Faith That Climbs Mountains

On Tuesday we received the difficult news regarding Keturah’s condition, which led to the decision that we will now be taking her to the US to seek medical help there.

That was a difficult night, I won’t say it wasn’t. There was one point in the night when I was crying out to the Lord (quite literally!) and just asking him to come with us and be very near and clear in directing our steps, and right then, as I was praying, I felt a clearing in the fog of my mind and God’s gave me such a beautiful and comforting vision. 

In the vision, I was standing in front of a very tall mountain. Then, I heard God say to me, “You are asking me to move the mountain, but this is a mountain needs to be climbed”.

Then, I saw Jesus appear beside me, and Sammy and the kids were there as well.

Then, Jesus touched me and gave me a renewed sense of peace and courage. And after that, he picked up Keturah in his arms and then took my hand, and all of us, together, hand-in-hand, started to climb the mountain.

As we climbed, I noticed that Jesus was hardly even looking at the path ahead. He was so familiar with this path that he didn’t need to pay much attention to where we were going; mostly he was looking back at us, reaching out his hand to help us over the difficult places.

That was the vision I saw on Tuesday, which came with such clear pictures in my mind that have been staying with me ever since.

Then, yesterday, was another difficult day, when we discovered that Keturah’s hemoglobin levels had dropped 2 points since the transfusion on Tuesday.

When she was transfused the first time, her levels were dropping at a speed of about 2 points in 1 week, so to now have them drop 2 points in less than 2 days was rather frightening.

We have been very fortunate, though, and have been really seeing God’s hand at work in mighty ways here!

The hospital where Keturah is at right now has been amazing! And the pediatrician who was overseeing Keturah’s case brought in another pediatrician who has actually worked with patients who have had similar symptoms and equally critical conditions as Keturah, so she has been the one calling the shots now and bringing in some really highly qualified specialists to help.

Yesterday they were able to do another blood transfusion, but this time they did the extra work of switching her over from the O+ blood she had been receiving to now using A+ blood in the transfusion since that is her actual blood type and they have high hopes that a closer blood match might help her body not to fight the same way.

Also yesterday, a highly reputable pathologist came to the hospital and performed a bone marrow biopsy, specifically looking for leukemia, but also looking for very specific bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that are known to cause these types of issues.

In order to be very thorough (and also hoping to get results as soon as possible), Keturah’s bone marrow samples were sent to two different laboratories. One of the laboratories is actually owned by the husband of the pediatrician, who, knowing about Keturah’s case at a more personal level, poured over her samples himself, putting in a lot of hours and working over-time to try and get us some answers as soon as possible.

Yesterday evening, while washing dishes, I saw another encouraging vision from the Lord. It was a continuation of the last vision. This time, I saw us all standing at the very top of the mountain and looking down at valley below. And in the vision, Keturah turned to me and said, “Mommy, look! You can see everything from up here! It’s all so clear!”

In that moment I just found myself thinking and praying: “Wow God! That climb was shorter than I expected. Does this mean the technician has found something? Does this mean we finally have a diagnosis and can know what is happening to our little girl? I know we still have a long, difficult road ahead of us as we still have to climb down the other side of this mountain, and I know full well that the valley can be a really dark and difficult place to be as well, but thank you! Thank you that you have just been so near and so evident, and helping us along, each and every step of the way. Please continue to go with us – before and behind – just leading the way for us!”

Well, today, we were presented with a diagnosis — Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Also today, we were able to get our Covid tests in preparation to travel.

We have our tickets for traveling tomorrow (Saturday) night. My parents are prepared to pick us up at the airport when we arrive late Sunday night. Our final destination is the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Keturah has already been assigned a private pediatrician there, and Keturah’s health records and lab results have already been sent on ahead so that they are ready to receive us when we arrive.

Yesterday, when we found out that Keturah’s hemoglobin levels were falling very rapidly it was difficult for us to know whether or not she would even be able to make the trip. But the doctor’s were able to successfully switch her over to A+ blood, and the blood transfusion she got yesterday has really done a lot to improve her condition. Today when they tested her hemoglobin levels, they were way up at 12.3 g/dl (finally actually in the “normal” range for her age again, instead of always being low). Tomorrow morning they will test her hemoglobin levels again so that we can know at what rate her numbers are falling, and that will help us know whether or not she will need another transfusion yet before we travel, as well as giving us an idea of how long we can expect her to go (and how far we can expect to travel with her) before she would get to the point of possibly needing another transfusion.

Please, PLEASE pray that her levels will only be having a very slow, gradual decline! If her numbers could be more stable and gradual it would definitely give us more confidence in traveling with her.

As for how Keturah is doing over all, she has actually been doing far better than any of us could ever hope or imagine, especially considering all that is going on inside her little body.

Everyone who sees her is just amazed! When you enter her hospital room she is there sitting up in bed, greeting everyone with a smile, writing letters and drawing pictures to her brothers or other friends and people who have been helping her. Or sitting there watching TV or playing with toys. Her levels of pain have been very low, which we are thankful for, and while she is feels the need to tell everyone each and every location where she has been poked with needles the past few days, she has even been able to talk about that experience with a smile and an amazing degree of courage and optimism.

She’s certainly a trooper!

And God has really been amazing! He has really been close to us and just going ahead of us and opening doors and bringing just the right people into our lives at just the right times. He has seen to it that every need we have has been met — and often times even before we ask or realize the need.

I wish I had time to go into all of those details, because what God has been doing for us through the body of Christ, His church, has been absolutely amazing! And most of you who are reading this have been a huge part of that!

So thank you!

I probably won’t get another chance to write until we are back on US soil and have Keturah set up in the Children’s Hospital, but I know that you will be praying for us as we make this trip, and continuing to pray for God’s protection and healing over Keturah and the rest of our family as well.

We trust that God has been leading and directing and watching over each of us, and that He will continue to do so in such amazing ways that when we finally make it down this mountain and through whatever valley lies ahead for us, we will come out of this journey with great testimonies of God’s faithfulness and almighty power. And that is what we want more than anything — for God to use this situation to glorify and magnify His name!

To God be the glory!

18 thoughts on “Faith That Climbs Mountains”

  1. Thank you for the update. Yes, we are praying as you travel! How can we contribute financially to your travel/medical expenses? We love you guys Karin and David

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      1. Kelsey i sent something thru Ripe for the Harvest, is that not going to get to you in time to help with travel expenses? Please let me know if possible.

        Praying in earnest for you all, juli

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      2. Thank you for the update and giving the Church a clear pathway forward in prayer. We join our faith with yours and others who know Jesus will hold your hands and carry you through the rough mountain passes. We are praying for your sweet family and feel led to go to your home page to help. Bless you as you draw your strength from Jesus to walk out the journey in front of you.

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      3. Thanks for the update! I have been and will continue to praying for Keturah! ❤️ My prayers are with you all as you travel. I know God will be with you. With much love and prayers.

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    1. Dear Sammy & Kelsey,
      Thank you so much for this update and all the encouraging ways the Lord has revealed His presence with all of you💕
      I will be praying for your safe travels and for Keturah’s hemoglobin levels to remain up so that she can safely travel to the US🙏💕
      God bless you, dear family🌸

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  2. We’vve been with you from the beginning and will continue to trust God for the impossible!

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  3. We are praying for you and your family and for your sweet little Keturah…..and we are sending you a gift that will help you and yours to help pay some of your bills…….

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  4. Sammy & Kelsey,
    Thank you for the update. My family and I have been praying and will continue to lift you , Keturah, and the rest of your family up to the Lord. He Is the God of Miracles.
    As we have prayed we felt and knew He was listening and answering your needs. We waited to hear updates and have had confirmations to our prayers through your updates. To God be the Glory. We will cover you in prayers for a safe trip, Keturah’s level to drop slower to travel safely and that you continue to experience His peace, the peace that passes all understanding. We will continue to ask the great physician to provide answers and healing to her little body. Believing.
    God Bless
    Mel

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  5. Kelsey and family, my heart goes out to you. Do you remember our Ian? He has had 7 open heart surgeries, age 22 months, 7yr, 8yr, 2 at 12yr, 19yr, and 31yrs…so far. If it wasn’t for our faith, I don’t know how I would have survived. He was in critical condition so many times, and almost died at 7. I prayed for courage, wisdom, and strength, and in those times that I became overwhelmed, I put the whole thing at the foot of the cross, and told God that I needed him to mind it for a while because I needed a break. Each time I went back to pick it back up, the load was lighter. I think God picked out the worry and self defeating emotions, so I didn’t need to carry them for awhile. Remember Jeremiah 29:11 “…for I know the plans I have for you…” This has become my battle cry. And, in one week, Ian is getting married! Lean on Him, accept offers of help, pray with anyone who will pray with you, cry when you need to let it out, and know that you are prayed for by as many folks as I can enlist in addition to all your loving friends and family. I’ve walked a similar path and still believe God is good all the time. Blessings and love from all the Essling’s.

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  6. I had a blood disorder where my body was destroying all my white blood cells. I was 7. I had many blood transfusions so I am remembering then as I see you going through this journey with Keturah. I was told three doctors pronounced me terminal. My mom was of strong faith, too, and like you seeing a vision, mom heard a distinct voice saying “Janiece will be OK”. Mom was driving to see me at the hospital. I don’t remember how long I was in the hospital, but when mom heard the voice I was told I had been laying listless in an oxygen tent. When she arrived, I was sitting up and she called for the nurse and the nurse called for the doctor. Blood was drawn and the doctor no longer saw a problem. He kept me overnight to make sure. I was sent home the next day. Mom said the nurse said I wasn’t expected to live. God and His angels are watching over all of you and you are being lifted up in prayer to our God that can heal Keturah. I pray that God will guide and direct all the medical staff caring for Keturah and continually bring you comfort. I pray that the journey for Keturah to become a healthy little girl again will amaze doctors as it will go more quickly than they are expecting. I appreciate the updates.

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  7. Dear Sammy and Kelsey,
    Thank you for this update and for sharing how Jesus spoke so clearly to you. We’ve been sending out the updates that we have received from Joan and Martin. Today, I will attach this update to ours. I will also include the information about helping with medical expenses. Praying you all the way home.

    Love in Christ,
    Lee and Scott Pyles

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  8. Dear Kelsey, Sammy and children,

    Thanks for so carefully allowing us to know what is going on and being a part of your journey. My prayers are with you. (As i asked in responce to another post just now…) please let me know if the support sent thru RFTH will get to you in time or if funds need to go thru the link you sent to your church. Also please let me know if you need any help with transportation out of Chicago or out to S.D. i am completely available as well as that GMC you remember me as having! Also if you need a place to stay you are all welcome here as well as your parents or extended family.

    God bless, keep, and protect you all, juli

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  9. Dear Kelsey, Keturah & Family,
    I am part of Hope Community Church in Lake Villa, IL and have been made aware of your great need. Although I do not know you personally, I know I will meet you all in heaven, if not before! I am grateful for the updates and will continue to pray fervently for you all. May your faith remain strong, for the benefit of yourselves and all those you meet along the way. To God be the Glory. Gratefully Serving Him with you, Jean

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  10. I’m praying for a complete recovery for little Keteurah. I’m also praying for peace of mind for you and your family. Our God is bigger than any problem we have and He will guide the doctors and nurses as you seek them for advice.

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  11. Thank you for the update. What a blessing to read about your experiences and your strong faith in God. Rest assured that many are praying abs for sure our good LORD will use thus experience as a great testimony for His glory.
    To God be the glory.

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