Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3 months later (Julie Marcum)

Today marks 3 months since the accident... a good time to post updates on how everyone is doing... again, in no particular order.

Miguel has been out of the hospital now for several weeks! The surgery I spoke of in the last update appears to have gone well. He is living with his mom right now, as he still needs supervision and care although he can walk, talk, and eat by himself. He has been to worship with us several times, and also to quite a few church activities. We have also set up a rotating visitation sheet and many church members have volunteered to take a morning or afternoon to sit with him so that his mom can get out. He seems to enjoy the time with the brethren and Josh feels that he is making some small improvements in his memory. His kids are still living with their aunt for the time being, but have been to Bible class a few times as well. We rejoice over the progress that has been made and continue to petition the Lord for his complete recuperation.

Bruno Vargas is out of his wheel chair and walking with the aid of a walker. He continues to go to physical therapy to work on his knee, but is slowly improving. Freddy's arm is almost healed, although he still is wearing a brace for support. Please continue praying for the Vargas family, though, as their family experienced another blow recently with the passing of their grandfather, Renan's father.

Camilla is now bandage and cast free. She is also undergoing physical therapy for her arm and will have another surgery within a few weeks of finishing her final exams.

Rebeca is walking great! She is of course still undergoing physical therapy as well. She is writing an article for the national church newspaper about her reflections surrounding the accident.

We are still searching for a permanent home for Wendy, who lost her daughter Ariana. We managed to find an apartment for rent, but are looking for someplace a little more permanent. Wendy continues to mourn for her daughter, but has found much strength and solace in the church body and in God, for which we are thankful.

Sunday was the birthday of Diana. Her parents, Jorge and Sandra, wanted to do something special in remembrance of her life, so we shared a cake and pizza and a slide show of her life. I was home that morning with a sick kid, but Josh said that service was packed with people who had known Diana. And Ariel, her brother, was there for the first time since the accident that morning! He is in a wheelchair now, but can sit up and move around somewhat, with the hopes of making a full recovery.

Jonathan and Rachel Sandoval have both started their first year teaching in Searcy. Rachel is doing well and enjoying her job. Jonathan's back is doing well, but he's having a lot of pain still in one shoulder. He went in for an MRI, which they decided not to do because of the metal plate in his back. So he will have physical therapy instead for a few weeks and see what kind of progress is made there.

Kevin got the casts off his feet but is still in his wheelchair. It will be a long slow and painful process of walking again.Alejandra, Josh and Rosa are all doing well. Rosa may have surgery on her nose in another few months.

Alejandra's bandages are off her arm and she is doing some physical therapy. Josh's injuries are completely healed. He is going next week to a missionary men's conference in Brazil and I am thankful that he is going to have some time surrounded by a lot of spiritual counselors.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family and our church body. God continues to work and be glorified here in Cochabamba, and we pray that the same may be true wherever you are living!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update July 28, 2009

Written by Julie Marcum:

I felt it was about time to give some updates on how everyone is doing.... in no particular order.

-Jonathan Sandoval seems to be moving around better every time I see him. He has been having a lot of pain in one shoulder and knee... They diagnosed it as tendonitis and he is receiving shots for a week. They are still getting the run-a-round from the insurance, very frustrating, but we're hoping to be able to pay his medical expenses soon so he can get the go-ahead from the dr. to travel, possibly as soon as next week.

-Rachel Sandoval arrived safely Stateside and is now in Searcy. She's found them an apartment and is getting ready to start teaching next week.

-Rebeca got the cast off of her arm and is still in considerable pain, but is moving around better with her crutches. Her school exams seemed to go well, but no news on the results yet. She was pretty consumed with studying there for a few days, but now I think the reality of everything is settling in and she is struggling emotionally to process it all.

-Miguel is out of intensive care and awake, but has some traumatic brain injury. He is struggling to remember faces and names and in a fairly childlike state. We would appreciate your prayers for a miraculous recovery in this regard, as no one can tell if his condition will improve. His family has contracted round the clock nurses to improve the medical care he is receiving at the public hospital. His kids are in the care of their mother's sister, but she has them fairly isolated, so please continue to pray for Abril and Diego.

-Alejandra got the stitches out of her arm and is going through some physical therapy.

-Ariel is home!!! His cochlear device was in La Paz as of Friday, and was being held up due to some paperwork. Pray that it arrives soon.

-Rosa will have surgery soon on her nose.

-Bruno and Kevin continue to be confined to the house - Kevin on bedrest, and Bruno to his wheelchair. Since Bruno's family lives on the 4th floor of some condominiums with no elevator, it is difficult to get him up and down the stairs.

-The conditions of the others (Freddy, Josh, Camila, and Bruno Pol) continue to improve every day.... bones are healing and soreness is gradually dissapating.

-Wendy and Gonzalo (Ariana's parents) found a new apartment and moved last weekend. They are thankful for their new place. Sunday was a difficult day for Wendy as it was Ariana's 17th birthday. We had a special tribute for her at church, ordered her favorite food, cake and a special video of photos of her life.

-We appreciate your prayers surrounding this Thursday, June 30th, which marks the one month anniversary of the accident. We are having a special prayer/memorial service at the church Thursday evening.

-And on a side note, I'm rejoicing and praying over 2 families far from us.... Matthew Bogard, a good friend of Joshua's, has been struggling with 2 types of cancer. His recent bone marrow transplant was successful and tests are looking good, but he needs continued prayers over the graft vs. host process. Also, the Schwambs, a family that are members of the church where Josh's uncle is on staff, just received a heart for their 3 year old little girl and she had a successful transplant!! Read the whole story at God is good... and God can work miracles! The verse I read today Mark spoke to my heart, "Have faith in God.... I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sin."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update: July 23, 2009

(By Julie Marcum on July 2oth)

-I want to thank you all for your prayers surrounding the counseling session on Saturday. It was a time of sharing and healing for the youth and their families... a lot of tears and questions, but I think all went away feeling a measure of peace. Joanne did an excellent job of facilitating, and she is available for another session in a few weeks - hopefully by that time, all who were not able to be there will be able to come.

-Sunday saw 3 of our youth that haven't yet been able to come to church worshipping with us. It was wonderful to see Bruno, Rebecca, and Jonathan among us.

-Please pray for Ariel, who continues in the hospital. He is confined to his stomach for now due to some bed sores that developed on his back and is struggling with some depression. His parents came to church on Sunday and tearfully asked for prayers and visitation on his behalf. Josh went on Sunday evening and had a good visit with him. Hopefully his cochlear device will arrive this week.

-Rachel Sandoval is flying out tonight - pray for her trip home, her time with her folks, her search for an apartment, and her first year of teaching. Pray for them too as they are separated for a couple weeks. Butch and Jonathan will probably fly out beginning of August.

-As for our family - we are hoping for a return to a degree of normality this week - although it seems we cannot avoid catastrophe more than 2 days in a row. I made another trip to the emergency room on Saturday, this time with Jana. I thought her elbow had been dislocated again (see previous post in Feb.).... Thankfully, it turned out to be fine (I was dreading the thought of a baby in a cast again!). On the way home, our car broke down and we've had problems with our water supply being very dirty. We had to clean out the cistern and get the pumps serviced, so we've been without water for 2 days. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Update: July 20, 2009

(By Julie Marcum)

- Jonathan Sandoval was discharged from the hospital on July 15. He is walking a lot more, but gets very tired after being up and around. He is recovering well from all of his cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises. His right shoulder has been bothering him quite a bit. His back is healing well.

- Kevin is at home and probably will be bedridden for quite some time.

- Josh Marcum still has some pain in his back.

- Miguel is much more lucid than he has been in the past week. They will move him from ICU to a regular room this afternoon, but the family will have a permanent nurse with him. He cannot open his right eye yet but is moving his right side some. He does manage to move the rest of his body to try and get comfortable. He recognizes people and asked Butch to pray with him when Butch visited. Once he is out of ICU, his neurologist will run additional tests to see what his prognosis is.

- Ariel has been a bit depressed the last couple of days. He had surgery on July 17 to repair his fractured pelvis. He has had to lie on his stomach since then. His cochlear hearing aid should be in this week.

- Rebecca (on crutches), Bruno (in a wheelchair), and Rachel were at church for the first time since the accident. It was great having all three of them there, and all of the youth were excited to see one another. Rebecca will be taking one of her med school entry exams tomorrow. Please pray for her as she prepares and takes her exam—there are about 1,000 students in her course of study and only 180 will be passed on to the next year. Also, school resumes this week for all students—be praying for the teens as they head back to school, and as some of them will have to study from home for a couple of months as they continue their recovery process. Also, please pray for Wendy (the mother of Ariana). Their landlords told them last week that they have to leave their rental house in a week. So, in the depths of dealing with her daughter’s death, she’s having to think about moving and finding a new house.

- The Cochabamba missions team and the church feel overwhelmed with blessings by the support, prayers, emails, and comments that they have received. They thank everyone for their financial and spiritual generosity toward them and the brethren in Cochabamba.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update: July 17, 2009

(By Julie Marcum)

-Jonathan was released on Wed. and it at home... although they sure had some frustrating moments trying to get him out! He is doing good, and glad to be out of the hospital. He even went briefly to a movie night they had on Wed. for the jovenes - something fun and light and normal. Keep praying for them as they try to get all the insurance stuff - Stateside insurance paying for international health care! - worked out.

-Josh went to visit Miguel again yesterday. He had been moved to a regular room, but had to be transfered back to ICU due to an asthma attack. He was very sedated when Josh saw him. Some family members are wanting to move him to a better clinic, and Josh was supportive of this, saying we could help with medical costs. (We have not been very impressed in all this with the public hospital!) While he was there, the family needed a knee brace (Miguel is becoming more active and even opening his eyes!), so Josh went searching for one... at about 10 different medical supply stores and ended up having to order one, being unsuccessful in his search. Interestingly enough, often hospitals/clinics do not have medications or certain supplies on-hand and family members must purchase them from local farmacies or supply stores.

-Please be praying for Rebeca. Her mom came to our Wed. ladies prayer time and she is doing better health wise, but has to take a final exam on Tuesday of next week. She is in her first year of university on a medical track.... So she is spending her recovery time studying. There are about 1000 students in her course of study and only 180 will be passed on to the next year. Also, school resumes next week for all students... be praying for the teens as they head back to school, and as some of them will have to study from home for a couple months as they continue their recovery process.

-Joshua also visited Bruno and Freddy Vargas and had a good talk with Bruno. Continue praying for them and the emotional state of all our teens.

-Josh got the cochlear device ordered for Ariel! Thank you for your prayers in all that process - it ended up that we couldn't order the free replacement, because more than 3 years had gone by since he had it implanted, but thanks to your generous hearts, we have enough to help his parents pay for it... we're thankful that he's going to be recieving it in about a week! Pray that it will arrive safely.-Please be praying for Wendy, the mother of Ariana. Their landlords told them last week that they have to leave their rental house in a week, so in the depths of dealing with her daughter's death, she's having to think about moving and finding a new house.

-As for our family, the girls are doing better, and although yesterday morning I thought Michaela had pink-eye, it turned out to be an insect bite close to the eye that had caused swelling and puffiness. Maybe things will normalize a little bit in the next week!

-We are daily overwhelmed (in a blessed way!) by the support and prayers and emails and comments that we've recieved. Thank you so much for your financial and spiritual generosity towards us and the brethren here in Cochabamba....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update July 14, 2009

(Posted by Julie Marcum on their family blog)

-Jonathan is up and walking and has a great appetite... chances are he'll be released in a couple days. He has been visiting Ariel (who is in the same clinic, one floor down) and they have been playing video games together - I think it's put them both in great spirits!

-Ariel is doing good but will probably have to have one more surgery on his hips. Josh is still in the process of filling out paperwork and making phone calls to get his cochlear replaced. Keep that process in your prayers.

-Kevin has been released and is at home! His mom knew some people at the clinic where he was interned and they have loaned him a hospital bed.

-We found a good wheelchair for Bruno and - thanks to you who have given so generously - were able to purchase it with the intent of keeping it for future needs in the church as well.

-Pray for our teens and their families this Saturday. We managed to get in contact with a missionary counselor here. She has been in Bolivia for over 20 years and has her Masters in Counseling. She is doing a group debrief session at 3 on Sat. for the victims and their families. Pray that God will work through this time and that He will begin healing the many emotional wounds....

-We have been greatly encouraged by the support recieved not only abroard, but also within Bolivia. Another preacher from one of the congregations in Santa Cruz arrived on Sunday to show their love and support for our church body. He traveled the same road that the accident occured on, arriving here at 3am. He was bringing a donation from their brothers to ours, but sadly was robbed here in Coch. on the way to his hotel. Satan is at work, but our God is greater! Thankfully, he was not hurt. The brothers and sisters here in Bolivia have sacrificed so much for us, as have many of you in the US.

-Thanks for your prayers for our family. Josh's back is now feeling better... Jana is back to normal... Mom had 2 days not having to clean up any messes... But Eliana is now sick with the same virus Jana had, so we are dealing we more throw up, fever etc... Continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

-To finish things out... Butch Sandoval has posted some of his thoughts on their blog - and included some pictures of the girls who passed away that were taken at an orphanage just the week before... precious reminders of the sweet lives they led. I thought I'd post them here too... ( if you'd like to see these pictures please go to it was too long a process to pull them off her blog one by one to post here as well).

Friday, July 10, 2009

You will always be in our hearts.

I know that many have asked to see pictures of the dear sweet girls that lost their lives' in the bus accident. Gary put this banner together for the church in their memories and I thought that I would share it with you all. From left to right you see Belen, Diana, and Ariana. Please continue praying for the families of these precious girls as they continue to grieve their losses. And please continue to remember those still in clinics or at home recovering from their injuries, both physical and emotional. We pray that you know what a tremendous support you have been in prayer and correspondence. To those of you who have given financially, we know full well what a sacrifice it was for you to do so and we (and the brethren here) are forever grateful! God bless you! - Laura Bull