Jeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they taJeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be with his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they take this painful and unexpected journey.

Amazing Supply

Lyttelton Harbour 2There are times in our lives when we find ourselves speechless, even moved to tears. It might be seeing an immensely beautiful scene. I often hanker after my favourite spot, just below the top of the Port Hills near my home city of Christchurch, New Zealand. On a clear, still and sunny day I love to just sit on ‘my’ park bench and gaze in awe, speechless, looking down onto the blues and greys of Lyttleton Harbour and the bays opposite, with Mt Herbert providing a stunning backdrop. I always sit in silence, over-awed. Or the birth of a child. When Ben was born in 1991 in Timaru, I was speechless; the tears then caught up with me as I drove home and had to pull my old Citroen GS over to the side of the road and let them flow.

We never forget overwhelming moments such as these.

WowThis week has had more than a few of them. In the face of seemingly impossible or, in the least, extraordinary odds, we’ve seen the most amazing thing happen. Last week here on the blog, I gingerly (and admittedly somewhat hesitatingly) raised the issue of the large and unexpected gap in our funding to buy our house.  We did so encouraged by friends. But we did so encouraged by events 48hrs earlier when Catherine, hitting rock bottom, prayed, “Lord, if this house purchase is right, please by the end of the day, may we be offered £10,000”.  A phone call came that night offering that very amount as a gift. And then came a message via Facebook from old friends the same evening, prompting us to check our bank account the next day. Exactly the same amount again. And since publishing the blog last week, not only has the entire amount been given, but then some more (where people have been happy) towards settling-in costs and to help reduce the mortgage burden and income issue for us on a pension and teaching assistant’s wage, or more particularly, for Catherine and the children in the times to come. We are simply staggered and overwhelmed. During these last few days as it’s been happening, we have known tears of amazement together, looks of astonishment as a family and a big sense of being loved – loved by Father and loved by his people, his family, our friends & family. As I’ve written to various folk who’ve given, I’ve often included words of St Paul – 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)

…that each and every person, both those who’ve passed us monetary gifts, but also those who’ve supported, loved and cared for us in a thousand different ways, has been a part of Father’s heavenly supply chain. We’re stunned. In the New Testament, we read “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Quite truly, we‘ve seen these words come alive. Thankyou.

tough timesBen has – once again – had a rough week. As well as some cognitive decline, he’s had two or three ‘episodes’ over these last six days – low level seizure-type occurrences, but events where he’s remained conscious throughout. He had one while he was at home on Easter Day afternoon. Crumpling into a sitting position on the bathroom floor after he started to shake, he eventually got up onto his feet with our help, but as he stood, hugging hold of me for extra support, he started to shake uncontrollably, saying, “I can’t make it stop” with such anxiety and no small amount of fear.  After quickly borrowing a wheel chair from the neighboring Rest Home, we got him out into the car and back to the Rehab Centre. 

sanger_institute_campusWe continue to await news as to whether he can be transferred up to London sooner or later. In the meantime however, he’s had the great opportunity of being enrolled in a wide-ranging “Deciphering Developmental Disorders” (DDD) study which brings together doctors from across the British National Health Service Regional Genetics Services as well as scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, a charitably funded research institute which played a world-leading role in sequencing (reading) the human genome. Alongside this, Catherine, Ben and I have had samples taken to allow him to be tested under the epilepsy gene panel, a DNA-based test that sequences many genes implicated in rare forms of epilepsy – all at once rather than individually. We’ve been told that this is a technology which has only been available in the last year or two using something called ‘next generation sequencing’. The consultant says, “All of these genes are essentially implicated in rare forms of childhood epilepsy, hence we should not raise our hopes of a positive finding in Ben, except that some of these genes are occasionally implicated in later onset conditions as well as childhood forms. If nothing is found then the DDD Project is a good back-up because they (Cambridge, Sanger Centre) will read through all of Ben’s coding DNA. Of course, neither of these tests/approaches will turn up anything if Ben’s condition has nothing to do with his DNA make-up..” 

The scriptures regularly speak about God multiplying blessings on His people.  We simply have to hold onto the Easter reality of the Risen Jesus and be reminded of what we’ve experienced regarding our house this week, letting it bring us all hope and encouragement in Ben’s situation. 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

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Comments on: "Amazing Supply" (18)

  1. Christine Curd said:

    Oh how wonderful, tracing the rainbow through the rain indeed. My own experience was that green pastures and dark valleys are parallel tracks. I am so, so pleased for you both. Praise God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joybells said:

    Thank you, again, for such an honest sharing of your heart and circumstances. We have tears of joy with you and tears of pain for you (we can hardly begin to identify with all that you are carrying together), we thank God for His continual faithfulness to you all. Praying for God’s wholeness to permeate every part of your family and journey. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth Prince said:

    So glad I encouraged you to ‘ask’ and even more glad that you ‘received ‘. Praise and thank our Lord’. Less happy news for Ben but nevertheless he remains in God’s arms.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Matthew said:

    Wow, wow – what an encouraging read. You write so beautifully. Your openness and honesty through such a humungously tough time is truly inspiring. May God bless you all and meet all your needs in every way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am always encouraged by your posts. I am praying for you as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tracey Wallis said:

    Your faithfulness is so incredible I should not be surprised that Father has met your needs. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and teaching me never to let go of the Lord. God bless you all you are in my prayers daily xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. anne thomson said:

    What a wonderful testimony to Gods provision. We continue to pray that God will heal Ben.you are in our thoughts often.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dave & Carol Jewison said:

    Amazing Jeremy. Thank you for all that you you share, and allow us , and others, to walk with you all in the joys and hurts that you and your wonderful family are living through. Bless God for His great abundance to you financially.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brenda Lockett said:

    Amazing how kind people can be in times of trouble it restores your faith in human nature. It is an indication of how much we all care for you and your family. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yvonne Howarth said:

    I love to hear God at work through examples like yours, may he continue to bless and provide, no matter how big or small for you all.
    Your contact via fb and emails is so important to those of us who live far away from you to be a practical help and your words so beautifully put are a great source of encouragement.
    Ben has our prayers and deep love as he journeys along this awful road, please assure Ben, Dabi and the rest of the family of continued support.
    Much love to you all,
    Yvonne. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane Crocker said:

    Wow So wonderful that Catherine’s prayer was answered continue to pray for you and Ben xxxxx so much love sent to you all . God bless

    Like

  12. Jenny loveless said:

    Thinking of you all. With much love.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Praying (and praising) on.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael Hewat said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine
    Thanks for this. The financial provision is such wonderful news of our Father’s love and care. And of your humility and obedience in making this need known in this way. It can’t have been easy, but was surely the right thing to have done.
    Very troubling though to read of Ben’s ongoing seizures. I have prayed a lot about and against demonic causes… and assume others have with him? Can’t say I have had more than a ‘sense’ that there may be a spiritual root to his illness, but it has been a reasonably strong sense. So will keep praying in this vein.
    It’s a privilege to be able to partner in burden-bearing. May the same power that was at work in raising Christ from the dead be at work in all of you, and esp. Ben and Jeremy.
    With our love
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ian and Marjorie Kennedy said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine We both want to send our love and let you know we are praying for you all. We remember back 25 years to when we spent an evening with you two in Essex We recall your love for each other and your joyful smiles as you told us you had just become engaged We saw you a time or two when you were in New Zealand and since your return to the UK Grant has kept us up to date from time to time with what is happening in your lives. It was a shock to learn of Jeremy’s and Ben’s illnesses but what a witness to God’s provision you are experiencing through this time. God’s love surely never fails and he will never forsake you.

    Much love to you all from us both

    Ian and Marj Kennedy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks both. It’s great to have contact after all these years. Your memories are wonderful to read and take us back to a past era! Love to you both…keep in touch.

      Like

  16. Fyi – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3048861
    Some figures about combo treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Nigel. My doctor & I have already started talking along these lines. It’s an encouraging result the article reports!

      Like

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