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October 2004
 
 
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Lord has been our strength carrying us through this difficult time with our daughter Shelby.
We have continued to battle for Shelby’s health. Each day we seem to hear a differing opinion or solution for her illness. Please be in prayer with us that the Lord would give us clear direction and wisdom to make the right decisions regarding different medical routes to take.
Our plan now is to go to Houston Monday, the first of November. Once there, Shelby is scheduled to start chemotherapy the next day. The chemo treatments will be done five days in a row. After this, there will be a sixteen day rest period in which the doctors will continue to watch her blood cell count closely, before starting the next chemo treatments. Shelby continues to be very strong and confident in her faith that the Lord has a plan for her that He has not yet revealed to us. Through all of our times of doubt, frustration and confusion, she has been the one strengthening us. She continues to be encouraged by the many e-mails that come in daily, and yes she does read each one.
We plan to try to keep everyone updated to the best of our ability during this chemo time. If you have e-mail, we are happy to add you to our e-mail prayer list, just send a quick note to Kennedys15@aol.com indicating that is your desire. Also, if you would rather, our e-mails are posted on the web, if you go to www.onlyaservant.org website you will find a link to Shelby’s prayer website.
Please pray for minimal side-effects from the chemo and that we can keep her weight up. Thank you all for your continuous intercession to the Father on Shelby’s behalf. We know that all things are in His hands and only He can heal her in His timing.
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family
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Greetings from Nava, Mexico,
Too many times we read the Word but are not so quick to put it into practice. Recently, I had the opportunity of instilling this verse in some of the children in the colonia. We were in need of cleaning the yard around the Carpenter and Sewing shop, so I enlisted nine children to help. The requirement was that they must each work a full hour non-stop, and upon successfully doing that, they would receive a treat. After a jack rabbit start, there was need of much encouragement. However, we completed the full hour with only one unsuccessful and eight completions. It really was a joy for me to see the delight on their faces, not just for the treat, but rather the expression of delight they were experiencing from carrying this deed to a completion. I explained that the property really belonged to the Lord; we should be good stewards and keep it looking nice at all times.
One of these young men, Lauro, who is thirteen years old, has expressed interest in doing some classes in carpentry. Having spoken to him individually, and knowing that many of these children lack a solid home life, I am looking forward to working with him.
Besides working in the colonia, we are also meeting new people in and around town. Santos Mosqueda was a big help to our computer problems when we arrived here in Nava. He speaks and is learning English, so enjoys visiting with us regularly. He, his wife, Ana, and their son, Daniel, have been over for dinner and come by almost weekly. Please pray that the Lord would meet both their natural and spiritual needs and that our family would be able to share His love with them.
Thanks to all of you who continue to support us with your prayers and giving. May God richly bless you all.
The Sweets
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Mid-Month Report
Dear friends in Christ,
Many of you have already received word of this prayer request through e-mail, but there are many of you who do not know what we are going through. This past week Shelby was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of fast growing cancer. It came as a shock to us since she is such a “health nut“. She had pain in her back and left hip and upper leg for several months. Each problem she had seemed to relate to the lower back pain, so she thought it was all interrelated. She had some swelling which was thought to be from a pinched nerve. Then we thought perhaps it was parasites from her travels into Haiti and Mexico. She had many blood tests done, and everything came back looking great. Finally our family doctor wanted to have the swelling biopsied and even though she was hesitant to have that done, she finally agreed. The biopsy came back malignant, then after further tests the doctors narrowed the cancer down to leiomyosarcoma.
The week long education of this type of cancer has been extremely difficult. The San Antonio doctors were not very encouraging. This week, as you are reading this newsletter we will be checking into admitting Shelby into the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. We have an appointment for Saturday, but hope to get in much sooner. The important thing is that this cancer is growing so fast, of course we want to get treatment started soon. Based on the tests done so far, Shelby has a large tumor about the size of a volleyball in her left pelvic area. She has a few spots on the right pelvic area and a tumor in the bone of her right shoulder. We praise the Lord it isn’t in her lungs which they were fearful of. The doctors here want to begin a very aggressive treatment since they say we are in stage 4 cancer. They want to begin with 2 rounds of radiation a day plus a very harsh chemotherapy. This is the plan of the doctors in San Antonio; we don’t know what M. D. Anderson will want to do.
Those of you who are receiving our e-mails know that Shelby’s spirits are up. She is not feeling defeated, as she knows in Christ, all things are possible. In the flesh this looks very discouraging but we know God is our great Physician and that He reigns over all. We have set up a website with a prayer calendar, updates on Shelby’s progress and a prayer guide for all who would pray for her. Please go to O.S.M.’s website for the link.
Our prayer requests are:
That we can get an earlier appointment at M.D. Anderson.
That Shelby will be totally healed.
That Shelby can handle the physical challenges of the various treatments.
That our lack of medical insurance would not delay Shelby’s care.
For wisdom in the many upcoming decisions that have to be made.
We are very grateful for your prayers on our behalf. If you want to encourage Shelby in writing, please do so by e-mail, she loves to put them in her journal. Also please let us know if you want to be added to our prayer e-mail list so that you can follow how Shelby’s care is progressing. E-mail us at Kennedys15@aol.com.
The Sweets are still in Mexico, therefore work will continue there. They are staying close to the situation and have offered to come home if we need their help in our home. However, at this point we feel that our friends in Christ from our local churches are filling the needs of practical help here. Also, Debbi’s mom will be coming to help Sara hold down the fort while we are away in Houston, Lord willing. The next few newsletters may reflect our absence and we hope you will understand.
It is a very scary time for our family. We are having spiritual highs and lows. We are walking in faith and fear. We don’t understand why this is happening but we do know that God will show Himself strong and will receive glory through this situation in one way or another. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Blessings in Christ,
The Kennedy Family