Anita and I hope this short report finds you in good health, enjoying the freedom you have in Christ and showing gratitude to our Father for the salvation He has given us through His Son.
As you are aware, we needed to return stateside to receive medical care and we wanted to update you concerning this matter. On Thursday, Anita will be going in for a nerve ablation. She has suffered severe pain in her back for a number of years and this is another attempt at trying to get her some relief. The ablation is a procedure where the surgeon burns the nerve that they think is responsible for sending the pain signals to the brain. By burning the nerve it is hoped that the pain signal can be interrupted and provide relief. If all goes as planned it should provide pain relief for a couple of years. Please pray for Anita and the procedure that it can provide the pain relief for which she is so desperately hoping.
The main reason we returned was because of the pain I was suffering in my neck and shoulder due to an injury from late last year. With numbness being constant in my right arm and the right side of my face our doctor made it clear that I needed surgery. We met with the surgeon recently and he agreed that surgery is the only solution to the problem. He has informed me that there are two options to remedy the issue. Both options require removing the damaged vertebrae from my neck and either replacing it with a synthetic disc or fusing the two discs that are on either side of the damaged disc. Both options require entering through the throat, moving the larynx and the carotid artery out of the way to have clear access to the disc. Obviously there are some possible dangers and I would ask that you pray there will be no complications.
The great news is that the surgeon has offered to provide his service at no charge - what a tremendous blessing! Our biggest difficulty at this point is making the financial arrangements with the hospital. There is a discount for “cash” customers but the remaining amount is so much that we are trying to investigate all of our options. Once we are able to satisfy the financial aspect we can schedule the surgery, which brings us to our next matter…
…When we flew back from Tanzania we anticipated some of the obstacles we are now facing. Some things are better than we expected others are worse. The long and short of it, however, is that we don’t know how long it will be before I can have the surgery. Once I do have the surgery, the recovery period is fairly lengthy. We have been advised that returning to Tanzania anytime in the near future wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do considering the serious nature of the surgery. So, as much as it breaks our hearts, we won’t be returning to live in Tanzania. We completed our commitment and were planning on extending our work in Tanzania but this, however, has thwarted our extension plans.
Here is what we would like to request of you. We understand that support is a big sacrifice on your part and that you want your funds to go toward the furtherance of the kingdom. We too have this same desire and we hope that you will continue supporting good works. However, this injury has unexpectedly interrupted our life as missionaries and we have some serious adjustments to make. If you would be so kind as to support us for 6 more months we would be very grateful. This, hopefully, prayerfully, will allow us enough time to get through the surgery and determine how we will go forward with our lives. We don’t know how we will accomplish it as of yet, but we will need to have our personal items shipped back stateside sometime in the future. We love the Lord and we want to serve Him; hoping for an opportunity to teach full-time or preach for a strong, active, mission minded, congregation. As you can imagine, this has, almost overnight, upset our future plans and we are quite discouraged because of it.
We will keep you posted as we clear each hurdle but I close this report by again expressing how very thankful we are for each of you. You have been faithful in making sure that we have been well taken care of, that our every need has been met and that you trusted us with the work of reaching the lost with the gospel in a foreign land. While I know it sounds cliche - there really are no words that can adequately express how deeply grateful we feel toward each of you.
Until next time, take care and God bless.
Yours in Christ,
Sean & Anita Hochdorf