UPDATE 1/20/24: Today, we write on this, the third anniversary of Bro. Ronnie's battle with Guillain-barre Syndrome, to once again say, "Great is THY faithfulness." What a testament to our army of prayer warriors! Life is fleeting and so very fragile. In our ministry, we regularly receive notice of dear friends who have now entered Heaven's portals, their earthly ministry complete and their eternal praise begun. This day, we thank Him for this moment that we enjoy in His service, knowing that we must commit fully to redeeming the time for our Lord is coming soon. Bro. Ronnie has healed from Guillain-barre in amazing ways. From being nearly completely incapacitated to functioning at a level where most are unaware of the physical attack that occured three years ago. Preaching, writing, traveling have all resumed, yet, in truth, the body constantly reminds of all it has endured. Pain and weakness, immune deficiencies, and other residuals along with normal "I-ain't-as-young-as-I-use-to-be" symptoms rear up everyday. Nonetheless, with God and a lot of southern, down-east determination, ministry goes on daily. Bro. Ronnie even climbed the formidable Cerros de Mavecure in Colombia while viewing the missionary Sophie Muller's work and territory. (You can look that climb up on your own and be amazed or watch here!) Now, we plunge forward into 2024 while continuing more than 70 years of ministry for The Voice in the Wilderness. Missions efforts continue here at home through evangelism and printing (specifically the Cherokee and Navajo Bible translation and printing), in the Philippines, Colombia, Venezuela, and India. We give this update to say "Thank you for being a prayer warrior, but please don't stop!" God is good and the Devil is real. Satan and his foes are ever-seeking to destroy the work of the LORD and it is still URGENT that our prayer partners continue interceding. Please pray daily as we go forward for God!
UPDATE 1/20/22: Today, on the writing of this update, exactly one year has past since Bro. Ronnie was admitted to Mission Hospital. Just days ago, we sat in an area office of another physician, unrelated to the events of Bro. Ronnie's illness, and that doctor expressed that he had heard of and knew about Bro. Ronnie's illness. He said, "I credit Dr. Barker for his quick diagnosis that day that you came to his office, for it is only once every 15 years or something that a general doctor will see that come into his office." Bro. Ronnie's wife immediately said, "Yes, we certainly credit Dr. Barker AND the Lord for providing that quick diagnosis which led to his immediate treatment." Days in the difficult and secluded corridor of COVID, the following challenges of therapy, to even the day to day moments of slow but sure healing, it hasn't been an easy recovery. And, as we have learned, complete healing of the nerves damage by Guillain-barre Syndrome, will take even more days. Nonetheless, God has moved his hand of healing and brought Bro. Ronnie .... no, not back to where he was..... no, not to normal day..... to MORE - YES! To God be the Glory, MORE days are ahead! Ministry is a blessing and days are full. Traveling, teaching, preaching, podcast, Bible Shipments, phone calls, mailings, property maintenance, writing, printing - The Voice in the Wilderness is a unique, wide-ranging ministry full of daily opportunities of which Bro. Ronnie is actively involved. Join us in praising the LORD for renewed health and the privilege of serving Him daily. Thank you to all the prayer warriors who have kept bringing this need before the Lord. The Voice in the Wilderness newsletter is on the press and set to be mailed soon. Please watch for this new edition and read further personal updates from Bro. Ronnie. Also keep The Voice in the Wilderness staff in your continued prayers as we lauch out in 2022 for MORE ministry.
UPDATE 8/31/21: After six months of recovery and prayers, we take time to write a simple update regarding the illness Bro. Ronnie has been battling, and in doing so, give you the opportunity to realize that God heard your prayers and answered in a mighty way. In review, in January of 2021, Bro. Ronnie experienced the sudden onset of what was soon to be determined as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. We praise the Lord daily for his primary care doctor, who, in the midst of COVID confusion, correctly diagnosed this rare illness and sent him immediately to the hospital for treatment. Nevertheless, COVID still inevitably tried to usurp the patient-doctor understanding, resulting in a 10-day stay on the quarantined, COVID floor of the hospital. Little to no contact was relayed to the family, and the patient was left to manage care amidst debilitating pain. Thankfully, the five GBS plasmapheresis treatments were given and discharge to inpatient therapy was ordered. However, due to the COVID status on the paperwork, a quarantined room was reserved for therapy, meaning that the first-class rooms and equipment would be off-limits. Again the Lord, opened the door for communication with a common sense case manager who, in turn, requested the hospital given another COVID test before discharge. This negative test resulted in a regular room and immediate, intense therapy. Bro. Ronnie, rose to the challenge, excelled at all therapy, and walked out of the inpatient hospital. The homecoming was sweet! Outpatient therapy continued to help increase mobility over the next few weeks. Since then, Bro. Ronnie has been striving to gain back full ability, but the recovery is not for the faint of heart. Nerve pain, stamina, strength, neuropathy, and more plague each day. Yet, thankfully, he has been back on the road, in the pulpit, and on the podcast radio waves. Your prayers have surely strengthened him to continue on in the work God has called us. Countless prayer requests have been submitted to us during this time, from India, the Phillipines, South America, Canada, and others. The Devil is fierce in his attack and sin abounds. We pray, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," and we ask for His empowering that we may be found faithful until He comes. Please continue to pray for full and complete recovery, safety in travel, and for the printing, preaching and teaching, and Bible and aid shipments that The Voice Ministry focuses on daily.
UPDATE 3/16: Bro. Ronnie completes four weeks of outpatient therapy this week - Praise the Lord! He is walking more confidently and is enjoying every opportunity to attend church services and be involved in daily activities. Thank you for praying. If you personally know Bro. Ronnie, you understand that he is NOT a sit-down-and-do-nothing type of person. Therefore, this time of intense recovery from GBS, which demands a slower pace, has been quite the mental challenge. Doctors continue to be encouraging and confident of a complete recovery - - - it will just take time. Your cards, prayers, and gifts have lifted his spirits and urged him forward. His daily Biblical Alert has seen record listeners, and he continues correspondence with various mission points concerning current projects. Please pray as further tests will soon be done to assess nerve damage from the GBS. Pain management, energy, and strength are daily obstacles. Further therapy will be determined soon. Yet we "press toward the mark for the high prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
UPDATE 2/24: It is not often that you attend a "Praise and Prayer" session at your family doctor's office, but that we did! As Ronnie sat...and stood...and walked for Dr. Barker, his amazement was seeping out from under that mask. Dr. Barker said that we often stop in a medical crisis to pray for healing, but right now, he wanted to stop and thank the Lord for healing! He said that Ronnie's progress was no doubt in large part a testament of all those praying for him. What a blessing to bow together and thank our Lord for His precious watchcare during this battle. Coming home was surely another blessing, especially when greeted by family and the grinning faces of two granddaughters. From not being able to walk to the car as we headed for help 22 days prior, to taking every slow but able step back into the house was a tremendous encouragement. Now, after two two weeks of waiting for paperwork and processing, the challenging task of outpatient therapy has begun. Assessement has been made and four weeks scheduled, as Ronnie seeks to rebuild his strength and allow damaged nerves time to repair. Please specifically pray for his encouragement each day, protection from further complications, and complete recovery. You and your effective prayers are a daily testimony to many through this time. Thank You!
UPDATE 2/9: Have you been praying? The evidence of your prayers is visible in Bro. Ronnie's progress. "Phenomenal" is the description given by his physical therapists. We have all been truly overwhelmed by the "hearts of prayers" covering our office wall. Your names on those hearts are clear reminders to us of how God does hear and answer. After nearly two weeks of intense and exhausting physical therapy, Bro. Ronnie is mobile! Pain is being well managed, and he is passing all the rigors in the gym with flying colors. In an effort to gain better finger dexterity, he has even passed a few typing tests (we hope to utilize this new found skill in The Voice office soon!). Today, plans were made for him to return home Thursday (2/11) and continue outpatient therapy. The battle against GBS, Bell's Palsy, and severe inflammation still wages, but our army of Prayer Warriors can rejoice in the recovery that the Lord is directing. I Thess. 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing."
UPDATE 2/5: Prayer Warriors, you are needed! Therapy is not for the faint of heart! Bro. Ronnie has now been in an acute rehab location for four full days, and he is not being left idle. We are extremely grateful for a kind staff and well-trained therapists. Even the meals are tasty. Every day, he is being assessed by medical staff and put through the ringer in the gym! Please pray for this mighty effort. He is determined to "move" to full recovery, but the days are exhausting as he tries to encourage circulation, muscle strength and response. AND, as many of you know, most illness is not without further issues and complications. Continue interceding for renewed strength, pain management, wisdom for medical team, and fortitude to endure and reach for the goal. Your mail, texts, phone calls, cards, etc. have been such an encouragement - THANK YOU! It truly does make a difference to know of the many that are holding you up before the Lord. (For specific information, please contact Bro. Ronnie's son-in-law, Steve Lilly at 828.779-1958.)