Many of the readers of my blog prayed, commented and supported my good friend Stefan Tarapchak throughout his journey with cancer. Through Stef’s blog, you now have the opportunity to remember Stef with resources from his funeral. I received many requests for a copy of the service and at this time we are unable to get the service posted on the web. We have, however, done our best to put the pieces of the service that we do have onto his site. You can find each of the speeches given and the slide show that was created for his service on his blog and by clicking on the “Remembering Stefan” tab.
It is our hope that the site is a tribute and memorial to Stefan and the great husband, father and witness that he was. If you feel comfortable doing so, please leave a comment anywhere on his blog with a memory or words for his wife Sandi and their precious children. Sandi is going to put all of the comments into a memory book for her children to read when the time is appropriate. Thank you all again for your support, prayers and love throughout this journey.
Sandi has also started a new blog which can be found HERE.
The service for our friend Stefan Tarapchak yesterday was wonderful. The choir and Allen Lowe did an incredible job of singing songs of praise and hope. I was so proud of Sandi as she delivered a memorial speech to Stef. While it was, at times difficult, this morning I rejoice. As a matter of fact, I can’t get away from how excited I am this morning. I keep thinking that Stef would have wanted it this way. What would he have wanted???
SEVERAL people accepted Christ as their personal Savior at the end of service yesterday.
I rejoice that Stef’s personal hope was that “just one” would be saved. His journey will forever change the eternity of countless people. Scripture tells us that when one gets saved, there is literally rejoicing in Heaven. So to that I say….let’s party down here on Earth!
Thank you Stef.
You fought the fight.
You won the race.
You spoke louder than before.
Lives are forever changed!
Friends, blog readers and to all of those that have been praying for our dear friend Stefan, please see Sandi’s post this morning. Romans 12:15 instructs us to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”. At no moment in my life do I understand that verse better than I do this morning. For it is with the great hope and peace that I know my friend has earned and heard the words “Well done my good and faithful servant” this morning. I would ask all that read this to pray for Sandi and the children. May God be their comfort, their portion, their strong tower and their strength. If you have shared this journey with Stef and Sandi, maybe you can leave a comment on their blog today.
As I was driving to church this morning, the words from this Bebo Norman song came on. I can’t say it any better.
Wading through the aftermath
Yesterday’s a photograph
Rummaging through faith to find a hope
That there will be a reckoning
Of the beauty and the beckoning
Calling me to stand on what I know
One bright hour you will come for me
One bright hour you’ll set the captive free
One bright hour you will wipe the tears away
From eyes that now can see
One bright hour.
Goodbye for now my friend. I am a different man today for the time we shared. One bright hour we will share time again.
“One Bright Hour” by Bebo Norman
Inspired by my wife and with a little “push” by my good friend “D-Rich”, I recently started running jogging. Don’t tell either of them, but I am secretly enjoying it. My knees are not enjoying it nearly as much as my mind though. Anyone that has run knows that so much of the battle is mental. It’s pushing yourself to another goal and beyond what you perceive as pain. It’s digging in deep to find something that will carry you the next mile. I recently discovered something that really helps… prayer.
I have been amazed at how quickly that next goal approaches when I take the focus off of myself, my pain, my lack of energy and focus on that prayer list in my mind. It’s the list of people I have said “I’ll be praying for you” and quickly forgot to keep my word. It has been amazing to see how those names quickly come to mind as I am, if nothing else, just speaking their name. God knows their need. He doesn’t need me to go on and on and on about the request.
There is one request I would like to extend to anyone and everyone that reads this blog. Many of you follow the journey of my good friend Stefan Tarapchak. If you think of it today, would you mind praying for Stefan and his family? I will admit that there are times that I don’t know what to pray. I don’t have the answers or the words to pray. I don’t know what to say, but I know who hears our requests. As Casting Crowns sings:
You don’t need the answers
to all of life’s questions
Just know that he loves them
Stay by their side
How about you? How can I pray for you today? Is there someone or something on your heart that I can join with you in praying for?
Many of you are praying for our friend Stef. Last night we had the priviledge of attending a very special prayer meeting with the choir at our church. The suggestion has been made that each day at 12:00 we stop whatever we are doing and say a prayer for our friend. For some of us that might even mean twice a day. I thought I would pass it along to you all as well. As I bring my requests each day, I will do so remembering what Hebrews 4:16 states:
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (emphasis mine)
“Before the Throne of Grace” by Point of Grace.
It is great excitement that I post this opportunity. Many of you have followed the journey of my good friend Stefan Tarapchak over the past year through his blog and mine. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer support and love for Stefan and his family during this time. So when I heard about this opportunity to show the Tarapchak family our support and love, I couldn’t wait to get it to the web. For all of those that have asked how they can support this family, or if there is something you can do, here is your chance! It’s the first annual Refuse To Lose Invitational.
I cannot take an ounce of credit for this exciting day. A group of great men have put the entire day together and it’s sure to be a great time. You can find all of the information on either my RTL Page or on Stefan’s RTL page. Even if you don’t live in the area, you have an opportunity to show your support. Companies and families can sponsor a hole for the low cost of $50! (I hear “Conrad Corner” is brutal). Let’s take this opportunity to love on this family and support them in their time of need.
Want to spread the word? Feel free to link to our RTL pages or download your RTL brochures HERE (.doc) and HERE (.pdf). Stefan has committed to speaking to all of those that attend the event about his journey and his plans for the future. You won’t want to miss it!
Special thanks to all of Stefan’s friends that have made this opportunity possible. We’ll see you on August 16th! Please note that the date for entry for the tournament on the brochure is August 1st. It can be extended to no later then August 6th.
Since many people that follow Stef’s blog follow this one as well I thought I would get a quick update on our brother and friend. As most of you know, Stef had surgery a few weeks ago in his battle with colon cancer. His recovery this time has been slowed by a few set backs but he was finally able to return home. He has continued to battle pain and a lack of appetite. Last night Sandi and Stef went to the hospital to the emergency room due to his increased pain and inability to keep anything down.
I spoke with Sandi early this morning and they are going to admit Stef to the James hospital. After blood work, CT scans and X-Rays, it appears that he has an infection in his colon. They are going to admit him so they can get the infection under control. I will keep you all posted if I hear anything else.
In the meantime, please pray for Stef. The recovery from his most recent surgery has been very difficult. He has managed a lot of pain and several setbacks. Please pray for Sandi as she was up all night with Stef at the hospital. I will post any updates as I receive them. Thanks for being prayer warriors for Stef. Refuse to Lose!!
“Be Still” by Story Side B
Stef’s wonderful wife Sandi has posted a full update from the surgery today on Stef’s blog. You can read it all (HERE). To God be the glory!
From the song “Waiting to Shine” by Building 429:
“Your hand has been upon me and your workmanship is true.
And years I spent in darkness make me long to shine for you.”
We serve an awesome God! Before I type anything else, I want to acknowledge that we serve a God that deserves all the honor and glory and passion praising him with which we have all been praying for our brother Stef. Also, understand that I am hoping I give you all of the facts as I know them. There will be more definitive conversations tonight, but this is what we found out while we were there.
Stef’s surgery began a little later then anticipated around 9:30. About 2-3 hours into the surgery, we got the first call that the cancer was not as extensive as they originally thought. They said Stef was doing great and that they would be wrapping up and getting ready for the chemo bath. He said he would have another update for us in an hour. When the second call came in, it was to let us know that they were just wrapping up the chemo bath and the Stef had done great. What they found out when they went in is that some of the areas of concern (Bladder, Abdomen) were actually caused by “shadowing” in the imaging process and it does not appear that the cancer had spread to those areas. They removed the tumor from the colon and the omentum. They also removed the cancer from around the bladder and abdomen. It did not appear that it has entered either one at the time that I was there. From what they said, they were able to “peel it away” from those areas to remove it.
Again, this is all first reporting, so I will give a much more definitive update later when I get one and after Sandi has spoken to the Surgeon. She will ask about staging and some of the other questions that we are all wondering. The most important thing right now we can do is praise God for his hand in this surgery and for the great reports we received
We serve an awesome God! I will update you all again as soon as I receive more updates. Thank you for your prayers and thank GOD for his faithfulness, grace and mercy!
Many of you have been following the journey of my friend Stef the past few months either through his blog, AC180, my blog or all three. If you are not familiar with Stef, he is an amazing man of God, Christian brother, husband, father and friend. About 6 months ago, God gave me the blessing of connecting our paths and I am a better person today because of that divine moment. If you would like to know more about Stef, his journey and his family, he has been sharing it through his blog.
Today, I want to make a public call to prayer for my Christian brother, fellow AC180 contributor and friend. He has a surgery coming this Friday which is a very large step in his journey. I’d like to make the request to all that read these words to join me in praying. By linking arms with one another and lifting up Stefan and his family, we are proclaiming that God is on His throne. We are placing our trust in the hands of the great physician and the surgeons that will be handling the delicate procedure on Friday. I am also asking that everyone pray specifically on Friday morning while Stef is undergoing the surgery. Some have also committed to fasting on Friday if you feel led to do so.
I woke up this morning with the words to this song on my heart. When I gave it a quick listen this morning, the chorus at the end said it all. “We are NOT alone“. Thank you to all of you that are praying. We serve a great God. We serve a BIG God. May he get the glory, honor and praise.
“Be Still” by Story Side B from the CD “We Are Not Alone”