Sunday, December 16, 2007

Please Pray for My Dad, Don Peterson

I got off the phone with my mom & dad a few minutes ago... He's in the new Kaiser Medical Center in Antioch, California. God answered our prayers of last night, because he agreed to go to the hospital a few minutes after my mom hung up the phone last night after refusing to go for quite a while before that.

We actually got a preliminary update from my mom at 4:30 am this morning (2:30 Pacific time), as she had just returned home from the hospital. The latest diagnosis is this: my dad is experiencing a complete liver failure....the cirrhosis that he was diagnosed with a few months ago seems to have run its course... According to the doctors, what he really needs is a liver transplant, but he's far to weak to survive that. So they are treating an infection that he has with antibiotics and are hydrating him, etc....but there doesn't seem to be anything that they can do other than to treat his symptoms and try to keep him comfortable... Mom is hoping for more information tomorrow when the specialists are able to examine him....

So we're asking that you continue to pray for him--especially that he would come to faith in Christ... I've asked a couple of pastor friends in Antioch if they would visit him... Please also pray that God would strengthen him physically and mentally. He told me that he was going to fight this as much as he could and that he is looking forward to seeing Allison and me on Saturday....that's an improvement in attitude!

Please also pray for wisdom for me about when to fly back home. Allison and I have tickets on American Airlines to arrive in Oakland on Saturday afternoon....but I might need to get there earlier.... Allison is giving finals at her school this week, and I have two finals (Greek & Systematic Theology) to take--the last one being scheduled for Thursday night.... We are also still in need of someone to take care of Hershey (the sitter that we had lined up cancelled
last week).....

We covet your prayers during this time.....

For Him,
Kevin Peterson
6146 Keeneland Pkwy. - Dallas, TX 75211 - 214-989-3291
NEW Cell Phone #'s: Kevin = 214-264-9003 & Allison = 214-264-9481

I'm sending last night's e-mail below, since many of you weren't included in that blast....

Dear Praying Friends -

I just received a frantic call from my mom. She called 911 because my dad had fallen (according to mom, he's fallen a few times over the past few days). The paramedics deemed it best to take him to the hospital for treatment, but he refused. So she called me to see if I could talk him into it...but he would not listen to me... From what one of the neighbors said, his blood pressure is way up in the 150/130 region....

My dad was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver a few months ago. Since then, he seems to be digressing physically. He's very weak--my mom has to help him get up, put on clothes, etc. He also seems to have lost hope for any sort of recovery...he mentioned to my mom that
he hoped that he would still "be here" when Allison & I fly out next Saturday...

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for my dad in several areas: (1) that he would consent to going to the hospital tonight (Saturday, 12/15); (2) for strength and healing for him; (3) for a will to live and to try to recover; (4) for his salvation. I would also appreciate your prayers for my mom, who is exhausted by the incredible challenges of trying to take care of my dad....and compounded by his refusal of treatment tonight.

Allison & I are flying out next Saturday, 12/22, to spend a few days with mom and dad in Rio Vista, California for Christmas before flying out to Orlando, Florida to be with Allison's folks... Please pray that we would be used of God to help see my folks come to faith in Christ while we're there.... (on a more mundane note, please pray that we'd be able to find a dog-sitter / dog-boarder for Hershey while we're gone -- the one that we had lined up cancelled a few days ago)

Thanks for listening and for praying!

For Him,

Kevin & Allison Peterson
6146 Keeneland Pkwy. - Dallas, TX 75211
NEW Cell Phone #'s: Kevin = 214-264-9003 & Allison = 214-264-9481

PS - Many of you have been praying for us since the break-in and shooting of Hershey last month. We're excited to report that Hershey has made a great recovery--she is now walking with a limp! And she's playing with her ball, etc. Praise the Lord!

And God has blessed us with a number of friends who sent money to help with vet bills, etc. Hershey's entire bill (and a portion of our deductible) has now been covered! Thanks to each of you who helped ease our financial burden--we greatly appreciate it! (We discovered a week ago that someone has been stealing our mail--we fixed that problem by installing a locking mailbox--so if you sent something and haven't received a "thank-you" note from us, your gift was likely stolen....)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Our House was Broken Into & Hershey was Shot! (Monday, November 12)

Original Report (Monday, 11/12/07):

To my friends:

At 4:10 pm on Monday, I arrived home to discover that our house had been broken into and that they had hurt Hershey...she was lying in our back bathroom, unable to move... As I waited over 90 minutes for the police to arrive, I tried to get ahold of Allison, who was having a drama rehearsal, but was unable to. I finally did contact one of her fellow teachers, who went back to the school and got her for me...

Our small group from the seminary stepped up in a BIG way. One couple came over to help me get Hershey loaded in my van and to wait at the house for CSI, and the other couple went and found Allison at work and drove her over to the emergency vet hospital in Irving where Kevin had taken Hershey.

Update from Tuesday Morning (11/13/07):

Here is the morning update:
  • Hershey is resting comfortably at the vet. They believe that she will recover from being shot (yes, shot!) in a few days, as the spinal cord is intact and she doesn't seem to have any broken bones. It looks like the bullet bounced off of her spine and fragmented. The next few days will tell... (needless to say, all of her treatment is very expensive, but we're hoping that our homeowner's insurance will cover those costs)
  • A company that contracts with AAA came over around midnight & boarded up our broken window...
  • We've determined that the following things have been stolen:
    • Kevin's Mac Powerbook laptop (praise the Lord that I backed it up over the weekend!...and the thieves did not take the external hard drive!)
      • Related to that, I had foolishly left my password manager program if someone really tries, they'll obtain access to all of my online I have to change almost 200 passwords.....
    • Kevin's high school class ring
    • 2 - iPods (a mini & a 30GB video)
    • a bluetooth earpiece
    • our Canon digital camera (with a bunch of our pics on it)
    • Kevin's Laptop Backpack
      • the thieves kindly pulled out my class files & syllabii in addition to removing my Greek workbook & textbook -- nice of them
    • a nice book bag
    • some PS2 video games
    • a house key?
    • 3 flashlights
    • misc from our safe (but it does not look like any valuable documents.)
    • Allison's Palm Tungsten E2 PDA
    • 3 watches
    • a 2 GB flash drive
    • Greek vocab cards (left in my backpack)
  • We've also determined that they broke several things:
    • the window to come in...
    • the frame edge of the window next to it....they tried to pry it up with a chisel (& left the chisel behind)
    • the window screen
    • our safe (using my tools)
    • a hammer (trying to break into the safe)
    • my Sony PS2 video game console?
    • there is a bullet hole in our bedroom wall and in a storage case & in one of our bathroom closet doors....we found bullet slug #2 in the bathroom tonight....
I slept okay last night, but Allison did not sleep well at all.... I'm trying to make contact with the claims people from AAA this morning in addition to changing our bank account....

Please keep all of these things--especially Hershey--in your prayers over the next few days...

For Him,
Kevin Peterson

Update from Tuesday Night (11/13/07):

Hi All -

We just got back from the VCA hospital where Hershey is and thought it would be an appropriate time for an update--it's been an eventful day!

I spent a good portion of the day taking care of financial matters. One of our concerns is that they had access to our financial info, both through my laptop as well as through ransacking our safe. It seems that we're in good shape on those ends of things at this point...

Hershey seems to be gaining some more movement, which is a positive sign. The vet had sent her x-rays off to a vet radiologist, and the radiologist said that things look good. Time will tell whether or not there might be complications, but things look positive at this point. But on a human / animal-lover level, it's very hard to see your beloved dog in discomfort at the vet hospital...

I finally spoke to an adjustor late this afternoon (after almost 23 hours of trying...). She wants to come out on Thursday to look at the damages, etc. But she had some very bad news for us: our homeowner's insurance will not cover any of Hershey's vet bill.... Animals are specifically excluded from coverage.... So it looks like we'll be paying off her vet bill in some other way....

Allison and I are both very drained. In fact, I don't know how she made it through the day of teaching--she got less sleep than I did, and I did not get very much!

We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we continue to walk through this time....

For Him,
Kevin Peterson

Update from Thursday Night (11/15/07):

Here's the latest in the Peterson saga...

First of all: we brought Hershey home last night, and she seems truly happy to be home. The vet said that at this point they were just performing supportive care (keep her warm, fed, hydrated, drugged, change her bedding after she soils it, roll her over regularly, etc.),
and suggested that we could possibly do that at home. Since a day at the vet hospital runs between $300-$700, we opted to bring her home.... Hershey is still only able to move her back legs a little bit voluntarily, which is an improvement from Monday night. The vet thinks that is due to swelling in her spinal area where the bullet hit her in her neck, and that she will gradually improve over the next 7-21 days. The x-rays all seem to be negative toward anything else, but he did say there is a possibility that there might be a blood clot in the spinal area near the point of impact, but the only remedy for that would be a $1500 MRI (complicated by the bullet fragments in the area) followed by a $2000-3000 surgery, which are beyond our sense of stewardship.... He also suggested that if there is a clot, that it
might slowly dissipate on its own. So we watch, pray, and nurse her as best we can....

The AAA Adjuster came by this morning. I found out that we have a $1380 deductible, & they will reimburse us for replacement value on the items that were destroyed or stolen. They will also pay for a contractor to replace 2 windows (the one the thieves broke in through and the one next to it that they had tried to pry off), repair the bullet holes in the bathroom and bedroom, and to repaint both rooms. But they will not pay for the locks to be re-keyed or replaced (they would only pay for any locks damaged during the incident, and none of ours were....we're just concerned that they might possibly have gotten ahold of a key...). She was a very nice lady and gave me some helpful information about our insurance and possible upgrades to our policy--she even offered to donate some money towards Hershey's vet bill since pets are specifically excluded.

Please continue to pray for our situation. There are some items that are higher priorities for us to replace -- especially the laptop since I need it for my seminary studies. Please pray that the claim would be processed as quickly and as favorably as possible. Please also pray that God would provide for our financial needs. He provided very abundantly for us to move out here in July, for some unexpected car repairs in July, and for our early seminary costs. But the unexpected van repairs of the past couple of months (new head, transmission, etc -- over $3300, $720 of which was refunded to us) have exhausted our reserves. And the out-of-pocket expense on this incident looks like it will be around $4000 (almost $2500 in Hershey treatment + deductible + incidentals)...

Please also pray for Hershey's recovery. I know that on a scale of earth-shattering issues that confront the body of Christ, the recovery of a dog is such a small thing, but it's heavy on our hearts, so we ask for your prayers.... Pray as well that we would be strengthened so as to demonstrate the reality of God's working through a challenging time to the people around us.

Thank you so much...

For Him,
Kevin Peterson

Monday night (11/19/07) update from the Petersons:

It's been a few days since we gave an update, so it's time to let you know what's been going on with us. Let's start with Hershey.

Hershey has been making some gradual improvement. Yesterday she almost stood all the way up a couple of times before losing her balance and falling. At first we thought that she had lost strength in her hindquarters, but we noticed over the weekend that it's a lateral weakness--she has a lot more strength & control in her left side than in her right side... And just this evening she did actually get all the way up and took about 1.5 steps before losing her balance and falling. We're encouraged!

We had to take her in to the vet on Saturday. We had brought her home on Wednesday night, and she had not had a bowel movement since then. We called the vet, and they said that we needed to bring her in. They were able to induce her to do her thing by way of an enema... So we have 2 requests in relation to Hershey: that she would regain strength & muscle control on her right side so as to be able to move without falling, and that she would be able to poop on her own. The 2nd one is much more urgent--she needs to start pooping on her own by Tuesday evening, or else we'll need to take her back in.

We have received a few unexpected blessings over the past few days. A student at Allison's school collected $350 from other students to help us with our expenses. Another family we know at DTS gave us $600 over the weekend... And we received a $100 check in today's mail from a family that I went to church with in Santa Rosa but that I haven't seen in years... All of these are huge blessings! God has already provided for about 1/4 of our losses... Thank you, Lord!

On the security front, I re-keyed all of our locks yesterday afternoon for only $11. Thank you Ron Thurow, who alerted me on how to do that. We're also planning on getting an alarm system installed, which we hope will be an effective deterrent... If any of you have any recommendations on that level, let me know...

We appreciate your continued prayers on our behalf. We greatly need them and greatly appreciate them!

For Him,
Kevin Peterson

Thanksgiving (11/22/07) update from the Petersons:

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends! We trust that today was a day in which you reflected on the ways that God has blessed you and give thanks to HIm for that.

I am reminded of the words of George Washington in his proclamation that designated the Thanksgiving holiday for the United States: "...we may then all unite in rendering unto him [Almighty God] our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection..." Allison and I have much to be thankful for!

First of all, Hershey continues to improve physically. In our Monday night update, we specifically asked for prayer that she would start having bowel movements, and God has answered. Beginning Tuesday night, she has been pooping regularly. I know that this probably sounds wrong, but we praise the Lord for her poop! She's also getting around better, standing up several times each day and taking a few steps--or at least trying to do so. Just this morning she walked about 12 feet--we're thankful!

Secondly, we found out yesterday that the police had identified one of our intruders. One of the fingerprints that they got was of a 15 year old girl named Julia who is already in Juvenile Hall for another burglary. There were more people involved, but that's the only positive id to this point. It's kind of shocking that a 15 year old girl would be involved in not only breaking into a house, but shooting a dog along the way....

Thirdly, we had an alarm system installed at our house yesterday. Now all of our doors and windows are wired, and hopefully just the knowledge of that will serve as a deterrent to any future potential burglars. We felt that this was a necessary step since we heard that a home that has been burglarized has about an 80% likelihood of being burglarized again.... It gives a greater peace of mind for about $35 / month...

Fourthly, we had the blessing of spending the day with my best friend, Matt Montgomery, and his family. Matt and I have been best friends now for about 25 years, and it's a wonderful blessing to see him on a regular basis at Dallas Theological Seminary (the last time that we saw each other on a regular basis was when we shared a condo 15 years ago). Knowing that Allison and I were unable to travel to visit Allison's family as a result of Hershey's injuries and recovery, the Montgomerys invited us over to their home where we enjoyed a sumptuous feast and great fun and fellowship.

Fifthly, one of our neighbors, whom we met as a result of passing out flyers about our incident, gave us a smoked turkey yesterday. He serves as a police officer for Highland Park, which is an upscale enclave in the middle of Dallas. Each year, Sonny Bryan's BBQ gives turkeys to all of the HP police officers. He received his and gave it to us, since it was too much for he and his mom. We were blessed by his kindness.

Those are some things for which we're thankful this Thanksgiving. If we took the time, we could list a bunch more, but I hope that you're encouraged!

We would appreciate your continued prayers for us and for Hershey. Although Hershey's showing definite signs of improvement, she still has a ways to go on her road to recovery. Please continue to pray for her. We also would appreciate your prayers for our financial needs that are a result of this incident. We're encouraged by God's faithful provision for us so far, but we're going to have some pretty serious bills over the next month or so...and God has provided for only a portion of those bills up to this point....

Thanks for your continued prayers and support through these challenging days. We have felt both in very real ways...

Happy Thanksgiving, and may God richly bless you!

For Him,
Kevin & Allison

Friday, September 28, 2007

Our First Month in Dallas

Howdy! How ya'll doin'?

It seems hard to believe, but we've now been out here in Texas for almost 2 months now! I'm going to try to give a brief summary of the past couple of months in the next few paragraphs...

In June, after we knew that we were heading out to Texas, we began a "farewell tour". We traveled up to Northern California to visit my parents in Rio Vista, and to officiate a wedding of a former student (Mary Thengvall Rotman) in Santa Rosa. We were actually able to attend the morning church service at Santa Rosa Bible Church, where I served as a youth pastor for almost 10 years. It was a blessed time... On our way back to the San Fernando Valley, we spent an afternoon and evening in San Francisco, even visiting AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. We also stopped in San Luis Obispo, visiting Allison's aunt & uncle and a few more former students.

Our farewell tour not only extended north, but south as well. We departed after the morning service at Northridge Christian Church to cruise down to Mexicali, where we attended the evening service at the Iglesia de Cristo in Ejido Puebla. As has been somewhat of a tradition, I was asked to preach about 10 minutes into the service... Not only did Allison get to experience a service at Ejido Puebla and to meet some of my favorite hermanos y hermanas, but she got to eat at my favorite taco stand in the entire world, Asadero los Molcajetes. After spending the night at the Siesta Inn in Mexicali, we headed over to San Diego, where we connected with our great friends, the Bairds (Greg, Michelle, Taylor, & Garrett--Greg is the children's pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church and heads Kids in Focus, a ministry to equip children's ministry workers). We watched the San Diego Padres in their beautiful home park, Petco Field. After spending the night at the Bairds, we had brunch on the way back at the home of Allison's godparents, the Berriers, and then dinner with our great friends, the Painters (Gary, Patti, Jacob, & Jillian -- their daughter Jenna slipped into the arms of Jesus after a 16 month battle with cancer on Christmas eve this past year...please continue to keep them in your prayers...).

In between those ventures, I flew back to Dallas on a quick house-hunting mission by myself--talk about trust from Allison and heavy responsibility for me. I flew into Dallas on a Sunday night, only to discover that Enterprise Car Rental had closed down for the night -- a fact that took me over an hour to discover--leaving me to scramble to find another car rental late that night. After 2 full days of searching (preceded by many hours of online hunting while in California), I settled on a 7 year old home on hill in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas--1500 square feet on a 1/4 acre lot. We put an offer in and agreed to buy it for $91,000 (a comparable home in the San Fernando Valley of California would go for $600,000).

We finished up our ministry at the Northridge Christian Church in July, with a camping trip, a paintball war, a Disneyland trip, and a Vacation Bible School program. In our off moments, we also mixed in goodbye meals with friends...and packing as well...okay, Allison did the lion's share of the packing... We finished up VBS at noon on Friday, July 27. At 2 pm, a group of 15 friends showed up to help us load our Penske Truck, a process that kept us busy until 9 pm that night. We cleaned up our duplex on Saturday and packed up my office at church that night. On Sunday, July 29, we had our Avalanche Ranch VBS program, followed by a "5th Sunday Fellowship" brunch. This was the first time that Hershey ever attended a church service, albeit from my office... Around noon, we had said our final goodbyes and had a final tearful time of prayer with our youth, and Hershey & I hopped into the truck, while Allison and our good friend, Stefani Childs, hopped into our minivan, and our journey was begun.

We divided our 1458 mile trek from Northridge to Dallas into 3 stages. On Sunday, we drove all the way to Tucson, Arizona, arriving late that night at the home of Shawn, Jenifer, Nicholas, & Sawyer Sheppard, some great friends from my days in Santa Rosa. It's not every day that your mortgage loan broker actually puts you up for a night on your move! It was a great blessing to spend the night with them, and that blessing was greatened the next morning as Shawn's mom, Mandi, came by to visit with us. After a later departure than planned, we had an early dinner that night in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with Allison's great-great aunt (or something like that), Tincy. After a wonderful time with her, we hit the road again, spending the night in Odessa, Texas. After only a few hours of sleep, we hit the road again for Dallas, which was now only several hours away.

We pulled up to our new home around 1 pm that afternoon, and were confronted by a set of conflicted emotions. We were so excited to finally be homeowners and to be at our new home, but there was a mixture of disappointment at the state of the house (weeds up to 6 ft. tall surrounding our house except where a huge pile of dirt that was supposed to have been removed prior to closing had been compressed by a drunk tractor) mixed together with homesickness (not exactly the right word, but the sense that we had really left California and all of our friends and family there behind). At 2 pm, we were joined by our great friends, the Montgomerys and the Bakers, who helped us to unload our truck. A couple of hours later, we were joined by Allison's mom and dad, who had driven out from Florida to help us get settled.

We were immediately struck by the fact that we were in a much different climate than we were accustomed to in California. If you've ever been to Dallas or many other places in the sourth in the summertime, you know what I'm referring to. Within the first 10 minutes of working to detach the car carrier, I was completely soaked with sweat due to a brief moment of exertion combined with 98 degree heat and very high humidity. And this was a feeling that would continue for the next several hours as we unloaded the truck.

We arrived in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon, August 31, and Allison reported to her first day of new teacher in-service at Covenant Christian Academy ( on Thursday morning. Not quite an ideal transition.....but it was ours..... I, on the other hand, was not to start my classes at Dallas Theological Seminary ( for another 4 weeks, so I focused my attention on doing projects around the house and finding a job.

This move to Dallas was one of the biggest stretches of faith in my life... Allison and I were convinced that it was God's plan for us to move to Dallas and for me to pursue my Master's Degree in Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, but we were not sure how exactly that was going to work out... When we made the decision back in the spring, we had no assurance of job or finances, etc. We had also just suffered a significant financial setback in the form of a tax bill of several thousand dollars. But God made provision for us. First, Allison was offered a job teaching drama and high school girls' Bible at Covenant Christian Academy in the Dallas area (after being flown out to Dallas to interview at a different school). Then God provided finances for us...which were sufficient for us to buy a house, pay for our move, and to even pay for almost $4000 in unexpected car repairs that began in June. He also provided sufficiently for me to be a full-time student at DTS, instead of being a part-timer. Then He provided a house for us to call home.... And finally, He provided a part-time job for me. I got a job working almost 20 hours a week teaching / tutoring junior high students in math at a charter school in the southern section of Dallas.

There's a lot more that could be said, especially since we've now been in Dallas for almost 2 months, and a lot has transpired in those 2 months. Allison has been teaching for 7 weeks now, and I've been taking seminary classes for 4 weeks...which has been an inspiring and humbling experience. We have also been leading a Spiritual Formation group composed of 4 couples from seminary. Additionally, we have led worship at a small Southern Baptist church in Mesquite that seems to want to hire me to be their worship leader on a part-time basis. But this post is already too long, so I'll postpone some of those thoughts for my next one....

We would love to hear from any and all of you, so please drop us a quick e-mail note when you get a chance!

For Him,
Kevin & Allison Peterson

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dallas Bound

I am convinced that God has a sense of humor... For most of my life I often said that I never wanted to live in Los Angeles, and where does God send me a little over two years ago? The north end of Los Angeles! I have also often thought that I would never want to live in Texas...and where is God sending us? Dallas, Texas! The moral of this part of the story: never say never to God!

At the end of July (July 29, to be exact), we will be driving our Penske truck (I'll never use U-Haul again--if at all possible--after the bad experience that I had moving down here from Santa Rosa in 2005) after our morning service at Northridge Christian Church on our way to Dallas, Texas.

Allison has been hired by the Covenant Christian Academy ( in Colleyville, which is just west of the Dallas - Fort Worth Airport. I will be attending Dallas Theological Seminary (, pursuing a ThM (Masters of Theology) degree in Bible Exposition / Biblical Counseling, which usually takes 4 years on a full-time who knows how long it will take me... I currently don't have a job lined up, but am praying that God will open the door for me minister somewhere...

There are a few primary motivations for the move:
  1. We're convinced that seminary is a part of God's plan for me. I have always wanted to further my education, and now seems to be the time. When I moved down here to the San Fernando Valley, I had hoped to attend the Master's Seminary, but God closed that door.
  2. Allison and I desire to start a family. If God should enable us to do that, our conviction and desire is that she would be a stay-at-home mom while the kids are young...and that's very difficult in the economy of the LA basin--especially on a youth pastor's salary...
  3. We also desire to move from the renter category to the owner category. Tiny condos in ghetto neighborhoods of our current start at $300,000, and fixer-upper houses are closer to $500,000. That's well beyond our means. In the Dallas area, you can actually purchase a fixer-upper house for less than $50,000, and a decent home for under $100,000.
We do have a few friends in Dallas: my best friend, Matt Montgomery, and his family are in Dallas where Matt is attending Dallas Theological Seminary, and my former intern and good friend, Mike Baker and his wife Zoe, are living in Dallas while Mike is attending the seminary and serving as a youth pastor. A couple of friends from Allison's school also are living in the Dallas area.

We are excited about God's leading and following His calling, but we are saddened to be leaving our friends and ministries here. We'll also be considerably closer to Allison's family (her brother and sister-in-law and their kids are in St. Louis, and her parents live just north of Orlando, Florida, in a huge retirement community called The Villages), but will be considerably further away from my family (my parents live in a little town by Stockton, California called Rio Vista, and my brother lives in Sacramento).

We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we transition out of West Valley Christian School and Northridge Christian Church and make our way east at the end of July... Two specific requests are for our housing and for employment for me.

For His Glory,
Kevin & Allison Peterson