Arwen has had some good days and some bad days. She tolerated the chemotherapy with varying levels of discomfort and pain. We were heartbroken at times to watch Arwen suffer, but our prayer with her has been one of thanks to God for an opportunity to worship Him in the midst of trials. Arwen's spirit has been holding up quite well - she has been very brave and a good witness of Christ in her.
We have been blessed and humbled by the outpouring of support for our family. So many of you have been praying for us and giving to us, and we are so very thankful for you. Please accept our apologies if we haven't thanked you personally or responded to your inquiries. Everything has been such a whirlwind. Our immediate need for a vehicle has been met. Also, we have arrangements with several families so that a place to stay when we are in Ann Arbor for treatment will not be an issue. We are, however, still looking for permanent housing near family in Mt Pleasant, Michigan. We are blessed to have a place to stay this month which is not far from family.
To each of you who have been our friends and support, thank you. The body of Christ is truly a loving family.
Our ministry plans have been detoured by this whole affair. For those of you who have been faithfully supporting us through Samaritan's Purse, you have some options. Samaritan's Purse will continue to hold our account with them indefinitely. What this means is that all the finances that have been donated to us or that will be donated to us through them will be available to us whenever we are able to return to our missions work. If you wish, you may continue to give to us through Samaritan's Purse and any donations will eventually be used for our ministry but will not be available to us now. If you prefer to support us during our time here in the US, you can give through a GoFundMe account that has been set up for us here: https://www.gofundme.com/arwensjourney or you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an address to which you may send any donations. We do plan to apply to serve in Togo again with ABWE, but are not sure of any timelines due to Arwen's need for treatment. Anything given through Samaritan's Purse in the meantime would eventually be transferred over to our new mission.
Our hearts have sometimes been heavy through these last weeks: emotions changing on a minute by minute basis. We are learning again to give over to God all that is already His. The hospital in Togo is struggling, and we would not have chosen to leave at a time like this, but the hospital is God's. It belongs to Him and we place it in His hands. We feel that we've abandoned our friends, but they too belong to God. They are not ours to save. We hand them over to the Lord. Our daughter has been entrusted to our care, but she is not ours. We place Arwen into His capable hands. He is the God who heals! He also has the right to take back what He has given. Arwen has been entrusted to us for these ten years, and those years have been a blessing and a privilege. We learn from Christ's example in prayer. In Luke 22, Jesus asks the Father to take away the cup of suffering if that is in the Father's will. We are free to ask for what we want! We are asking for Arwen's healing. We believe she will be healed. Yet, Jesus also prays that his own will would not be done if it is not also the Father's will. "Not my will, but yours be done." Can I trust God so much as to ask Him to not carry out my will? The other day Arwen herself said this: "I'm going to be healed either way. Healed here or healed in heaven. I hope I can be healed here."
In the middle of Lamentations, a book of the Bible filled with sorrow and anguish, the author pauses to look toward the Lord rather than on his misery and says this:
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Our prayer is that through all of these difficulties, the Almighty would work in our hearts so that we can continue to look toward Him rather than our trials. We place our hope on the solid rock of our salvation and wish not to be tempted to hope on any lesser thing. We make our prayer one of thanksgiving to the Lord and we pray that His mighty power would be made evident in our lives and circumstances.
Here are some ways you can be praying:
For trusting hearts of thanksgiving
That the Mallay family would be a witness of Christ's own work
Healing for Arwen - immediate or with treatments
For the family's physical and spiritual health
That treatments would kill the cancer and not harm Arwen
That Arwen might keep her hair
No pain, nausea, or itching
That God would continue to provide
For clarity and provision in housing near family
For the hospital in Togo
We do hope to speak at our church in Hillsdale later this month. We'll keep our facebook page updated with any definite plans: facebook.com/mallays