August 2013 Update
Steve & Mary Jo Mills (1976)
Dear Praying Friends,
First of all, we want to thank so many of you who have been praying for us in these past several months. You all know it is our heart’s desire to return to Togo, where we have served for the past (almost) 25 years now. We also knew when we returned early last year that Steve’s medical issues would determine that. We also have said many times over that the only way we would leave Togo, would be if the Lord Himself closes that door, as our hearts are so interwoven with the work and people of Togo. You all have been waiting (as we have been) for the Lord’s declaration in all of this.
A little over a week ago now, we met with our medical mission director, Dr. Tim Hepworth and our administrator over Africa for ABWE while at the Missionary Enrichment (ME) Conference out near Washington, D.C.. In that meeting we were told that we would not be cleared, medically, to return to Togo. Our hearts dropped with the news but at the same time, we have been prayerfully seeking what the Lord Himself would want for our future service for Him. And now we know what His desire is for us. Our ABWE administrators feel that it would not be medically wise for us to return to a “third world country” with the diagnosis that Mayo has given us of “frontal-temporal dementia”. The neurologist at Mayo made it very clear that this is not related to or the same as Alzheimer’s disease. Steve is still having trouble with his balance and even though the falls don’t occur that often, they feel it would not be safe to return to Africa. We ourselves are so positive that some of his symptoms are directly related to the “poisoning” he received with the ingestion of the extremely high doses of Aspertame by route of the Crystal Light which became toxic while stored on the shelf in the constant high heat of Africa. We say this as when we returned back to the States and Steve went off of the Crystal Light altogether, he experienced a significant difference in his health. He felt as though a huge cloud was lifted off of his brain. Now however, who is to say the lasting or permanent affects of that “poisoning” for who knows how many years now.
Ron Washer, and Dr. Hepworth, have suggested to us the possibility of seeking a medical disability. In all of our discussion of how we can still be used for the Lord’s work with ABWE, they don’t quite know how or where we would be able to continue. So, we will seek the medical disability, as instructed, but also continue to serve in the areas that we know are available with our local and sending church. Our home office at ABWE is doing all they can to help us with this transition and we will continue to seek how we can continue to be used of the Lord in our service to Him.
We are so very thankful for your continued love and prayers in all of this and would ask that you continue as we work through this whole thing of medical disability. We understand this is a bit of a challenge to do. God has been so gracious in all of these years in allowing us to be used of Him and we are so thankful for that privilege.
As to the next several months approach, we need to plan on returning to Togo to close out our household there. There is much work to do there as some items will obviously stay as they cannot be used in the States, but there are many personal items we would like to bring back. Mary Jo packed all the things up as we left last year with kind of a challenging thought of “are we returning or do we pack things to send back, if we could not return”. Well, now we have that answer and must go about the task of caring for all of this. As you know, this will entail passage back to Togo and then shipping a container back to the States. We would ask if anyone would be able to help us with this cost. We need to verify exactly what is in our ABWE account, but know it will not cover the expenses of packing and shipping a container. If you would be interested in helping us with this, would you please contact us via our e-mail or simply calling us. Our address stateside is listed or you could contact us via ABWE.
Again, we are so thankful for each and every one of you who have been with us over the last 20+ years. God has blessed us enormously and you have been a great source of encouragement over these years. please continue with us as we travel this new road that the Lord has for us. We love you and are so very thankful for you all. As things progress, we will let you know exactly what is all going on. And, as we already stated, we would greatly appreciate your prayers in all that will pass for the next bit of time.
In His Service,
Steve & Mary Jo Mills
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