November 20, 2009

Lasik Surgery Adventure

Whew...what a past several days for me! I found out on Monday morning that Lasik surgery will never happen for me. I was very disappointed to hear this news but glad the doctor had enough wisdom not to do surgery with possible complications. I had so looked forward to being able to wake in the night and actually read the clock or be able to jump out of bed to get to one of the kid's rooms quickly without the need to reach for glasses or even read signs or license plates from any distance. However, I am grateful for glasses and the ability to see most things! :)

Back in February, I saw the eye doctor for a consultation about Lasik surgery and he asked me to stop wearing contact lenses for at least six months. It seems the blood vessels on my cornea were deeply affected by many, many years of wearing contact lenses. I have faithfully worn my glasses (except for a few rare exceptions of wearing contact lenses) in hopes of having Lasik surgery this year. However, it was just not meant to be as the blood vessels had improved but not enough to have Lasik surgery without possible complications. I am a candidate for PRK laser surgery, which will have the same end results. The PRK surgery is a bit more evasive and has a longer recovery time vs. the Lasik surgery. The doctor was ready to schedule me for the surgery this past Tuesday but I could not stay in Johannesburg for a week as well as take care of Nathan all on my own in recovery, too. I am not sure if I am going to do this surgery and would love to hear from anyone that has had PRK laser surgery. If I do decide to proceed with the PRK surgery, our whole family will go over to Johannesburg sometime in the next couple of months so we are all together for my recovery time. Please pray that I make the right decision on whether to proceed with the surgery or be content to wearing only my glasses for the rest of my life.

The trip to Johannesburg was quite an adventure in itself as Nathan ended up getting sick Sunday evening, not long after we had arrived at the guest house. I had bought Clover First Growth Milk in small boxes for him to drink to make it easier for traveling. I did not realize all the extra ingredients (like iron and so forth) that is added to this "special" milk as Nathan normally drinks full cream (whole) milk every day. Well, he had an allergic reaction (the best I can tell based on the fact that his daddy is lactose intolerant!) to the milk and poor little guy threw up five times in just a few hours. It was Nathan's first time to throw up so he was quite scared and did not like it one bit. Once it was all out of his system, he turned over and was back to his old, usual self. Praise the Lord it was nothing else and he bounced back quickly.

Whew....always an adventure!

November 15, 2009

Allen's African Adventures - November

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB)

Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of our family and ministry in Swaziland. The work is greatly enhanced and empowered by your prayers on our behalf.
Since we last wrote we have had some encouraging developments in the work in the Lesibovu community. This is an area about an hour and a half southeast of Mbabane. Last month we had our second baptism service and baptized nineteen new believers. We have continued holding weekly chronological Bible story lessons every Saturday. This week we had over one hundred adults, youth and children present. The church has begun conducting Sunday morning worship services on their own, with different members taking turns leading. I have reduced my preaching there to once per month. Last Sunday the church held its first Sunday school, with assistance from members from Hawane Baptist Church. We also celebrated our first Lord's Supper together as a church family. On Thursday I met with church members and local elders concerning a plot of land for the church. The location which the church had requested was granted and a down payment made. The only thing left is to have an official celebration with the putting in the boundary stakes by the local authorities. Please pray that nothing would create division among this enthusiastic group of believers. Pray that strong internal leadership would continue to develop.

We are the only IMB personnel in Swaziland at the moment, as Wayne and Barbara Myers are in the US for their stateside assignment. They will be returning in January. Please pray that the Myers would have a time of refreshing in the states as they visit with family and friends. Pray also for their safety as they travel to different churches to speak about the ministry work in Swaziland.

Please continue to pray for various churches that are seeking plots of land on which to build. The plot for Hawane Baptist Church has still not been officially marked due to an unresolved issue between two competing chiefs for the area. Mpembekati is also seeking a plot as their church is being relocated due to the construction of a school on land which they had previously been granted. Other churches currently have buildings under construction. Please pray that the churches would be able to see these projects through to completion (Ntsintsa and Victory Baptist Church).

Please pray for the upcoming National Baptist Women's Retreat, which will be held December 17-19. The theme is, "Power of the Journey" based on II Corinthians 3:5. Hannah Poe will be the keynote speaker for the event. You may recall that Greg and Hannah Poe, and their two sons, Joshua and Elijah, served on the Swazi team for two years in 2005-2007. The whole family will be coming to minister December 10 (leaving the USA) - December 25 (arriving back in the USA). Please pray that they would have traveling safety and a wonderful time of ministry and reconnecting with old friends in Swaziland.

Thank you for your prayers for Monica and Lacie as they took a short trip to the states for a cousin's wedding last month. They had an enjoyable time visiting with family and friends, and Lacie had an opportunity to serve as a flower girl in the wedding. Their trip was an enjoyable and safe one. While they were away, Steve and Nathan stayed behind to continue ministry. Nathan was a real trooper, and he and daddy had some good male bonding time. It is good, however, to have the family all back together again.

Please pray for Monica and Nathan as they will be traveling to Johannesburg on Sunday, November 15th. On Monday, Monica will be having a medical consultation in Johannesburg for possible Lasik eye surgery. If all looks well she is slated to have surgery on Tuesday. She is really looking forward to seeing normally again without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Steve and Lacie will be staying in Swaziland in order to continue ministry and schooling. Please pray that Monica will be able to proceed with her surgery and have a good outcome.

As the holiday season approaches, please remember to give to the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This year, more than ever, the International Mission Board is in need of everyone's financial support if the work of missionaries, such as ourselves, is to continue around the world. God is at work and this is your opportunity to join in HIS activity and plans! The goal for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is $175 million.

***Remember, we live in Africa and there is no guarantee that our e-mails are received or even sent out correctly. If you have written and not heard from us, please write again. We would rather receive e-mails two times than not at all.***

Family Blog - - leave us a comment so we know you stopped by to visit! - Be looking for new stories shortly....
Skype - allensinafrica
Monica and Steve are both on Facebook so look them up!
Team prayer blog:

Blessings and love,
Steven, Monica, Lacie and Nathan Allen
IMB missionaries to Swaziland

Baptizing a new believer at Peace Baptist Church

Getting ready to show the JESUS film to a primary school

Precious children at Ntsintsa Baptist Church

Church under the trees

Preparing to take "The Lord's Supper"

Steve, Monica, Lacie and Nathan hanging out after church at Lesibovu