July 16, 2011

Hello Friends,

We had a few technical problems on our web site and were unable to post my last blog. We are still learning how to be more efficient and to be consistent with our updates. I would like to keep everyone current with the happenings in our lives, since so many of you pray for us on a regular basis. We greatly value these prayers and know that God has been honoring them. (We experienced His protection a few weeks ago when there were two railroad ties directly across both of my lanes while driving on interstate late one night. It blew out our front tire and bent the rim but we were so fortunate that I was able to keep in control and get pulled off to the side of the road. If it would have hit the back tire as well…It would have been a different story!)

Since my last blog didn’t post…I will give a brief summary of Alisha’s latest hospital visit. It was a bit tough emotionally for both her and Duane to go back to the hospital where memories of our time there with Austin were so vivid. However, the cardiac cauterization/biopsy procedure went well and we were so blessed to receive a wonderful report. There was no sign of any rejection nor of the coronary artery disease. This is great news because this typically is the cause of congestive heart failure and needing a second heart transplant. (As was the case for our son, Austin.) Austin did well in having his first heart for 16 years and it has been almost 13 years now for Alisha. We are so thankful that there is no sign of any problem for her and her heart function looks great.

Alisha and Austin both enjoyed celebrating two “birthdays”….The day they were born and the day that they received another chance of life. (The day of their transplants… Austin loved that since his second transplant he actually had THREE days to celebrate!) July 17 is Alisha’s special day! It will be 13 years tomorrow when her life was saved and not a moment too soon as her life was hanging by a thread in spite of receiving the maximum life support they were giving her. We are so blessed by Alisha’s faith and have been amazed at God’s grace that she is experiencing. While observing all the difficulties that Austin was enduring the last few years, she really struggled with fear of the future and fear of dying. Since Austin’s passing, Alisha came to us and shared that her fears are now gone! She has an excitement for when it will be her turn to experience Heaven. She knows that Austin will also be there to meet her and she is so excited about being in the presence of Jesus and her “hero”…her big brother! Praise God for His awesome grace!

We have been on tour for the last two and a half weeks and it will conclude on Tuesday. It has went well for us and we are so grateful for the assistance of Susanna Stoltzfus who is helping us until she goes back to teaching school the beginning of August. She takes care of the little girls while we are singing and then assists with domestic work when we are at home. Since we are on the road quite a bit right now, our time at home is rather precious and always seems to be filled with “catching up” with things. We are in need of an assistant when Susanna leaves. (We have been telling her that we’ll help to look for a substitute for her teaching position if she wants to continue traveling with us!) If there is anyone who is interested in assisting in this position, please contact Lonnie at the Gospel Express office: 828-859-7003.

On Monday and Tuesday of last week, we were in Atlanta, GA at the National Book Seller’s Convention where our publisher had our debut for “Big Mountain, Bigger God.”  We had our book signing on Tuesday morning at 10:30 and it was a first time experience but it went well. It was a fun experience to get free autographed books from authors like Ray Comfort, Ken Ham (two of Austin’s favorite authors!), Josh McDowell, Karen Kingsbury, Wanda Brunsteter, The Duggar Family, Ted Dekker, Randy Alcorn and many more. In fact, I have been reading Randy Alcorn’s book entitled “Heaven” and it has been such a blessing to me. I became a bit emotional when I started expressing this to Randy. He was very compassionate and I appreciated his sincere sympathy. We have a box of 40-50 books to read sometime! Now for some time to enjoy them!

For those of you who have been asking about our second book…We are in the process of writing it. We gave our publisher most of the content in the first three months after Austin passed away and now our assistant has it and will put it in chapter form and then we will work on it again before it gets sent to the editor. It is a process but shouldn’t    take as long as our first book did. We are still hoping to have it completed by this fall/winter. Some have been asking if we have started to receive orders for “Winner Either Way.”   I do have a list of names who have said that they want it when it comes out. If you would like to be put on this list, please let us know. We will fill these orders first, when the books are completed.

We have been enjoying singing some of our new songs on this tour and God has been blessing us with the presence of His spirit moving during our services. We are meeting many people who are experiencing difficulties and loss. Our focus and purpose continues to be…giving hope and encouragement and challenging others to keep their eyes on Jesus and to remain “in Him.”

Thank you for uplifting our family to the throne of God. We pray that God would bless you with joy in your journey.


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