NEWSLETTER #6

Victoria, Canada. June 2007

Hi,

Three years have gone since my last newsletter – due to many factors such as a prolonged sickness, travelling, my incompetance as a web master - and ennui.  I am happy to say that the first is over, the second is intermittant, the third has been undertaken by a special young friend and the fourth – I put that down to old age (any excuse!!!)

A quick summary of my sickness:  I was operated on in September 2003 for a hiatus hernia.  My first day home was problematic as I could not swallow the noodle soup I had prepared, was taken back into Emergency where the surgeon forced the blockage down with a tube and then stomach pumped me. I think some damage was done then to the recent operation site, as I continued to have great difficulties in swallowing, losing 20lbs (~10kg) and ending up being ordered back into Emergency in December for three days rehydration.   (Those who know me realise I do not have many pounds to lose!)  The surgeon was now concerned so I was called into hospital once or more a week as they sought an explanation for my difficulties. I had CAT scans, MRIs, blood tests, endoscopies, barium tests, Xrays with no clear outcome until a blockage during a routine barium test in April revealed a ‘twisting’ in the aesophogus. A second surgery was scheduled for May 2004, difficult due to old scar tissue but successful. I then had blockages about once a day.  However, X rays revealed that I had developed several pulmenary blood clods and would require Coumadin (blood thinners) for the rest of the year.  This meant visiting hospital each day for a month and then twice a week for several months – fortunately within walking distance. Then I was diagnosed with pleurisy and gall stones – and my energy levels fell so that I could not even mow the lawn without needing to rest up afterwards.  It was not until September 2005 (two years after the initial op) that I began to eat properly again and see my energy improve. (Maybe due to the yogurt product BioK I began to take at that time to replace healthy bacteria in my digestive system).  In November we left for our three-yearly visit to Australia to visit our daughter and her family.  While there I enjoyed the sunshine, trecking across the Great Western Dessert with a team ministering to an Aboriginal community near Ayers Rock,  cycling short distances, swimming and sunbathing, all of which brought me back to health and energy.  I was amazed when we returned home as my renewed stamina enabled me to build a back-garden pation and ornate paths to replace the wilderness that had been there previously.

During those two years, I had had to cancel ministry opportunities in Brazil and Denver and had made only a few local speaking engagements.  Knowing I was ill, I did not fret but took opportunity to read, watch TV and write poetry (both ‘spiritual’ and humerous).  I have put some of these here for you to read.

Ministry:  In August 2006 I received a call from Departure Bay Baptist Church in Nanaimo (about 110 km north) asking if I would pastor them while they sought a new full-time pastor.  This was a very enjoyable time with some 100+ people and involved my driving up each Thursday evening, returning home on Sunday evening.  Our daughter Corinne lives in Nanaimo so we had ready accomodation for the 7 months of ministry there.  I also taught an 8-week course at New Life Baptist Church, Duncan so my days were full with preparation, travelling, visitation, teaching and preaching.  It was during this time that I had the privilege of meeting a young man, recently moved to Victoria and director of the “best web page on the internet” (my honest assessment).  Greg produces www.sermonindex.net  and is both a blessing and challenge to me in my hunger for renewal and revival.  I’m sure I will have much more to say about him in future newsletters as I intend to do all I can to encourage him in his passion for the Lord.

In April this year, Anne and I went to UK for a two-month vacation, mainly to celebrate with Anne’s sister Betty, her 80th birthday.  This was a wonderful time and included a dinner for 86 guests and singing from a male voice choir.

I had opportunity for ministry and met some wonderful new friends.  As it is 5 years since we were last in Europe, we took the opportunity of cheap flights available from UK to visit other friends in Stockholm, Lisbon, Brussels, Rotterdam and Dortmund.   This was a vacation we shall not soon forget nd we already anticipate the next time we shall cross the pond.

Enough writing for now – enjoy the new webpage.

 

Basking in HIS love,

 

Gareth

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