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March 1, 2015

Dear prayer warriors,

Early in 2004, Jason Stuart, a young American man who had been working for a number of years with the Inaru people in PNG married Toni, a young Australian who was working with a tribal group in the Philippines. Together they returned to Inaru where Jason completed the translation of the New Testament for that language group.

The Lord gave them a son and a daughter during those years and then the family moved out to Wewak to undertake a ministry helping other teams still discipling young churches and translating the New Testament for them.

Toni has always been a bright, bubbly lady. However, early this year the wind went out of her sails and she needed to seek medical help to find out what was wrong.

Jason published the photo below when they were leaving Wewak for the trip to Melbourne and then up to Ballarat.

At that time Jason wrote: "This is Toni leaving our house yesterday. This particular wheelchair didn't have footrests so she had to hold her left foot (the side that doesn't work) so it wouldn't drag on the ground. Pray her thru 3 airports today and a midnight drive back home to Ballarat (and pray that I the driver stay awake:-)."

The results showed that Toni's condition is much more serious than they had expected. Below is an excerpt from a letter they sent to their prayer warrior family.  Please keep this family lifted up in prayer.

March 2015 Update excerpt

The doctors in Melbourne did an MRI of Toni's brain and then a biopsy of the lesion in her brain. Up to that point, the doctors were still thinking that Toni's symptoms were related to a tropical disease. However, the biopsy showed that Toni has glioblastoma, a form a stage 4 brain cancer that is actually unrelated to her previous symptoms. Her first symptoms that can be related to this tumour started around New Year's and so it has moved very fast. Toni's tumour is inoperable due to it's size and the fact that it has strands throughout many parts of her brain; the doctors told us that Toni has just a few months left with us.

While this was not the news we expected, the Lord has given us the grace to accept it as coming from Him. I had a premonition that this might be the diagnosis and so had already dealt with the idea before the Lord. Toni had not anticipated this news, but received it with peace and grace, knowing that it comes from the sovereign hand of God and there isn't anything we can do about it. We have explained it to the children, who have a harder time accepting the idea and who are still very hopeful that Mummy will get better.

A couple days ago the doctors told us that, even though the tumour was inoperable, they felt that they should at least try radiation and chemotherapy, because they felt that it would give Toni a few more months to spend with the children without too many adverse side effects. Being a mother, Toni wants to do as much as she can for and with her children before she leaves us, so she is willing to give the treatment a try. So, today they are transferring Toni from Melbourne up to our local hospital in Ballarat and on Monday they hope to start the treatments.

We have already received a huge outpouring of love and prayers from God's people for which we are very grateful. Our church here in Creswick is helping us in every way possible and many friends are making their way to see Toni (some in Papua New Guinea are even planning to come and visit). In all this we see nothing but God's goodness. Neither Toni nor I fear her death as such; I think the biggest concern is for the children, to make sure that we are providing what their hearts need.

Here is a photo of the family taken in July 2013.

 


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