Dear Friends of Zion:
Thank you so much for your prayers and offerings. How can we thank you enough for your faithfulness?
URGENT PRAYER IS NEEDED! Our lives have suffered a major change in the past three months. As reported in November, Tom was admitted to a hospital for 12 days with extreme pain in his right hip that was diagnosed as bursitis and treated with an infiltration of cortisone that was supposed to solve the problem. It didn’t. On December 5, he was admitted to a second hospital where extensive medical exams revealed spinal stenosis. On December 16 he had surgery to insert ten titanium screws, one on each side of the five vertebrae in the lumbar region of his spine, as recommended by two doctors from different hospitals. I say screws, because that is the word used by the doctor who did the surgery, and that is how they look on a computer screen. Tom was released in time to come home for Christmas.
On January 28, as Tom was getting up for breakfast, he felt a great stab of pain. With much difficulty, he reached the table but could not get up afterwards. Harold Ralph left his home, family and an important meeting at church to come and help us. We called an ambulance to take Tom back to the same hospital in which he was operated. That is where he remains until today, March 6. The pains have not subsided. Clinically, his vital signs are very good, even though he has lost at least 40 pounds. An MRI revealed that, due to osteoporosis, the first two vertebrae of the lumbar region began to split in the middle, between the screws implanted in his spine. Tom is wearing a surgical vest in an attempt to pull the bones together so they will heal. Uncontrollable spasms of pain leave him incapacitated. Medications do little to help. The doctor is baffled. At this point, he is suggesting more surgery! This is the most difficult moment we have faced physically in all our lives. The doctor says Tom’s illness has a cure, but recuperation will be very slow. It could take six months, a year, or more. Only God knows.
In the meantime, the work goes on! Tom endeavors to give a Gospel witness to everyone that comes into his room. He led another cleaning lady to the Lord. The ministries don’t stop just because he has an extended illness. Tom has always been very conscientious to train young men to take his place in case anything should happen to him. Church planting, Jewish ministry, Bible publication, personal evangelism, and all areas of ministry continue uninterrupted. The Lord has provided two seminary students to help in his care, so even in his illness Tom is mentoring and helping prepare young men for God’s service. We are grateful to our children who are doing all they can to help even as they carry on their ministries. Thomas, Jr. took a week off from BBN Radio to come to be with us. Thanks to all of you who stand by us in prayer. We are not retiring but taking a medical furlough—not in the USA—but on the field.
The Guacuri church planting project goes forward. The new preaching point in São Miguel Paulista is developing under Jorge Oliveira’s leadership in his parents’ home. They bought thirty chairs to accommodate those who attend. They visited Tom in the hospital last week. They are excited! May God be praised and may He bless you all.
Yours for the Messiah,
Tom and Linda Gilmer
- Professions of faith: 1.
- The $7,300 for the first phase of the Guacuri church planting project has been provided in full!
- The surgeon’s intervention that made it possible for Tom to remain in the hospital when the insurance company said they could no longer provide care.
- Salvation of Jews and Gentiles.
- Ongoing projects (church planting, Bible study helps, media outlets, and warehouse for Bibles).
- Tom’s recovery from complicated spinal surgery.