First of all thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers over the last year. We have decided to create a blog to have an outlet for anyone who is interested in updates on Lances condition a place to come and be informed. The title of the blog "A future and a hope" comes from Jeremiah 29:11, which is a verse that has given our family alot of comfort through these challenging times. Because as my Dad has said, no matter what happens we have already won! I would encourage you to pass on the location of this site to anyone that you may believe would be interested in updates. -Justin

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just checking in.

Hi everyone:
Haven't posted in a while just didn't have much to say, we took a trip to Iowa City on Monday and I had some Bone Marrow biopsies we will go back on Wednesday next week to find out the results . Justin is going with us ( He likes to look out for me ) and they should hopefully have some difinitive answers on whether to proceed with my drugs or reschedule the transplant. This biopsy is where they decide if the drug has failed or if it is working and to what extent it is working. I feel good so hopefully they will tell us something positive.
Elisabeth has regionals on Saturday in Cedar Falls she is swimming the 100 Backstroke and the 200 Individual Medley, She has worked very hard so keep her in your thoughts, this could be her last High School Swim. Swimming has been a huge part of her life so we will all miss it. She will swim for the Y swim team after the High School season ends just for fun but will sure miss the other.
Hope all is well with everyone out there. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Will Miss Gram.....

I want to ask you all to pray for Nicole and Nathan and their little ones (Gavin 7, Helen 6, Evie 4 and Gwendolyn 3) and also all of Nicole's family. Nicole's Great Grandma Helen (everyone calls her Gram) went to be with the Lord last night. Nicole and Gram have always been close and she has lived with Nathan and Nicole for the last six years. Gram was 93 years old. Please hold them up in prayer. They have loved and cared for Gram and she back to them, to all of us really. They will truly miss her. WE WILL ALL MISS GRAM ....... Not many young families would do what Nicole and Nathan have done......, it is self sacrificing to offer your home and yourself....they are truly a special family. Pray for them all please.....

Now here is the blog I had started a couple days ago but forgot to post......

"Therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you." (Isaiah 30:18)

I read that verse the morning our roof was being finished. Realized we had started praying about the roof situation over two years ago. The roof did SEEM like a long wait, but Oh how sweet and gracious is the Lords way!! God's ways are so worth waiting for! So much better than anything we could have ever thought of.... ... Lance and I want to THANK EVERYONE involved! We had no idea what was going on all the months that we were praying. We found out not long ago that it was suppose to be done during Lance's transplant as a surprise. When that got delayed they ended up having to tell us. Nicole had given us an encouraging card to read on the way to the hotel it was signed: From Everybody and most of all GOD!! We do thank God!! We are so thankful for all the love shown to us in so manys, feel just like God is giving us a great big hug saying "TRUST ME"! In the midst of what seems like an uncertain time with Lance's health....... God is showing us once again that HE is in Control...... to keep Trusting Him!

Now for an update. Lance's platelets are up a little this week!! Not what the doctors want yet, but going in the right direction!! We head to Iowa City on Monday. Lance will have another bone marrow biopsy........ Please pray for him.... It will take at least two weeks to get the results so more waiting..... Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and that the test will help them to have clear direction and unity for his future treatment.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Roof Over Their Heads....

Hi everybody, this is Nicole, Lance and Penny's daughter-in-law, married to their talented, smart and handsome son, Nathan :) I was asked to contribute the back story behind how the 'Roof Over Their Heads' came about. I want to begin by saying that I absolutely ADORE Lance and Penny and I would like to credit them with setting the example to us for what a great marriage looks like. From very early on, Lance made it clear to the boys that no one (other than the Lord) would come before his bride, their mother. And it was this kind unconditional love that has really left an impression on us to this day. That being said, I not only adore Lance and Penny but I admire and respect them. So just like anyone else, Lance's diagnosis left me feeling just as lost as they did wondering 'what do we do now?' I knew it would be a big deal to be there for them but yet not to interfere too much, because even though I wanted to, this was not a journey I could complete for them. Honestly, I just prayed that in whatever way the Lord could use me to help unload any of the burdens, that I would hear Him and not mess up too much along the way!

Not long after Lance had been diagnosed (July 9th 2009), they were taking one of their weekly trips to the University of Iowa and Lance had recalled the feeling one particular day when he looked back at the roof and the damaged state it was in, that it might never be repaired. Penny was also burdened by this and she called me a couple months later in late September to let me know they were getting a quote for materials and labor and they were hopeful and asked me to pray about it. This was through Bryce Davis, whom we both knew of with another local church and he had a little girl pass away from cancer about 5 years ago. He was very nice and thorough but unfortunately it was still too much for Penny and Lance, with doctor's bills and everything else. Penny told me that with circumstances the way they were she and Lance did not have a peace about going through with having their roof redone yet, even though it was in HORRIBLE shape. They had had hail damage, some rough winters and the shingles were not holding up. So now Penny knew she had to rely on God and "let it go". She had told me that what kept her going was the fact that it wasn't leaking yet.

During this time I was feeling bad that they couldn't get the roof fixed, but also respectful of the fact that God can show Himself in many ways, little did I know that it would be through me. A few months past and we were well into the Winter months and almost upon Spring when I suddenly felt burdened by the roof. (This was actually about 2 months before they did have a real leak in their roof and God was already working His plans to make sure it would get fixed while testing their faith in Him during this time) God began speaking to me in only the way He can, giving me perspective and understanding of how bad their roof was, no longer looking at it as their problem but MY problem. I could not stop envisioning the roof collapsing and leaking and the worst of it was seeing Lance (at that time he was going through his ITP diagnosis at the U of I) being in his safe haven of home, without a roof. Yes, my imagination was a bit extreme but like I said God hit me where He knew I would be the most impacted. Of course I had to do something but that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach told me I couldn't do it and I wasn't good enough to do it -- you know, all those doubts you feel before doing something REALLY big :)

I knew I would have to raise the funds (not knowing how much that would be) and find someone who would be willing to work for the cost of materials which seemed like a lot to ask. My plan was very unorganized and I still wasn't firmly committed to going through with it, I was still in the 'research' phase. I had gone through many attempts to get a hold of Bryce Davis and never did. Amazingly enough, I ran into him at a soccer game where his niece was playing and he approached me, finding out about my reason for trying to reach him. He gave me all of the information I needed and encouraged me to go forward with it -- I was now committed to seeing this happen.

I started talking to more people and I was amazed at everyone's responses. Our own church who obviously didn't know Penny and Lance the way we do committed to having not only a Love Offering to help raise money but also committing several guys to help with the demolition work of the roof, WOW! I was apprehensive about contacting Lance and Penny's church because I knew that they had already helped so much, but when I did, they definitely wanted to have a part in this. But even more amazingly, The Routleys (John Routley and his two sons Kory and JJ) committed to completing the entire roof ONLY for the cost of materials and without knowing if there would be anyone who would show up to help, WOW! At this stage it was just a matter of making the phone calls and gathering the necessary funds. This part was difficult because I did not want to call people who felt obligated to give but because they felt led to give. I can honestly say that everyone WANTED to help and people were thanking me whole-heartedly for calling them. Finally it came down to a big sale at Menards that signaled, "we need to get this done". Even though there was still some money coming in, I gave what I had collected thus far to Brent Fessler (who offered to pick up the shingles from Menards) and the remainder was graciously donated by the congregation of Arbor Oaks. Little did I know that God was purposely delaying some of the money for a special plan of His own.

In late September of this year (Wow, almost one year later!) the date to start the roof was set for October 8th. So with with the project a couple weeks away, I made sure to get the rest of the money needed. People were getting excited for us and Lance, Penny and myself were all getting nervous (for different reasons). I was nervous about the weather and that there would be enough help. Penny was nervous that her house was clean enough :) and that she wanted to be where she was needed when everything was going on. Lance was also nervous about finding his place in all of this. For as thankful and appreciative as he was, he didn't know if he should be outside watching and talking to people assuming that they would be wondering why he wasn't up there helping or inside, ignoring them -- a tough place for a man who doesn't sit on this side of service projects very much. Like I said before, God was already working out His plans through the many prayers of others. People had even approached Penny and Lance at this time knowing the anxiety they must have been feeling through it all, letting them know that their prayers were with them. Five days before the roof project I had contacted Brent Fessler at Arbor Oaks Bible Church (where Penny and Lance attend) to let him know that I had more money that had come in that I needed to get to him. He said that he wanted to see that money go to Penny and Lance to meet any other needs that they may have. To those of us involved with the project it was clear that Penny and Lance should be able to get away if at all possible and now it was possible! This was not in our plans from the beginning, but it was definitely in God's! The prefect place and location was found for Penny and Lance to get away - The Decker Hotel in Maquoketa, IA (half an hour away). A beautiful full service bed and breakfast style hotel. There was even enough left over so that they could really enjoy the time away!

As for my worries and concerns about the weather and enough help -- WOW! We had 20+ men and several women helped bring meals, snacks and drinks. The weather forecast called for "abundant sunshine" and the temperatures were nearing 80 just before they finished on Saturday. Even more amazing was that the project took roughly 5 hours of manpower from beginning to end. Everyone was in good spirits, laughing, joking and pitching in wherever they could. Watching the two church families work together with Lance's 4 kids was another brilliant scheme that God had on the back burner showing the great unity and respect brought together by the commonality that was shared among them -- Lance and Penny.

Now I'm sure I've missed a few details along this journey and I was also planning on sharing the thank-you note that was given to the two churches but I'm sure I've run out of time and ink :) Thanks for seeing this through to the end. For everyone who helped out in some way or another I personally, can never thank you enough and I know Lance and Penny share the same sentiments :) Take care!

Nicole Hall