Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Little Overwhelmed

To our Family in Christ,

Thank you so much for striving with us in prayer. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, seeing how serious a health problem my son Samuel had, seeing God working in wonderful ways. It's hard to fathom it all: one week we are trying to cure his diarrhea, the next major intestinal surgery is being performed to remove an 11.2 cm adenocarcinoma. One day the doctors are grim about the swollen lymph nodes that were removed, the next they are amazed that they are clean. Last night the oncologist told us that this tumor is rare in young people. In fact, though he works at one of Brazil`s leading cancer centers, Samuel now holds the record for being the youngest he's seen, 13 years old - Samuel loves breaking records.

Today at a medical conference, Samuel's case will be discussed with Brazil's leading cancer specialists. The suspicion is that he has a mutated PT53 gene - Samuel was excited about the possibility of being a mutant. So Samuel will have his DNA mapped out, and he could play a part in some groundbreaking research being done on the mutated PT53, that could possibly discover the cure for cancer. And to think, a few days ago we thought he just had worms.

How is Samuel taking all this? Pretty well, for sure! Edda tried to not worry him about the possibility of having cancer, but when a doctor let it slip, he rushed to Facebook to celebrate with the world the fact he is a cancer survivor (check out Samuel Joseph McKinney on Facebook). His mother nearly freaked when she read his comments.
What's next? Who knows, we may be auctioning off the movie rights to his story. But for now, we are thankful Samuel is cancer free, we are out of the hospital, he is recuperating nicely, and tomorrow we return to Joao Pessoa to our other two kids, and home and hopefully normal life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers,

Joseph, Edda, and Samuel

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Samuel Happy with His New Diet

Prayers and Fasting

Samuel had major colon surgery on Saturday. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were rough: pain in spite of all the painkillers, nausea, not wanting to put anything in his mouth, throwing up several times a day, hardly sleeping at night, etc. Each day doctors asking if his intestine started functioning, but we had no signs of that.
I kept telling Samuel, "It's going to get better." But he would just say, "I'm tired of all this. I want out of here."
Everybody we know has been praying for Samuel, and we have seen God working in wonderful ways.
Edda and I have been taking turns fasting this week, but the church in João Pessoa decided to fast together on Tuesday for his recovery. Tuesday started the same: throwing up three time in the morning and constant nausea, but in the afternoon it started to disappear. Though not hungry, he downed some soup and kept it down. The night was restful. Some would say coincidence, but trusting in the all powerful, all loving God we serve, I wonder how much He leaves to coincidence.
I called the brethren in Joao Pessoa to tell them of the great day we had, and Renato said, "Tomorrow there will be more!" The young people decided to continue the fast for one more day. And he was right. Wednesday was our best day yet: very little nausea, very little pain, really starting eating (still liquid diet), and the big one, da,da, da, dum, his first bowel movement.
The nurses gathered to celebrate it, and it was fun watching Samuel blush with everybody making a fuss over something like that. And now it is going international...
Last night, he slept all night long, and today they will take out the IV, the diet has graduated to light solids, and he is feeling great.
Thank you all so very much for your prayers. We are all in God's Hands.
Joseph and Edda McKinney 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Samuel McKinney after Surgery

Dear Family in Christ,
Lori Hagewood and her kids, Mathias, Sabrina, and Daniel, tried to estimate how many people were praying for Samuel, and they came up with one thousand, six hundred and forty. But from the messages, we believe that estimate is conservative.
We give glory to God for what He is doing in Samuel's life. And we thank each one of you for lifting his name up in prayer.

We are now in recuperation stage, 1st day after the surgery. He bathed and is getting used to pain, counted his 14th shot for the year, and is sleeping a lot. His diet is liquid, but he still isn't interested in eating. Pretty soon we are getting up to take a walk.

Here are a couple of pictures right after he got back from the surgery.

The surgery was a success. Keep praying for a speedy recuperation and the biopsy.
blessings to all,

Joseph and Edda

Friday, August 16, 2013

Prayers for Samuel McKinney's Surgery

I just received a call from Joseph McKinney from São Paulo, letting me know that Samuel will have surgery tomorrow morning on his intestines.  Please pray that everything will go o.k. 

God bless you all,

Jeremy Newlin

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life on Hold

         In times of sickness, our life gets interrupted or put on hold, and our sole desire is to get better, to get back to normal, to our daily routine. We still have a time to wait though. Samuel has been through a battery of tests to see the cause of his chronic diarrhea. The doctors found an "extense, vegetative, hardened, irregular lesion" about 30 cm up his intestine, and it is partially blocking his intestine. We are now waiting for the biopsy to tell us what it is and what to do. According to the doctors, it could be a tumor (unlikely since intestinal tumors in children are very rare), bacterial infection (like tuberculosis, yes, it can get you in your intestine), or Crohn's disease.
          Samuel is being a good sport. He is about to be cured of his trypanofobia (fear of needles). He just can't stand his diet: only a special milk for Crohn's disease patients, no food, no water, nothing else.
          We appreciate the prayers of everyone. We are praying and fasting, and waiting on the Father, who takes good care of Samuel. Routine is on hold, but maybe we are getting an extra dose of LIFE.

            Joseph and Edda McKinney

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Prayers for Samuel Mckinney

Please put Samuel on your prayer lists.
He has had chronic diarrhea for two months. We have given his treatments for worms, then amebas, then antibiotics for infections, but to no avail. Now we are scheduled to go to Recife on Friday to do every exam possible to find out what`s wrong with him.

He is thirteen years old and has lost 5 kg. At this point it could be some sort of food intolerance to something more serious. So please join us in prayer for our boy.

Joseph and Edda McKinney

Monday, August 5, 2013

Winter Vacation

Yes, Brazil has survived another winter – no snow, though, Jack Frost didn’t make an appearance in João Pessoa and was no need to pull out the long sleeve shirts – we did have a little more rain, and the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler in the evenings – it’s pleasant. Some Brazilians think they are freezing, but you would just laugh at them.

Most schools have the month of July off for vacation. Yeah, vacation! That means lots of time to spend with the family, yeah right.

The first week of July was João Pessoa’s Vacation Bible School. This is the 11th year we have had it since the Joelton church of Christ’s youth group came down and helped us get it started. The theme this year was True Nature Survivor, and we helped the kids learn to have character qualities that Jesus wants them to have. Monica Newlin managed the team of workers that made this event possible. VBS is always a lot of fun and a lot of work, but children look forward to it all year round.

That weekend our kids went to the Acampkids, hosted by the Peixinhos congregation close to Recife. Lucas McKinney, Dylan Newlin, Mathias and Sabrina Hagewood, plus one more went for a crazy camp on the theme: The Day the Earth Stopped: Discovering the most incredible days in the Bible.

On the second week of July, our youth group, 22 of them, went to the Acampteen, also in Recife. The theme was You Decide, and there five people decided for Christ and were baptized. Nicholas Newlin received the Best Camper award. One unusual but interesting aspect of this camp: about 70% were visitors.

Third week in July, as soon as we arrived from picking up teens from camp, the ladies took off. 35 ladies hopped in vans going to Campina Grande for the Women’s Seminar, hosted by the Santa Cruz congregation. Imagine a three-day weekend with 287 women crammed into a place with 160 beds – many didn’t want to sleep anyway – with the sole purpose of praising God, encouraging one another, and mediating on the theme of God, My Point of Equilibrium. These women’s seminars are worth it for the church and for our families; the ladies come back tired but so energized spiritually. Next year’s seminar will be in João Pessoa. It’s our turn to sacrifice our time and energy to bring about this important event.

Fourth week, I would like to say that after all the kids were taken care of, the women also, the men got together for their camp to get away from the hustle and bustle to have quiet time with God and uplifting moments with spiritual men, but it didn’t happen. The church is probably all camped out anyway, and the men’s moment will have to wait for another time of initiative.