We have not posted an update on our family for a long time. The main reason is that life has been crazy. To quickly recap, in March 2020, just as the COVID situation was ramping up around the world, our 8-yr-old daughter stopped walking. Two years before she had a swollen right knee but the hospital emergency room couldn’t find any cause. She would have occasional knee pain for the next two years, but specialists couldn’t find a reason. We now know it was Lyme Disease. She was not diagnosed with Lyme until March of 2020 when we insisted that the doctors test for it (they were very dismissive of our suggestion to test and said they thought it was all in her head and she was making up stories about having pain). Lovely, I know.
They put her on antibiotics when within a week she completely lost the use of her limbs, and became so sick we thought we might lose her. For about 6-10 months she was unable to walk, dress herself, use the bathroom on her own, or even feed herself with a spoon. She had to be carried everywhere or strapped into a wheelchair so she wouldn’t fall out. Thankfully, we were able to find both an effective herbal treatment recommended by Johns Hopkins Medical Center and a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) who helped our daughter recover. After a recent bout with COVID a few months back, this daughter has had some Lyme flare-ups (Costochondritis — pain in the rib cage — being the main one), but other than that she is now basically symptom free. Praise the Lord!
We had two other children who were bitten by deer ticks in 2020 and diagnosed with Lyme but they were successfully treated with antibiotics. There is a big difference between treating a recent bite and treating someone who has had Lyme bacteria infiltrated through their entire system for years. Both children are both doing great now.
When our 8-yr-old daughter finally had a diagnosis it inspired us to test our then 18-year-old daughter to see if Lyme could be a root cause of the chronic fatigue, chronic stomach pain and other issues she has battled since she was 12. Sure enough, she also had Lyme. She was on the same protocol as her sister, but did not show any positive response to the treatment. Our doctor said when someone is treated for Lyme and does not recover they begin to suspect mold and/or mycotoxin poisoning. When tested she had two forms of mold and two of mycotoxins. The doctors then said they needed us to think environmentally and check our house for contamination. We did and found that our house had mold infestation in our crawl space that we didn’t know about. It had rotted the main supporting beam and all the floor joists on the lower level, infected nearly all the subfloors on the lower level and was in many of the walls behind the drywall. Our house was essentially caving in and we didn’t realize it! Our house insurance had a $2,500 cap for mold issues and we had a $2,500 deductible, so no help there.
In order to properly remediate, we needed to evacuate the house, so finally in late August of 2021 we found a house about 45 minutes away that was mold free and made an offer on it (we looked at 7-8 in our county that all had visible mold on a walk-through!), so finding something adequate was not easy, especially for a family our size. While it is obviously a seller’s market for real estate and we didn’t want move, we couldn’t stay in the house if we wanted to remediate and get our family healthy. So we have moved and are currently in the process of gutting the old house and remediating it professionally so it can be sold. It is very expensive to do the process correctly so the mold is completely eradicated, but we are committed to the process.
Our oldest daughter (the one with all the health problems who is now 20) is actually scheduled to have a major jaw surgery tomorrow. Her lower jaw does not match her upper jaw (it is recessed) and the doctors feel she may not able to chew her food properly (and thus digest properly) and it may be contributing to her ongoing stomach pain. The surgery will cut the lower jaw on both sides, move it forward into the correct position, and then be secured with metal plates and screws. We’ve watched some videos on it and it sounds like the pain is off the charts and you can’t begin eating solid foods for about a month. This is concerning because she is already very thin from being so sick for so long. We would appreciate your prayers. The doctors say it is genetic and regressive, so it will keep getting worse over time if they don’t operate now. The total cost is a little over $30,000 (it was $38,000, but they are giving us some self-pay and prepayment discounts!) and Samaritan Ministries has agreed to cover it since it is not dental, but is actually structural and not merely cosmetic. So that is a huge blessing! We have been so pleased with them (they have been wonderful!) and we would encourage you to mention our family if you sign up as members as we can actually get a reduction on our monthly share if you do so. Please pray for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery for our daughter from this painful and difficult surgery.
I (Israel) am in the process of writing a Bible doctrine/theology curriculum for Master Books that will be released this year (2022) and I’m almost done! We are so excited about it. It will be for 7-12 grade, but I think adults will benefit from it as well.
Our family was tremendously blessed in 2021 by prayer support and donations from so many friends across the world, and especially to our friend, Michael Farris who felt compelled to call for a day of prayer online and start a go-fund-me account for our family. That money helped us to be able to remediate our old house to sell, cover any remaining medical expenses, replace the transmission in our van, replace about four appliances that all died at once, repair our roof when the tree fell on it (it was about $2,500, so again below the insurance deductible) and a bunch of other needs for our family.
We are doing well right now so we are NOT requesting any personal donations at this time. We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who gave and/or prayed for us. God has been very merciful to us.
On the ministry front, we have a lot of new ideas for writing projects and are looking forward to getting back out on the road for events. Many events have closed indefinitely and attendance has been at 50-70% LESS capacity than normal at most of venues (at least in 2021) so we’ll see how things stack out for the new year. Here is a partial list of some of the events where we are scheduled to speak, including the D6 Conference church leader event in Orlando, FL, the Marriage & Family Life (MFL) conference hosted by the American Family Association (AFA) in Tupelo, MS, a Biblical worldview event in Boise, ID; two mega-homeschool events with Answers in Genesis at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY and the ARK Encounter in Williamstown, KY; state conferences in PA, CA, AZ, CO and WI ;as well as Teach Them Diligently events in TX and TN. Learn more here: www.FamilyRenewal.org/events
For those who believe in the work we are doing through Family Renewal, LLC, and would like to see our reach expanded, we have started a kind of “Patreon” type program where people can join with us as monthly partners and get great unique perks for their participation. Check that out here: https://familyrenewal.org/support-family-renewal/
Free resource: I have written an uncompleted document on some of what we have learned about treating Lyme Disease. Feel free to share this with any friends who might benefit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mWwlsqVL6rq5BA75ZrnmZvHKgm3Z1ScnL4E3humfhWg/edit?usp=sharing
We can’t begin to say how grateful we are for all of you who have encouraged and stood with our family over the past two years. We look forward to, Lord willing, resuming a more normal and stable existence in 2022!
Family Renewal, LLC