Prescott Prayer Letter: Celebration Amidst Suffering

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Beloved friends, We are beginning to understand what Jesus meant when he promised ‘life in abundance’ – the highs and lows of these past two weeks can hardly be quantified!

The DTS that we have been helping lead has graduated with flying colours. We celebrated with a wonderful Africa-themed dinner where we had a chance to honour and affirm our trainees and present them with their YWAM certificates. They testified unanimously that they had been ‘wrecked’ (in a good way!) by the past nine months, and that they had gained a joy and boldness in evangelism that they never thought possible. Glory to our awesome God who is in the business of changing hearts and saving souls!

Peter is preparing to lead the next DTS. Applications have started coming in, and prayers are being offered up. Pray that God would gather another group of trainee missionaries who are hungry for God, ready to learn, and willing to serve. We hope this next DTS will be as life-changing as the past one has been. As we often sing, in a song composed in one of our DTS worship sessions,
We’re gonna see awakening in this city again/
Revival is coming, so wake up, O sleeper/
Revival is coming, get ready!

Please pray for supernatural grace for Peter as he juggles his many responsibilities.

I (Taryn) am still in a lot of pain. (You can read my musing on it here and here.) My hips feel like car parts left out in the rain to rust, and my legs persist in behaving like bars of lead – heavy and uncooperative. However, there has been much progress since we left the hospital, and for that I have you all to thank! We have never felt more loved and supported than in this difficult time – the fellowship of the Body of Christ has been a lifeline to us. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

We forgot to mention in our last email that Isaac came out of me with his head at an angle. It seemed like an small detail, but has turned out to have significant implications. The bump on his head which some of you might have noticed in photos is called a cephalohaematoma – that was the first, not particularly serious result – the haematoma has almost completely disappeared now. The second implication is that the incredible pressure the delivery exerted on his soft newborn bones caused something called TMJ Disorder. His jaws meet at an angle, meaning that breastfeeding is inefficient and tiring for him, and very painful for me. Please pray that God, who made Isaac fearfully and wonderfully, will re-align his jaws.

My mum arrives from India this Tuesday, and Peter’s mum leaves soon after. Our neighbours still come over for Bible study, and soon our house will be re-peopled as old and new DTS students and staff move in. We thank God for all these comings and goings – we feel so rich in love and relationships.

Thank you for your fellowship in the gospel,
Peter and Taryn

Prescott Prayer Letter: ‘Quite Painful’

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“…quite painful…”

When I last wrote, I said ‘The labour was long and quite painful, and Taryn is still being looked after at the Rosie Hospital.’ This brief sentence was all I could manage at the time, but it didn’t really convey the reality of what Taryn has gone through. Now that we’re back home, here’s an attempt to describe a little more of the full story of what’s happened—and what’s still happening.

Isaac was due on Monday the 26th, and promptly at 2.30am Monday morning Taryn’s contractions began in earnest. What we didn’t then realise however was that since our last midwife check he had shifted position from an ideal anterior position to a dreaded posterior position. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that the contractions were consistently strong and regular enough that we finally came into the hospital. Labour proceeded slowly through the night and then on into the day. The midwives were about to give up and have us taken upstairs to the Delivery Unit for a C-section—‘we’ll give it half an hour more’—when in one final sudden burst, after fifty-nine hours of agonising pain, Taryn delivered a little baby boy and Isaac came tumbling into the world.

The midwife clamped his umbilical cord and let me cut it, and I was holding my newborn son in my arms—when suddenly a dozen doctors in sea-green scrubs invaded the room and whisked Taryn away. She was haemorrhaging blood, and needed a spinal anaesthetic and stitches. We spent the night in the hospital (a kindly nurse gave me a blanket and an extra chair to curl up on next to Taryn’s bed) waiting to find out whether there would need to be a blood transfusion as well. Morning came, and the good news was that the blood transfusion wasn’t necessary—so Taryn could return home. ‘Just get up and walk over there to see how you feel’, suggested the nurse-on-duty.

And that’s when we discovered that Taryn couldn’t walk.

They were expecting her to be a little light-headed from the blood loss; they were expecting her to find walking a little painful because of the stitches. They weren’t expecting her to have practically lost all motion in her legs.

Had the spinal anaesthetic gone wrong? Were the nerves in Taryn’s legs damaged from the trauma of labour? There was a comprehensive array of scans and tests to try and ascertain what exactly was wrong: Computerised Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ultrasound Scanning, and of course the Reflex Hammer. We were visited by a steady stream of anaesthetists, obstetricians, neurologists, paediatricians, physiotherapists, midwives, and nurses. They suggested a myriad collection of possible causes for anxiety: attenuated pelvic ligaments, stunned femoral nerves, severely distended bladder, imperfect breastfeeding positions, borderline jaundice levels.

By Monday though, they had reached the conclusion that there was no permanent damage, and somewhat grudgingly the doctors released Taryn to come home. On Tuesday we celebrated Taryn’s birthday. Now begins the slow and painful journey to full recovery—the physio has said Taryn may need to be on crutches for the next couple of months.

Grace is sufficient

And in all of this we have experienced the truth that ‘the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’. Truly ‘His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in our weakness’. ‘Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day’.

This is not to say that we have not felt crushed in spirit—we have. At times, utterly crushed. But each day we have had glimpses of God’s glory breaking through the veil of our numbness and pain. The providential provision of having my Mum (Isaac’s Nanny) here to give us much-needed support; the hilarious joy of seeing the range of expressions which cross Isaac’s face; the tears streaming down the face of the lady I had the chance to share the gospel with and pray for in the Addenbrooke’s chapel; the sweet presence of Jesus as myself and Taryn celebrated the Eucharist in the hospital with just a biscuit and a cup of water.

And then there are the unexpected miracles where God provides above and beyond what you ask. I’d asked if we could turn the ground-floor teaching room in our little YWAM house into a temporary bedroom for Taryn—as it has turned out we’re able to have the whole house to ourselves, while the DTS spends their week of debrief in our dear friend John Ruddock’s spacious Oak Villa just outside Cambridge in Madingley. The miracle here is that John had dropped the Oak Villa keys off at our house before leaving for Germany—the day before it had even occurred to us to ask if this might be a possibility.

So please, please, continue to pray for us:
Praise God for Isaac, he is perfect from head to toe, and is absolutely worth it.
Pray for Taryn, for a full recovery in body and spirit. You can read her musing on her situation here.
Pray for our DTS as they graduate on Monday night and continue to follow wherever God leads, and for our whole pioneering YWAM Cambridge team as we complete this season and get ready for the next.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10