We appreciate your prayers these last few days. Dave is slowly improving and we are very relieved. And it gets even better — even though he has been fighting a tough virus these last couple weeks and feeling horrible, we have some really great news to celebrate! We are celebrating God’s goodness and His power over sin and death this Easter weekend (If you are in the area, we would love to invite you to one of our five services at Inland Hills). 

One year ago, Dave was part of the 2%-10% of ALL leukemia patients who relapse in the brain after stem cell transplant.They said it was rare. Being part of that 10% after battling back from the transplant was brutal. Then a few months later, being part of the minuscule number (not even ranking a percent) of patients who experience spinal cord damage from chemo was even more difficult to fathom. They said it was very, very rare.

But today, we are on the good side of the 10%!! Today Dr. Linhares told us that only 10% of patients make it to the one-year mark after brain relapse — and we made it! She excitedly told us this is a significant marker, indicating much greater potential for continued remission. Wow!! We weren’t expecting such great news on a day after we pleaded for your continued prayers. During the drive to the hospital this morning, Dave was struggling, saying he felt worse than ever. And then in God’s great faithfulness, He gave us such wonderful news. The highs and lows of the journey are amazing, but God is with us always.

Percentages and statistics are just numbers, but they do give perspective to the miracle God is working. This news today confirms to us once again that even though it doesn’t always feel like it, we are living in the middle of a miracle.

Thank you, God, for the encouragement we needed today.
In the middle of our trouble, you sent a word of hope.
You, God, are always faithful.
You, God, are ever present.
You, God, our breath of life.
For now and for eternity.

Thank you, everyone, for your continued love and prayers.

Celebrating God’s goodness,

The Stoeckleins

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We need to ask you to pray for Dave. He has been struggling with pain, nausea, and extreme fatigue for two weeks now. I am concerned. How long can a person feel this terrible without caving in? He is an incredibly strong guy, but no one is this strong. The great and amazing thing we know is that when we are weak, God is strong. When we feel defeated, God is faithful. We are counting on that, and we are counting on your prayers. Would you be Dave’s prayer warriors tonight?

A couple weeks ago, after doing all three Sunday services with our friend from India, Pastor Joshua, Dave started coughing with a very deep congestion. After X-rays and CT scans, they discovered a lot of fluid on his lungs. When they pulled the fluid out, they found 800cc’s of fluid in one lung and 1500cc’s in the other. That’s crazy. We were relieved that they caught it early. In fact, Dave pushed through and spoke that next Sunday, but since then he has really been struggling.

We will be going to Cedars on Wednesday for several doctor’s appointments and another Xray. Please pray for wisdom and insight for the doctors. Please pray they can discover what is going on. And please, please pray Dave starts feeling better soon. Hey, maybe even pray he is better before those appointments on Wednesday! Wouldn’t that be great?! One good thing is that he doesn’t have a fever. That is a huge blessing. Please pray he can get a good night’s sleep tonight and wakes up tomorrow morning feeling much better.

Clinging to these promises tonight:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers. They are needed tonight.

Much love and appreciation,

Carol

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What is love without a little proof? What is love without inconvenience and without sacrifice? It’s hollow. It’s empty. It isn’t real. One thing is sure, we don’t need to test each other’s love. That’s a game that will backfire and destroy. Life does enough testing on it’s own. Medical challenges, financial struggles, circumstances and difficulties of all kinds happen. They really do happen. Sometimes it’s a slow boil over time and sometimes it comes suddenly out of the blue. Love isn’t always pretty, and it most certainly isn’t always convenient. It doesn’t always feel good, but it is always good. It always encourages and lifts up. It always makes us better people. Love can seem like an intangible, but it isn’t because love is something you do. We feel love and we say love, but it isn’t real until we do love.

Many of the doctors and nurses we have encountered on this crazy journey have commented on the love they see in our family. They tell us about the many families that fall apart in the midst of these difficult medical challenges. They tell us about the spouses that leave, about the love that didn’t weather the storm. Just today, the girl behind the counter at the pharmacy said, “If I ever go through something like you guys are going through, I want to do what you are doing.” I said, “Isn’t that what love does?” To which she said, “But I see so many people who walk away in the middle of medical problems.”

Love is a gift. Real love is a choice. The decision to love in the face of difficulty, discomfort, and sacrifice is the greatest “valentine” you could ever give. Love each other with courage and devotion. Even when you are exhausted, continue to love. When it seems like you are giving more than you are receiving, love stronger.

But here’s the thing, and this is big…we don’t love like this on our own. Human love gets overwhelmed, tired, hurt, depleted. We can only love because God loved us first. God’s sacrifice is the ultimate proof of love, the perfect example of real love. When our love gets weak and runs out (because it will), we can love with His love. That’s how we do love well. We love with God’s love in us. Because He first loved us, we can love with an enduring, audacious kind of love.

David, when I married you 30 years ago, I knew you were an amazing man and I knew I was safe in your love. God gave me an incredible gift in you. Thank you for your strength during years of difficulty and pain. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to God and His calling on your life. Thank you for your genuine devotion to our family. Thank you for being the one who makes life fun with your hilarious dry sense of humor. Thank you for not giving up. I want 30 more years… but I’ll take 20! I love you.

Resting in God’s amazing love for us,

Carol

Dave update: We came home from the hospital a couple days ago. He is very tired and still not feeling great, but he’s fighting strong. Hopefully the medicine he is taking will help him to start feeling better in the next few days. Please pray he can regain strength and that his body can fight off infections. And please continue to pray that the leukemia stays away. Every day is a blessing. Every day is a miracle.

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