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Outward Checkmarks, Inner Rest

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”


Matthew 7:13-14


Our pastor, Ethan Crowder, taught through Matthew 7 several weeks ago and it floored me. (You can listen to the sermon here.)

It wasn’t new information, but he put it in a new light. He reminded us that when Jesus mentions the “many” who choose the broad road, He wasn’t primarily referring to the many people who live horrible, sin-filled, evil lives. He was talking about the vast number of people who are working so hard to live outwardly good lives, but do not have true, inward righteousness.

Few trust in Christ. And He is the only way to be inwardly clean.

Few understand that God is not interested in all the outward effort and appearances and trying to keep up and trying to be good enough. He wants fruit that flows from the inner life, from a heart that knows only Jesus was ever good enough. He’s looking for people who walk the difficult, narrow road of placing all their trust in Him, step after step after step...

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We asked you to pray that Benaiah's December MRI would show improvement, and our Awesome God answered!!

His ventricles are still enlarged (and always will be), but most of the swelling around the temporal lobes of his brain has resolved. The cysts at the front of his brain are almost completely gone and there's healthy brain tissue developing forward into that space.

At his check-up this month, the pediatrician told us that Benaiah is keeping up with the normal milestones, and may even be a little ahead! This blows my mind because just 8 months ago, the neurologist told us to take the milestones and throw them out the window; they just weren't going to apply to Benaiah with what he had going on.

Only our almighty God. As helpless as we are in these situations, there is absolutely nothing too hard for Him. Thank you for going to Him on behalf of our little boy!

Over the next 3 months, we are slowly weaning the medicine that controls the fluid production in Benaiah's brain. We'll be watching him closely to see how he tolerates it and he'll have another MRI in April to see if he's compensating without it. 

At this point, everyone on Benaiah's treatment team agrees that brain surgery is no longer recommended. The neurologist wants to see him two more times over the next 6 months, then he's comfortable with us returning to overseas ministry. 

Please pray that Benaiah keeps improving, even as we decrease his medication.

We're checking out a little bit of eye muscle weakness the neurologist noticed with his ophthalmologist this month - pray that we're able to take care of that.

The urologist did decide Benaiah needs a minor surgery to repair a birth defect, and that's scheduled for January 16th.

Beka's monitor picked up a few brief episodes of her heart arrhythmia breaking through her medication, so her cardiologist increased her dose. You can pray that it keeps doing a great job controlling her heart rate. 

Things are going well here at the Homes of Ethnos360. We are so thankful for the flexibility they've been able to offer our family with all of the medical tests, appointments, and procedures. It has been so sweet to be a part of this ministry and this team - they are awesome! 

Our plans are a little up-in-the-air at this point because the flight instructor that would normally handle Cody's PNG flight orientation will be taking his furlough in July and isn't planning on returning to PNG until Summer 2024.

Our aviation leadership is working on what would be the best placement for us in the meantime. It will probably involve at least some time at Ethnos360 Aviation's base in Arizona so Cody can renew his currency as a pilot. Their hope is to work out a way for him to move toward proficiency flying the Quest Kodiak - the location and instructor are to be determined.

Pray for the Lord to work out the best timeline and for us to trust Him with the unknowns and be patient and flexible with the process. (Especially Abi, who is so excited and asks me everyday if we're going back to PNG tomorrow).

I can't stop grinning even as I write this update. It's hard to believe we're actually here, dialing things down with Benaiah's care and having conversations about flying again. Even as we see the Lord making a way forward for some of the desires and hopes of our hearts, pray that we would treasure Him most of all, and run to Him as our refuge in the unknowns. Pray that He will use our lives, every step of the way, to make much of Him.
Cody, Beka, Abishai + Benaiah

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