My apologies for the length of time since the last update. This should get everyone up to date. Colleen
Jim has entered what is called the maintenance phase of his treatment. Beginning May 13 he takes a chemo medication orally for 5 days out of a 28 day cycle. The medicine is the same one taken during the concurrent radiation/chemo phase only at a higher dosage. This cycle is repeated for 6 months. The goal is to kill remaining cancer cells. MRI’s will be done every 2–4 months to monitor any changes. We meet with Dr. Bernard on Thursday to go over the results of the first follow up MRI.
Visits with the speech-language pathologist have resumed after a 1½ month break. The practionier he sees specializes in adult aphasia, which helps to recreate pathways in the brain for language and word recall.
The claim for long-term disability was approved by Sun Life Insurance and will take affect the end of June. We are extremely grateful that this was approved, as they will pay 2/3 of his current salary. I have been in contact with the officer who oversees the claim. She is compassionate and very helpful. We are also grateful for the financial support Faith has continued the last 4 months.
The visit with Dr. Bernard last week was mixed. He went over the results of the MRI with us. While all areas showed improvement, there is a suspicious very small area that could be one of three things, swelling, a blood vessel or return of the tumor. The MRI was done before the first round of maintenance chemo so he have another MRI in July to compare. By then Jim will be through 2 rounds of chemo.
Fatigue caught up with Jim as he tapered off the steroids. He takes several short naps throughout the day and is in bed early. He has an enhanced sense of smell and food will often not appeal or taste good to him. (Even alcohol!) We have also learned that the effects of the chemo meds last longer than the 5 days they are taken. Nausea and heartburn continue although we are now proactive with the medications that address those symptoms. I understand what it means to battle cancer.
As far as cognitive things, it is still challenging to read and getting the right word pulled out of the brain and spoken remains a challenge. We had hoped that this would improve, but has not so far. It is difficult to imagine how someone who could craft powerful sermons and teach God’s truth in engaging Bible studies who has now lost this gift can feel. For those of you reading this email that never had the opportunity to hear Jim preach or teach, our Synod has lost the gifts of a very talented (seminarian level) pastor.
On the positive side, Jim goes to oncology rehab and exercises as his knee and back allow. He also walks twice a day weather permitting. He keeps things tidy at home while I’m working and takes care of misc errands. After 38 years of evening meetings and calls he is home at night and on weekends. Our dinnertime is relaxed without time constraints. We’ve been to Cody’s ball games and will be able to take in Bradyn’s soccer games once they begin. We still play cribbage and take turns beating each other. Last weekend we headed to Seward for a mini get away. Unfortunately the weather was rainy, but we enjoyed taking a road trip.
And then there are the small blessings that we take for granted. The beautiful weather we have enjoyed this spring. Flowers blooming in the perennial garden. The lawn mower started on the second pull after sitting for 9 months. Receiving multiple graduation announcements. Celebrating the confirmation vows of 4 young people this morning. My very supportive coworkers who have given me the flexibility to continue working and still take care of things as they arise.
We have two trips planned. Jim dearly wanted to attend the Delegate Conference in Tacoma, so we head there June 10-13. The big trip is planned for June 24 - July 6 when we go to Portland with a side trip to the OR coast with the whole family. We have rented a beach house in Manzanita, which will accommodate all of us. Lord willing we will travel to WI in September for our niece Amy’s wedding.
Our gracious Savior keeps us going. My favorite hymn lately has been “With the Lord Begin Your Task.” I ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers as we wait to see what the future holds.
Feel free to call either Jim or me. We both enjoy hearing from people. Love to all!
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Congregational Meeting Update
Thank you for all those who attend the congregational meeting. What a blessing to see the members continue to support the ministries of Faith. For the call portion of the meeting, the congregation will extend a formal and permanent call to Pastor Ewings to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Evangelical Church. He will minister to both congregations, and support all the ministries.
Pastor Oldfield continues to be a called worker of Faith Lutheran Church. Pastor O has been blessed to receive full disability benefits so he may focus his time and energy on his own health and family. When Pastor Oldfield is ready, there will be a formal recognition of his valuable service to the ministry Faith. This congregation has been and continues to be blessed by the wonderful leadership of Pastor Oldfield.
The church has been blessed with the opportunity in the budget to begin some much needed and overdue maintenance and upgrades to our facilities. The first major item is the demolition of the parsonage this summer. The sprinkler project continues to move along ahead of schedule and is now in formal plan development for the sprinklers being added to the rest of the building.
The congregation elected the following members to the BLM, Board of Elders and Officers of the Church:
President - Channing Lillo
Secretary - Angus Bromaghin
Treasurer– Rochelle Hart
Board of Elders - Jim Auman, Tom Zarnstorff, and Andy Zanto
Education - Jeff Brooks
Property - Mike Klebs
Finance - Kyle Thompson
Outreach - Jeff Wockenfuss
Fellowship - Jed Else
Preschool Director Call
Melissa Mittelstadt, a graduate of MLC, has accepted the call to serve as our new Preschool Director. Miss Mittelstadt will be moving here this summer. If you are interested in helping her establish her home here in Anchorage, please contact the church office at FaithLutheran@gci.net or 563-3499.
PTF & Teen Group Parking Lot Sale
It’s time again for the annual parking lot sale. It will be held on Saturday May 30th , 10:00am - 4:00pm. This year’s sale will benefit the Faith Lutheran School PTF and the church’s Teen Group. Come by and support the school and youth group.
This is the perfect time to clear our the clutter and donate your items for re-sale. You may drop off your donations at back of the Fellowship Hall at anytime. Please call ahead to be sure the church is open. If you have any large donations or need help the teen group would be happy to assist you. Please contact Fred Koenig SKoala.firstname.lastname@example.org or Bryan Schneck FaithLutheranSchool@gci.net for assistance or the church office.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Teen Group will meet Saturday, May 23rd at 12:45pm at the church and head out together to McHugh Creek. There will be a short hike then the rock climbing begins. No prior experience is needed, this is the perfect time for newbies to get introduced to climbing! Don’t feel up to rock climbing? Come enjoy a hike and great fellowship.
RSVP to Mr. Zanto or on Sign Up Genius at: signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4caaa722aaf85-fai
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Please click on Faith Worship Service on Livestream on the right where the service is available for viewing.The church calendar can be viewed on the church website.
Annual Congregational Meeting
Faith Lutheran Annual Congregational Meeting will be held next Sunday, May 17th at 4pm. Informational packets are available. We have some big decisions that will need to be made so please make every effort to attend.
During the meeting we will discuss Pastor Ewings’ call as well. We will determine if the congregation is best served by extending a permanent call to Pastor Ewings to serve both congregations of Faith or to begin the process to call another pastor from the field.
We will also have an update of the Planning Meeting, as well as an overview of the construction projects we are planning this summer. We hope to see you all there.
Potluck Following the Meeting
Bring a dish to share as we enjoy fellowship and a good meal after the congregational meeting next Sunday.
Faith Lutheran School News
End of School - The school year is quickly coming to an end with the last day of school on May 21st. Five students will graduate and be confirmed on May 31st during the 10:30 Worship Service led by Pastor Brian Hackmann.
Preschool Director Call
During the call meeting on Sunday, 5-10-15 it was voted on to call a preschool director from the field of graduates. The call service for graduates is on May 16th.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Miss Katie Koch has returned our call to serve at Faith. Faith Lutheran will hold a very brief call meeting after 10:30 service this Sunday, May 10th. This meeting will determine if we will call from the field or call a graduate to fill the Preschool Director position.
Miss Koch sent the following letter:
May 4, 2015
Dear Members of Faith Lutheran,
For the last few weeks I have been prayerfully considering the two Divine Calls God has placed before me: one to continue serving at Atonement and the other to teach preschool with you in Anchorage. I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support during this time. After much prayer and by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I have decided to return the call you have extended to me and to continue to serve with here at Atonement.
Though difficult, the deliberation process has been a great blessing to me as I know I will resume my work in Milwaukee with a renewed enthusiasm. I rejoice to see how God has blessed the efforts you have made for his kingdom, and look forward with anticipation at what he might have in store for each of us going forward.
I also pray that the Lord will continue to bless your ministry and provide you with a teacher whose heart is full of love for their Savior and anxious to share that love with the families they will serve.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The service is also available for viewing on Livestream.
Follow the link on FaithAlaska.com.
Annual Congregational Meeting
Faith Lutheran Annual Congregational Meeting will be held on May 17th at 4pm.
Informational packets will be available on May 10th. Please plan to review these packets before the meeting. We have some big decisions that will need to be made so please make every effort to attend.
There will be a call meeting to discuss Pastor Ewings call during this meeting as well. This call meeting will be to determine if the congregation is best served by extending a permanent call to Pastor Ewings to serve both congregations of Faith or to begin the process to call another pastor from the field.
We will also have an update of the ministry planning process as well as an overview of the construction projects we are planning this summer for your input. We hope to see you all there.
Kingdom Workers will be here in Alaska serving many of our congregations this summer. There will be three workers serving at Faith Lutheran July 19th through August 2nd. During that time we will need to provide a place for them to stay as well as some transportation. If you are willing to house the workers or have a vehicle they may use please contact the church office.
For more information on the Kingdom Workers program visit KingdomWorkers.com
Parent's Night Out
PTF is hosting the last Parents’ Night Out of the year on Friday May 8th, 5:30-9pm. The theme is outdoor fun, weather permitting of course. Kids may bring whatever they would like to play with outside. Be sure to bring helmets if needed as well. If the weather is too cold or wet, the fun will move indoors and a movie will be played. Dinner, snacks and a craft are provided. This evening of fun is open to school aged children, preschoolers and toddlers who are potty trained. Call/text Tina Henry at 240-0623 to sign up or for more information.
Home Bible Study Groups
Looking for a bible study and fellowship?
Home bible study groups are forming again for the summer. Home bible study groups offer a unique way to study God’s word and get to know your fellow believers as well. This session will last through August. Once your group is formed, the best meeting times and a topic can be decided by the group. Andy Zanto will be organizing the groups, please contact him if you are interested in attending or in hosting a bible study. AlaskaZanto@gmail.com 887-4472