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One of the best declarations of faith is unexpectedly found in the book of Lamentations. Jeremiah, the prophet, has suffered greatly but still discovers that God’s mercy never ends and that each day holds new surprises. This, too, has been true in my life these past months.
After the removal of my eye and the cancer behind it, it was time for radiation. Each day and weekend (the resting time) were different. There was little pain, so I was able to sleep a great deal and had energy for some activities. The four weeks of radiation were completed the week before Christmas. Surprisingly, that week was the most difficult for pain and swelling. I lathered layer after layer of cream on my aching face, thus there has been no peeling or open wounds and skin that feels baby soft. Both the oncologist and the ocular surgeon were very pleased with progress of the healing. Praise God! An added blessing was celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with friends and family, including my 91-year-old dad. Such precious memories formed.
After two weeks of healing and ahead of schedule, I was fitted for a prosthetic eye. It was a fascinating process. Everyone that saw the resulting eye was surprised at how well it looked and moved. However, after ten days, my eyelid swelled up, causing lots of irritation. Again God opened doors, and I was able to get more appointments with the doctors. My prosthetic was removed, and medicine applied. At the writing of this letter, the situation is still unresolved, although I am very hopeful. God has not failed me yet.
I had a follow-up meeting with the oncology people and received an “ALL CLEAR” from them! I’m so grateful to God for healing and answered prayers. Follow-up scans should be done in six months and a year but can be done anywhere in Europe, with the results sent to Calgary. Don’t we live in an amazing age?
In the meantime, my work as a homeschool teacher to the four Bergman children in Romania has taken a bit of a turn. I have been having Zoom calls with them, not so unusual during these school shutdowns in Canada. They have handed in various writing assignments, and we’ve been working on memorizing various things in history and the Bible. The children are way ahead of me in learning Romanian, but we’ve been having fun with colors and phone numbers. I’m looking forward to meeting them all in person.
My travel to Romania should be somewhere in mid-March! I need to renew my passport and get an international driver’s license, but all my COVID requirements and visa needs are complete. Meanwhile in Romania, Paul and Tanya Gericke, my new bosses, are busy looking for an apartment within walking distance of the Bergmans. I will share a vehicle with the family but honestly don’t know how much I will drive. My commitment is until the end of the school year 2023, whereupon we’ll evaluate the situation. I still can’t believe that God has given me an opportunity to live and work in Europe. God certainly knows the deep desires of our hearts.
Do I miss Cameroon? Very often! I’m grateful for WhatsApp and Facebook, which help me keep up with the folks there. So many are still struggling with the effects of the civil war in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. The economy is a mess. Except for large cities, schools are still not in session. Imagine children without education for five years. Most of them will never recover, and what job opportunities will there be for people who cannot read? Fear is part of their everyday life. Going to the farm is a risk. Will my loved one come home tonight? Oh God, have mercy.
I also miss my time at Rain Forest International School in Yaoundé. Praise God for a possible candidate for the role of director and for Craig and Maureen Moody, who will fill some needed positions next year. There is still a need for more high school teachers to allow church planters, translators, and disciplers to stay on the field knowing that their children are getting a quality education. Do you know anyone whom God can use in the ministry of our precious missionary kids?
I cannot thank you enough for the supporting role you have played in my life. You have encouraged with prayers, words, and financial support. Many of you have been faithful for more than thirty years. It’s been quite a journey. May God continue to use you in small and great ways as you serve Him. May He grant you strength and joy in your journey.
Safe in the hands of Jesus,
firstname.lastname@example.org | nabonmission.org/missionaries/elsie-lewandowski