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Archive for November, 2012

CAR NEEDED

We have an urgent request to make. Our family is in need of a vehicle (car or mini-van) to use during the time we’ll be in the States raising financial support. We’ll need the vehicle for about 6-12 months to visit and thank current partners, to meet potential partners and to share about our ministry in Sweden. If you can help us (or if you know someone who can), please email us (tagmartin@yahoo.com) as soon as you can. We apologize for the last minute request – we thought we had a mini-van that we could use, but we just found out that is no longer available. We’ve seen God do incredible things in our lives recently, and we’re looking forward to see how God will surprise us with His answer to this request.

We have our flights booked and we arrive in the States on December 8! We are so excited! We don’t have cell phone numbers yet, but you can always contact us via email (tagmartin@yahoo.com).

Oh! There’s no place like home for the holidays!!!

We are so very happy to say that all of my (Gwen’s) medical tests have come to an end!!! Since I’m feeling well, the doctor is not going to put me on any medication for my liver disease right now.

So we are now ready to head back to the States!!! Truly, we are excited!!! It’s been about 8 months since I first started getting sick and 4 months since we had to cancel our tickets. I’m now eating a chocolate mousse tårte with berries for my birthday cake; one that I wanted for Mother’s Day but was too sick to eat!!! Sweet!!! We are all rejoicing!!! And thanking Jesus for answered prayer!!! Please rejoice with us!!!

Test results for Gwen

We have received the last test results from our doctor and it showed no  malignant cells!!!! YEAH!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus!!!

So now the next step, and hopefully the last step, before we can travel to the US is to see the gastrointestinal doctor (medicinläkare) to begin treatment for the liver disease. Please pray that we have contact with him soon. We don’t want to just wait because of our plans to be back in the States at this time.  But it’s not always easy to get quick visits when it’s not a medical emergency.  Even though things haven’t always happened when we planned, we believe that through prayer, God has greatly helped in our endeavors to move this process along as quick as possible. So please pray that God will help us get in contact with this doctor quickly.

At this point, it doesn’t seem that we will be able to get to the US before Jiana’s birthday on Nov. 23. If you would, pray for her and that she has a wonderful birthday here. She has been so looking forward to having this birthday in the States and celebrating it with my (Gwen’s) brother’s family and doing things that we can do in the States since her last birthday. Of course, since August, when we had to cancel our tickets, she has known this might not be possible. But now it is becoming a sad reality… Pray for her to be pleasantly surprised and that she’ll feel that God really does see her and care for her. And pray for her mom and dad to be able to pleasantly surprise her, too!!!! Thanks so much!!

Swedish and Russian Transparency, Father’s Day

We just ended a great weekend of ministry and family celebration we want to share with you.

ImageOn Friday night, I was asked to share a message at the Pentecostal Church’s young adult group (ages 18-30). I spoke on the need for transparency. Interestingly, there’s no direct Swedish equivalent for that word…the closest is a phrase that means “to allow insight”.  I had to illustrate with clear transparent glasses filled with water and colored non-transparent glasses, but I think they got the point. I believe the lack of being transparent with at least 1 or 2 intimate friends can easily lead to destruction of people’s personal and spiritual lives. I’m praying that these future church leaders will take up the challenge and experience the freedom from shame and guilt that comes only through being transparent first with God, and then with their transparency partners.

ImageOn Sunday, our church was visited by Yura, a Russian pastor and men’s ministry leader who serves in the Russian Arctic tundra. He shared how his ministries of wilderness adventures (hiking, camping, mountain climbing, etc.) and small groups aboard the Russian naval ships passing through the port are helping to develop men into the husbands and fathers God has called them to be. Interestingly, Yura does this through teaching the men to be transparent with each other – the very same principle I shared with the Swedish young adults! I love how God delights in bringing seemingly unrelated people and events together to show us His desires! The picture to the right shows one of the Russians sharing about how Christ has radically transformed his life through the men’s ministry. He spoke in Russian, Yura (in the center) translated the Russian to English and then Richard (our pastor) translated the English to Swedish. We’re so glad we won’t need translators in heaven!

Sunday was also Father’s Day in Sweden. When we first came, we decided to continue to observe the holiday in June rather than November. However, Jensina crafted a beautiful card for me and I really want to share it with you. Definitely one of those things that makes a Dad burst with pride!

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We continue to ask you to join us and pray that God would cut through all the hindrances and allow us to be in the States for Jiana’s birthday on November 23.

Thanks for your involvement in our ministry!

We’re still waiting!

Just wanted to give a brief update to you all. The doctors wanted to repeat all of the original tests; MRI, blood tests, and ERCP, which are the ones that got this process started. They did that between Oct 18-23. Since then, we’ve been waiting for the results. The results of the MRI and blood tests were normal. We are soooooo happy about that and praising God. Now we are just waiting to hear about the lab results from the ERCP. We should hear any day now and are anxiously waiting so we can make our plans. If the results are good, I (Gwen) will probably need to see one more doctor about the liver disease and maybe get some medicine. If the results aren’t good, the doctors here will probably want to do more testing. I am feeling well and am soooooo very thankful for that!!!!!!

We were really hoping to be back in the US by Thanksgiving and Jiana’s birthday, but that hope is slowly turning into disappointment. Please keep us in prayer as it is getting harder emotionally. Especially for Jiana, who has been planning all year to celebrate her 12th birthday in the States.

Other than that, we are doing well. Jensina and Jiana are making good progress in school. I am feeling well and taking this time to catch up on making scrapbooks for Jensina and Jiana (I am woefully behind :() as well as meeting with people and continuing to make efforts to improve in Swedish. Tony is working on his Swedish drivers license (it’s quite hard and demanding), some ministry opportunities, and improving his Swedish also. So we are working on things that will help us settle in better when we return to Sweden.

Last week was the annual light festival here in Luleå. Here are some of the sights we enjoyed!! (Sorry for the shaky pictures. It was COLD and so hard to hold the camera still!!!) Below the slideshow is a video of the main attraction at the Ljusfest.  Hope you enjoy it all!! Gwen 🙂

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