The picture above was a cute picture Karen took of Trae (Dave’s youngest) and I reading about a week ago. I have had some great family time the last couple of weeks. Karen invited her sisters, their husbands and our youngest niece (Adrianna) to come over for dinner. I wasn’t feeling great that night but still managed to eat dinner and spend a little bit of time with them. I don’t have any pictures from that night as I am not allowed to touch that camera.
This year we did Thanksgiving a little different. First off we just decided to stay around home. Brenden, Jaxson and Karen actually skipped the traditional meal altogether. I volunteered to help at our church during the day and then we went to Dave’s house that night. Sam (from work), her daughter and I were in charge of the refreshment table so we got off easy.
The night before the big day, I was asked to give a little testimony in front of our church. We have a Pre-Thanksgiving sermon at our church that is led by Pastor Pat, our pastor of care ministries. She asked me to give my testimony about 3 1/2 days before the event so I scrambled to get it all figured out on time. There were 7 testimonies being given, 3 went on stage like my self, the others were read or were on video. It was a little nerve racking but I felt peaceful about it before I was asked to go on stage. Now I would like to say I delivered a powerful, enthralling speech delivered with an amazing and captivating voice, but the truth is my emotions got the best of me. I didn’t break down but my voice was strained and weak. I made it through and was blessed for the experience. Many people came up to me after the service to meet me and share some time together. It was fun getting to officially meet all of the pastors that were in attendance( 3 of them I had never met before-including our senior pastor). My brother Dave came to give support. I told him it was the least amount of people I had ever seen in attendance. He said there was still over 600 people there-even with the weather and pre-thanksgiving travels. If they put it on to video, I will get you the link and feel even further humbled by my performance. Here is transcript from the event-just imagine it being read in the voice of James Earl Jones:
Hi my name is Chris Baty. I am married to Karen and have two boys, Brenden age 7 and Jaxson age 6.
In July of 2008 I began two separate journeys simultaneously. One was a journey of darkness and cancer but the other was a journey of faith and light.
At the age of 39 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. The diagnosing doctor said that this could be incurable as the disease had already spread to my liver.
Since that diagnosis I have had 3 major surgeries, radiation and 34 rounds of chemotherapy. I have spent 36 nights in hospitals and many more days. I have watched 7 friends succumb to this disease. I have been sick, bald, and filled with pain and nausea. I have been unbelievably filled with fear. This past June the doctors confirmed that with their medicines, they could no longer cure me. The cancer had now spread to my lungs and the cancer in my liver was growing. I continue to do chemotherapy but it is not as often and is not powerful. My Liver and Spleen are both swollen and are causing pain; in fact not a day goes by without me taking 2-3 pain pills.
But, in July of 2008 I began that 2nd journey too. That journey was one of trust, hope, inspiration, love, patience, forgiveness and being born again. I would like to share with you some of the things I am thankful for along this journey.
First, I am just so thankful for this day. I wake up every morning and just say thanks to God for what he is doing and what he has done in my life. I am so thankful for my life and everything He lets me experience.
I am thankful that my life is in the hands of God and not the hands of doctors
I am thankful to God for lifting me up after every time I get knocked down. I am thankful for His Wisdom. When I am weak He gives me strength. When I am afraid He gives me peace. I am thankful for HHHHis grace, love, forgiveness and mercy. I am so thankful that I have a personal relationship with Him.
Brenden said to remind them that I am thankful for His Healing
I am thankful to Jesus for the sacrifice He made for you and I so that if we believe in Him, we will spend eternity in Heaven. I am so thankful for Jesus’s life and ministry.
-Brenden also told me to tell you that I am thankful for our prayer time each night.
I am thankful for God’s Word. I am thankful for His truth. I am thankful for all the promises of restoring health that are within the Bible. I have highlighted every one of those verses and now my bible looks more like a coloring book.
I am so thankful that God guided me to this church. I am so thankful for our pastors and worship team. The amount of wisdom, talent and love is amazing. From the first minute I walked into this sanctuary I could sense God’s presence here, it was and is emotional.
I am thankful for my wife and children and all the time I get to spend with them.
I am thankful for not only my walk of faith since I was diagnosed but also the walk of faith my family and friends have been on as well.
I am thankful for all of my friends and family that have ran forward to help me during this battle. Karen’s family, Pat Groeper, my brother, my family and many, many more have been amazing!
I am thankful for all the love and prayers and gifts my family has received.
I am thankful for God’s provision. Through all of this I have been able to maintain a full time job. Many of my co-workers donated over 300 hours of there own personal time so that I could maintain my employment and still do my treatments and surgeries and get my rest.
I am very thankful to the Pray for the Cure Ministry that is run by Mary Nelson at this church. Through that ministry I met my first friends here at Hosanna. Through that ministry I have been given peace, love and healing. Specifically I am thankful to Mary Nelson, Pastor Pat Moe, Vicki Starbeck and Tony Caterina. All of them remind me to keep looking up even when the doctors try to convince me to look down. I am so thankful for all of their prayers and the prayers of so many within this church and other churches.
I am so thankful that God allows me to do His work on earth. I pray he continues to use me for His good. I am thankful that this disease has allowed me to witness to other people and try and explain who God is and why he is so relevant to their lives.
Lastly, I am so thankful to one other person within our congregation.
5 Months ago I took part in the cardboard testimonies. Basically about 30 of us walked up on stage and shared our struggles with all of you. A woman within our congregation couldn’t make it to those services but she watched it sometime later on the internet. A few weeks ago that same woman had a dream about one of those people. The man had stage 4 colon cancer. God told her within her dream to find that person, tell him that God loves him and then pray for healing for him. She didn’t know the person, didn’t know his name and had no idea what she would say even if she saw that person. She had never prayed out loud for someone. A few nights later she dreamed about this guy again. This time in her dream she was actually praying with him. Again she didn’t know what to do or say if she saw him in church the following Sunday, she was almost afraid to run into him. But God continued to work on her heart and mind and on the following Monday God put her right in front of Tony Caterina. She explained to Tony her dreams and didn’t know what to do or how to make contact with this guy. Tony was filled with excitement as he explained how well he knew me. Tony made the connection and Shari filled God’s request. Now Shari Och and I have prayed together several times over the past 2 weeks. I am so thankful for God’s love for me, Shari’s courage and her obedience to the Lord. All glory and honor goes to Him! Amen.
This coming Tuesday it is time for more scanning. We will be checking on the cancer and also the hernia. I think I will need surgery for the hernia, but just not sure how they will fit it all in. Still in a lot of pain from the hernia and the spleen. I will get results and do blood work on Wed. morning. They it will be decision making time on how we proceed. Please pray for me/us this week as it will be yet another tough one. Sorry for the length of this post.