Saturday, August 25, 2007

A much needed "FAMILY" Vacation

It's been a tough year for us with my mom being sick and Michael having a long distant relationship...we felt it was time for a "Family" vacation!!! We were suppose to be going to Louisiana during the time that we had scheduled off but Michael and Allison were having some problems (they have since broken up). A year ago when we thought this might be our last summer vacation with Michael we all sat down and decided that we would like to go to a "Dude" ranch. When all the Louisiana stuff fell through...we picked right back up on that research from a year ago and called the Horseshoe Canyon Dude Ranch in Jasper, AR. (www.gohcr.com) After we showed up we were quite shocked that the owners and most ranch hands were Mormon...we ministered the best we could and decided to "enjoy" our vacation. God sure does have a sense of humor sending us to another Mission field on our vacation!!! :-) We started out our first day with each of us riding horses (one of the only places that I could find that would allow a 7 year old to ride on the horse on a trail by herself!) Larry had Bandit, Michael had Fabio, Heather had Applesauce and I had Apache, our wrangler Jennifer from AR took us out and I had about all the riding I could handle on that hour...we came back and I couldn't even walk. The next days passed all too fast with 3 GREAT meals a day, Michael climbing the 65ft Green Goblin, Heather doing an arena ride, Michael wrangling the horses at 7 in the morning, Heather going through a cave, Michael riding a bull...YES - I said Michael rode a REAL bucking bronco and Heather riding a sheep. It was a great time and we enjoyed getting to know the staff - Jennifer, Jessica, Joey, Nick, Johnny, Jen & Kat - On Sunday our time there was done and we headed to Branson, MO to tour the Titanic then to Springfield to Lambert's Cafe and to stay the night to hit Bass Pro Shop the following day. We had a great time and no one got "REALLY" hurt...Michael's first bull fell right over on his leg coming out the gate, his second bull stepped on his arm, Heather's sheep stepped on her arm and I slid going down the large hill from our cabin hurting my surgery knee...all in all - it was a GREAT time and we Thank God for the opportunity to go!!! We miss the ranch and our new friends - maybe we'll see them all again some day. PS. I am so proud of BOTH of my kids for stepping out there and trying new things...not letting fear hold them back. They both learned so much on this trip and I pray that they will keep their courage!

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Mission Trip to Trinidad 6/30-7/6/07


We were blessed to be able to go on another mission trip with JOY FM the Christian radio station in St. Louis again this year. Larry, Heather and I went to Trinidad (Michael went to Mexico in June). Trinidad is 7 miles north of Venezuela and is considered a Caribbean Island. Their primary religions there are Muslim, Hindu and Christian. There were 50 of us who went and Heather found her long lost sister - Hadassah in Trinidad.
It's a place I would love to go back to...the people are so lost! I have never seen an "idol god" before...wow - this island has some MAJOR darkness! We ministered to so many different people and kids...Larry was sick most of the time from the dust and mold in the stage that our team replaced but he made it through.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

For such a time as this...

On March 27, my mom was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma (lung cancer from second hand cigarette smoke that is very fast growing and spreads very quickly). On March 30, she underwent a PET scan that showed the spot on the lung and a spot on her right hip bone. April 11, she had a bone biopsy of the right hip which came back negative for cancer. On April 22, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to begin a 40 day fast (April 22-May 31) for my mom's healing. In April, I didn't understand or even realize at the time the extent of all of this as at that time my mom was undergoing lung surgery on April 25 to remove 40% of her right lung. When they removed the portion of her lung they found the tumor to be 3.2 cm and they also removed 4 lymph nodes in that area, 2 of the lymph nodes were cancerous but 2 of them were not. Therefore, they were going to do 4 bouts of Chemo (1 every 21 days) as a precautionary measure. After my mom's first round of Chemo she began sleeping more and still losing weight. On May 30 she told her cancer doctor that she's been having severe pain in her right hip and asked his permission to go to the chiropractor as she felt that her hip was just out of place. He told her that he'd like to do another MRI of that area and if it came back clear that she could go to the chiroprator. She had an MRI on May 31 at 6:15pm at night. On Friday June 1, my mom, my sister, my daughter and I were out to lunch when we received the DREADED call that the spot on her right hip was a tumor and it was growing VERY fast. Somehow they had missed it when they biopsied it the first time (I now believe that was a God thing as they would have never removed the tumor on the lung had this spot showed up cancerous) and the tumor is now over 6 cm in size (double the size of the tumor that they just took out). That was a rough day wrapping my mind around yet another blow in the natural realm. Thankfully the 40 day fast had prepared me for what I knew in my Spirit I had to do. I woke up on June 2 knowing in my Spirit that I was to minister to my mom with the laying on of hands. I got up and did my best at lifting myself up in the Spirit, getting the scriptures that I needed for her to give her faith, praying over and over in tongues and everything else I felt the Spirit leading me to do. In the meantime, I had left a message for Dr. Garcia, a Radiation Oncologist, who is my upline in Juice Plus (http://www.juiceplus.com/+kr49492 ). I told her my mom's latest events and asked her to be as upfront with me as possible. She left me a message assuring me that my mom has metastatic Lung Cancer that has spread to the hip bone and that is INCURABLE. She said that my mom didn't have very long and she'd be lucky if she lasted a year as the more she sleeps the more the cancer is taking over her body. The longest Dr Garcia has seen someone with this diagnosis live is 2 years. I didn't let this sway me and informed my sister of what Dr. Garcia had said. It's funny cause I kept getting in my Spirit that Jesus had to put the unbelievers out when he ministered healing to someone and I kept thinking that's weird cause there will only be believers here when we pray with her. Then I talked to my sister again and she was suppose to bring someone else to the baby shower that we were going to and I said, "we'll, there's our unbeliver", my sister didn't really understand what I was talking about but now I was in a position of lettting the unbeliever stay in the room while we ministered to her or putting her out. I began praying about that situtation and AMAZINGLY enough, that person got sick and didn't come...Praise God!!! When my mom got here I shared with her a little about what Dr. Garcia had said (no timeline, just the incurable part). I told her that she could take the natural or look to Jesus. I went through all the scriptures that I had, I read her the story of the woman with the issue of blood and also I read her something from one of Kenneth Hagin's books about a woman who was 82 and had 7 different kinds of cancer. She said she felt that she could believe for healing. I told her that I knew she got saved when I was 9 but I wanted to make sure that if she died she would go to heaven...she said she thought she would because she was a good person, I told her being a good person wouldn't get her into heaven. I told her only placing her faith in Jesus would get her in heaven. I felt she should rededicate her life to the Lord and she did! Then my sister and I laid hands on her and cursed her cancer and told it to shrivel up and die in Jesus name. She will have a biopsy on Tuesday June 5 and I can't WAIT as I feel like the Lord has been preparing me for such a time as this. Praise God and his holy name, Jesus is STILL in the healing business!!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A trying time...

Well - it's been a while since I've written anything but I'm not sure it matters cause I don't think anyone reads this besides me anyway. Oh well...on with the blog.

In February my mom felt like she had pneumonia. I wanted her to go to the ER to get checked out but she refused telling me that she'd call the doctor the next day and get herself a doctors appointment. She called on February 6 and got an appointment for February 7. The doctor did a chest x-ray and discovered that my mom did in fact have pneumonia...having had it before in 2003...I guess it was fairly easy for my mom to detect. Unfortunately, something else showed up on that x-ray that the doctor was concerned about but didn't want to worry us with until they knew more so she put my mom on antibiotics and waited 2 weeks. She then wanted my mom to go have a CT scan of her lungs...my mom HATES CT scans but went along with the doctors request...unfortunately, the CT scan showed the same thing as the first chest x-ray from February 7...my mom had a tumor the size of a quarter on the right lung and 2 small spots on the left lung. This lead us to see Dr. Marklin a lung specialist on March 16 - he discussed with us the concerns that they had but wanted us to know that more than likely, these spots were scar tissue left over from the pneumonia but they wanted to biopsy the large one anyway just to make sure. He scheduled my mom's biopsy for March 23 so we had to wait another week to know more. On March 23, mom had her biopsy...she was scared but dad, Liz, Heather and I were there with her and prayed with her before she went in. Dr. Marklin said that I should call on March 27 for the results. On March 27 I called Dr. Marklin at 9:30am...deciding NOT to shower until he called me cause I KNEW if I got in the shower...he'd call (doesn't that ALWAYS happen!?!). Well obviously his office didn't give him the message that I had called because at 1:30 he still hadn't called me. I decided to give him another call...they said he was at lunch but he would call me as soon as he was done. At 2:08 Dr. Marklin called...how could I remember the precise time??? I was working and had to logout at that time for the call. Dr. Marklin explained that out of ALL the slides they looked at...the very LAST slided did show lung cancer - adenocarcinoma (cancer from second hand smoke). This was very sad news for our family as my aunt Margaret (my mom's sister) had lung cancer last year and died from it...it was devastating for our family so this news hit us like a ton of bricks.

I was not looking forward to the calls that I had to make...first to mom to tell her what the doctor had said, then tell my dad, then my sister and my cousin Shirley, my husband, my daughter, my son, all of my mom's siblings, my close friends and anyone else that I thought might want to know...it was TOUGH!!!

The doctor said that cancer loves glucose (sugar - which I already knew but was glad to have a SMART doctor who also knew this!) so he wanted mom to have a PET scan where they would shoot her body full of sugar, water with dye that would go straight to the cancer and light up anywhere the cancer would be. We went on Friday, March 30 for the PET scan and will have the results on Tuesday...another time to wait.

Until then, I just wanted to get this down so I could get it all off my chest.

My mom has not smoked 1 single day in her life but may have lung cancer from second hand smoke...that STINKS!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

We're BACK!!! Mission Trip to Mexico

WOW - What a week!!! Our God is SO Good!!! We had GREAT weather all week too!!!
At the last minute, H and I were invited to go FREE of charge, except our evening meals and God even provided those for us...H and I got to go on this trip with our family for FREE!!! I knew...it was Gods plan! We had wanted to go all along but couldn't afford for all of us to go...I had said since July that if God wanted us there...he'd provide a way for us to be there...God is SO good!!!
We started out the week leaving the day after Christmas on a tour bus for a 22 hour ride to Brownsville, Tx. We DID eventually arrive! Thank you Lord!!!
We were looking so forward to being able to see our Mexican friends again...H was excited to see Esli again and as you see...their friendship has continued!
We did a prayer walk after we arrived on Wednesday the 27th heading over to the clinic that we helped to build when we were there in July...it was GREAT to see the progress that had been made on it with the windows, electricity and the ceiling. We also paid a visit to the bridge that was built by the Mexican government with funds that Focus on Missions raised the last time that we were there. After seeing the dead dog with no head in the water...I was SO thankful that we gave these people a way to cross other than their old path of walking through that DISGUSTING water!
Our first work day was on Thursday the 28th and man did we WORK!!! We mixed concrete by hand and with a mixer which required 7 buckets of rock and 7 buckets of sand. I once again took the lead role inside the clinic as the "Painting Foreman" and had a GREAT time painting the clinic a BEATIFUL tan that was donated out of Plano, Tx. They also had a VBS thing for the kids...it was good! Eating at Bigo's again was WORTH the trip!!! (YUM :-)
The 28th was H's friend Esli's birthday so we held a birthday party for her...the kids had a lot of fun and really didn't mind us joining in on their games as you'll see.
(Did you know that pinata's come empty!?! Those kids broke that pinata and nothing came out...our kids would have had a fit but they were excited anyway!)
On the 29th, we visited the men's and women's prison...I was quite a bit calmer going in there this time knowing what to look forward to. Focus on Missions has a very good relationship with the prison and we went there and painted the men's chapel the tan color that we had and replaced a worn out roof at the prison entrance...the guys did a GREAT job on the tin...it looks so much better!!! We handed out ministry bags of necessities to the women and children and had a testimonial time...1 women gave her life to the Lord. Every Christmas the mission team plays the guys in the prison at Baseball...it was a GREAT time and I think the prisoners really enjoyed watching it too. We then had a church service in the men's chapel, our friend that we have been praying for since we were there in July found us and immediately came to us and gave us hugs. He's doing really good in there and was so glad to see us again. We met many guys from America and now have a larger prayer list for our prison friends. The service in the men's chapel was my favorite...it was a GREAT time in the Lord and several men gave their lives to Christ during that service. The prison houses about 60 women and TONS of men...about 150 men in the prison are now born again believers and live for the Lord there in the prison...they DEFINATELY are a light in a DARK place!!!
This same day we made a trip to Sister Esther's Children's Home. The Children's Home is a home where the kids that have parents in prison can go to...some parents keep their kids with them in the prison until they are 6 years old but then they have to go somewhere else until the parent gets out of prison. Sister Esther's Children's Home is run completely off of donations from people like Focus on Missions. She is a wonderful Christian lady who loves the Lord and those kids so much that she makes sure they go to a Christian school. Please be in prayer for Sister Esther that some more churches will step up to help support these kids...she gets NO funding from the parents as they are in prison and no funding from the government. She runs a tight ship at the home and you can tell as the kids are clean, very well behaved and the home is clean. She is currently in need of funding, as she's behind $7800 in her private school fees...since her kids make up most of the school...this hurts the school also. The school is in the pictures when we hosted a VBS there one night. The kids were so excited to see us and really enjoyed us loving on them and playing with them. Sister Esther is the woman that you'll see with a BIG smile on her face!!!
The 30th was a very interesting day for me...we started the day out by going shopping at HEB to get beans and rice for the people who live at the City Dump. In July there was another ministry group there so we didn't get to get out (something that I was thankful for at the time) but this time we got out and ministered to the people, loved on the people and gave the people bags of beans and rice...they were grateful and I was humbled!!! It was sad to see them leave our area when the local trash truck came in. We have so much here in the USA and complain about not getting the latest things...there they have nothing and actually LIVE with the trash...and they were happy with what they had. I think everyone should attend a mission trip to a city dump sometime in their lives! It's a VERY humbling experience!
That same night we held a ministry opportunity at the Christian school near the Squatters camp...there were over 404 people there and we only had 200 hotdogs and 300 fruit pies...we never ran out of either one...God is SO good!!! The people had a great time.
The Lord revealed many things to me this week but one of them stands out more than others...it's that Mexico is a VERY poor area. Steve Smith with Focus on Missions presents the needs and we pray about them and give as we can...sometimes it seems that he's presenting need, after need, after need...it's because there are TRULY that many needs.
How Great is Our God!?! Even after this past year of what seemed to be miracle after miracle in the financial realm for our family...I know our God is even GREATER than that!!! He's a GREAT God and I hope I never get to a place where I don't realize his goodness!!!
While I'm glad and thankful to be home...my Mexican friends hold a special place in my heart and I long for the time that I can see them all again!!! M and H had a GREAT time and both met new friends...we're looking forward to going back so we're beginning to pray for the Lord to provide the way and to show us when we should go.
We also became very close to the other groups that joined our group and we're looking forward to making a trip to Louisiana...God willing we'll see our Louisiana friends sometime in the near future!
Enjoy the pictures as there aren't as many as in July...only about 250 this time!
Thank you for your prayers for us...they worked!!!
We love you all!!! God bless you!!!
The Ritter's
Larry, Kim, M & H
I wasn't allowed to take my camera in the prison but Steve Smith was able to take his...here's a link to the Prison pictures.