Friday, December 25, 2009

Pastoral Leadership Fellows and Friends


Dear friends and colleagues in ministry,


I've been meaning to send you a more direct communication such as this for the past few weeks.  At present, I can think of no better thing on this early birthday morning/eve/overnight of Christmas Eve as I turn 45 than to let you know how much you mean to me and for my beloved wife Melissa, especially at this time.  I am so grateful for us to have had the time to be with and get to know one another this past year, and especially last month as we traveled together in Mexico.


As you most likely know now, Melissa and our family are faced with a daunting challenge of her having been diagnosed with late advanced stage stomach cancer.  We have just this week elected to place her under hospice care at home for at least through the extended holiday season for the next couple of weekends ahead. 


Last night, we had a wonderful time of gathering with family and friends in our community of faith, together experiencing soaking prayers for Melissa's healing with some gifted intercessors and worship leaders in our home.  It was a joyous time of praising the Lord and ascribing glory to God as we acknowledged and proclaimed that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  God is filling us, through fervent prayers and a spirit of zeal and supplication in these days, with such hope in Christ as we place our trust in the Lord with all our heart (Proverbs 3:5-6).  As the outcome of prayers for Melissa's healing are realized on this and/or the other side of eternity, we will praise God with thanksgiving all the more knowing the Lord is worthy of all glory, blessing, honor, power and might as unto the Lamb.


Thank you for all the kind expressions of love and care we continue receiving through this our beloved fellowship.  We are so encouraged by your faithfulness and generosity, imparting such grace and peace unto us, and giving us such timely words of encouragement.  Please find the attached PDF file containing a personal reflection piece posted two weeks ago on my blog site(s) which can also be found on the web site/page online at under "Words from Rex".  To receive updates via e-mail, you can register online via for subscription.  You can also join the Facebook group "Praying for Melissa Espiritu and the Espiritu Family" for more frequent updates as well as via Twitter


We are ever so filled with comfort and gratitude for your continuing prayers and support as we journey forward with the leading and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  May the name of Jesus be magnified all the more in our lives to the glory of God.


And may the Lord's blessings be upon you and yours in sacred spaces as we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas. 


Grace and Peace,



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Best… of my love….

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Last night, in the Christian church sanctuary, I watched my dear, sweet Melissa, my beloved wife of 22 years weep with me as we watched two of our older daughters, Hannah and Grace sing together with their fellow student an original Christmas song composed by our own L. Grace Espiritu and performed with her sister Hannah at their high school's annual holiday choirs concert. We watched and listened, a sight and sounds to behold, indeed, as our eldest child, Christina and I held on to her mother's hand with deep love and affection. We experienced the joy and the reason for the season of celebration as the hope-filled words of the gospel rang through the lyrics of timeless songs, echoing the good news of life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Light of Life that has come into the world shone upon us in a fresh, new way that brought tears to our eyes in light of terrible news concerning the recent plight of the body of my dearly held loved one.

Given the grave situation at hand, I cannot help but tremble as I write. My God, these ought to be the best days of our lives together when the best of our love in life would shine brightly before us for the glory of God. Newly, never before witnessed, unfathomable depths of grief in our immediate family have come upon us as we now together cry out with heartfelt prayers to the Lord our God, the One Who heals us and in Whom alone do we find our healing, comfort and peace. In the Lord alone, we find strength to carry on in the face of such stark, unsettling news. Melissa has been diagnosed with an unusual form of stomach cancer: a rare type of gastric adenocarcinoma with Littinus Plastica. A Google search brings up the following singular web page excerpt:

Describe diffuse type gastric adenocarcinoma

=subtype of gastric adenocarcinoma


1. Tumor infiltrates as single cells

2. Signet ring cells

3. Diffuse lesion with littinus plastica/ leather bottle appearance

4.Seen in younger pts with equal male: female

5. less clear genetic/environmental association

6. worse prognosis

Pasted from <>

We have been informed that there is no conventional cure currently known for this condition. Any modern medical treatment or therapy prescribed for this illness would be only palliative in nature. We have become aware of some alternative support measures that anecdotally may have some promise.

We ask, therefore, with intercessions before the throne of grace for dear friends and family to join with us in pleading before God, calling upon the Lord. At this time we are in urgent need of your prayers for healing, wisdom, grace and mercy. In this our time of need, we place our hope and trust in the Lord our God Who is able to make all grace abound, so that in all things, at all times, having all that we need, we would abound in every good deed to the glory of God. For we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love the Lord, who have been called according to His purpose. And so we take heart and courage to face these trials in a Sovereign Lord and Gracious God Whose compassions, tender mercies, loving-kindness, steadfast faithfulness and unfailing love are renewed every morning with comfort and strength for the day.

Please pray for Melissa, my beloved wife and mother of and along with our six children, Christina (19), Hannah (17), [Lydia] Grace (15), Tabitha (12), Priscilla (9), and Sara (6), as well as her husband, their father. She and these, our lovely loving precious daughters, young ladies, growing girls and tenderly treasured little ones are being upheld in prayer. We trust in the Lord Whose healing, reigning and abiding presence is ever with us even through all eternally.

Now, to the Holy and Anointed One Who is able to do immeasurably more, exceedingly, abundantly far above all we could ever ask or think or even imagine, to Him be glory in the church and throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

With The Best… of my love….

Rex (for Melissa) Espiritu

[and our girls]