Monday, August 3, 2009

Funeral Service DVD Available

DVD's of Janet's Funeral Service and Burial are available to anyone who would like a copy.

To let me know you'd like a copy, please send an email with your mailing address to:

The DVD turned out beautifully, and I treasure it as a keepsake of Janet's life.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Celebrating Janet

One of our favorite photos of Janet and the memorial wreath (Janet asked us to make sure there were some bright flowers at her funeral!)

Janet's casket and beautiful flower arrangements

Memories of Janet

Judi Utley played her harp before and after the service

There are no hearses in Thailand so the casket was carried in a pick up truck

Janet wanted a plain white wooden casket
The man in the white shirt in the center of the photo is Dr. Suttiphan, one of the doctors who helped care for Janet her last stay in the hospital. Janet's last obvious response when she was no longer able to talk was when Dr. Suttiphan came to visit. She raised her eyebrow when he spoke to her and gave him a little smile. She came to love him very much.

Pastor Hill, in the black shirt, officiated at the funeral and burial.

Lowering the casket into the ground.

Balloons rising into the sky! Janet wanted balloons at her funeral to symbolize the fact that her death was a celebration. Balloons remind Janet of her childhood and happy memories of parties and good times.

Janet mentioned often in the her last weeks that she wanted her home-going to be a celebration, not a somber, sad affair. Although there were many tears, there was also a true sense that Janet was with Jesus, and no longer suffering, and that we should be happy for her!

Her memorial service was beautiful. Clark Aspinwall and Pam both shared memories of Janet and two pastors, one from Janet's Thai church and another from one of the international churches in Chiang Mai, shared words of encouragement from the Scriptures. We showed photos of Janet's life with three of her favorite songs playing in the background, "On My Way to Paradise" (the song that played when Janet first turned her Ipod on after her biopsy), "No More Night", and "Finally Home".

Her friend who traveled to Israel with her this Spring, Janet Greenleaf, read Psalm 122 and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. We also sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Soon and Very Soon". The song, "There is a Savior", sung by Sandi Patty , was played at the end of the service during a time of reflection. Janet had played this song so many times during her illness and when she was strong enough she sang along, then as she got weaker she would just move her hands in time to the music and at the end when she was too weak to do anything else she would raise her eyebrows during the high notes and we knew she was singing in her heart!

Janet wanted helium balloons at her burial so we drove to the cemetery with balloons bulging out of the back of a couple pickup trucks. At the grave site we were each given a balloon that we released as she was being lowered into the grave. We sang "The Lord's Prayer" together. That song was sung around her bed both in the hospital and at home, and we thought it appropriate to sing again as we committed her body to the ground. We miss Janet but we don't grieve as those who have no hope because we know that we will meet again in heaven, either when the Lord returns or when He calls us home. (Deb)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Obituary: Janet Louise Gilliam

Janet Louise Gilliam was born Nov. 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C., the only child of John Wilson Gilliam and Charlotte Oland Gilliam. She trusted Christ as her Saviour at the age of 12, during a Sunday School class. Janet's career began as a psychiatric nurse in Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Florida before she gave her life to missionary service at age 49.

During her nursing years, Janet was highly respected as the Clinical Coordinator of Nursing at several psychiatric hospitals, including the Dominion Psychiatric Treatment Hospital in Falls Church, VA; the Greater Laurel Beltsville Hospital in Laurel, MD; the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; the Psychiatric Crisis Intervention Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL; Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL; and the Park-Duvalle Neighborhood Health Center in Louisville, KY. Janet was a sought after public speaker and group therapist for her work in rape prevention and post-rape trauma, and she became an early pioneer of the play therapy movement for intervention with traumatized children.

In 1989, Janet gave her life to full time missionary service by joining New Tribes Mission. She first moved to Thailand in July, 1991 at age 50. She had a particular love for the Thai people, and was well loved by many Thai friends. During her 18 years in Thailand, she lived the essence of the Gospel by giving sacrificially to those around her. Her ministry in Thailand included that of teacher for missionaries' children at New Tribes Education Center (NTEC), supply buyer for Grace International School (GIS), and teacher's assistant in the Special Needs Department and Extension Services Department at GIS. She also had a vast impact among several homeschooling families, and made a lasting contribution to several Thai churches, including Chiang Mai Blessings Church, Abundant Grace Church of Chiang Mai , and the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Sanpatong. Janet had a remarkable ability to make deep friendships wherever she went, in spite of language limitations.

Janet's lifelong dream was to spend several months in Israel, and God graciously granted that request just prior to her death, by allowing her to spend three months in and around Jerusalem. Her love and passion for Israel closely parallel the heart of God the Father, and she frequently spoke out, encouraging others to "Remember Israel." Janet was a woman who loved God deeply and lived a life of holiness as she served Him. She died on July 16, 2009, after a brief 48-day battle with pancreatic cancer. During her final days, she continued to be a light and testimony to those around her, as she eagerly embraced the presence of Jesus. She will be sorely missed by many friends in Thailand, as well as her maternal aunt, Shelva Jean Stuart, of Weddington, NC, and numerous cousins and American friends.

Janet will be interred at the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, on Monday, July 20, 2009. In lieu of flowers, Janet has requested that memorial gifts be sent to the Extension Services Department of Grace International School, where Janet worked for many years.

Memorial Gifts

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Extension Services Department of Grace International School.

In the U.S.A., make checks payable to Grace International School and send them to the following address, noting that it is a deposit to the school's account. Funds may also be transferred electronically using the following information. For gifts given in the USA, please also send an email to indicating the amount of your gift for the "Janet Gilliam Memorial Fund," in order to be sure that your gift is properly distributed.

U.S. Address:
Evangelical Christian Credit Union
Account Name: Grace International School
Account #: 744184
Routing #: 3222-7337-9
Mailing Address: PO Box 2400, Brea, CA 92822-2400

In Thailand, checks for US Dollars or Thai Baht may be sent to Grace International School, indicating that the funds are for the "Janet Gilliam Memorial Fund."

Thailand address:
Grace International School
178/ 832 Muu 7
Chiang Mai- Hod Rd. KM 10
Hang Dong, Chiang Mai 50230

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We have had several phone calls asking if the Sunday evening event at Pam's (5 pm.) is only for Janet's Thai friends, or if foreigners are also encouraged to attend.

The event is open to everyone, so please feel free to come! We have planned this event because it is important in Thai culture to gather frequently and have more than just one time for grieving. Sunday evening will be very much Thai style and in the Thai tradition, so if you're comfortable with that--come!

The more formal, Western-style funeral will be Monday morning (10 am.) at the Chiang Mai Community Church.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plans and Preparations

We (Pam and the other caregivers), along with Pastor Peter Hill, who will be officiating at Janet's memorial service, and Nathan Rueck, met this afternoon to plan Janet's memorial service. The Lord gave us enough clarity of thought to work through the most important issues today. Because there are no mortuaries in Chiang Mai a lot of the preparation that is usually done for the family by a mortuary (for a price, of course!) we are having to do ourselves. We could use a "Gilliam Funeral Home" in Chiang Mai! (Some of Janet's family in the States own a "Gilliam Funeral Home" and Janet often mentioned it the past few weeks.)

In thinking through things we had to take into consideration Thai culture as well as our western way of handling funerals. It was interesting as some planning involved speaking with Thai friends using the Thai language, some conversations were with others who speak what sometimes seems like a foreign language to us Americans (English with a Scottish accent!), as well as New Zealand and American English! Thrown into the mix is a Thai who grew up in a German family and speaks fluent English with a German accent!

There were some 'speed bumps' as we were planning this afternoon. One was when we called the director of the cemetery where Janet had purchased a plot and were told that the earliest they could have Janet's grave dug is next Thursday!! That meant we had to find a way to get the job done ourselves so we could have the burial Monday as planned! That certainly was not on our 'to do' list for this weekend! Thanks to Nathan we were able to get that major glitch sorted out. I don't imagine many of us, as we've attended the burial service of a loved one, have ever given much thought to the fact that someone had to dig the grave!!

It continues to be a joy to work together to carry out Janet's wishes for her home going celebration! Please pray that we will get the things done that need doing and still get the rest we all need. Pray, too, that everything we say and do in the coming days will give God the glory He deserves and honor the memory of Janet, who wanted her home going to be a time of joy and celebration. She also desired that it would point others to the Savior she loved and served so faithfully!

Our hearts go out to Janet's family and friends in the US who are grieving and not able to be a part of the preparations and celebration here. We pray that God will comfort your hearts with the confidence that Janet's final wishes are being carried out to the best of our ability. We count it a privilege to do for Janet what you would be doing for her had Janet been in the States when she passed into eternity.

Celebration of Janet's Life

Time of Remembrance for Janet

In keeping with Thai culture and in honor of her Thai friends, we will gather to remember Janet informally with a Thai meal, singing, and a short message by Janet’s Thai pastor.

The time is 5:00 PM, Sunday, July 19 and will be at Pam Davis’s home at 178/965 World Club Land. (Enter World Club, go past APLC Kindergarten, GIS and the second guard house. Keep going straight past the roundabout, then turn left on to Soi 16. Make the second right on soi 16 K (khaw khai), then 1st left at the Capital G sign. Park anywhere along there and walk, taking the first right and Pam’s house is the last on the left.)

Celebration of Janet’s Life

Monday morning, July 20, 2009

Chiang Mai Community Church

10:00 AM Celebration of Janet’s Life
11:30 AM Lunch
12:30 AM Burial in the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery, CM-Lamphun Road

In lieu of flowers, Janet requested that memorial gifts be given to the Grace International School Extension Services Department, where she worked for many years.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Funeral Arrangements

We have tentatively scheduled Janet's memorial service for Monday afternoon. Plans will be finalized tomorrow after Pam arrives back and we'll post the time and place some time tomorrow.

The Lord is so good to have allowed Janet to slip peacefully into His presence after some very difficult days. The doctors and nurses gave Janet such good care both before and after her passing. They treated her with such honor and respect. She often expressed her appreciation to all of those involved in her care and they could see that her faith was real even in the midst of pain, suffering and eminent death.

Thanks to all of you who have prayed for Janet and for those of us who have been caring for her. It has been a wonderful journey that none of us would have wished for but none of us would have wanted to miss! The Lord has been so gracious to each of as we worked together through the past six weeks. The Lord has knit out hearts together in such a beautiful way! We are going to miss Janet's beautiful smile, her gracious spirit, her love of life and everything beautiful, and even the way she bossed us around! After her death we looked at each other and said, "How are we going to know what to do without Janet here to tell us what needs done!" Actually, she made her wishes known and we'll still be following orders for awhile! (Deb)

Finally Home

At about 10:12 a.m., Thursday, July 16, 2009, Janet Gilliam left Chiang Mai, Thailand, and went to be with Jesus.

Janet last instructions were "Don't limit the celebration." She is now wearing her bridal dress as she requested.

Details of the funeral celebration are pending. We'll let you know as plans are made.

Thank you all for your prayers for Janet as she waited upon her Lord. Thank you for your continued prayers for her care givers and one another as we miss our dear sister and friend.

"We are of good courage, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body and to be home with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:8 NASB

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Final Hours

It's late as I write this but I wanted to let you know what is going on so you could be praying. Janet took a turn for the worst last night and the doctors said today that she has septicemia and will most likely not be with us much longer. This afternoon it was nearly impossible for the nurses to get a blood oxygen or blood pressure reading and Janet is having difficulty breathing. Her body is filling with fluids and she is somewhat aware of what is going on around her but she doesn't respond (unless her favorite doctor comes to visit!). The doctors say that it is quite likely that she has also suffered a stroke but there's no way of knowing for sure without tests and knowing wouldn't change anything anyway. She started running a fever this evening. She has an IV line in for giving her medication to help her rest easier, but other than the oxygen she is getting no other medical treatment. We are just doing what we can to keep her as comfortable as possible. She is still in the same room she's been in for the past week and a half.

The doctors and nurses have given Janet such good care and she has been so sweet to them all! Pray that the Lord will use the peace and joy that they have clearly seen in Janet's life to draw them to Himself.

Another Day

I (Deb) just talked to Mary, who is caring for Janet this morning. Mary said Janet has been sleeping since she arrived a couple hours ago. All Mary has been able to do for her is swab out her mouth to keep it from being so dry. The nurses couldn't get a good reading of her vitals this morning. She hasn't been out of bed since yesterday morning. The doctors haven't been in to check her. Mary said Janet wasn't able to swallow her pain meds this morning so the doctor will most likely have the IV port put in so she can get her pain meds intravenously. Pray that the pain will not come back with the change in the medications. We know we can't change the outcome of this disease but we want to keep Janet as comfortable as possible.

I am posting some photos taken this past weekend.
view from Janet's room
From Janet's room see can see the government hospital complex (the tall buildings in the background) where Janet had her radiation treatments

a view of the moat and the southwest corner of the old city

We've had lots of laughs together as we've cared for Janet!

Janet with Van, Melanie, Carol and Marlene on Saturday

Janet enjoying a laugh with Melanie
Janet, Becky, Van and Phii Chai

Kerry, Van, Janet and Chai

Janet in a not-so-good moment
Dorothy, Pam, Deb, Mary
Becky and Janet

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A New Morning

It's Tuesday morning and I (Deb) am sitting with Janet in her hospital room. I just read your comments to her and she so appreciates your love and your prayers on her behalf. As I type she is listening to the Steve Green CD "Morning Light". She is so weak this morning that she can hardly get a word out but the songs so stir her that she moves her hands in time with the music. She is aware of what is going on around her but she really struggles to get any words out. She did just say, "Khop khun, Khaa" (thank you) to the nurse who came to take her vitals.

Janet was sitting in a chair when I arrived this morning. Her room has a beautiful view of Chiang Mai (she's on the 12th floor) and she was seated just inside the patio doors that open to a balcony where she could look out over the moat and the southwest part of the city. The city was being bathed in a light rain and the open doors let in a fresh, clean breeze. It took Dorothy and I awhile to get her back into bed as she was too weak to try to move but we finally managed to get her lying down again so she could rest. She is very twitchy this morning and whenever she falls asleep she wakes herself up. What rest she does get seems far from restful.

Janet is on oxygen now as her blood oxygen levels are low. One of her doctors came in this morning and wanted to put in a more permanent IV port but Janet said she wasn't sure she wanted it so the doctor told her to let a nurse know when she decides. Pray for wisdom to know what to do to make Janet more comfortable without prolonging her pain and discomfort. We need wisdom that only the Lord can give as we help Janet walk through this valley on her way home.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Visit

Charlie and I visited Janet after church yesterday. She had had a restful night and morning and was in good spirits. We talked, sang a few songs together and it was a joy to be with her. Soi, who was staying with her yesterday morning, commented that Janet just glowed with the joy of the Lord. She is beautiful!

Continue to pray for Janet's oncologist, who is hospitalised with influenza. Because of her illness other doctors have had to take over Janet's care. One doctor who has been helping is a psychiatrist who has been a special blessing. He treats Janet with such compassion and she so appreciates the time he spends with her. She prays for all her doctors that they will come to know her Savior.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Words from Janet

I (Pam) am sitting on Janet's bed, and she is feeling really well this morning, and even has been sitting up for the last 90 minutes in her great-grandfather's rocking chair (which we brought to the hospital for her). Thank you for your prayers last night, as her pain is more managed now.

These words are from Janet:

This morning is Saturday morning. Good morning friends and family. I am so glad to have this opportunity to say a few words. I'm so indebted to Deb who has written this blog for me, and I'm still learning about all of it, but I understand Pam and Mary have also written items of interest.

This of course has been a shock to all of us. However, I could not be better cared for anywhere in the world. This morning a former Thai pastor and his wife visited me here at the hospital. We have known each other over the past 18 years, as his church was the first Thai church I ever attended: Chiang Mai Blessings Church. Through all these years, we've remained in contact with each other, even though I don't go to the same church anymore.

What can I say?? It's just a real blessing to be here! I'm thankful for your love and encouragement. I could say a book about every person, every relationship, but I won't, because i'm too tired.

I was just so delighted that this morning Pam could talk with Dr. Suthipan when he came in, who is the psychiatrist on my team. He and Dr. Rattiya the oncologist have been wonderful in meeting my needs and keeping me comfortable. Dr. Suthipan wants to establish a foundation that will help fund Hospice Care in Thailand. Right now, there is no Hospice at all in Thailand, so people with terminal illness either are at home with no medical care, or in the hospital.

I just feel so privileged. I feel like as I'm on the edge of going home to be with my heavenly Father, I'm also on the edge of watching Hospice Care be established in Thailand.

I do feel close to going home. I'm ready! Please pray for Pam as she travels to Seattle tomorrow for her ministry with the missionary kids. She will be away for one week. Pray for Becky since she has to put up with Janet by herself when Pam's gone. (Becky's editorial comment: I'm privileged to do it! Pam's editorial comment: Becky definitely is not by herself, as there's a whole team of caregivers to help us.)

Okay, that's all.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Music in the Night

The past two days have been filled with intense physical pain for Janet, and so we ask for your prayers specifically for God's mercy. We once again are in the place where we are seeking to get Janet's pain under control, and she is in an agonizing situation. Earlier today the doctors increased and adjusted her pain medication considerably, as she was having such a difficult time. Tonight she is still in incredible pain, and once again I asked the nurse to please call the doctor and see if another adjustment might be made.

Last night as Becky sat with Janet throughout a long, dark night of pain more incredible than she has ever yet experienced, Becky was stunned that Janet continued to call out to the Father, speak His name, and even offer praise. She continually sought God throughout the night, and Becky felt honored to sit beside her, even in the moments when Janet's pain was so bad that she felt she couldn't breathe.

At one point, Janet said, "Becky, do you hear that music?"
"What music?" Becky said. " I don't hear any music."
"It's my ipod., " she said. "Oh, I like that song..."
"Janet, your ipod is right here," Becky replied, "and it's off--see?"
"But I hear music... I do!" she insisted.

And at that point, Janet began to hum and speak every word of the song, "No More Night." For the moment, her pain abated.

Becky was stunned. Stunned when Janet was able to so clearly tell when the unheard song began, when it went on to the next verse, when it was over. Stunned when she told Becky that she saw someone standing behind her--although Becky saw no one there--and this in Janet's moment of most intense pain.

I have no doubt that Jesus was meeting her there, offering the comfort of his presence and His music. He continues to be a God who shows Himself faithful, every day of this wild journey.

And so on we go, stymied by the events of this day, which are so different from the events of yesterday or the day before that. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, and mercy for Janet. Pray that we as caregivers will know how to best meet Janet's needs. And pray for peace.

Lyrics to No More Night :
Words & music by Walt Harrah

The timeless theme, Earth and Heaven will pass away.
It’s not a dream, God will make all things new that day.
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell.
Evil is banished to eternal hell.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing.
The only sound is the praises to Christ, our King.
Slowly the names from the book are read.
I know the King, so there’s no need to dread.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

See over there, there’s a mansion, oh, that’s prepared just for me,
Where I will live with my savior eternally.

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great "I AM."
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.


Mary Aspinwall has been one of Janet's caregivers. She wrote the following....

As one of Janet’s care givers I was asked to write something for her blog. I enjoy writing… but how does one go about a task like this!?

I have known Janet for many years. She taught my daughter, Naomi, in 4th grade and loved her like a mother when I wasn’t there to do so. We’ve been in each others homes, visited, been in Bible studies together, I’ve heard about her through my girls who worked with her, she knitted a blanket for my baby boy who went on to heaven straight from my womb,… and yet I couldn’t really say that we were especially close before.

The day we heard about Janet’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer Clark, Rachel and I went to visit her in the hospital. Rather than our visit being a blessing to her, she in turn amazed us with her faith, joy, confidence and anticipation! I will never forget singing the Lord’s Prayer around her bed and I’ve enjoyed singing it a few more times with her since then.

Janet is the sixth person whose bed I have sat beside frequently during the final stages of cancer. Of course there are things that remind me of past experiences, but there are also things that just amaze me about Janet in particular. Even though Janet is the one suffering, she continually seeks to meet the needs of those around her. She thanks us for each and every minute thing we do for her, comments on our clothes, asks about our loved ones,… I literally cannot fathom how she can still be thinking of others when she herself is going through so much.

None of us would ever choose cancer for ourselves or for anyone we love, and indeed it has been a very difficult journey for us all, and yet I never spend a time with Janet where I am not blessed by her attitude. She continues to see the blessings God brings her way and makes it a point to acknowledge and thank Him for those. If through my valley of the shadow of death I can be half as much a blessing to others as Janet has been to me I will be thankful. What an inspiration she has been to me of how God can continue to give us His peace and joy even when LIFE IS DIFFICULT! I know Janet does not want us to praise her, but we certainly can praise our mighty God for the way He continues to use Janet to minister to those of us who are seeking to minister to her. HOW INCREDIBLE IT’S BEEN TO WALK THIS JOURNEY WITH JANET!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Yet Will I Trust Him"

As I (Pam) write this blog entry, I am sitting at Janet's bedside, having spent the night with her in the hospital. She has spent 4 nights here now, and last night we began to see a significant increase in her physical strength. She was up for several hours chatting with Becky and me, and it was truly a delightful evening! This morning she seems more able to get out of bed and walk without assistance.

During the past two days, Janet has undergone two radiation treatments, with the hope that the radiation will provide enough pain relief to allow the doctors to reduce her medications and thus keep her mind clear. At this point, the radiation will not prolong her life, but it may produce some pain relief. It has been such a HUGE gift to us all to have Janet back to her old self these past few days: smiling, pleasant, and clear-minded, although she is still weak.

When this journey first began last month, Janet asked Dr. Rattiya, the oncologist, how the disease typically progresses. At that time, Dr. Rattiya answered, "It's different for everybody. Some people have one long, slow decline and then quietly slip away. Other people seem to be very up and down, having good days and bad days, as if they are raging against death."

I've contemplated Dr. Rattiya's words over and over again this past week, and it seems clear that Janet is following the "up and down" pattern--having good days and bad days. We anticipate keeping her in the hospital a little while longer, until she is stabilized physically, and then perhaps she can go home again. The doctors (3 on her treatment team) have all indicated to us that it is a typical pattern for cancer patients at this stage to be in and out of the hospital during the last several months as needs arise.

Last night, when Becky and Janet and I were talking together and wondering about "why" God might be waiting to take Janet home, and how hard it is for us as caregivers to watch her suffer, Janet said, "The one thought that keeps coming to my mind, even though I so desperately want to go on and be with the Father, is 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.'" We all three sat on Janet's bed, quietly contemplating the profound importance of that thought. Please pray that all of us will be granted more faith.....more faith for this journey.

I realize that tomorrow or the next day we could be back to having another "bad" day and Janet could take a downward turn again. But for today we are on a good upswing. And we are grateful. One day at a time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Improving Slowly

Since being in the hospital, Janet's confusion has abated and she is much more aware of her surroundings. We are so grateful to God for this gift, as having a clear mind improves her quality of life so much.

The CT Scan showed that there is no cancer in the brain, which is really great news! This means that the confusion and delirium of the past week were likely caused by a combination of more treatable factors: a lung infection, an electrolyte imbalance, and side effects of the medication. In the past few days, Janet's lungs have almost completely cleared up and she is no longer wheezing or coughing, and the doctors are working to get her electrolytes back in balance.

She is still much weaker than the doctors think she should be at this stage, which is puzzling to us all. She spends only a few minutes each day out of bed and simply changing positions completely wears her out.

We are so grateful for your prayers for us all during this time. I was reminded yesterday of the story in 2 Chronicles 20, when Jehoshaphat and his people faced a battle unlike any they had previously faced, yet still stood before the Lord and declared, "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

May it be ever true of us all that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith... even when we don't know what to do.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Roxy

Janet (and Pam) saying goodbye to Roxy just before leaving for the hospital.

Giving kisses! (Roxy is very special to Janet.)

We moved Janet to the hospital yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. Thank you so much for your prayers, as the transfer went quite smoothly. Janet is scheduled for a CT scan this morning, as the doctor would like to figure out what is causing the high level of confusion and delirium, and the CT scan will help rule out some things.

With deep compassion and a calming presence, Dr. Rattiya took both of Janet's hands yesterday morning and said, "Janet, this is all just part of the process. Many things could be causing your confusion and agitation, but we will figure it out and fix it, and then you can go back home after a little while. It may take us a little while to learn the cause, but I think we can fix it."

I (Pam) found myself a bit teary-eyed with gratitude at that moment: so thankful for Dr. Rattiya, and thankful to the Father for allowing Janet her heart's desire to die in Thailand while also giving her a doctor who is at the very top of her field. Dr. Rattiya told us yesterday that although no one knows when Janet will die for sure, she thinks that Janet is "not close yet." Janet was really stunned by this news, as she has had such a difficult week, with several moments that even felt near-death.

Those of us who are caregivers are not sure if the doctor's words are simply part of Thai culture, in always giving hope of life and never discussing death, or if the doctor was trying to calm Janet (as she was excessively agitated at that moment). Truly, we don't know. But we know that God knows, and we rest in His loving kindness.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Day, Another Gift

Yesterday (Saturday) Janet had an excellent day of lucid and clear thinking. We see this as a true gift from the Father, as we try to use these times to find out what Janet "really" wants, and then we can follow through with her desires during the days when things aren't so clear or easy.

We are all exceptionally grateful for Trevor and Heather, who came to visit yesterday and talk to Janet about her options for care, now that being cared for at home is getting more difficult for us all (including Janet). Trevor is a missionary doctor here, and Janet respects him immensely. And so it was a glorious experience to feel God's presence in the room as Janet herself made the decision to be transferred to the hospital. We are moving that direction this morning, after we visit with Janet's oncologist. Please continue to pray for us all during this transition time. We are truly buoyed up by your prayers.

I (Pam) am writing this in the wee hours of the morning, as Janet has had another sleepless night and been up and down most of the night. In the past week, she has had one true night of sleep. I am especially touched to realize that when those of you in the U.S. pray, it is during those difficult night hours for us here. Thank you....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Day Closer to Home

Janet slept well last night but has been much weaker and more agitated today. She said today that she doesn't know how to die and she seems a bit fearful of the process. She knows her final destination but the last steps of the way are uncharted territory. Pray that she will experience God's presence and His peace as she ventures into the unknown. Pray, too, for those who are caring for her, as it has been a difficult day. We haven't been through what Janet is facing but we can keep pointing her to the One who has, Jesus Christ!
Here are some photos of yesterday.... (Deb)

Jeanette Hall visited Janet on Thursday

Becky and Janet

Janet and Sarah Rueck

Janet and Melanie demonstrating the 'moves' to "Shall We Dance"

Janet and Soi giving it a go

Janet & Deb-- I think I need a few more lessons!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dance Lessons

Today was an unexpected joy! Janet was feeling stronger and her mind was clear. Melanie and I stayed with her while Pam and Becky went out to talk with Janet's doctor and spend some down time together. Janet wanted someone to read some chapters in Isaiah so I read chapters 51-53 while Melanie gave a back massage. She also listened to some scripture and music on CD. During the course of the day Janet took care of more business matters and sorted through some more papers and old photos. She gave us a scare when she was eating lunch. We were listening over the monitor while we were getting our lunch ready when we heard her choking. She had put too much hot pepper sauce on her chicken and rice and her mouth was on fire! I told Janet that it wouldn't look good on her blog if we posted that after battling pancreatic cancer she died of an overdose of hot sauce!!

She also insisted that she teach me (Deb) and Soi, how to dance after we told her we didn't know how! She demonstrated some steps with Melanie (they had perfected the moves with the addition of an IV pole on the way to the bathroom one night when Janet was in the hospital), then insisted that she teach us how to do it, too! She also provided the music by singing the song "Shall We Dance". It was so much fun! She also visited with dear friends, Nathan and Becky Rueck, and their four children this afternoon. They arrived in Chiang Mai about noon today after nearly a year on home assignment in the US. Pictures will be posted when I get them off of Pam's camera.

Pam and Becky had a good talk with the doctor and came away better informed as to what may be going on with Janet and some ideas of how to better care for her. One thing that has been difficult is that Janet doesn't sleep well at night, so whoever cares for her at night gets very little rest, also. Last night Janet was up sorting papers in the middle of the night! Poor Becky, who still is jet lagged from her trip from the US, could hardly keep her eyes open and Janet was wide awake! Pray that Janet will be able to get the rest she needs tonight. Six of us are providing most of Janet's care, so pray for us as we coordinate things so all the bases are covered. Because at times Janet is so weak and unpredictable we like to have at least two people in the house with her all the time. We're so thankful for others who help out when needed by taking a shift as caregiver, shopping, bringing in a meal, etc.

Janet is so appreciative of your love and prayers for her!

A New Day

It is early morning in Thailand, and Janet has had a remarkable night! In the past 12 hours, we have seen her physical condition improve significantly: the abdomen distention has abated, her appetite has improved, and her energy has returned to a level that it hasn't been in weeks. In the wee hours of this morning, we found her up and about all on her own, going through papers and cleaning up her room! Let me tell you how stunning this is to us as caregivers, as we literally thought 24 hours ago we were close to the end.

She has had almost no pain in the past 36 hours, which leaves us so grateful to the Father for His mercy, and also to you for your prayers. One marked change, however, is that she is far more disoriented and confused about her situation and her surroundings. We've also noticed a downward turn in her mood for the first time since all this began a month ago. We do feel desperate for your prayers, as things seem to change so rapidly and we often find ourselves unsure of the next step. As caregivers, we find we have a continual need to depend on the Lord for wisdom about how best to help Janet. So keep praying for us! (Pam)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What title do you put on a post like this? Pam wrote this in an email this morning and I thought I'd pass it on.

Janet's body began to shut down last night at about 11 p.m. There were many moments when I thought for sure that she would not wait for Becky after all. However, Becky and Melanie arrived at about 1 a.m., and since that time, we have watched Janet move in and out of consciousness.I believe we are watching her body shut down very slowly. Her abdomen is distended to about twice what it was yesterday. She has mentioned once that she was "called back" after being on the "other side." I don't know how much longer it will be--as it seems to be happening slowly--but she is now coughing and heavily congested and wheezing.

Keep praying for grace for Janet as she passes through the valley into the glorious presence of her Lord! Remember Pam, Becky and the others who have been involved in her care, that they, too, will experience the peace that passes all understanding in the coming days.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just Waiting

Pam just wrote this for the blog.....

It has been a difficult, difficult two days with Janet. Either we were dealing with writhing pain or a morphine stupor, and both conditions were agonizing for us to watch.

But this morning about 5 a.m. things took a turn for the better. Janet is suddenly feeling more energized and needing much less morphine. I'm pretty sure this is due to increasing her primary medication yesterday, which the doctor said would take about 18 hours to take effect. 5 a.m. would have been 19 hours since the change... Wow....

So I have been sitting with Janet for the past 90 minutes, and taking advantage of these precious moments when she is clear headed, coherent, and chatty. We have said important things to each other and shared silent smiles. I will treasure the memories of this glorious morning forever.

This morning we had our first "Jesus sighting." As we were talking, Janet suddenly reached her arms up and said, "Oh! He's beautiful...."

I stopped talking and then she turned and said quietly, "Pam that was Jesus..."

"It was?" I barely whispered, as I felt I was on holy ground. "What does He look like?"

She was quiet and thoughtful for a long time and then said, "I don't know... He's gone now. But He was telling me a joke..... He's funny. "

Then she looked heavenward and said, "Father, I really, really, really want to wait for Becky." Becky arrives tonight at midnight, about 18 hours from now. And then she looked at me and said, "I'm just in a hovercraft right now for a little while before I go up. "

I am blessed to share these moments with this woman. It is singularly the most difficult and the most rewarding experience of my life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Red-Letter Day

Sunday was a special day for Janet. The teens from her church in Mae Wong came to visit, bringing with them a banner that they had painted to express their love for her. There were about twenty people crowded around the living room. Janet was able to talk to them about her faith in God the Father in the light of her home-going. Thais don't like to talk about death or dying as they feel it will hurry it along but she encouraged them to talk about it and especially to not fear it if they have trusted in Jesus for salvation. She said that there isn't anything to fear--all death means for the believer is going to live in heaven with Jesus forever! Janet and the kids shared happy memories together, then they all sang a couple songs and prayed together. What a joy it was to watch Janet interact with the kids and with the leaders of the Mae Wang church!

Janet with church leaders and teens from her Mae Wang church

Mary Aspinwall (in the pink shirt), born and raised in Thailand, was able to share truths from the Word of God in their heart language, Northern Thai

Roxie was right in the middle of everything, but she was not too excited about what was going on!

Janet practicing her Thai with one of the church leaders

Click on the arrow to watch a bit of what went on Sunday afternoon.
Janet with Wanlop and Muuy
Some scenes from the banner they made for Janet

Their love for Janet was so evident in the pictures they painted.

Janet had another difficult night Sunday night. Her pain medication has been increased and she's had a more comfortable day. She was hungry for potato salad so we fixed a bowl of it for her and she said she really enjoyed it. Pray that she will have a more comfortable night tonight. Pray for wisdom and strength for Pam and the others who are caring for her.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Worshiping Together

Janet got a better night's rest last night than she's had in a long time! Today was tough for her as we had some trouble keeping her pain at bay. Pray for a good night's rest for her tonight and that we'll be able to keep ahead of the pain tomorrow so she can have a more comfortable day.

One thing Janet really wanted to do was have a time of worship with some of her young friends. It was scheduled for a couple days ago when Janet was feeling better but because of some miscommunication it didn't happen then. The kids came today and Janet really wanted to go out to sit in the living room with them. When she sat up to put on her robe she was in a lot of pain so she just settled back down on her bed and we all came to her. Janet said she would just listen and not sing with us but she couldn't help herself on many of the songs! We had a wonderful time of worship together and our hearts were so blessed by the peace and joy that are so evident in Janet's life!

Janet & Pam

Janet and Pam-- in this together!

Roxie the dog was not impressed with our singing!

Thanks, Daniel, for leading the music.

Praying together for Janet.