April-May 2014 Prayer Letter

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Dear Prayer Supporters,

Thank you for your prayers for our family over the past two months, while Tonya and Abigail have been in the USA for their medical furlough.  They have finished everything, and they will be traveling home to Kenya May 24th-25th.

Abigail also graduated from Jacksonville Christian Academy (our home church's school), got her driving permit, did a lot of practicing, and was able to get some needed medical testing done.  In 2007, Abigail was diagnosed with a juvenile form of osteoporosis, and she had a bone density test done while in the USA. Her doctor was amazed at her results! She tested just into the normal range, which technically means that she no longer shows signs of osteoporosis!  She will return to Kenya for a year, work on some Bible College course work through external studies, and then go on to Bible College when we return for our regularly scheduled furlough in 2015. Possibly she and our second daughter, Breanne, will both be staying in the USA at that time for college.

Tonya has had some good results along with also finally finding out the cause of some of her health issues. She has been diagnosed with Negative Intrinsic Factor (a protein that is completely missing in her intestines, and which is responsible for attaching to “B” vitamins so that the body can use them) and also with Pernicious Anemia (an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly damages its own tissues, and this anemia depletes iron, B-12, and Folate serum/B-9). Her iron levels were all good; her B-12 level was fairly stable since her last labs; but her folate was critically low. Both the B-12 and folate affect the health of the brain and affect how the brain relays messages to either the glands or nerves throughout the entire body. Because of her diagnosis and the severity of her anemia, her doctors have told us to be prepared for her to continue to return to the USA (or another medically capable country) every six months for life. Although this is not the answer we were hoping for, we are thankful that the Lord has allowed us to finally know what we are dealing with. But we would like to ask each of you to join with us in making this a serious matter of prayer; both for the physical needs that Tonya will continue deal with, and for the extra finances that these kinds of trips and testing are going to require indefinitely. The Lord already knows everything that lies ahead of us; we just ask that you pray with us concerning these things, as we already know that Kenya is where God wants our family to continue to serve Him.

We have begun the work on the church building at Calvary Baptist in Kisii. Things are going well, but since we are on the side of a hill, we decided to put a couple of rooms on the lower side of the building. In doing this, it has added about $7,000 to the original plans, so it will increase the total cost of the building to nearly $20,000. We have already erected the steel frame and roof, built a retaining wall, built the walls for the downstairs rooms, and laid the foundation for the entire building. It will continue to be done in stages since the church itself is raising money for their building throughout the year. In the beginning, we promised the church that we would help them with half of the total amount, so $3,500 has been added to our part to fulfill our half of the total amount. We have never seen a church in Kenya do what this small group of people has done. If God lays it on your heart to help them, even with their remaining part (total of $7000); it would be a great blessing to their faith, and it will go a long way in helping us reach the town of Kisii for Christ which is home for about 183,000 people and is the central market town for more than 3.5 million people in the South Nyanza region of Kenya. Thank you for your prayers and sacrifice for Kenya!

Serving Him in Kenya,

Luke & Tonya Shelby

IMG_2820Abigail Graduates from High SchoolIMG_0344

Building progress at Calvary Baptist Church - Kisii Town
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