Gary & Bev Messick Oct 2017

Dear Ones in Christ,

Two years ago, in celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary, our children gave us funds toward a trip to Washington, DC to tour our capital and see the Vietnam Memorial. It took two years to work it out, but we left on Sept. 21. We wanted to report to the three churches that had sent out workers to help with our church remodeling. We arrived at Marshalltown, IA. on the 23rd planning to report to Fellowship Baptist in the evening service on the 24th, but learned that Bev.’s sister, Janet, was near death. Pastor Hannahs graciously let us report during the Sunday School hour so that we could leave for Indiana after the morning service.

We are so thankful for the precious time with Janet before she went to be with Jesus on the 28th. Bev and her eight siblings have always been very close, and Janet will be greatly missed. But it is such a comfort to know our separation is only temporary.

What we saw as a random choice for a date for our trip back east, we realized was clearly orchestrated by God. At the same time, we learned that Bev’s sister-in-law, Bernice was in critical condition. We cancelled our trip to DC, which allowed us more time to be near her and visit with family. As of this writing, we are thankful to still have Bernice with us. We would appreciate you prayers for her and brother Bob during this difficult time.

While there, it was a blessing to report to First Baptist Church in Goshen, IN. and then First Baptist Church in Wayland, MO.

On our return trip we were so thankful to spend a few days with JD and Jenny’s family – our Arkansas kids.

We arrived home safely on Nov. 1st after traveling over 6,000 miles. We are so very grateful for the many acts of love and kindness shown us along the way.

We can’t begin to thank Paul and Naomi enough for efficiently carrying on the work in our absence. Not only were our “regulars” faithful in attendance, but they saw some new folk attending services, as well.

Many have asked about Paul’s health and we are including an update from him.

Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughtfulness for me these past three months. As you know near the end of summer I began experiencing shortness of breath and congestion. It got to where I was out of breath every day and often could only get through simple tasks with great effort. Needless to say, I was very concerned and sought some medical help. I had an x-ray (which showed some inflammation), a pulmonary function test (which showed decreased lung capacity), some blood work (which ruled out heart problems or blood clots), and I had a CT scan (which ruled out COPD). I was also taking several supplements to help with inflammation and lung health. And I changed my diet to avoid dairy (which tends to cause congestion) and limited gluten (which can cause inflammation.) The next step was to get a referral to a pulmonologist to determine the exact cause and prescribe a treatment. It was frustrating knowing I needed to see the doctor, but the referrals were never sent. As we waited and kept calling the doctor’s office, I gradually began feeling better. And now today I feel almost normal with just an occasional feeling of breathlessness. In a couple weeks I have an appointment to see a doctor. Although I don’t feel I really need to go, I am hoping to get some advice on prevention and maintenance of lung health. Thinking back over the experience I think perhaps I had some inflammation or a virus in my lungs which gradually cleared out. Having an experience like this reminded me that I cannot take good health for granted. And it taught me to depend on God’s people to pray. So many of you have never met me – yet you prayed – and God answered your prayer!

All for Jesus,

Paul Sondergaard

We appreciate each of your prayers and how much you have encouraged us in the ministry over the years. God bless you.

Serving Christ with you,

Gary & Bev Messick

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