God’s Hand!

If you aren’t a believer and you were looking for miracles to “see” proof of God working, here I am!

What a testimony I have now.

So it’s story time….

Once upon a time, in a far away country of Nicaragua….. I had an emergency kidney removed that had a softball sized cancerous tumor in it. I was starting to go through some cancer protocol in Nicaragua. 

1st sight of God working this all out……I had a friend that I haven’t talked to in 12 years hit me up with an email saying they knew a world renown kidney cancer Dr. at the Cleveland clinic and would get me in to see him. 

2. I got up there and saw the Dr. I did not have any insurance in the United States. I would be paying this insane bill of $15,000 of scans etc out of pocket. I got a letter one day saying that they were going to comp it and cancel out my bill!

3. The Dr. says I can do my treatment in Savannah at my Parents if I can find a Dr. willing to help. My mom played tennis with a lady who has a husband that is an oncologists and told her that they will help us!

4. My school says get out of here and you will have your job when/if you get better!

5. I get to Savannah without insurance. Find out this treatment cost $600,000. After a wonderful lady at the hospital talked to the drug company, they decided to give me the drug FREE!!!

6. Some Dr. Bills piled up and through some God’s grace, they all disappeared miraculously and our balance was $0.00

7. While I am here the a preschool was at capacity and after some friends heard about my situation, Mia was Miraculously accepted into the school midway through the year!

8. I had a 10% chance this treatment would get rid of the tumors in my lungs. And miraculously the scans showed that my lungs were now clean!

9. Only news I didn’t like is that I would have to make monthly trips to the US for treatment. Once I mentioned that, I had a stranger the next day buy my first 3 months of trips!

10. People are still reaching out with miles or donations to help. 

11. Throughout this, I was flown up to visit my friends church in Illinois who always come down and help the project. I was blessed in soooo many ways on that trip.

12. My home church in Ohio continues to reach out to me and support me and walk me through this process.

Those are 12 things that all lined up and just blows my mind how God has all of this in His hands. Things don’t just line up like this from coincidence. God is amazing. I could tell you about 30 more little things that I’m leaving out. But God isn’t done with me yet. I’m headed back to Nicaragua in a week and back to my normal life. I told my wife, now I get to make monthly long distance walmart trips to come to Savannah for treatment 🙂 hahaha

But the biggest proof of God in all of this is all of the people that prayed for me over the last year. Those prayers are what God hears and He answers prayers!

So thank you for all of the support! I love you all. This isn’t over yet. I guess I will ALWAYS have cancer in my body according to the Dr. That’s why I’ll need treatments for the rest of my life. But I know God’s got me! Thank you all! Let’s see what God’s got in store for this sinner of a man! He is good, all the time!

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It’s cold and I love it!

It’s a little chilly and I love it!! That’s because I am in Harrisburg Illinois. I am pumped to be up here visiting Dorrisville Baptist Church. My Doctor gave me the go ahead with this short trip. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go since he is monitoring the side effects of my treatment, but I am glad he gave me the thumbs up. I am getting nervous and anxious. I am done with my first round of treatments. I go in on March 1st to get scans done and on March 5th I find out if the treatment has worked or not. What’s crazy is I feel great. The Dr. says that’s normal. He doesn’t let me get too hopeful. He tells me that you will feel great and then when you feel bad, you don’t have much time left. I believe it’s not getting to that though. I feel God has healed me and I am going tso o have great news on March 5th. So that’s the big day. So prayers for those scans!!!  

 

So I’m here getting to see some great friends and supporters. This church has been the only church willing to come down year after year and invest in our youth in the project. The kids love them and so does my family. God has really blessed us with their prayers and support over the last 6 years. I get to live in their world for the weekend. I even think I’m going skiing with them Sunday. I just hope I don’t break a leg. 

 

I really am getting antsy to get back to Nicaragua. I hope that we are back in the middle of March. I am ready to get back and start the project up assuming I get good news. I miss my friends and students. I mis working soooo much!

I don’t normally do this, but I want to recommend a book. It’s called “Follow Me” and it’s by David Platt. I’m reading that right now. It’s a great book about challenging you to be more like Jesus and dropping everything to really follow Him. Check it out!

Family is great. They are a little bored and ready to head home even though Mia has made many friends in preschool. Her best friend is another girl named “Mia” too! She is also latina! But I’m ready to go back to normal. I pray that’s what is in my future. It’s been nice to be with my parents though. (And my golf game has improved) 🙂

Ok…. I need to get to work so I am ready for church on Sunday. I just wanted to fill my followers in on my travels. I’ll be up here in Harrisburg for a few days. Please keep my health in your prayers. God is the great healer. I’m not worried.

So love you all and thank you! God Bless you all!

-Tom Seipel Jr.

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Cancer Stinks

Hello,

I’ve posted a Journal entry, “And so it begins….”, on my CaringBridge Site.
Follow this link to read the Journal entry: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tomseipel/journal/view/id/5be0ac29c1f03e67347fa95b

CaringBridge is a caring social network to help people stay connected with family and friends. Please visit my site to follow my journey and leave me Thoughts and Well Wish messages.

Visit online
Site Link: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tomseipel
Site Name: tomseipel

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We need help!

So in a week we will be heading back to the war zone. Yes, to some of you, that may be a surprise to hear. My wonderful 3rd world country isn’t appearing in the news here in the United States or even much of the world for that matter. Some people turn their head to what’s happening, and others don’t care. I keep hearing “Nicaragua doesn’t have oil or anything of value, so no one is wanting to help.” So if you have no clue what I’m talking about, google “Nicaragua Crisis” or here are a couple of links to News sources that talk about it: How it started or What’s happening now

With the country shutting down, you would be correct in assuming a ton of people are losing their jobs. Millions of dollars are being lost ever week our country is in this state of chaos. Those job numbers are official jobs. It trickles down to everyone. Most of the people that live in my Barrio and community are hurt the most. When people start losing jobs, they stop buying. Especially the little things they don’t need. I know a lot of people that work selling mangos on the street or even washing windows for money at the stoplight. People are no longer buying or wanting services that aren’t needed. Prices are inflating because of the chaos.

Mission teams are a huge part of the help and service to Nicaragua. I know someone that has over 500 people that come on mission trips and stay with them each summer. They said EVERY one canceled. Normally each summer we have people come down that love on our community and really help and support us. Every year they buy rice and beans for the community. Because of the uprising, pretty much all missionary teams across the county have canceled. So we need some help!

If you have any extra change right now or have been blessed this year, the people of Nicaragua could use a blessing. When I get back to Nicaragua in a week, I am hoping to take any money I get and buy Beans and Rice. I’d love to leave the store with $1,000 of beans and rice to pass out in a couple of weeks. I’ll document it with some videos and photos so you can see the wonderful results of the help you provided! 

So if you can help, please check out donate options above. It’s all tax deductible. The people need your help. If you can’t financially give at this moment, please pray. We need all the prayers you can offer up.

I’m not going to lie…. we are a little scared heading back. I know that’s what God wants, but there is a lot of uncertainty and questions that aren’t answered. I put that all into God’s hands and trust that it will all be taken care of. Thank you to all the donors already. You have been so important to us. Wish us luck and cover us in prayers as we head back down into the crossfire. We love you all!

Love,

The Seipel Family

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Christmas Party time

Hey Everyone,

It’s finally December. First I know some of you are wondering about my health. I still haven’t heard anything about my biopsy. (check out my last blog if you missed what happened) I am moving and have recovered well since my Kidney removal. I hope to know soon to see if I need to undergo Chemo and other treatments for cancer, or if it was all contained in the kidney. I will let you know as soon as I know. Thanks for all the prayers. They have helped and I know they have given me strength to get back on my feet and take care of my family.

So it’s Christmas time. That means Christmas parties. Our project is going to have their party on the 14th. I’m excited. I have a LOT to do. I’ve bought some presents but I still have a lot to get in order to fill the kids Christmas bags. For most of these children, it’s the ONLY present they get for Christmas. If they are lucky they might have some special food. But most of the kids do not receive Christmas presents. We also always get dinner catered for the kids. And last but not least, actually the kids enjoy it most of all….. We buy fireworks and put on a little show for our community (December is a big time for Fireworks in Nicaragua).

If you are interested in helping support this party, please let me know. Every year some donors want to donate either for their child or a little extra for Christmas. This is what our plans are in a couple of weeks. So please pray about if you are able to donate to help make this Christmas one these children will never forget. If you have been blessed this year, maybe you can bless someone else this Holiday Season.

Thanks for all of the support this year. It’s been a tough year financially and emotionally dealing with health issue, but having your prayers and support has been a much bigger blessing. Thank you for all you have done. God bless you!

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Prayers Needed

Ok…. So here’s an update (might be graphic if you get a weak stomach talking about hospital stuff… don’t read)…. My life has drastically changed in the last couple of weeks…. A week and a half ago, I went to the bathroom between classes and it was pure blood. I ran to the hospital. I wasn’t in any pain, but I was scared. I had a kidney stone I passed without any problem in March…. I wondered if I was just gonna pass a stone. That’s what I hoped atleast…..

I went to the new military hospital and went to the floor for a consult. I went in a hospital room where they didn’t do a very indepth check. I wasn’t weighed, they sent me to some student and checked my blood pressure without a stethoscope. I was a nursing major at one point, and I knew from watching the blood pressure pump that the numbers were off. They said I had 155/100. I could watch the numbers too with my eyes and it looked like 130/85. It seemed very off. So i was sent back to the doctor to go through questions. Why was I there. I told them i was peeing blood. I also told her to take my blood pressure with a steth. She said it was 130/80. So i was frustrated already that I knew more about medicine than some people there. She sent me off to get a urine exam. When I peed in the cup, it looked normal. No more pure blood. I was relieved. The exam came back with high protein, looked like i might have an infection, and there was a little blood in it. I kept saying….. “it was red like cranberry juice.” not just a little.

She said i probably have kidney stones and she sent me home with an anti-biotic and ibuprofen. I said I want an ultrasound to see how many stones i had. She refused to give me one. I said I want to pay for one privately and she still refused. So when she left the room, I snapped a photo of her computer screen with my exam results and left. I run all my medical stuff down here by Margarita’s Gynecologist. He is amazing. Dr. Hugo Vaca Perez….. You rock and might have saved my life. I highly recommend him. So…. I send him my results and he says…”Tom, you need to go get an ultrasound now.” So I went across the street from Pricesmart to an ultrasound clinic and got a private ultrasound. The guy spent about 1 minute on the right side of my abdomen and I knew it wasn’t good when he was taking about 10 minutes on the left.

He looked at me and said I have bad news. I had a “mass” about 11x10x9 cm in my left kidney. He then told me my kidney is only about 12 cm long. I asked him some questions and he said that 90% of these are tumors. My heart just sank. He said i should go to the hospital monday to get it looked at.

That 5 minute car ride back to my house was the longest of my life. I cried and cried and yet I knew nothing. I just knew I wanted to see my daughter grow up. She wouldn’t understand if something happened to her daddy at such a young age. Not only that, but probably wouldn’t remember me too.

I went home, we cried, we went back to the hospital and they ran a couple tests. The Dr. originally sent me home Friday night and told me to come back weds. So we went home and went to bed…..

Then I woke up.

Saturday that horrible sight when I went to the bathroom was back. But this time with blood clots and pain. We went to the hospital. They checked me in and it started to move along. Luckily I have some friends who know people in some high places in our insurance company and also parents of students who are respected Doctors. After a few phone calls surgery was scheduled. I was told for maybe 4-6 weeks. I was in a lot of pain. My School and the administration was very supportive. Thank you Susan and Liam. My parents came down because I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it that night. It was because a clot was blocking my urine and I hurt. I was so scared. I have never shed so many tears in one day thinking about my family and Mia.

They took me into surgery to remove this blood clot. That went well. I think it was Sunday night where the head of surgery came in and said “I talked with a friend of yours who is a doctor. We are going to move this along a little faster”. So some strings were pulled. Thank you, and you know who you are. But the dr. said we were going to do the surgery Thursday now instead of 4-6 weeks. So praise the Lord!

After lots of tests, CT scans and x-rays. They confirmed it was a tumor. Then the Dr. tells me that 90% of tumors in the kidney are cancer. That still hasn’t hit me yet.

So that week was a blur. They removed the kidney laparoscopically. But the Dr. has never seen a tumor that big inside a kidney. So they had to make a bigger cut to get it out whole. He says it looks like it was all inside, but they also removed 2 glands that were swollen. We are praying those glands didn’t have cancer in them. If they were swollen because of what was going on with my body, then we are lucky. I just know when the doctor told me 20% chance for complications I imagined it could be the last time to see anyone. I kissed my daughter and wife and family goodbye and prayed that God would take the surgery over. He did.

I left the hospital Sunday afternoon. So now I sit here at home watching monday night football with my baby girl and I have a tube and pump coming out of my side (I go tomorrow to remove it). I’m in a lot of pain and it hurts to breathe standing up. I honestly cant stand and talk at the same time because I can’t breathe.

We are now waiting for 2-3 weeks to get the biopsy back and see if those glands have cancer which would mean the cancer is in my body. If so, through pulling some strings, I hope to be in chemo in January. If not, then praise the Lord!

So that’s the whole story. The hospital food was horrible. I can’t eat like a pig anymore because my 1 kidney can’t handle 4 cheeseburgers at once. So A lot is changing. But please continue to pray about this biopsy. I could have a long road ahead of me if the results are not good….

Thanks for all of your prayers. Love you all. And God Bless You!

ps…. I will say this. Once everything got moving, the military hospital treated me very well. I did pay for a private room, but the care and nurse attention during my week there was wonderful. I highly recommend it!

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Ministry Part 2.

Hey everyone,

Here’s a look at our ministry for those of you wondering what is a typical day!

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Flood 2.0

So I get a message during school saying “The house is flooded.” I had a little chuckle inside for a minute because we only had a few sprinkles at the school. I thought my wife was being sarcastic….. I wish i was right….

After talking to my wife, I get a teacher to cover my Biblical Ethics class and run to my car. The whole time I was imagining the flood from 2 years ago. We lost everything two years ago. I was praying it wasn’t as bad.

Praise God it wasn’t…..

When i got there, there was 3 ft. of water in the house. It had just stopped raining and the water was starting to go down. Unfortunately, all of this water is sewage, so everything smelled like rotten garbage. After a couple hours of cleaning and sweeping the water out, the smell was all we had left. After multiple gallons of bleach and some bottles of pine sol, we took inventory of what the damage was. A dresser, Mattress, and some book shelves were soaked and the particle board absorbed all that wonderful water and smell. They are in the trash. Soon we realize the Fridge is dead. Finally we open a bookshelf cabinet and see our school books and a lot of craft supplies are water logged. That actually gave me a sigh or relief. Praise God it came during the day and we got most stuff up onto the tables and salvaged most, especially the food for the kids. Once all is said and done, we probably lost only about $1,000-$2,000 worth of stuff and a lot of my time trying to replace everything. We can replace stuff…. we can’t replace people. It could have been worse.

I am putting the pictures and videos below. The video is of our street in front of our house. The pictures I took after the water has gone down a bit since I was trying to save stuff.

If you are interested in helping us get the project up and running, please feel free to donate by clicking the donate page up above. Again….. what a mess, but praise God it wasn’t worse.

 

 

 

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My Ministries

I’ve been asked about what all do I do down here. So here is a 3 part tour of my 3 ministries I run/work with. First is my Morning/Afternoon job at School!

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The “facts” of life!

Did you ever watch that show “The Facts of Life” back in the day? Or even the Cosby Show? It amazed me how those houses were always a calm chaos. They had so many kids running around, that it is amazing that the parents didn’t go insane. I feel like my life is like that right now, and I only have 1 daughter!

Life has been crazy. Since last time I have talked to you, I have been to Mardi Gras, Panama City, and a middle school retreat. I have barely had time to sit down and think let alone write. But there is so much to say, so here it goes!!!!

The project is going well. I am revamping the sponsorship program. We have a lot of new kids and I have about 25 that are looking to be sponsored. We really need to find some sponsors. Financially, it has been a down year so far. One of our bigger sponsors backed out last year due to business regulations. So we received all we could from them. That left a really big hole. People hear me talk about my job at school. It is a missionary school where the funding to live in Nicaragua is still raised by each teacher. I make just enough at this school to cover the rent each month. It isn’t quite like a teaching job in the states. So it has been a struggle and we keep talking about cutting the food program. Each time we get in this position I feel that it’s so important to the kids, that I just trust God will provide. He has so far, but it’s living month to month now where as in previous years we’ve been comfortable in able to spend more for the kids. Right now we have a hold on any activities for the project and any extra spending until we can bounce back with some support. One of the easiest ways is through child sponsorship. So for $30 a month, you can make a huge difference.18278542_10109635442288335_6987544510903525713_o

Margarita is enjoying being in charge in the project. Although we are really waiting to get through 2 more years and then Mia will be in pre-school so Margarita can find a job to bring in some extra income. That’s about it as far as how the project is going.

So in other news….

Yes, I went to Mardi Gras for the first time in February. It’s not what you think. 🙂 A pastor flew me there to be a part of a mens mission trip. We were in New Orleans dressed as clowns and walking around the parade spreading the gospel. I passed out thousands of tracks, had some amazing conversations, and was able to be in the presence of a lot of Godly men for a weekend. It was one of the most amazing trips I’ve taken. What a challenge it was trying to tell people about the love of God, when a lot of them were only there to party hard. God did some amazing things and really took control over the weekend and we glorified Him in all we did. I was also able to preach about missions and what I do in Nicaragua. It was awesome!18278546_10109635427717535_255803666278794261_o

In March our school took a group of 15 High schoolers to Panama City (Panama). I am one of the leaders of our Debate team here. The kids participated in Hacia Democracy which is kind of like a model U.N debate. They have been working for months and prepare many stances on situations and come together to debate in Panama. It was a cool experience. Not only did I get to go to another country I’ve never been to, but I loved seeing the passion in our kids as they loved learning and striving to be the best they could.18278210_10109635430761435_8264385042208906924_o

I came back from Panama and a week later left on the Middle School retreat that was on the banks of Lake Nicaragua. As the head of worship for the youth group, I get to participate in these great youth events. It has kept me busy, but I have really been able to form some amazing relationships with some students. It is a completely different form of evangelism than in my project. I love being able to have 2 different ministries down here…. our project and then my ministry with kids at a Christian School.18319326_10109635436195545_7051165088412676893_o

We are in the last month of school, so we will be coming home for summer break. As of now I will be in Columbus for a week in June, hopefully a St. Louis-southern Illinois/Murray trip for a week, and then finish up in Savannah. We have a lot of support to raise and I hope I can even find a business or two that would be interested in supporting us.

I have a friend who wants to throw a “Donation Dinner” for us where we go to their house and they invite a handful of couples and I present what we do. If you would be interested in doing something similar to help us out, please let me know. We are up for anything. We will not be leaving Nicaragua. If donations don’t improve, the project will have to have some cuts and I don’t want to do that. These kids need us and a safe place to learn, eat, and be loved on. Please let me know also if maybe your church would like to have me come and talk. I love telling people about what’s going on down here. We have so many ways to get people involved, I would love to inform a church about ways to serve overseas.

Finally thank you for all your support. The prayers and donations are so important. We couldn’t be running this project without you all! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ in Nicaragua. It isn’t just me that is down here…. it’s all of you too!

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God Bless you all and take care,

The Seipel’s

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