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January 2005
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Lord has been so good to us this new year. A few days after returning from Houston with Shelby from her last round (the third round) of chemo, her energy level and blood count were as the doctors said, "dangerously low". The doctors here in San Antonio suggested doing a blood transfusion, and after getting the go ahead from the doctors in Houston, Shelby was given 2 units of blood. At first we were hesitant and nervous about doing this, but after seeing her immediate energy boost we were encouraged. Shelby has been able to keep her energy up since then. We were also able to hold a blood drive, which will be credited to her next blood transfusion. Thank you to the 22 people who donated blood!
During her time back at home dear friends of our family, Richard and Kelly Welch gave Shelby a puppy. The puppy is half lab and half hound. Bosco, as Shelby named her pup, has been the joy of each day for her. Shelby has also excitedly claimed she beat Holly, and had the first grandbaby! During this time we also were excited to receive a visit from Kenneth’s brother, Jim and his wife Bonnie, from Ocala, FL. Shelby is very close to her Uncle Jimmy and spent quite a bit of time with him when we lived in Florida helping with caterings. Jim teaches culinary arts and he and Bonnie have been in the restaurant business over the years. Shelby enjoyed their time together. Jim & Bonnie had never been out to Texas to visit but we finally managed to get them here.
Shelby is once again in Houston going through her fourth round of chemo. The newest x-rays show that the bone does appear to be growing back and the tumor is shrinking very slowly. We were able to see the x-rays from November, and comparing them to these recent ones we could see the bone growth, praise the Lord. We were told from the beginning that the leiomyosarcoma patients do not respond well to chemo, so a slow response is to be expected. Our prayer request for Shelby now is that she will be able to keep her weight up. Even the thought of food nauseates her at times, so this is a huge struggle for her. We are also praying that the mouth sores caused by the chemo would be at a minimal as well as the general aches, pains and nausea.
We need to update everyone on our financial condition pertaining to Shelby’s medical bills. To be quite honest its been unbelievable. We have been able to pay all bills on time and in full! Vision Forum Ministries has been a blessing beyond explanation to our family! Our local churches, our Florida church, and vast numbers of people, some of whom we don’t even know, have rallied to help our family during this time. Many have prayed about our Florida home selling and that seems to be a real possibility soon.
In the mean time we have continued investigating our options through MD Anderson and some incredible headway has been made there. Through tireless investigation Debbi met someone in the pharmaceutical department of MD Anderson that is aware of grants and money available through donations to the hospital by pharmaceutical companies and private parties. These monies are not government funds in any way and are being made available to us. We are very cautious about this and only time will tell but Shelby’s last chemo treatment (her fourth) has been taken care of through this program. I say this so carefully because we have been confused or have misunderstood quite a bit of the process in the hospital world.
We feel compelled to tell everyone this because we know some of you have given sacrificially. At this date we are cautious, but feel Shelby’s medical bills are taken care of for the time being. Of course this could change but we feel it is proper to let everyone know of these latest events. ALSO, what an incredible praise report of the provision of our Loving Heavenly Father!
To help us be above reproach it should be known that the monies received for Shelby have all gone into a special medical fund account. The Treasurer of Only a Servant Ministries, Inc. (not a Kennedy family member) monitors the account for checks and balances sake.
We are so amazed at the Lord’s goodness and provision for us. Thank you all for your continuous prayers, e-mails, and expressions of love in Shelby’s behalf. We wait with you for a miracle, because we know as you do that our God is an awesome God!!
Absolutely only because of Christ,
Ken, Debbi and family
A "Sweet" Field Report
The first month of 2005 has kept us on the move. To usher in the New Year, my sister and her husband, Sheryl and David Park, came down to spend a few days. We enjoyed visiting and giving them their first tour of Nava.
We then packed up and made a trip to San Diego, California, to see our older children. It had been some time since the whole family had been together. We did some sightseeing, cheering at basketball games and playing with our grandbaby, Haley.
Returning to San Antonio, Texas, we attended a missionary convention at Destiny Church. It was once again inspiring to fellowship with missionaries from around the world and to lift our vision a bit higher. A big thanks goes to Pastor David Bell, the Destiny Church staff, and the many workers who so graciously hosted the occasion.
Our friends her in Nava met us with warm greetings. Immediately we proceeded to lay the floor to a one-room shelter for a needy family. Joel Wean, from San Antonio, came down to help in the construction. If this sounds like something you and your family might be interested in doing, please contact us to schedule your missionary trip to Nava.
May God bless all of you who so faithfully participate in this work through your prayers and financial support. Please pray that the meeting of practical needs will generate a great hunger for the things of God.
The Sweet family