Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NKJV; cf. Proverbs 27:1)
It is not wrong to make plans. It is, however, sinful to make plans without consideration of God. In any case, human plans are subject to change, especially when circumstances overpower one’s proposed activity.
Bonnie and I had planned to attend the India Missions Conference in Florence, Alabama on April 21-23. However, two things led us to change our plans. Bonnie’s health put in doubt whether it was convenient for us to participate in the missions program. In addition, we got the happy news that Bonnie’s two brothers and their wives were visiting us from western Pennsylvania that week. James Reed and his wife Kay as well as Larry Reed and his wife Donna arrived in Winona, Mississippi Tuesday before lunch. Interestingly, the two Reed brothers married two sisters. See the six of us in the photograph. Not pictured, Bonnie has one surviving sister, Dianna, also.
We enjoyed one another’s company over the next few days before they returned home. In the course of those days, Bonnie’s brothers helped me replace a rotted fencepost, install a handrail going out our back door to the screened sitting area and replace rotted landscape timbers in a raised flowerbed.
Unfortunately, Bonnie was feeling poorly while her family visited. She drifted off to sleep in her half of our reclining loveseat or resorted to bed from time to time. Bonnie was unable to eat very much, experienced nausea and had some pain. Thursday evening Bonnie had a fever of 102.8, which fluctuated little for nearly the next 24 hours.
Friday morning, Bonnie’s brothers embarked for Pennsylvania – 15 hours of driving time besides stops. About three hours after they left, Bonnie and I headed south to Jackson, Mississippi for her to receive another paracentesis – draining of fluid from her abdomen. This time, only 1.5 liters was drained, though it provided some much appreciated relief.
Afterward, we proceeded to oncology where blood, etc. were obtained for analysis. Bonnie’s oncologist admitted her to the hospital for treatment. Her white and red blood counts were both near zero; she was so weak that a wheelchair had been her means of conveyance from admission for the radiological appointment for paracentesis to oncology and later to her hospital room.
Saturday our daughter Rebecca arrived at the hospital. She had driven to our home from Collierville, Tennessee on Friday night before completing the journey to Jackson, Mississippi; she brought with her clothes for me, our laptop computers and miscellaneous personal items and office work. That afternoon, I digitally repaired four pages of the upcoming issue of The Voice of Truth International. The physical proofs provided by the printing company revealed some things that needed attention before printing was to proceed. These repairs were made from Bonnie’s hospital room and sent through the Wi-Fi to the printing company in Taylors, South Carolina.
As of Sunday afternoon, Bonnie has received three units of blood, six IV sessions of antibiotics and several injections to boost her blood counts. We are unsure when she will be released, though it is clear that Bonnie is making improvements.
Bonnie desperately wants to be discharged from the hospital in time for us to attend the annual May Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton, Alabama later this week. She has taken care of most of the duties associated with preregistration of attendees. Bonnie plans on specifying which cabins need to be cleaned on Tuesday as well as registering and assigning cabins to those coming on Thursday for the program. A big delight for those of the core group of the World Evangelism Team who come early to clean is the annual supper together at a Hamilton restaurant before attending Bible class with the Hamilton Church of Christ.
Bonnie very much wants to enjoy the fellowship of kindred spirits – other missionaries – our friends and co-laborers, and I will do what I can so that she is not disappointed. Bonnie’s ongoing saga in her valiant fight against pancreatic cancer needs a little uplifting that this association together can help in a small way. Yet, as always, we must be flexible, saying within ourselves what our Lord Jesus said in prayer to our Heavenly Father, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).