Thursday, June 29, 2006

From North Carolina

It's late Thursday night here at the Atkins home in Graham, North Carolina. We arrived here last Saturday after quite a hectic week of mission trips, kidney stones and surgeries. As many of you know Isaiah had to have a shunt revision done last Thursday. Thankfully that all went very very well and we were discharged by Friday noonish.

We had been planning on flying up together to visit Cristy's family and friends here in North Carolina, but then she developed a kidney stone. So we were faced with the question of what was best to do. By last Friday Cristy had not yet passed her stone but was in considerably less pain. Furthermore, she was on some pain medicine that didn't keep her "doped up" so she was able to carry on a lucid conversation. We prayed, and decided that since our next trip up here probably wouldn't be until Christmas that we would go ahead and come. Thankfully, in the wee hours of Saturday morning all was resolved. Praise the Lord.

We've had a wonderful visit here in North Carolina. It was the first time that Cristy's church family at Beacon Baptist was able to see Isaiah. She's very close to all of the people there having known them for about 25 years. We were also able to minister some with Beacon. They are already supporting us for our work in Russia, and plan to increase that in the next year. On Sunday both Cristy and I were asked to teach Sunday School. And this past Wedesday night Cristy spoke to the teenagers about our work in Russia, while I gave an update on our plans to the adults as well as preached.

In addition to all of the visiting and work we've enjoyed some considerable rest time! Thankfully, Isaiah has been sleeping very well through the night and both Cristy and I have been able to catch up on some sleep these past few days. It's also encouraging to sit down and talk with some people about our vision for Russia, especially people who are really eager to ask questions about our future work. Also, today we took a short trip over to Old Salem and toured some of the old Colonial Moravian Village. It was very interesting and relaxing, and it was just a good time for Cristy, Isaiah and I to spend together as a family. We made it back to Graham here about 3PM.

Tonight the Simmons family, a family that is very close to the Atkinses, came by for a visit tonight. I've enjoyed getting to know them over the past 2 years as we've come up here for visits. Also, Cristy's life-long friend Grace stopped by to see Isaiah for the first time. It was good to see her again.

Finally, what better way to top off the night that with a rousing, schmack-talking game of Phase Ten! It was tough going there for a while, but I emerged victorious. Ah, the sweet savor of victory.

Tommorow will hopefully take off from the Raleigh-Durham Airport at 5PM headed for Jackson. Lord willing, we will land in Jackson about 8:15 and be back in Yazoo City before 10PM. It's been a good trip, and I think a much needed trip for us. We hope to tell you more about some of our ministry opportunities here soon. Please check back.

In Christ,

Monday, June 19, 2006

Another change

Well, life needed a little more pizzazz for us. Saturday night I had just finished giving Isaiah his bath when I felt a horrible pain in my stomach. I called Thomas and asked him to come home soon because the pain was not going away and lifting Isaiah brought some discomfort. When he got home we talked to a doctor who goes to our church and described the symptoms. We ruled out some things before deciding that I probably had a kidney stone. Thomas took me to the hospital in Yazoo City, which turned out to not be such a good idea, so we went to Jackson.

If you have never had a kidney stone or experienced labor pains, there are simply not words to describe the pain. I actually think that a kidney stone might be more painful than labor. So as Thomas drove really, really fast to the hospital I tried to keep from screaming. We waited at the ER in Jackson, and I tried to restrain myself from rolling around on the floor in pain. Thankfully the triage nurse saw me and decided to call me back early. The nurses were great! They gave me drugs! A CAT scan showed a 4 mm stone on my left side. The doctor told me that if I was still in pain in a couple of days to come back and he would send me to a urologist. (My last kidney stone lasted 2 weeks.)

So, things have been a little different since Saturday night. I'm pretty doped up, so I'm not allowed to nurse Isaiah. Thankfully one of my friends was able to give us some ready-made formula that we can feed him. He eats it pretty well. Thomas is still headed to Bay St. Louis this afternoon for the mission trip, but he will be back on Wednesday night. We have some wonderful friends who have volunteered to stay with me at night and check on me during the day. I think that one thing that I can learn from this situation is to ask for help. I don't like having to ask for help, but I know that sometimes it is a good thing to do. God is probably using this to humble me, which is always needed.

Please pray that Thomas will have peace of mind about me and about Isaiah as he is gone. Please pray that the stone will pass, quickly! Praise God for how He is providing for my needs while Thomas is gone through some wonderful friends. Please pray that I will be cognizant enough to care for Isaiah while I'm here by myself. And if any of this post doesn't make sense, well that's percocet for you. :)

Grace to you, my friends.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A man plans his way...

...but the LORD determines his steps. This week has reminded me of the sovereignty of God, again. We received a call earlier this week from one of Isaiah's doctors cocerning a CAT scan that Isaiah had last week. That call was the beginning of another lesson from God, which is still in

This Thursday Isaiah will be having surgery to revise his shunt. At some point during his growth (which has been rather rapid of late) the shunt stopped draining properly and fluid began building in his head again. About 75% of people with shunts have to have some type of revision within the first 4 years, and 50% of those happen in the first year. All that to say that this revision is routine for the doctors and nurses, but not for us as parents.

Monday Thomas is going to lead a team down to the coast for some hurricane relief work. I was planning on flying to NC with Isaiah while Thomas was gone. Thomas was going to join us next Saturday to spend the following week with us there. Those were our plans.

Yesterday we went to see Dr. Lancon for a regular appointment and to talk about the revision. We had been told earlier in the week that the surgery would take place some time in the next month, which led us to believe that our plans would continue as normal. Then Dr. Lancon told us that Isaiah's surgery would need to take place this coming Thursday. Thomas went into a flurry of activity while we were still in the doctor's office. He had to make arrangements to come back early for Isaiah's surgery while being confident that the team would still have enough chaperones. After several hours of phone calls, the mission trip seems to be well supervised. When we got home from Jackson, I had the pleasure of calling Delta and trying to get my departure date changed. I must confess that I did not respond well to the ticket agent who told me about all the fees and extra charges that would take place. When I got to the point of tears, I realized that Thomas needed to take over. He handled the situation very well, and I repented. Thankfully we are still able to fly on Saturday following Isaiah's surgery, and now we are all on the same flight, which will be very nice.

We are thankful that Isaiah's shunt malfunction was discovered even before he began to show any of the symptoms. He is still happy and sleeping and eating well. Thankfully he will not remember any of what is about to happen. Please pray for Thomas and me as we wait for his surgery, stay with him overnight in the hospital and continue to care for him. Pray that we will be observant without being anxious or paranoid but simply resting in God's peace and presence. I am thankful that we are learning to be flexible in our plans, realizing that God is the One Who ordains all things. May He be glorified!