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As I sit here waiting for Allana’s last appointment here at The Clinic for some time, I am reflecting on God’s intervention in those early days of treatment. After a tumultuous first round of treatment at Flower Hospital where God intervened in a miraculous way, we were referred to the Cleveland Clinic.

Caring bridge Post 02/08/2013:

…This is not to say that Thursday morning went super smoothly, the keys to the rental car that my parents were driving ended up locked in the trunk right at the time that we were supposed to leave. But God had it under control, AAA arrived in record time and the hospital said they were able to shuffle things for us. He brought Jeff T and Larry B to our door on a prayer walk and they prayed for both Allana and I this brought us peace in this moment of turmoil. However neither of us had peace as to which way to go. I wanted
her admitted and the treatment started right away, but I knew it was out of fear NOT out of an understanding of God’s will.

Allana seemed to be strongly leaning towards delaying or even discontinuing treatment, especially if all the tests were clear. She so desperately wanted to stand on complete healing.

After the bone marrow test and the discussion with the doctor it was time for the rubber to hit the road.The doctor started to move on the assumption of admission and I stopped that and said we had a few questions.We asked our questions but they were really immaterial to the prayers of our spirits with the Holy Spirit for clarity and peace.

I waited for Allana to make her objection and prepared to engage the doctor for her, but she looked up and quietly said, “let’s do it”. I turned her head towards me and looked her in the eye, ” You don’t have to.It is YOUR decision.Are you sure?””I am sure.” she replied. Instantly the peace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit rolled over us. The outcome was what I had wanted all along but the path I had been headed on to get their was not going to bring the peace that I was desperate for, even though the end would have been the same; the road would have brought more fear and lessened my clarity with the Holy Spirit.

We do not serve a God who holds or a faith that promotes that the end justifies the means.  In fact I would suggest exactly the opposite is true.  Our faith in Jesus Christ is one where the means justifies the end. Paul tell’s the Philippians:

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Philippians 1:27

The verse starts with Monon, only, alone.  This one thing do, Paul says.  It is not about the result.  That is in the hands of God.  It is about the means.  We can arrive at God’s intended result and be so far outside of His peace because we did not conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel of Christ, we did not walk according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4).

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This is a Facebook post by my wife Allana.  She is my Hupomone partner in life.  Her dedication to God and our family as we have walked the path laid in front of us has been nothing short of amazing.  I started and stopped writing about this day several times.


January 4th, 2013 does not hold a Facebook post. From Facebook’s perspective it was a day of silence. Yet, when the word ‘Leukemia’ was spoken, my day was anything but silent. Within a few minutes of being told my diagnoses, I was wheeled away for a CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy. I cried through both. All I could think about was my family. How would we tell our four children (Emily Rose Bowman, Robert Guidry, Sami Guidry, and Chayla Guidry). And Nisa…. what about my precious 19 day old miracle baby? I cried through my biopsy. Man, it hurt like heck, but it was my heart that hurt the most. I couldn’t stop crying. When the biopsy was finished the doctor left the room and let me be, but then I felt a hand rub my back and when I turned around I saw a nurse there. She was crying too. I told her I was sorry for losing it, but I was dreading telling my family. She said, “Honey, don’t be sorry, you have every right to cry, just remember, no one here will ever cry alone.” Yes this made me sob.

I finally gathered myself enough to get wheeled to my bed that waited for me down the hallway, but when the nurse opened the door, to my great surprise, there was my OB, tears running down her face and she was apologizing for not getting here in time to be with me for my tests. My OB is the one who sent me to the hospital when things just didn’t look right. And here she was. Crying at the door. She knelt down beside me and hugged me and prayed over me. Seriously, what kind of doctor does this?

As I was pushed closer to my room, I saw my husband talking on the phone, repeating again what at that moment seemed to be the darkest word in our language, “Allana has leukemia,” standing near him in the door way, was Nate Elarton. The look in his eyes is one I will never forget. It was one of sadness, deep love, and the tattletale signs that he was screaming on the inside wishing this moment was anything but true. He isn’t just our pastor, he is our friend.

Then as I came into the room, there I saw one of my best friends, Lisa K Shaull, holding my precious Nisa Faith, who was only 19 days old. Some how though I know Lisa was torn apart inside, on the outside, though I saw concern, I mostly saw a place of peace. When I was placed in my bed, I noticed another dear friend, one who is truly like a brother to me, Tim Rabara. Out of the three, he looked the most devastated, but I remembered he smiled and joked around that all the attention was on me, AGAIN. Trust me, in the months to come, Tim’s humor, though most might misunderstand, helped me A LOT!

As the day wore on, my room became silent, and Sam and I began to pray. God gave me the vision:

When I opened my eyes, I saw a beautiful music box, you know the one that has a beautiful ballerina spinning on top. He told me to come closer. As I did, I saw that it wasn’t a ballerina but a little girl dancing with her daddy. I smiled at the beauty they held, and yet a little bit of a hurt because I had never experienced such a thing. He told me to come closer. As I did, I saw that the little girl’s feet were on top of her dad’s. Tears formed in my eyes at the precious scene they made. He told me to come closer. As I did, I became that girl. His arms were gentle and yet strongly wrapped around me. My feet upon His. He said to me, “My precious daughter, I adore you. I cherish you. You are my prized possession. This road is going to spin us around and around. Keep your feet on mine; put your arms around me. No matter how fast we spin, I will never let go.”

My Heavenly Father kept His promise. He was with me every single step. I don’t look at this day, now 5 years ago as the most devastating thing that has happened to me or our family, oh sure, it was life changing! One of the most difficult journeys yet. The difference is that my faith in the One who held me never wavered for a second. I didn’t doubt His love for me. I didn’t doubt His faithfulness to be with me.

If you find yourself in a life spinning event, please allow me to encourage you… God loves you, more than you can comprehend. It doesn’t matter how much you doubt Him. It doesn’t matter how much you have pushed Him away, He still adores you. He finds you truly precious. He is calling to you, asking you to trust Him. This doesn’t mean your dance will stop or end, but it does mean that you can trust Him to never leave you or forsake you. He is faithful! He isn’t just faithful because I’m now looking at my cancer fight from a 5 year span, God is faithful because He is faithful. It’s that plain and simple. If He had chosen to take me home to be with Him, He would still remain faithful and He would be there with my family and help them through. Let God fill you with peace. Trust = Peace. I know. I lived it. He is so so good!

(a special thanks to Dani Herrera for taking the picture from my head onto paper)

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Too often we want to be Lions instead of sheep.

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Another great blog from my favorite blogger!

Learning To Fly


So, I have been thinking a lot about faith lately – Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see (Heb 11:1).  That’s what the Word of God says faith is. I gotta just be open and honest (I know, how else would I be)…. this verse has thrown me for loops, along with so many others in scripture.  With so many of my pregnancies I have stood on what I would call faith – I believed with all my heart Jesus could heal – I believed with all my heart He could breathe life into each of those sweet babies to have live here on earth….. yet each of the 7 pregnancies since March 9th 2006 have ended the same – death – “O ye of little faith” “Your faith has made you well” — God I don’t understand! I have…

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“1. To invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority.”  (Merriam Webster online)

Ordination is so much more than I ever though it would be.  As our ordination approaches God has been speaking to me, driving me to explore this idea of an official investiture in ministerial authority and responsibility.  The priests of the Old Testament were ordained to serve before God.  Leviticus 16:32  talks of the hereditary nature of the Old Testament priesthood yet still he had to be anointed and ordained.

The New Testament is perhaps  less explicit yet we cannot but envision ordination in Acts 13 when the elders of the Church of Antioch laid hands on Paul and Barnabas investing them with the authority of the nascent church to carry the gospel message to new lands.  I love the next verse, “The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit…”  Ordination then is not a symbol of The Lewis House but it is a call to the Holy Spirit by our peers, friends and colleagues.  It is a call for Him to send us on our way empowered by spiritual gifts which as Paul expressed to Timothy, we must fan into flame in the performance of the ministry that He has for us.

For Allana and I it is an acceptance of the responsibilities that are inextricably attached to the empowerment and authority that is represented by our ordination.  I would venture to say that if the past year has been our “engagement” to full-time ministry in service of the Gospel that the ordination is the marriage ceremony.  We commit ourselves to His service and recognize His call on our lives.  We trust that he will bring to completion the work that he has begun in us.

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It is hard to believe that it has been a year since we moved into The Lewis House and began our lives as full-time urban missionaries. This span of 365+ days has been at once nothing like I had imagined it to be and more than I had ever thought it would be.

As I sit here at my computer and type this out I know without a doubt that the man who left the restaurant business three years ago could not have stood through the last year.  God has brought through an amazing process to bring me here to The Lewis House.  It would be redundant to take you on that journey with me again.  You would be better served reading my lovely wife’s article “The Journey to the Mission”.  I re-blogged it last month.

Even one year ago my financial expectations were that God would provide sufficient funds to cover all of our needs and provide for a nice little salary and we would live the “American Dream” as missionaries to Toledo.  I understand the naiveté of that now (someone much wiser than myself made the gentle effort to cushion what could have been grand disappointment), but even though the mechanism of God’s provision has not  been what I expected it to be the efficacy of that provision has been so far above what I could have dreamed of. Though by the world’s standards we live below the poverty line (a fact which

More important than the earthly provision is the spiritual transformation that I have experienced.

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we , who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s gory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:17

This transformation is not dependent on our earthly circumstances but I can see how our earthly circumstances impact our ability to recognize that transformation.  Paul said:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:12-13)

Without the times of want Paul might not have recognized the transformation that he had undergone.  Without the times of plenty he could not have appreciated the Spiritual transformation that engaged his contentment in the times of wanting.

We should not assume that this transformation was completed miraculously on the road to Damascus.  It was a process that passed Paul through the Arabian wilderness, the narrow streets and prickly political paths of Jerusalem, the urbane halls of Asia Minor and the intellectual collections of Greece.  It was a transformation that continued until he was called home on a fateful day in Rome.  It is a process that we all undergo and one that includes times of plenty and times of want.  It includes times of great joy and times of crushing grief.

Each of us has a path to follow and every path is a little different but it is all about one Spirit and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is into his wonderful likeness that we are being changed.  Like Paul I am so thankful to all of you who have come along side of us and answered God’s call to support us in our ministry. (Philippians 4:10) We have been so blessed by the generosity of God’s people.  Even as you develop in your lives “ever increasing glory” you enable us to do the things that God has called us to do and to continue our transformation spreading the light of His Glory to our neighbors.

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What a journey it has been. Fortunately God has provided me an awesome companion for this trip!

Learning To Fly

This is our story on how we came to The Lewis House

Journey to the Mission

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