We arrived home just after midnight on Sunday. We had a great trip. We had a very good time with the workers we visited and they said that we encouraged them. We were with them Thursday-Sunday and then the next Saturday for 1/2 a day. Their girls are precious- 2 1/2 and 4. We babysat for them the first Saturday so they could have an early Valentine's Day date. Valentine's Day is huge in Turkey. At least as big a deal as it is here in America.
We got to attend an international fellowship with them on Sunday morning and met a woman who used to work at our office. We went with them on a ferry to the European side of Istanbul the first Saturday. They live on the Asian side. It is an amazing place. That narrow waterway between the two sides is the only access to the Mediterranean from the Black Sea, so the ships were lined up by the scores waiting for their turn to go through.
Our hotel for the days we had to ourselves was across the street from the famous Blue Mosque. The calls to prayer were blasted from a minaret there 5 times a day, and echoed from other mosques nearby. We saw the Topkopi Palace, the cistern, the Hagia Sophia (church built by Constantine and converted into a mosque- now being restored back to the original), the archeological and art museums, and the Blue Mosque.
We met many interesting people. Greg received a wonderful sultan's hat for his birthday from a man who works at the hotel we stayed at. Greg also had 2 massages while we were there and really enjoyed them. I am not supposed to get massages yet- too soon after radiation, so Greg had mine. Greg and I shopped at the Grand and Spice Bazaars, ate terrific Turkish food, talked to Turks and other tourists and rested. I got a chest cold and lost my voice for Valentine's day, and Greg had an intestinal flu on the way home, but we were able to do what we wanted in spite of that. This trip was a gift from our church here in Denver to help us recover from all that is going on with our ministry, plus we were able to visit and care for our friends there on behalf of the church. What a blessing it was!
I discovered when we got home that somewhere between Frankfurt and here, the smaller bag that I had in my carry on got lost. We were so tired by then, Greg was feeling very sick with a fever, and we had to switch seats 2 times on our long overseas flight due to a broken seat, so I don't know just where it happened. It had a pen and flight information in it, so I had it out to use those at some point. It didn't happen in Turkey, so your prayers were answered if you prayed for that! It contained my license, a credit card, debit card, our digital camera, some email addresses of people I wanted to keep in touch with, and a gift for Allison. No one has tried to use my credit card, so there is a chance the airline will find and return it to me. At least we can pray.
We got word there that on the 13th, back here in Denver, the doors closed for the last time on Initiative 360. A meeting for staff was held that morning, keys turned in, and staff were told they were laid off as of 5:oo that day. This was very unexpected and a shock to all. We only got paid through the 13th this month and have health insurance until the end of next month. (It looks like those of us with pre-existing conditions will be able to stay on our insurance after that if we pay a higher deductible- if we still live in Denver.) Although I understand that all I-360 bills will be paid and the closing happened when it did to assure that, it still feels very sad. When my friend Deb and I went to get our paycheck today, we were told we had to sign the guest book in the lobby and that we couldn't go into the office because we might be accused of stealing corporate property, so we talked to our friend in the hall. Greg and I still haven't been told anything by the board regarding our situation. There has been a little phone tag, but no conversation.
Tomorrow evening we have invited over a few friends/ mentors to help us think through the options we have currently in front of us. We would appreciate your prayers for that time. My strength is gradually coming back. I am still getting over the chest cold I got in Turkey (1st time I have been sick since before all of my cancer treatment began- that is amazing!), but I think I am doing better in general. Our last dinner came yesterday, so I am now back on duty. My jaw is healing gradually and the nerve is very slowly coming back. My bottom right jaw and lip is still numb since surgery a month ago. I had an ovarian ultrasound yesterday to recheck the cyst I had last summer. It is still there but a little smaller. I had blood drawn today to check my white count (which was still below normal last month) and my liver (some numbers high last month). I am beginning my 2nd month of Famara. It is a hormonal drug that is supposed to block cancer cells from growing, and so far no bad side effects are evident. Hopefully there won't be any. I will see my oncologist next month and he will let me know if any tests are needed to make sure the cancer is gone now that treatment is done. I appreciate your prayers for my health.
My friend Sharyl, who scheduled friends to bring meals for us, had both knees replaced while we were on our trip. Please pray for her for healing. And our neighbor across the street lost their son while we were gone. His snow mobile fell through the ice on a lake and he drowned. I am so sorry for their loss. Loosing my camera doesn't seem so important in light of really hard things like that. I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning. Well, I have written way too much, so I will stop. We are still looking for email addresses for any of you wanting to receive our email updates. Please send them to email@example.com. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contact me, and you can call us at 303-791-9306. Laura has 2 job interviews this week. Good night for now and God bless you! Nancy