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Darla Crotts

November 2011

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Nov. 26th, 2011

Darla Crotts

How is Darla?

From April (last entry) to December is quite a stretch, but I like to pace myself, also, in that period, it has been hard to pin-point specific progress. We still get many inquiries tho, and so Mom has done an update since she is "on the scene" and can give a better account. Thank you for asking, we trust that means you are still praying for them. And now, heeeeeres Mom:


Dear Friends,

So many people ask, “How is Darla doing?” I really thought I would have a better answer after I got back here and could see for myself, but the reality is, it is hard to say how Darla is doing. First of all, she is discerning enough to know when we are talking about her and she might even read this blog! (Hi, Darla!) So I don’t want to talk about her like as if she is not able to talk for herself.

I think the most telling thing about Darla is listening to her pray. In her prayers in our family prayer times, if you could sit in on them, you would hear Darla weep and ask the Lord to help her “be what I need to be to my precious children” and then you would hear her, still tearfully, ask the Lord to help her to serve Him and to be a blessing and a help to the people in their ministries. If you could be a mouse in my kitchen, (I haven’t seen any, so I think you would be the first), you would hear Darla expressing frustration at feeling incapable of managing things as she used to. “It’s so frustrating; I know I used to be able to perform better!” Yes, she has trouble executing several things at once. (But so do I!!!) The children’s quick movements and their chatter and banter can be disorienting to her. Any quick movement can leave her dizzy and even a little woozy. The doctors say they think this is an inner ear issue related to the neurological damage she suffered. As she gets more tired, she relies on the strong arm of her hubby or her big son to navigate stairs or uneven ground. You can see a weakness or lack of coordination sometimes. The doctors have told her to “Push through” some of her issues, even to the point of “aggravating” her dizziness by sitting up suddenly in bed, etc. This is truly a “push through it” event for her because such dizziness brings nausea with it.

In addition to these things, Darla sometimes loses focus before she can finish writing a paragraph, or loses focus in the middle of a process; because of this, doesn’t always trust her judgment, and turns to Rick or someone to help her make a call on things. They recently had a yard sale to sell off some extra’s they have accumulated, clothes the kids have outgrown, etc. Darla had a hard time making judgment calls on pricing things, and even on what was to be done with a thing. . .sell or keep. Decisions are hard for her. But she did get better at it the second day of the sale. (-:

Here’s what she can do: She can do some cooking, and laundry. Marshall, now 27 months old, loves to go to the retractable clothesline on the veranda and “help” mommy hang the clothes. That is another thing she can do. She can certainly love on and enjoy Marshall! She can sit with her children and help them with their school work. She and I “spell” each other on that. When I need a nap, they call on her. Otherwise, Grandpa and I have been overseeing a lot of their home-schooling, since Rick and Darla went to Australia for a month in October, and then we continued it after their return so they could work on some of their “projects” - including putting the finishing touches on the last two rooms of their house. (Whew! That was a pretty long sentence! Did you follow? Hope so, because I’m not doing a re-write.)

Darla can also still sit with the ladies in their ministries and listen to their needs and their stories. She can offer them the same sympathetic ear and give them loving counsel, or promise to pray for them. . .as before. While Rick and Darla were in Australia for the follow-up with the neurologists in October, my husband was filling in for Rick in his ministries. We were at Simpson Harbor Baptist Church, where Rick and Darla have served since 2005, and a young lady came up to me and said she was “returning” my book that Darla had recently lent to her. The book was, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” The young lady had had some boyfriend problems which she shared with Darla. Darla counseled her and gave her the book to read and suggested to her that she read it with a notebook and that she write down anything that particularly blessed her or that she wanted to remember. She told her to take notes on the book as if she were going to give a report on it, but for her own personal reference. The young woman told me in tears that she read the book twice and she did take notes as Sister Darla told her to and that it had changed her whole attitude about boyfriends! She said, “I am now ready to wait on the Lord to lead me to the man I should marry some day.” So, you see, even with her limitations which cause her some self doubt and probably give rise to a bit of depression out of frustration at times, God still uses Darla. This is what we try to assure her of and I keep telling her, “Darla, you are still improving. Be patient with yourself.” Ashley says, “Don’t beat yourself up, Mama! You are still here for us!”

The follow-up with the neurologists last month did not provide all the answers Rick and Darla hoped for. Rick said “Doctors, ask you a lot of questions and sit there and look at you and nod their heads, but they don’t give you many answers.” At least not in this case! They did have a few suggestions and held out hope for further improvements, but our real hope is in the Great Physician! He heals and He gives grace!

One great burden for Darla right now is the knowledge that $98,000 is needed to pay back the money lent for her medical evacuation a year ago. Her head bows at the mention of it. All the other medical bills are covered, Praise the Lord, but as the American dollar weakens against the Australian dollar, the money amount still owed grows. They and we have no means to pay this and the folks who lent it deserve to have it repaid. Please pray with us about this. If you can help or if you have a suggestion for fund-raising, please do as God leads you to do. Thank you again for your prayers and gifts.

Love,
Joyce
Mother, Mother-in-Law, Grandma

Apr. 12th, 2011

Darla Crotts

Still here:

Dear Friends and Family,

We have been back in the States for four weeks and it has been an eventful month. Tomorrow is the beginning of the fifth missions conference we have been in and the 9th church. This week we are privileged to be part of the missions conference in our own church, Shawnee Mission Baptist Temple. We have one new supporting church, Calvary Baptist Church, Seward, Nebraska, Pastor Timothy Ruegg. Two churches have said they will be raising our monthly support. Thank God for these good blessings.

March 11th was my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, and we gathered at Faith Baptist Church, Spokane, MO. for a wonderful time of fellowship with family and friends.

We’ve both had the flu and it has some nasty residuals we are trying to be rid of.

Here’s the good news from Rick and Darla and family in PNG. Darla finished her therapy and returned to the children in PNG, a couple weeks ago. Rick and Alisa are, as I write this, on their way back to the rest of the family in PNG. They all are looking forward to having their family whole and together again. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “...ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.” (Phil. 4:14) Certainly, the last five months have been a time of affliction for the younger Crotts family, and many of you have “communicated” with them in giving. . . And in prayers. We all knew that we were being held up by the gracious Hand of our God and we knew that He was moved on their behalf by your prayers. Alisa still needs your prayers. She is being treated for Asthma and the doctors are making suggestions for her further health needs. Darla continues to have some struggles with short-term memory, but the doctors have said to “give it a year” (that will be October) and then we will know how complete her recovery, or what risidual effect there will be. They hope for a full recovery.

Some have asked as to where they stand financially, now that the episode seems to be ending. It has been expensive. Here is the story:

When Darla was evacuated on the Med-jet to Townsville, Australia, in October, 2010, it was a weekend, and we could not organize the money needed from America until the following Tuesday, which, judging by her degenerating state, would have been too late. The PNG doctors were urging us to get her to Australia. Two business families with whom we have been friends for many years, also cared about Darla and saw her condition. They offered to pay for the Medevac to get her there, and we would reimburse them. They signed the papers with the Medevac company and became guarantors for necessary funds even after Darla’s arrival in Australia.

I did not realize it at the time, but the Medevac company served as an insurer to the hospitals and stayed with the case until the release of the patient, helping to insure that the patient received all that was needed and helping to advise with regard to costs as well. They were doing this on the guarantee of funds from our friends who put their names on the dotted line.

As the medical bills mounted, tests were taken, treatment prescribed, and then progressed into therapy – also costly – the two business families involved told Rick to use monies donated to first take care of the medical expenses. This would both insure Darla receiving the care she needed and would also free them from putting out further money. They said to pay back the initial money which they put out ($92,850) AFTER the other medical costs were covered.

There were a lot of compassionate and generous people giving offerings through your churches, and donating on the blog site, “Thruitall_joy”. The Crotts received around $65,000 through these donations. I asked Rick how far the money has gone, and he said that all the hospital, medical costs, and therapy costs have been met, including some tests for Alisa, whom we sent to him as we left PNG. But there is not enough left to fully pay back the initial cost which is owed our friends. He said, “It looks like we need another $80,000.” Of course, it is a burden to him and to us as well. He said if he has to, he will come back to the States to raise or earn the money to pay them back, but he does not like to think about leaving the field and the ministry to do so. I am praying that God will show Himself strong on our behalf and for the sake of allowing our friends to see Him working. I want them to know our faith is real and that God has come through for us. We have shared with them how God’s people have given and provided thus far. We thank God and we thank you who have given.

We would ask you to join us in prayer about this need. God has His means and He is not a debtor to any man. We are eager to see the matter concluded, and excited to see how God does it. If you haven’t given and would like to, or would like to give again, we suggest that you make your contribution to Rick and Darla’s sending church, Calvary Baptist Church, PO BOX 334, Colonial Heights, VA , 23834, or through the donation link on the “thruitall_joy” blog, or through our sending church, Shawnee Mission Baptist Temple, P.O. Box 860823, Shawnee, KS. The money will ultimately go to Rick and Darla’s account in Richmond, Va.

The Lord has used many of you to rescue Darla and she is a precious servant of His, whose price is far above rubies. (Prov. 31) Thank you for any involvement you have had in giving and praying. Please stay with us in prayer as Darla continues to improve and as the financial obligation comes to fruition.

Much love to you all,
Joyce

AHEM . . .
My computer is out of commission after sustaining a direct hit from a glass of water, so I didn't get this posted when Mother wrote it on March 31st. Since then we have learned from Rick that he is hoping to have $20,000 ($10,000 to each of the two families who paid for the Medevac. This leaves around $70,000 needed. Rick said he is overwhelmed with gratitude for the contributions which have paid the medical costs. We'll keep you posted and it will be easier if my husband decides to forgive the "water-slide" and get me a new hard drive!

Love,
Alice

Mar. 24th, 2011

Darla Crotts

NOT my type

You know how guys will sometimes declare what their "type" is in the female sector of the world? Blonde, brunette, tall, short, athletic build, or curvy...even though I think it often boils down to who will have them, most have their "ideal." Well, if information were a woman, I have my ideal too...a nice solid frame of facts, held in place and moved about by the muscles, tendons, and cartilage of details, timetables, and characters, then fleshed out and plumped up by thoughts, feelings, anecdotes, and impressions. Oh yes, I like a good stout, plump Lady Information! You know what I hate? Those poor stunted, skeletal dwarfs of monosyllables, and one word answers. There is no fondness in my heart for the anorexic waif of generalities and vagueness. I came by my predilection honestly. During my years in PNG, Dad used to make Mom have a notepad and pen by the phone, so that, on the slight chance someone called, she could take notes and relate every feature of the conversation. Heaven forbid Father being able to bring up some portion of Mother's side of the conversation, and Mother not be able to relate to him the corresponding conversation from the other side of the world. My dear husband has taken this in the opposite direction, and can relate a 45 minute conversation in one sentence of five words or less. He is a great fellow (I know it for myself plus lots of people tell me so), but I think it possible that his Lady Information is a microbe.

Well, for all of that, guess what sort of updates I have been getting on, and from Rick, Darla, and family? Little scrawny ones. But such as I have I will show to you and apologize in advance for their diminutive size.

I know that Darla has finished her course of therapy and flown back on her own to be with the kids. That in itself is evidence of how much has been accomplished. They did have it arranged for someone to meet her in Port Moresby and make sure everything went well, which it did. The word on how Darla is doing seems to be "better". Better is definitely a good thing, but how much better and how much left for improvement is kind of hard to quantify. She can direct herself, remember what she is supposed to be doing, and complete a task much better than before. I know there is still memory missing, but she holds on to new information much better. I believe she still looks to Rick for confirmation on a lot of things, and he is working to support her, but also, help her gain confidence in doing things on her own. I guess the summary would be, "much improved, still improving, and hoping for a full recovery".

Alisa is still having some tests done and I am not sure when she and Rick's return to PNG will be, but I believe it may be soon. They have said she has asthma, and done a LOT of other tests, because they don't believe the asthma and food allergies fully explain all her symptoms. So far their tests have helped eliminate some things, but not given them ALL the answers they want. The doctors really want to avoid further physical development delays so they are being as thorough as possible, and we are really praying God will grant them the wisdom to find the answers and help she needs. We have had abundant recent proof to believe He is thoroughly able.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. It has been a pretty long disruption for their family. It seems to me it will surely be a tremendous relief to them to have their family together and begin working toward some normalcy and being active again in their ministry. Pray for Rick to have the wisdom he needs to know where to be understanding and supportive, where to push a little and where to pull back, and how to be everything he needs to be to everyone...and for Darla, as she resumes her role as mama and helpmeet with ALL the challenges we all face plus maybe a couple more.

Much Love,
Alice and the family

Mar. 2nd, 2011

Darla Crotts

Next!! -From Mom

Dear Friends and Family,

You just NEVER know what a day may bring! Today has brought us back to the USA, but that is no where near the story!

We have been having the “to furlough” or “not to furlough” debate for some time. When Rick II and Darla went back to Australia after Christmas to finish her therapy program to hopefully re-train her brain in memory retention and executive function, . . .Rick told us to go ahead and schedule our furlough for the first of March so as to be in some missions conferences. So we set a departure date and husband-of-mine booked some churches, and bought tickets. Then a list of things happened, one of which were floods in Brisbane, Australia, which deferred Rick and Darla’s return to Australia by a week. They did go and took Ashley (to have a medical checkup) and Baby Marshall. Then Darla was accepted into a better therapy program which lasted beyond our departure date by a couple weeks. So then there was another dilemma, both for Rick II and for us, although he insisted the dilemma was his and we should continue with our furlough plans. We all began to think of options for the care of the Crotts children with us. To shorten the story a bit, the Lord seemed to be directing all our hearts in one direction and that was that Ashley would return to PNG with Marshall on the original schedule and we would arrange for people in PNG to be with the kids in our house, so that Darla could finish her therapy program. Ashley is a good cook and has been a great help with her siblings for a long time! (-: There are actually a lot of loving people around them, but also there will be church-people there day and night, and a paid security guard on the premises at night which is a part of our life in PNG.

THEN the next thing that happened was that Alisa, our little 47-food allergic granddaughter, got sick with some symptoms I did not recognize as normal allergic reaction. I had been very careful with her food preparation, researched what her symptoms could be indicating, and was seriously impressed in my spirit that her needs were beyond me and beyond the medical care she could get in PNG. I don’t even know when first I thought of sending her to her parents, but I picked up the phone while typing an email to her parents and called Air Niugini to see if there would be any flights to Brisbane even close to our scheduled flight to Port Moresby, thinking if we could get her to POM with us, then we could arrange for someone there to get her on a flight to Brisbane. It seemed worth trying anyway. I was amazed to learn that there would be a plane departing from Port Moresby to Brisbane, at the VERY SAME TIME as our flight would be departing to go through the Philippines and on to the USA. YES, there was space on our flight to Port Morseby, AND YES, there was space on the flight to Brisbane. So I booked a reservation for Alisa to Brisbane, and then sent the information to her daddy for confirmation. . . Did they want to do it? He sent an immediate message back, “Yes, send her down.” My spirit felt so right about it I even quit worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong with the plan. . . Delayed flights, etc. Did anything go wrong? Things could not have gone better! We were able to make contact with a friend in Port Moresby just in case he was needed. The airlines made provision to fly Alisa as an “Unaccompanied Minor.” She would be assisted both on and off the flight and delivered to her Australian contact (her parents) after proof of identification. Every flight was actually slightly ahead of schedule. We arrived in POM with time to check our bags and go out for a lunch with our friend, Toga Asiba, and then back to the airport to deliver Alisa to “Customer Services.” That mean that she didn’t have to stand in line as we did and she thought that was pretty cool. After we cleared immigration, she “waved us over” to where she was sitting in the departure lounge. She cried when our flights were simultaneously announced and her attendant was ready to take her to board. I hugged her and asked her if she was afraid. We prayed and she said, “I’m not afraid, Grandma. The only reason I’m crying is because I’m going to miss you and Grandpa!” We both quit our crying (-: and the last sight I saw as we walked the corridor that led to our plane, was a little nearly-blonde head bouncing down the corridor with her attendant in the opposite direction. COULD YOU ASK for more perfect timing? I couldn’t! Could you ask more from the Leading and the Providential loving care from our God? I couldn’t!

That’s not all! Rick II and Darla have been attending a church in Australia, and staying with the pastor’s parents. (Lovely people who must be very smart too, cause they think Marshall is wonderful!) In that church there is a doctor who, when hearing of Alisa’s coming, said, “I’ll get her in to see her the day after she arrives!” Praise the Lord, that was today, and as soon as we arrived at our hotel in San Francisco, we plugged in to the net and were able to get a report from Rick that the doctor is making good progress diagnosing Alisa. She has a CT scheduled for lungs and spleen tomorrow. He said she has asthma, though not as serious as it could be. Her lungs are not elastic and though they expand they rather “snap back” . . . Now THAT sounds like it could be painful! Her spleen is also enlarged. So they are checking her out and I am so totally confident that God has put her in the right place. I know you will join me in praying that the doctors will not only be able to diagnose, but will also be able to prescribe treatment that will get our Alisa back on track.

Darla continues to make progress and the therapists are satisfied they can help her with a plan that can be utilized when she goes home as well and they expect her to fully recover. I guess that the why’s and wherefore’s of things could always be debated, and I don’t pretend to be any different from any other human being in that into my mind has crept the wondering. . .
Yet I know that the reason there is suffering in the world is because sin entered in at the garden of Eden. What keeps us from being doubtful, or cynical, or fearful, or any of those sort of “-ful’s” is that God has made us the promise that He will work all things together for our good when we love him and are called according to His purpose. So don’t ask me what God is going to do with Rick and Darla and their family, but I am confident that He will do good with all their trials. Many of you have come to their side in prayer and giving. They know the goodness of God is in that. This new adventure with Alisa will not be cheap, either, so please continue to pray for not only recovery, but also for God’s provision. And thank you! And thank GOD! I can’t say more.

Love to you all,
Joyce

Feb. 24th, 2011

Darla Crotts

Just One More

Last Sunday our family sang a special in church titled "Just One More Soul." Ummm, let's pause for a moment, shall we? Before I get into the song and what it has to do with anything, I need to correct any erroneous mental picture you may have conjured up. Wouldn't want to give the impression when I say "our family sang a special..." that it was anything like those family singing groups that travel around with their beautiful family harmonies, every child playing a different instrument, and everyone dressed to match and smiling sweetly. I love those family groups, but for us it is more along the lines of - most of us sing the lead because very few of us hear parts, I was there and I don't even know what the kids were wearing, and I am pretty sure without having been able to see his face that Jared's 7 year old brow was furrowed in concentration, and the veins in his neck were bulging to belt out whatever words we came to that he could remember. And most the kids probably looked like they were in front of a firing squad. That being said, the song is a pretty good one that speaks to the fact that all the weariness, discouragement, struggles and trials of serving the Lord are, or will be, worth it, "if just one more soul were to walk down the aisle..." I think the salvation of a soul is the clearest and sweetest occurrence for us to be able to point to and say, "There! There is some good that came of this thing"

I was reminded of singing that song the next day walking through Walmart. I was pushing Caleb along getting some food for lunches for my older kids, who had been nagging me that they, "didn't have anything good for lunch," which, of course, meant the chips and cookies were gone, when my brother called me on my cell phone. He was giving me a bit of an update on Darla, and then asked me, "Hey, do you remember S-------- from our teen years in Rabaul?" I said that, yes, I did remember her. She was an expat that had been living there for a while and we had become friends with her. Our acquaintance hadn't been a long one, consisting mostly of playing tennis together (and I use the term "playing tennis" VERY loosely as it refers to me) and hanging out a few times, she was a very sweet girl but we had been completely out of touch for many years, until Rick and Darla got reconnected to her recently via the good ole internet. She is in Australia now, and during this last round of therapy, they had opportunity to spend some time with her and witness to her, and last week she called on Christ as her Savior!

Pushing that cart down the Wal-Mart aisle, I was totally overcome for the second time since this all began. I felt the joy roll all through me, and I held my breathe just long enough to say, "Praise the Lord!" before I changed the subject. To try and exhale the words normally, or talk about it anymore would have resulted in Caleb and I sobbing in the middle of the store (Caleb doesn't like people to cry alone), but, oh, how my heart filled! The ministries in PNG see quite a few souls saved but THIS soul may never have come to a saving faith in Christ without the trial that brought them to that place. We labor and toil in a sin-cursed earth, and none of us are immune to it's affects in our lives, but this God whom we serve, without removing all obstacles or heartaches from our path, without promising a clear and easy road, still beckons us to follow Him, and promises that in all things He can work good. And he DOES!

Ashley and Marshall have flown back to PNG. They returned at the originally scheduled time so that G'ma could say goodbye to her baby for a few months. Praise the Lord, they made it just fine without their parents traveling with them. My parents will be headed home for a short furlough in just a few days while Rick and Darla won't return to PNG for another week or two, so they kids will be in the care of some of their PNG co-laborers in the meantime.

Rick says that Darla continues to improve, but I don't know all the details of how and in what ways, but we give thanks for improvement in any form. There is still quite a bit of missing memory, but she is holding on to information a bit better. One bit of good news from her last evaluation is that the doctors think she may not have LOST her memory, so much as lost ACCESS to it, and if that is the case there is a good chance she will regain the access.

Pray for her remaining time in that program that they can squeeze out every bit of good possible. Thank you so much,
Alice and the family

Feb. 17th, 2011

Darla Crotts

Princess Alexandria

The last update I posted from mom stated that they were working to get Darla into a therapy program at Princess Alexandria hospital in Brisbane. Thankfully, a couple days after that, they accept Darla and she was able to start right away. Rick has reported that this program is far superior than the other one she had been in, and has the added benefit of being tailored specifically to her and her needs, where the last program was done more in group sessions. Much of what she had been doing there was actually below her capabilities and this new place has proven much more challenging. We Praise the Lord for once again getting her in much faster than was expected to be possible.

I have not had more communication with Rick since they got back to Australia like I anticipated, or at least, not so as you would notice. They do not have the unrestricted internet access that they had on their last stay, so information is a little hard to come by. I believe this new program does a lot of work with words, trying to make her brain form new connections. I wonder if it could help me actually call my kids by their correct names, or keep me from telling them to put the yogurt in the toilet when I mean the refrigerator. Given the cost of it though, they may have to continue to put up with "hey you" and use their own discernment on whether I actually want the yogurt put straight into the toilet instead of getting there by the usual process.

Rick said Darla continues to progress and we are so glad. It is not without setbacks and regressions. There for a while some of the physical affects seemed to have relapsed a bit, but overall they are encouraged by the progress. She is holding onto information a bit longer, and getting better at being able to organize herself and accomplish things. Because this program seems to be so much of what she needs, Rick is working to keep her in it and squeeze as much out of it as they can. He has delayed their return to PNG by a couple of weeks, and they are even fitting in additional sessions within those weeks. They are now planning to return to PNG early in March. I think he told me it was going to be the 5th or thereabouts. Mom and Dad are returning to the States a few days before that, so the kids will be being looked after by some of the church folks in New Guinea for the short gap.

I don't know how many folks who were following this account of things from the beginning have continued to check in as the postings have grown more scarce due to less information and changes coming in a more slow and gradual form, but for each of you that still reads and still prays, we still say THANK YOU.

For now, I will return you to your regular scheduled lives, so go enjoy your morning coffee, or fold your laundry, or put your yogurt...away.

Much love,
Alice and the family

Feb. 6th, 2011

Darla Crotts

Latest Evaluation and Requests

Dear Friends and Family,

We have prayerfully faced each new school year, expecting that Satan would attempt to “shut down” our opportunity in the government high school. They have a new headmaster this year and we were “holding our breath” a bit, but then one of the teachers there who is a Baptist testified in church Wednesday night and said that the new headmaster had told her that he wanted our involvement to continue and that he wants us to set up a counseling office once a week on the campus. My husband met with him yesterday, and the headmaster did confirm that they want us to do that, but they are cutting our teaching time in half. That was not really good news to us. It is the teaching that prompts the students to come to us for counseling. They are still working on the scheduling, but the headmaster did indicate that the Catholics were offended by the influence of the Pentacostals and the Seventh Day Adventists. He didn’t say they were offended by our teaching, BUT we are quite sure that they are not excited about our weekly influence on their students and have heard a few rumblings. THANK YOU for praying that God will protect this ministry. We will keep you updated on what happens.

Rick and Darla have been having some success in Australia, but do request prayer on this wise: Darla had another evaluation by a Neuro-Psych doctor who gave them some encouragement. She said that it looks like Darla did not have injury to one specific area of the brain, but that she had a “total-brain event.” She has come back a long ways, and the doctor indicated there was every reason to hope for more. They have a couple doctors working on their behalf to get Darla into the the preferred Rehab program at Princess Alexandria Hospital. Rick said it is clearly upscale from other programs, but remains fully booked. They said they would take Darla, but Feb. 18th was the earliest date they could give her. The doctors are trying to get them to reshuffle and meet the time-urgency that Rick and Darla have with regard to not being able to stay in Australia long-term. THANK YOU for perhaps even now, stopping to petition the Lord to move another mountain. The doctor told Rick that with the right information, they could do much of the needed therapy themselves. This was what Rick was hoping to hear, and is praying that Princess Alexandria will take her in time for them to learn how to be specific in the things that will help Darla the most. They have also had Ashley to see two doctors and she seems to be receiving the treatment she needs.

We have a lot to do in the next four weeks. You may not hear from me much for a while. . . We’ll see! Please don’t forget to pray for us. Thank you so much to those of you who warrior with us in prayer! Maybe we can thank some of you in person while we are home. We are due to arrive in Kansas City on March 2nd, at 5:30 p.m.

Much love in our Lord,
Joyce

Jan. 19th, 2011

Darla Crotts

From Mom's perspective.

Dear Friends and Family,

We sometimes receive questionaries from pastors asking us to outline what we have done and what we plan to do in the near future. I always have to smile when we try to comply. Of course, we have objectives and goals we would like to reach. We want to see the work of God advanced as well and as far as possible. I also have to smile when I hear new missionaries talking about what they intend to do on their field of endeavor. (“Start 100 house churches in the first ten years,” etc.) I don’t belittle their objective, but after 25-plus years in PNG, I look back and see how many of our plans didn’t materialize and how many unexpected doors God opened to us. I mean after all, how DO you predict the aftermath of volcanoes, floods, changes in government, slow bureaucracies, sickness, and the assaults of the hosts of darkness? And how do you measure the things God does amidst it all? Of the last 25 and a half years, by December, 2010, we had spent 236 months on the field in PNG. That is 19 years and 8 months. The months spent away from the field held graduations and weddings of our children, waiting out a volcano, a broken ankle, and visas! They also included burying both my husband’s parents and my brother, and many other significant and scattered events in our lives. In my 2010 Journal I have recorded 321 professions of faith for the year just past in various ministries, and 86 baptisms from the three nearest churches. I do not have records from all the churches or mission works with which we minister. Only God knows how many souls have come into His kingdom in our 25-year ministry, but we are glad we came to PNG! WE DO have plans for the future, but God must direct our steps.

Well, Rick and Darla, had a change of plans. They were seeking the Lord with regard to going back to Australia for further therapy. The doctors and therapists all said that as LONG as you are seeing improvement in a case like Darla’s, then it is vital that she push through the difficulties with therapy. Thank the Lord, we ARE seeing improvement, but Darla herself is very frustrated knowing how awkward she is at things she realizes did at one time come easy to her. There are still a lot of “blanks”S in recent memories (she doesn’t remember anything about the Townsville experience), but her executive function and the ability to remember “yesterday” or to keep track of how many hours or days have passed since an event — these are the things that impair her the most. She has dizzy spells and sometimes feels like she is “floating” so she doesn’t carry Marshall much. She still has a great deal of dependency on others. She sometimes overcompensates and “tries too hard” to be normal. She is sometimes over-animated about the obvious. But she is still sweet and loving. She still loves the Lord and wants to serve Him. She still wants to be a blessing to others. She does what she can! And in the three and a half weeks they were here, she began to participate more and to “execute” better in the kitchen and with her children, helping Rick sort the container goods, etc. It seemed that the Lord was directing them to go back down to Brisbane, for a 6-week course of therapy, but THEN, Queensland, Australia, suffered terrible floods and Brisbane pretty much shut down on the day of their intended travel. However, they rebooked for Tuesday, Jan. 18, and were able to go with baby Marshall, (Sobbing from Grandma) and Ashley with them. We spoke with Rick on the phone today (Wednesday, the 19th) and he said that Darla was in therapy from 9:00 to 3:00 today. We figure she should be all “fixed” after that long of therapy session! (-: Thank you for praying for them! They are still under a lot of financial pressure as well! The therapy costs $1,000 a week! This still seems to be the most practical way of getting Darla the help she needs. They hope for Ashley to be able to see a doctor too, for a problem which we hope turns out to be minor!

I am really thankful for all the work Rick was able to do while he was here! I benefited from a lot of what he did. With his dad, I got a new kitchen stove installed, my living room rearranged and some wiring changes done (some of you know we got some furniture at last!), Rick II put light diffusers on all the bare florescent light tubes in my house (about the only thing available for lighting here), he and his dad repaired my dryer with a replacement belt sent by daughter, Alice; Rick II did another re-wire in my utility area and re-installed my dryer! YEAH! A lot of this was getting done while I was sewing a wedding dress! They also sorted through boxes and boxes and totes and totes of stuff that came in the container. We started dispersing Bibles, and put other supplies in storage. Darla sorted through her children’s clothes and culled out a lot of things to share with the PNG folks. We cooked a lot of meals and even entertained guests. The guys preached, counseled, and made plans for the future. (We’ll see how THAT turns out!) (-: We had family times, late and early birthday parties --- (Rick and Darla will have missed their three oldest children’s birthdays by the time Richard III has his this week. I am making pizza for 12 –14 of his friends!!!!!) We had an early party with Rick and Darla, for him and for Grandpa. We enjoyed one another a lot. The three weeks were a good and profitable time.

Now, those of us left behind feel a little lost again, but we’ll get our bearing! They are booked to return on Feb. 24th and we are booked to depart to the U.S., on March 1st. We do not as yet, know how long we will stay, as that depends on how well Darla is able to function. We want to be available to them to help her through this year of recovery, if we are needed. We do need to visit our churches and try to raise a bit more support to replace some recently lost. We will be in some missions conferences and if all goes well, we may stay into the summer and visit more churches.

Life can sure take some unexpected turns, and for someone like me who likes things to be well-ordered and according to plan, it takes grace . . .doesn’t it? (-: With all the sorrows in the world, I sure am thankful for the grace and comfort of knowing our Lord. Thank you for your prayers. We are thankful to God for you all.

Love,
Joyce

Jan. 18th, 2011

Darla Crotts

G'day Mate

Cheesy, huh? If you didn't think so it is only because you couldn't hear my pitiful Aussie accent when I said it. Well, anyway, Rick and Darla are back in Australia. This time they took Ashley and Marshall with them. I don't know an awful lot of details about how long or frequent the proposed therapy will be, but maybe I will have more info soon, seeing as to how Rick won't be in PNG anymore, and will be cut off from the most of his work. Then he might get bored and get on to talk to me. Not that I have abandonment issues or anything.

Actually, I haven't heard that they are there yet, but I do know they left Kokopo heading that direction last night. Mom/Grandma is a little heartbroken that they took her baby. Oops, I mean their baby. She loved taking care of him so much I think it almost made up for having to look after the big ugly kids. Just kidding, but I do think she is going through some withdrawals.

Thanks so much for continuing to pray.

Love,
Alice and the family

Jan. 13th, 2011

Darla Crotts

Floods Down Under

After a blessed few weeks visit with family, Rick and Darla were planning to head back to Australia for another couple months. They have been strongly recommended by all the doctors to continue with the monitored therapy, and after no small amount of prayer and soul-searching felt led to "see it through" a while longer. They were planning to leave today, and take Ashley (eldest) and Marshall (baby) with them so as not to have the little guy separated from his mama for so long again. (Mind you, the little guy fared and flourished very well with grandma, but for the sake of baby and mama they feel it is important to keep those bonds strong and tight) However, their plans have been temporarily flooded out. They are going to try again next week if possible.

I was very interested to have Darla around Mom and Dad and hear their take on how she seems. We all know how things can seem a little different when you have been in the middle of a situation all along than when you are fresh eyes, or a different perspective. That, and the fact that Rick is a "Praise the Lord all the time about everything" kind of guy, by which I mean that he tends to dwell on the positive, and praise the Lord for it almost to the exclusion of what might be considered "negative". Mom, on the other hand is a bit more of "State the good, state the bad, praise the Lord anyway" kind of a gal. Those descriptions might seem a bit cheeky, and I don't mean to insult either of those people whom I love and admire exceedingly, only to point out that Mom seldom sugarcoats or shies away from telling the trying stuff along with the triumphant. Soooo, I was interested.

The truth is that the details mom related were not far removed from the impression I had formed from Rick's reports. I mentioned in a post a while back about "executive impairment" and that really seems to be the biggest hurdle(s) remaining. Darla can still do a lot of things. For instance, if spaghetti was needed for supper, chances are she could fix it, with possibly a few complications from difficulty focusing. The executive impairment part of the equation is that someone would quite possibly have to tell her that she needed to make the spaghetti because it was dinner time, the family is hungry, and spaghetti was for dinner. It is the ability to process information and make decisions or direct herself and/or others accordingly that is still a challenge.

Again I state this is my understanding to the best of my understanding. (huh?) As I pretty much figured would happen, as soon as my dear brother hit PNG soil, he pretty much quit talking to me. I am really not complaining because the reason I knew that would happen, is that as soon as he hit PNG soil, he was immediately buried under backlogs of responsibilities, and dealing with slow, unreliable, frustrating internet wasn't on the agenda. So my information is snatches here and there, but I wanted to give you the best picture I could of how and where things stand.

With all that is "common to man" in the way of heartaches, sickness, death, and deprivation, I know that the prayer requests set before you daily are almost innumerable, and so we appreciate all the more every time you take a moment, as you read here, or as God brings them to your mind, to lift Rick and Darla and family up in prayer. Just today, I heard of a missionary wife and mother of seven (I think that is right) children with much the same age range as Darla's kids, who went home to be with the Lord. Her name was Micki Harjo, and while I didn't know her personally, my heart broke for her family. More so, as I was reminded of how close we came to losing Darla, I was impressed with deep gratitude, and the desire to hold this hurting family up before our gracious God as so many have done for us. "Bear ye one another's burden..." Thank you, thank you.

Love
Alice and the family

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