you are unfamiliar with what’s been happening with Jen, please check out our latest newsletter, which explains more of the history of her condition.

Last Thursday, Jen was admitted into the hospital for a lung biopsy. The doctors felt this was necessary to try to diagnose what is really happening with her lungs. The procedure was not long or incredibly complicated, but it did require a short stay in the hospital for recovery.

Jen spent two nights in the hospital and came home Saturday afternoon. She is home recovering and though she is very sore from the incision, she is showing improvement every day.

She has several follow-up doctor visits this week but we don’t expect results from the pathology report really until early next week.

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Saddleback Hospital has become very familiar to us in the last 2 months.

Please pray specifically for two things – first, that Jen would recover quickly from the procedure she had. The incision was near the rib cage and I guess there are a lot of nerve endings in that area so it can be quite sensitive to pain.

Secondly, pray that the biopsy would enable the doctors to make an accurate diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Up until now, the doctors have been eliminating things that they know are not part of the problem. Our hope is that the biopsy would show clearly what the issue is and that it can be treated simply and quickly. We hope that Jen’s body will return to normal as soon as possible.

Thanks again for your love and support during this time of uncertainty. Your notes of encouragement, your prayers and concern have meant a lot.

Walking Through the Fog of Uncertainty

We sat in the doctor’s office as Jen yet again explained her medical history and recent symptoms to another specialist.

Jen waits patiently in the hospital as she undergoes numerous tests to determine the source of her lung issues.
Jen waits patiently in the hospital as she undergoes numerous tests to determine the source of her lung issues.

After 9 weeks of being sick, two trips to the hospital, numerous doctor visits, blood tests, chest x-rays, two chest cat scans and even a bronchoscopy, we were in the office of a Rheumatologist who was recommended to us by Jen’s Pulmonologist. Before April, when Jen started experiencing chest pain and general lung issues, I’m not sure I had ever even heard of some of the doctors we have seen recently.

Jen explained to the doctor that she had cancer when she was very young – 3 or 4 years old. She had a Wilm’s tumor, which is a cancerous tumor on the kidney. By the time they realized something was wrong, the cancer had spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs. Jen explained that in addition to having her left kidney removed, she underwent aggressive radiation treatment and chemo-therapy but she could not say how long those treatments were. After all, it was 40 years ago.

“That could explain some of the abnormalities we’re seeing in your lungs on your chest scan”, the doctor said. “It could be scarring of your lungs.”

The doctor continued to analyze results of the extensive blood work that has been done over the past few weeks. Just about everything that could be tested for that would cause Jen’s symptoms have all come back negative, making a diagnosis and corresponding treatment somewhat difficult.

In fact, Jen’s pulmonologist now believes Jen’s symptoms (low grade fever, chest tightness, dull aches in her upper back, dry cough, lack of energy) are the result of some kind of auto-immune issue, which is why we now found ourselves in the office of this doctor of Rheumatology.

The doctor continued to analyze Jen’s chart and lab results. “I see you’re diabetic.”

Jen explained that she has been diabetic since she was about 9 years old. We believe that her pancreas may have been damaged by her radiation treatments a few years prior, causing her to become an insulin dependent diabetic.

After perusing the data that filled her screen and taking numerous notes, the doctor finally turned to address us with her assessment.

“Your medical history is quite tricky. We know that there’s something going on because some of your numbers are quite high. They tell us something is happening with your lungs but they are not specific regarding the problem.”

The doctor then shared that she suspects Jen’s issue is most likely rheumatological.

“Before I determine a specific treatment, I recommend that you get a lung biopsy so we can further pinpoint what exactly we’re dealing with.”

And with that, we were referred to yet another specialist, a Thoracic surgeon. After several more doctors visits, more lab work and a meeting with a pre-op nurse, Jen has a lung biopsy scheduled for this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. PST. The procedure is not complicated but will require her to be in the hospital for several days of recovery. Our hope is that this will lead to a diagnosis and a corresponding treatment plan.

Jen poses with one of our former UC Davis students at a recent good-bye party for another one of our former students who is following God’s call overseas.
Jen poses with one of our former UC Davis students at a recent good-bye party for another one of our former students who is following God’s call overseas.

We’ve found ourselves traveling a road that is a bit murky and unknown. Our plans are loose, yet we’re trying to maintain as much normalcy to our lives as possible.

We honestly don’t know what’s next or what these tests might reveal but our hope and trust is in the Lord, who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. He is good. He is powerful. He is able to do the miraculous.

Would you please pray with us and for us? Please pray for the Lord to work mightily in Jen’s body to bring about healing, whether that is through conventional medical treatment or through God’s miraculous intervention.

We are incredibly grateful for  you and your prayers for us at this time. Your prayers and notes of encouragement mean more to us than you can imagine.

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.

Brief Update and Prayer Requests

Hello friends!
For the past month, Jen and I have been on a sabbatical. After 8 year with Cru, staff members are eligible for a one month sabbatical. Staff members can take a one month sabbatical every four years after that as well.

Though I’ve been on staff with Cru for nearly 25 years we’ve taken only one 3 week sabbatical 9 years ago. So we were very excited to be able to take the extra time to read, prayer walk, study and converse about what God is doing in our lives and in our ministry. It has been a great time. We’re now getting back into the swing of things with ministry and e-mails and all that. I wanted to ask if you would pray for a few specific things for us:

Please pray for Jen as she is in Orlando all week at some leadership meetings. I’m trying to keep the house afloat and help the kids with school work, etc.

Speaking of school, please pray for our kids who are adjusting to life as jr. highers. It has been quite an adjustment with the level of homework being much more than anticipated. Pray for patience too for me as I seem to have picked up a part-time job as math tutor! 🙂

For the next several months, we’ll be in a season of very focused fund-raising for our ministry. Please pray for the Lord to meet all of our needs and to provide the resources necessary for us to continue to serve Him in the capacity to which He has call us.

I’m planning to send out a newsletter later this week with some more updates and prayer requests. For now, I wanted to pass along a quick ministry highlight that I thought would be encouraging to you.

As you know, we have been involved in helping to launch spiritual movements everywhere on campuses, especially among ethnic minority cultures. Two years ago, we were able to help our ministry at San Jose State start a Destino ministry.

I recently got this update from the leader (Noe) there:

Hello Dave! I want to update you what is going on in SJSU Destino. This fall semester God has been moving a lot in the freshmen class. We have more than 30 students going to Fall Retreat compared to 10 last year. Our new goal is to take 50 student from SJSU Destino to fall retreat.

Noe then asks for prayer that they would be able to raise the funds to rent several vans to get students to the Fall retreat.

Praise God for how he continues to grow and expand His kingdom among the nations. Thanks for your prayers and your partnership with us.

As always, please share any prayer needs you may have with us. We love to pray for you and your needs as a family.

God Bless,
Dave, Jen, Jacob and Joshua

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Making an Impact on Campus

Today, about 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.

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Jen (middle) with staff friends Julie and Faye

As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.

Amazingly, 23 students showed up to our information meeting to find out about Impact. Many others expressed interest in coming to the meeting but were unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.

What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!

Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.

From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian
From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian

Please pray for these 4 students (Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian). Pray that they would be able to coordinate another meeting with other interested students to move forward in getting Impact chartered at Long Beach State.

Pray for the other students who have expressed an interest to get involved.

Pray that we would see several of these students attend our Impact conference in New Orleans this December. Pray that finances would not be an issue.

Thanks for praying for us and please continue to pray!

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.

Dear Friends,
I want to thank you for praying for us today. We’re very grateful for you and your prayers. They certainly made a difference today.
As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.
About 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.
Amazingly, 23 students showed up to find out about Impact, with many others expressing interest but unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.
What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!
Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.
Please pray for these 4 st

Experiencing the Power of Prayer

Joel Silva
Joel, a first year intern, is our ONLY Latino staff person in Los Angeles. Please pray for him and our entire Destino team.

Over the summer, I had the chance to coach Joel as he raised funds to join our Long Beach Destino team as an intern. It was fun to see Joel take steps of faith to see God provide in huge ways. Joel finished his fund-raising and reported in time to start the fall. It’s exciting to see the impact Joel is having as the ONLY Latino guy who is on the team.

A few weeks ago, before heading to campus for the day, Joel prayed, “Lord, save someone today. Let me see and guide someone from death to life.”

Later that morning, Joel found himself talking to Jamie, a student he had met and talked with briefly just a few days before. Moments into the conversation, Joel decided to bring up God. In what turned out to be a 2 hour conversation, Joel was able to engage Jamie regarding his past and his current beliefs in God. Joel was able to share the gospel and though Jamie thought he knew God, it turns out that he never really heard and understood the message of Christ before.

Jamie opened up about his desire to know God and trust in something greater than himself to satisfy his emptiness. As Joel shared about the great love God has for him, tears welled up in Jamie’s eyes and he could not speak. Obviously God was working in Jamie’s heart.

In that moment, as he saw Jamie move from death to life, Joel remembered the prayer he had prayed that morning.

Thank you for your prayers for us. Because of your prayers and partnership, many lives, like Joel’s and Jamie’s are being changed for Christ’s sake!

Click here to download a pdf version of our newsletter!

Heading to Colorado – Please Pray

The Lowe's at Rocky Mountain National Park - 2007


Dear friend,
The picture above was taken 4 years ago when we were in Colorado for 6 weeks training new campus leaders and attending our Staff conference. Our boys have grown a lot since then but they have fond memories of their summer there. They are looking forward to fun with family and friends and Jen and I are looking forward to being refreshed from the Lord as well as great times with our family.

We are heading out bright and early on Tuesday morning and will be on the road for 2 days. Will you take a moment and pray for us? Pray for safe travels and for the Lord to meet us this summer through the different roles that we have been assigned. For Jen, she will be taking some classes to pursue her theological development, while I will be helping to lead a 4 week training course for many of our new campus leaders.

Pray for great times with our family on our off days and pray for our boys too. They will be a part of a summer long kids program. It’s kind of like a 6 week VBS. They get to do a lot of fun activities and field trips and they love hanging out with other kids too.

Thanks for your prayer and partnership. We’ll keep you updated as the summer rolls along.

Feel free to drop us a note and share your own prayer requests with us.

In His grace,
Dave, Jen, Jacob and Joshua

EFM Prayer Journal for May 2011

We are so grateful for those of you who are partnered with us through prayer. This month, our National team has put together a 31 day prayer journal for May that highlights Ethnic Field Ministry (EFM). Since this is the area that Jen and I are working in, we thought we would pass this along to you so you could a) learn more about it is that we do, and b) pray for us more effectively while also praying for ethnic field ministry in general.

Thanks for your partnership in prayer. Click here to access the prayer journal.