After Some Tough News, Moving Ahead

 I have to admit I have had a bit of a blog writer’s block for the last few weeks as I have wrestled with some bad news.  Right at Thanksgiving, during the overnight event where we deep fry 200 turkeys for our Union Rescue Mission Thanksgiving Feast, my kidneys failed, and within 12 hours I gained 20 lbs of fluid, mostly in my feet, and as I later learned, in my lungs.  I made it through that big 24 hour event and helped serve 4500 precious people Thanksgiving Dinner. I struggled through the holidays, kept going, but sensed that I was losing my 40 year battle with Type 1 diabetes and the 12 year miraculous effort to keep my kidneys functioning adequately enough to get by.  I feared the worst, contemplating what life would be like on a disability income and even more scary, apart from URM.  

I went through some tests, and prayed a lot, quietly.  My fantastic Dr. Kumar tripled my meds and helped me shed 25 lbs. of fluid quickly.  After some struggles adjusting to the medications, the quick drops in my blood pressure that had me wondering whether I could even get up and speak at public events or have the strength to walk two blocks to the drug store and back, the news from the tests was a bit encouraging as learned I still have 16% kidney function.  15% and below is considered kidney failure. 

The most encouraging words to me came from Dr. Kumar, in front of my wife Bonnie.  He not only told me that I can keep working at URM for now, but told me that even when I go on dialysis, probably by July or August of this year, I can keep working! I can do dialysis at home 10 hours each night during my sleep. In fact, he said, “You need to keep working until you drop! Going on disability will not keep you alive! It will kill you.” 

I am working with the Union Rescue Mission Board of Directors and leadership team to select a right hand person to carry on just in case things go awry, but God is giving me the strength and the help to carry on in this wonderful job He has placed me in, serving my good friends who are experiencing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles.  When I shared my tough news in Chapel at URM, I was touched by the number of guys who sincerely came up to me offering to donate a kidney to save my life.  The guys here check on me every day.

I have signed up to receive not only a new kidney but also a new pancreas! I am officially on a waiting list.  Doctors prefer to do both a kidney and pancreas as getting only a kidney will not be as life lengthening as receiving both.  I am a bit apprehensive, fearful, and have had to work up the nerve to move ahead, but since the alternative is not so good, I am moving ahead. Thanks for keeping me, my family, URM, and our precious guests in your prayers.

12 thoughts on “After Some Tough News, Moving Ahead

  1. Aconner on

    Hang in there Chief!! We need you.

  2. Aconner on

    Hang in there Chief!! We need you.

  3. Andy Bales on

    Thank you, Andrew! Good job on obtaining the big screen TV for the Culver City Winter Shelter guests! You guys are doing a fantastic job over there! Proud of you and honored to work with you! Andy B.

  4. Louie Davis on


    My wife Catherine and I prayed for you tonight concerning the health challenges you face. You can trust Him in this matter to do only good. God bless you my brother.
    Louie Davis
    Brotther Bryan Rescue Mission Nirmingham, AL

  5. Rnelson on

    Praying for you in Omaha, NE.

    RNelson, Lydia House.

  6. Malcolm Lee on

    Dear Andy,
    I am in shock to hear of your need. Jo and I will pray for you and for a complete recovery. Ps 39:25 comes to mind and the part that says, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken.” My brother you are the “righteous” one by the grace of God.
    I too had open heart surgery on the 24 of Jan. I am home after a week and getting stronger day by day.
    The Lord is good. AMEN
    We love you brother and count on our God for your healing.
    Malcolm Lee

  7. Suzanne on

    Pastor Andy, what a treasure to read your blog. I sit here in the office at the Tucson Rescue Mission writing an articel on volunteering for the upcoming Newsletter. Just thought of the fruit of His Spirit and how as volunteers we can make a lasting impression in the lives of thsoe we serve. that you for sharing the fruit of His Spirit within you as you made a lasting impression on me whom you served by being so vulnerable. We will be praying for you here in Tucson, Suzanne Williams

  8. Lclagg on

    Dear Andy what a difference you have made. I pray your strength will increase and you will carry on with our Tender Holy Father by your side every step of the way.
    God Bless
    Lynn, Huntington City Mission, Huntington WV

  9. M. Parry on

    Dear Rev. Andy,
    Please know that the staff of The City Mission in Cleveland are praying for you – for complete healing, by whatever means God chooses. Your story of the men at URM Chapel who offered to donate a kidney brought tears to my eyes! Here are men who are struggling and in crisis, and yet there remains in them such a depth of humanity and compassion that they would give a kidney to save your life. It says volumes about their potential to serve the Lord, especially once empowered by the Holy Spirit, and of their genuine love for you and how you’ve touched their lives. You are a channel of God’s love to these men, a high-capacity conduit from the source of all power. God will give you everything you need to fulfill the destiny he has designed for your life. Peace, love, prayers and blessings to you and your family, and to God’s ministry at URM.

    Michael Parry, Chief Development Officer
    The City Mission, Cleveland, Ohio

  10. Ybrake on

    Rev. Andy,

    Your deep love for the Lord and the work you do is evident in every sentence of your blog. We pray the Lord’s comfort, direction and peace for you and your family and His healing touch upon your body.

    Yvonne Brake, Director of Development
    Haven of Rest Ministries
    Akron, OH

  11. My heart is heavy for you, Andy, but I see beauty and joy through your sacrifice of praise! And how touching that “the guys” would offer you their suplus body parts! The ministry we do each day is one of our greatest blessings, isn’t it?! Stay strong, friend, and “fight the good fight of faith.”

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