Giving thanks with a grateful heart is medicine for our souls. These past weeks of our surgery have once again demonstrated the continued goodness and grace of our loving God and His people, the body of Christ. On each step of our journey we have been sustained by the fervent prayers of the righteous that availeth much. These prayers are miraculous enablers that we know God has answered for our healing! Each day God would send just the right note or phone call in response to someone’s prayer. When I was discouraged a spirit of joy would flood my heart in response to a believing prayer. When there have been financial needs that we could not meet because of all the medical bills someone would be led by God to give a gift to our medical account to help us meet our financial needs. One doctor found out that our insurance didn’t cover his bill and forgave the debt himself. How awesome is our God that meets our every need abundantly! There have been several families that have helped take care of our travel needs. They have treated us like royalty at our hotels because of the influence of these friends; after all we are children of the King. Each step of the way God has blessed us abundantly with your love and care.
Today, however, I want to thank two special groups of people! First, my precious family. Michael and Caitlin have been amazing taking care of Jon and Grace during homecoming when we were in Europe for treatment and this last trip during the blizzard in Dallas while we were in LA for surgery. Jon and Grace are so blessed by their love and servant hearts. I am humbled by their love for God and others! They have never complained only graciously served. Daniel while being away at college has been a great encouragement to me as well to keep his eyes on Jesus and not be distracted by this current season of our lives! Jon has helped to give me hundreds of shots for my treatment and Grace is as always a treasure to my heart just wanting to sit next to me and encourage me! To my parents who just spent a week with me they humble me by their servant hearts. There is no way to put in a sentence or two the amazing Gift that Laura is to my life. Simply put I am Always better when Laura is with me! She is my love only after Jesus. Her faith and faithfulness are a blessing to my life our family and the ministry. Thank you Babe for loving me with the love of Christ!
Lastly, I want to thank all of those who arranged to be with us in LA! What a special gift each of you were to us in our time of need. There is however one couple that I want to thank with all of my heart and that is Mike and Joanie Buster. We have had the joy of walking with them in ministry for decades and their love for God and His church is amazing. Mike is a wonderful gift to our church and ministry as executive pastor. He truly is a pastor to the Fechner family. My first night after surgery it was very important for me to get up and walk. When I got up to walk I about passed out. I sat down with tubes coming out of my lungs and an IV on each arm and prayed, I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me! Mike simply sat beside me and the nurse said, “why don’t you just wait until tomorrow,” then Mike said, “you want to go walk, I will go with you.” That’s all I needed was a brother to go with me! The first night was the roughest and Laura had already been through so much pressure from the surgery that Mike volunteered to stay in my room on a little roll out bed. Every hour when they would wake me up Mike would be awakened as well and would say something to make me laugh which hurt like crazy but blessed me greatly. Each time the nurse would come in she would need to open the bathroom door and would hit the top of Mike’s bed and hit him in the head. About 5 am when we had been woken up 3 or 4 times in the night Mike looked at me and said” I have nothing else to say,” and proceeded to pull the covers over his head to try to sleep. This is the ministry of Presence that can never be explained! It’s why God sent His son to be among us and why he daily sends us into the world to be his hands and feet. Thank you Mike and Joanie for being the hands and feet of Christ to us in this last journey of surgery. To each of you who have given so much we commit our lives to serve our God and His people for the rest of our lives until our last breath!
Just a week ago I was being wheeled into an operating room to go through major surgery! I remember how daunting the room seemed with all the equipment and people ready to open me up and remove a lobe of my lungs! The clearest memory is when they took my arms and placed them on these side extensions that made the table seem like a cross! They had to keep my arms away from my chest where they would make their incisions to remove the lobe! I fought with God about this surgery asking why we couldn’t just stay in Dallas and be done with the Cancer. He was very clear that I was to come and go through with this surgery!
Here I am arguing with God about a surgery He can use to save my life because it is painful. Yet, Jesus willingly was pierced in His side and took up the cross without anesthesia and died a horrific death so that my penalty of sin could be forgiven through His perfect Sacrifice. Taking up my cross daily and following Jesus has a much deeper significance than ever before. There can be no resurrection without a death! Last Tuesday I laid down my life on that table and prayed I would be a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to my Great God.
As great a peace as I felt that day I feel an even greater unrest today that this is the call of every one of us to lay down our lives for Jesus. There is a sweet fellowship of suffering that brings you into a deeper identification with Christ when you allow these seasons to grow your dependence on Christ alone and His purpose for your life! I know I have been created by God and was miraculously sustained at my birth. I know that I was miraculously born again at age 7. I know that God awakened my heart in my late 20′s to daily seek to surrender to the Lordship of Christ. I know that God called a carnal business man to full time ministry and a new purpose in life. I know that today He is calling me to reject comfort, fear, and self and daily place my life on an altar of complete surrender. I have so far to go in understanding what this means but I pray Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
This season has taught me that when I am weak then I am strong. The body of Christ has seen my weakness and been awakened to join us in this movement of God called HIS BridgeBuilders knowing that I am not able to do all that God has placed before us especially during these last two years. What a pure joy to know that I can do nothing apart from Christ. I am committing the remainder of my life to be a living sacrifice. The scars in my side will daily remind me of the miracle of God’s healing and the day that I began this wonderful journey of learning to take up my cross daily!!
There could be no greater test than what we do right after a miracle. In this case it was clear that we were to go right back to Imperial Courts in Watts. We spent most of the day Tuesday in the community with two amazing women. Cynthia is a community advocate. In 2006 two of her sons were killed within 60 days of each other. Their pictures are on the wall of the recreation center where we met her. She came to see us with a young man named Dashawn who wants to set up a music studio for the kids in the community. Cynthia is mentoring this great young man whose mom abandoned him and is helping him set this up for the kids. Even though her sons were killed here she can’t leave this community. She is serving the neighborhood and believing God for a miracle. She said no one has invested any money in Imperial Courts in 10 years. Darlene is an older woman who serves the kids in the gym. She was mentored by Cynthia. The minute we walked in she stopped what she was doing and began to listen to our hearts to help. She is the gate keeper and typically very skeptical of people like us coming in saying we are here to help. She just started calling all the people we would need to meet as if she was our new best friend. She said when Laura and I walked in the gym she looked at our faces and knew she was supposed to help us before we ever said a word. We prayed together and God knit our hearts together for this people and this place. They have prayed us here. I will learn much from Cynthia whose life is truly a living sacrifice as she daily serves the very community that killed her sons!! Please watch the short video below of Cynthia and Darlene.
She and Darlene had tears in their eyes when we hugged and said good bye. There is no way that we as a ministry have the time, resources, or the ability to minister in this community, but with God all things are Possible in His timing for His Glory!!
We just met with our wonderful surgeon Dr. Clark Fuller! What an encouragement he has been to us in this journey. We are cleared to return to Dallas on Thursday! The pathology reports did show very small amounts of cancer in the lower mass in the lining of my lung and in one of the 12 lymph nodes removed. It also confirmed cancer in the upper right lobe! All Known Cancer Has Been Removed! Medically they would say there is no residual disease! When asked about other cases like ours to compare with he said there are probably only 100 people who have experienced the same outcomes as we have! To go from Stage 4 lung cancer to no evidence of disease 20 months later is a Miracle of God!! We give God and God alone all the praise for our Healing! By His stripes We Are Healed!!!! Thank you to each of you for your love and prayers! We love you!
This past weekend Dad and Mom have been in Los Angeles in preparation for surgery to remove the remaining tumor in Dad’s lungs. While they have been in prayer and spent time relaxing before the surgery, they have also taken some time to be on mission. God’s word commands us to be on mission always, everywhere, and in all circumstances. Yesterday Mom and Dad, along with David Adams, walked the housing project in Watts known as Imperial Courts. It is the same development Dad and Mike Buster visited over a year ago.
Since their visit a year ago it has been on their hearts to return and continue ministering to the people of Imperial Courts. Below is part of an email Dad sent yesterday describing their time in Imperial Courts,
“We rejoice at the greatness of our God who is worthy to be praised!! Our God is Able!! He has opened a wide door of opportunity for us here in Los Angeles at Imperial Courts!! We thank you for your prayers! James Thomas prayed to receive Christ and was the first person we talked to in the housing development! We had an amazing 4 hour visit with these dear people!! Laura ministered to a little boy named Boui whose father was killed last month! We met a man named Melvin and three other men who said they would contact us about our mission and joining us for the transformation of their community! Laura had a great visit with a wonderful young mom named Laquisha!! The Lord gave us favor and the people were so hungry for the Lord and a relationship with us and our ministry! David Adams was amazing!! He has planted this people and this place in our hearts!! We are thankful to the Lord for our healing for His Glory!!! You are a precious family that I Love and thank God for daily! We will not shrink Back!!!! We have only just begun but God has called us to a movement of God that will transform cities around the world for the glory of God!!!”
What an encouragement to hear about God moving in the midst of what we characterize as a storm. As far as the surgery went today we received the best potential outcome! The doctors were able to remove the tumor in the right lung, which they found to be minimally active. They also removed a small tumor along the chest lining and some previously affected lymph nodes for caution sake. The doctor did a thorough exam and all the cancerous activity in the body is gone! We are thankful for your prayers and are so blessed by your love for our family.
While the hard part is over we are expecting about a 5 week recovery period here in Dallas and Dad will continue to use the medicinal treatments he has been taking over the last year. I am sure that Dad will be posting in the next week or so and until then we will post occassional updates.
Please continue to be in prayer for the men and women in Imperial Courts, whom the Lord has placed on our hearts to continue ministering too. Below are several pictures of Mom and Dad with these dear people.
Caitlin, Daniel, Grace, Jonathan, and Michael Jr.