Dear Family and Friends,
What a year this has been! God has blessed us in so many ways. We continue to look to Him for strength, guidance, comfort, and hope. The biggest news this year involves cancer and babies. The week after Memorial Day we received the exciting news that Eric and Nora were expecting a baby in January. We also received the news that Tim had stage 3 rectal cancer. He received chemo and radiation all summer to try to shrink the tumor and had a rectal resection (removal) in September. The cancer was found to be in two lymph nodes so more testing was done. Then in October we received the news that the cancer had metastasized and was now in the liver. We also received the exciting news that Ana and Jacob were expecting a baby in June. It seemed as though the bad news came with good news. God continues to work in all of us. We pray for healing from the cancer. Tim is currently undergoing IV chemotherapy treatments. We will find out how well this chemo is working on December 23. Tim will have tests done on December 20. Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers. It is amazing how well he is doing through all of this. He continues to work every day, and on his chemo days (every other Monday) he takes a vacation day to be able to sit through the 5 hours of IV therapy. He has had very few bad side effects. Most people wouldn’t even think he has cancer. He wears a mask on Sunday when he greets the people. Here is a photo of him on December 1 with Ronan.
Life goes on for all of us. We face each day with a positive spirit and the hope that this cancer will be gone soon.
Our little Sasha, age 10, has grown a couple of inches in height, but yards and yards in every other way. He is in third grade at the local public school, where he has wonderful teachers to help him with his transition to America. His English is amazing. He is very helpful and caring. It has been a big year of adjustments for him and for us as we grow together as a family. Sasha played soccer this year at Trinity. It was fun to play with his Trinity friends. He loves to watch kid movies and anything Disney Junior, especially “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” He was so excited to meet Jake and many other Disney friends in April when Mama and Sasha went to Disney World. Our teacher friend, Amy, went along to help with Sasha. It was a fun, but exhausting trip.
Michael is in his junior year at Concordia, Ann Arbor. He enjoys working on his vocal performance degree along with playing the trumpet in the band. He works part time in the computer technical support department at Concordia. We enjoy having him so close during this time. We are able to go to his performances, and he is able to come home on the weekends.
Ana and Jacob are still in Fort Wayne where Jacob attends the seminary and Ana attends Ivy Tech. They both work part time jobs and have internships while going to school full time. Jacob works for “Worship for Shut-ins”, and Ana is doing a social work internship as well as working at a restaurant. Jacob is doing his field work at Trinity during this time. It is such a blessing to have them here every weekend, even though it is a big drive for them. Jacob is getting some excellent experience preaching almost every weekend, leading Youth Bible class, and visiting shut-ins and sick members. A new baby will be such a blessing to them and to our whole family.
Eric, Nora, and Ronan are all doing well in Iowa. They have been able to make a few trips here this year. It has been wonderful to spend time with them. They are very excited about their new little boy who will make his appearance sometime in January, Lord willing. They are so blessed. Our whole family is blessed to have such wonderful blessings, especially during this time.
Tim and I stay busy at Trinity. Tim is still the senior pastor, and I am still teaching first grade. We also have our share of doctor’s appointments. Tim has been blessed with some very caring doctors who are all working hard to beat this cancer. There is a tumor board of doctors that meets regularly to discuss difficult cases. Tim’s case was discussed at one of these meetings. We were also sent to the Cleveland Clinic for a second opinion. The doctor there agrees with the treatment plan that Tim is receiving here in Toledo, and he continues to be in contact with our oncologist throughout the treatments. Please continue to pray that God will remove the cancer from Tim’s body and let him have many more years on earth to continue his work in God’s Kingdom, and enjoy our new son and our two new grandchildren, as well as our precious grandson, Ronan, and our children and their spouses.
We were so blessed to be able to travel to Texas for our Concordia Reunion. It was great to reconnect with so many friends from college. It is amazing how one can just pick up conversations from 30 years ago. It was also great to be able to visit Tim’s parents and his brother and family. Tim’s parents came to Ohio for the surgery in September and stayed for one month. I would never have been able to do everything alone and keep working. His parents were absolutely amazing with all of their help. There was much to be done during that time as Tim adjusted to a colostomy and healed from a very difficult surgery. We had home health care nurses in several times a week during that month. Tim was able to return to work after only one month, thanks to everything his parents did while they were here.
We were also able to see my parents, the Brillinger’s and my brother and his wife and girls a few times this year. Sasha and Ronan love playing with the “girl cousins” as they call them. Clarissa and Sasha are the same age, and Ronan and Serena are the same age. Cecelia is a wonderful babysitter when they are together. My dad continues to travel on his missionary trips and my mom keeps things going at home, with help from Daniel and Anita. Sasha enjoyed a few days this summer with his grandparents while I spent a few days in Iowa with my grandson. Then, at the end of the summer, we all got together again for Sasha’s birthday. We celebrated the day at Chuck E Cheese.
It has been an interesting year in many ways. We have had several visitors here in Toledo. We have had some great times and some not so great times. But through it all, God remains with us. He works all things for good (Romans 8:28). We trust in his great and mighty power, and we thank him for his redemptive work on our behalf. Praise be to God that he gives us the victory in Christ Jesus. Make sure your loved ones know that this Christmas. Spend some time helping others. Pray continuously. Worship regularly. Read God’s word daily. His word never returns void. Have a blessed Christmas,
In His Love,
The Carr family
Tim, Catherine, Eric, Nora, Ronan, Ana, Jacob, Michael, and Alex (a.k.a. Sasha)