Members at the Church

On February 4th, my wife and I became members at our church.  Many of my family members live far away and were not able to attend. For their benefit, I’m going to post my testimony here. I will post it in point form just as I was looking at to share it in person.

1. I first became convicted that I was a sinner as a young child and accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for my sin at a Marvin Thiessen crusade in the ‘80’s.

2. I moved to Calgary with my Mom right after grade 9, which is a few months older than my oldest son is now. There I attended the EMC Youth Group for a few years.

3. God saved me from the all too common party scene and I didn’t drink or do drugs. My rebellion was different than that of many teenagers. During my later teen years, I joined the Mormon church; however, God soon put a situation into my life that forced me to realize that Mormonism was not the right way to get back to God.

4. I moved back to La Crete and attended the BMC Young Adults, which was being led by Mr. Bill Kehler, and here learned much more about my sinfulness and ongoing need for Christs’ atoning blood to cover my continual sin.

5. I met and married the love of my life who is standing here with me today.

6. Lenora has also been a wonderful wife to me. Shortly after we got married, I was probably the worst leader of the home ever. Instead of continuing to nag me to do devotions and pray and things like that, Lenora just quietly prayed for God to make those changes. I’m still far from perfect at that, but I definitely felt God was working in me to improve in that area.

7. There was a period of life that I felt somewhat discouraged with church as I didn’t feel like I was where I could realize the personal growth I desperately longed for, or where God could use us for His perfect purpose. Eventually we stopped going to church at all for about two years and just stayed home Sunday mornings where I did my best to teach my family. Occasionally we did try out different churches for a Sunday or even a few but felt no peace from God to make any of them our “home” church. This was also a time of a lot of growth as I felt the responsibility of instructing my family in the ways of the Lord.

8. After being at home for that period of time, we began feeling the lack of fellowship and sensed the Lord calling us to try this church (LHEC). We felt very welcomed and at home the very first Sunday. I specifically remember how Menno Knelsen was so caring that he remembered from June to September that I had an appointment and on which day.  The Sunday before the appointment, he requested prayer for us. The Lord had provided a good friend and I took this as confirmation to continue attending.

9. During this time, I was also in the middle of my brain tumor struggles. I had had three brain tumor surgeries already (2012-2015) and now they wanted to try one more surgery and then immediately after healing, do radiation and chemotherapy treatment in 2016. Men from this church actually volunteered to help move us to Edmonton, from loading up the trailer, driving it to Edmonton, and then unloading, all in the dead of a very cold winter.

10. While living in Edmonton, we got many visitors from this church. I won’t mention all the names for fear of missing someone, but at least 9 separate families, some coming several times and often God provided the opportunity to pray together with these fellow Christians.

11. Since we moved back last summer, we have felt very at home in this church again. I am leading an evening Bible study and thoroughly enjoy the fellowship that brings.

12. In Sunday school the other day, the question was presented “Do we live as if relating to Him (God) is more important than anything else we do?” Most of us admitted, “No, we don’t”. In response as to why not, Mr. Neudorf said “maybe we have it too good”. This reminded me of the growth I experienced in the hospital during my battles with Brain Cancer. My father-in-law sometimes assured me that “Fruit grows best in the valleys of life”. I grew enormously in my faith during my health struggles and now have complete confidence that, when my time on this earth is over, I will be with Jesus in Heaven.

13. The scripture that has most comforted me in these last few years is from Jeremiah 17. Verses 7&8:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat come; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

14. I often felt as though the heat and the year of drought had definitely come, but I desired to always bear spiritual fruit to those around me and to always have “green leaves”, in order to be a Light for God in a dark world. So the promise of that blessing really hit home for me.

15. It is my desire to be a member of this body of believers with the hopes and intentions to serve as God enables me.

My sincere hope is that people will be encouraged by how God has helped me through some very difficult times, encouraged enough to ponder their own eternal destinies.  It is only by His help that I was or ever will be able to move forward in my life.  I owe it all to the strength that Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, worked in my life.

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Spring Fun!!

I realized that I hadn’t posted in a long time so here’s a bit of an update.

Since this was Carson’s grade six year, he missed out on Ridgeview’s annual legislature tour.  We were all interested so we made a field trip out of it one day and went for the official tour.  That is an incredible building.  Carson, Emery and I even sat in for the session time for a bit.

 

This past weekend, we took a quick trip to Calgary, to visit some family and friends. We drove down on the Friday afternoon and stopped at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.  Coincidentally, it was the induction ceremony day and the ceremony was set to start about 20 minutes after we arrived.  One of the inductees was Ryan Smyth, whom we actually got to meet and get some things “scribbled on” as Tucker put it.  His wife and kids were there too, so it was really neat to meet them all.

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Ryan Smyth addressing the audience.

 

We saw my sister Ann and her family Friday evening and enjoyed a great visit and meal with them.  Saturday morning we just swam at the hotel pool.  Saturday afternoon, we headed to Okotoks, where Lenora’s sister Alana and her husband are living in their holiday trailer while Bobby works there.  Together with Alana, we went to see the Okotoks Erratic Rock, which is a humongous rock that caught a ride on a glacier and was left out in the open when the glacier melted.

Saturday for supper and the evening we spent with Lenora’s cousin, Arlene and her family.  I must say it was a real blessing to visit with all these great people.

On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at the Discovery Wildlife Park near Innisfail.

Tomorrow, I’m excited to celebrate one of the most significant events of my life. Tomorrow will be 15 years since I married my lovely wife. We plan to celebrate with the boys tomorrow by going out for supper.

Contact Information

So I’ve been tagging many of my posts with words mainly other patients might be googling looking for some information and/or comfort and advice.  I had such a person comment the other day, and I replied. Sadly, I don’t think people are notified when I reply to their comments. So, if you’ve commented, I would encourage you to go back to see if I’ve said anything back.

If you happen to be a fellow brain tumour patient and would like to connect with someone who has been there, you may email me at plwbraun@gmail.com. That way, I’ll get your questions directly.

MRI

This past Thursday, Lenora and I went in to the Cross Cancer Institute for the results of my MRI.  Praise the Lord, there was still no growth and again the Doctor was pleased with the pictures, two of which you can see below:MRI - 02-Mar-17

I always like to get my MRI as well as the report, because all those years with Dr. Chow, the surgeon, I always got to see the pictures and he gave me and oral report in person.  So, I enjoy seeing the progression, or in this case the  lack of progression, of my tumors.

So we are now mostly looking forward to the summer, not only for moving back to La Crete, but now also to go visit some dear friends on Vancouver Island.  We have been saving our Aeroplan points for a long time and only now do we have enough for a “short-haul” flight for our whole family.

 

 

I am so thankful to the Lord for how amazingly He has provided for my family.  A year ago or so, Lenora was already counting down the days until treatment was over and to be honest, it looked quite overwhelming.  But now I am done and just praise God for carrying us through.  There were certainly many times where there were only “one set of tracks in the sand”.

I have now applied to volunteer at the Cross Cancer Institute to help others find their way.  There are often volunteers available at the front desk for those who don’t know how to find where they need to go.  I hope to share the love of Christ with others in this way and also to give me a bit something to do.

 

The End! (of Chemotherapy)

As of today, I’m officially done with chemotherapy. And it feels amazing! My very last treatment was this morning.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me. Thank you to my lovely wife and four awesome sons for standing by me through these last 14 months or so.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  I feel truly blessed and privileged to have all of you on my team.

I must admit, at times I did feel a bit like Moses in Exodus 14:22: “and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” However, God also separated the waters for me and my family, so that we did not drown.

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I’m thinking I will probably continue with updates while we’re in Edmonton as long as I keep having people read, so let me know if you are into pictures and more “boring” updates.

The Home Stretch

Several people have indicated lately that they’re waiting for another update on here, so I’ll try to give you the latest. I did my second last treatment on Monday. The last one will be around February 20, then another MRI in early March, meet with the Dr. one last time and then relax for a bit. These treatments don’t necessarily make me sick, but they make me incredibly tired.  We are super thankful for the end being in sight and that the Lord has and is continuing to sustain us. “Thus far the Lord has brought us…..” (from 1 Samuel 7:12). That will have been roughly 14 months of active treatment. 2016 is a year we are not likely to forget.

I fought off one of the worst colds I can remember this January.  From around the 12th until the 28th,  I was so incredibly stuffy nosed and coughing.  I think with my immune system so down, my body just couldn’t fight it off very well.  The rest of my family had it in December and it only lasted about 4 days or so, mine was about 17 days.  I’m still coughing a bit, but I think it’s on its way out now too.

Right in the midst of that cold, it eased for a couple of days right surrounding the 20th of January.  Maybe I willed it away (or maybe because I was about as far from active treatment as I could be right then) because I had booked a wood turning workshop at Lee Valley that I was super excited for.  The workshop ran from 9:30-4:00 and I made this pepper mill:

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I sure was tired by the end, but it was well worth it.  Now I’m even more excited to move back to La Crete so I can work with my lathe some more.  Our boys also started swimming lessons on January 13 and it goes every Friday until March 24.

Our Church, East Parkland Bible Church held an event called “Walk Thru the Bible” on January 14. It was really interesting and we all learned a lot.  I would highly recommend it.  Check it out more at www.walkthru.org.  It’s basically a series of  hand symbols and memory aids to help you remember themes in the Bible.  The presenter did a great job teaching it so that it really stuck.  Lenora, Emery, Carson and I all took part while Owen and Tucker stayed with some good friends for the day.

 

Christmas 2016 – New Year 2017

So my blood work numbers are still a bit too low to carry on with my last cycle of chemotherapy.  Now I’m just waiting for that to correct itself a bit and then we can proceed.

We have some very selfless friends who are keeping Tucker and Owen on Saturday while the older two boys and Lenora and I can attend a seminar at church called Walk Thru the Bible.  We are very much looking forward to that and hoping to gain in a spiritual sense some good knowledge to go along with the Wisdom we’re hoping to “slowly” gain from that book that Lenora’s Dad lent us.;-)

Some pictures of our regular life days, and yes that’s me sewing Tucker’s “cone” back onto his toque.

Some pictures of our home schooling days.  Owen’s spelling words on a scrabble board for practice and Emery working on a science project in the basement.