Family’s Faith, Once Shaken, Has Grown Stronger

Post a Comment » Written on July 24th, 2007     
Filed under: News
FRESNO, CA (July 24, 2007) – The struggles and faith of an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor and his wife as they raise two children with a debilitating rare disorder are profiled in a Fresno Bee newspaper story.

Tim Boynton, who is pastor of Kingsburg Covenant Church, and his wife, Tracey, have two children with Friedreich’s Ataxia. This disorder that has afflicted their son, Andrew, 14, and daughter, Kennan, nine, involves the degeneration of nerve tissues. People suffer muscle weakness and loss of coordination (ataxia) in the arms and legs, vision impairment, hearing loss, aggressive scoliosis (curvature of the spine), diabetes mellitus or carbohydrate intolerance, and enlargement of the heart.

“Andrew needs help getting dressed, and he has to ask for things,” Tracey tells the paper. “It’s not easy for a person not to have that independence. Kennan is very much a people person, but she fatigues easily and gets really tired. And she’s got that same wobbly gait that Andrew had.”

The Boyntons were unaware that they carried the recessive gene – there had been no history of the disorder in either of their families.

Tim tells the paper that he struggled with depression for the first year after hearing the news about Andrew. “I wasn’t functioning . . . and it affected my preaching and leadership,” he says. “Christian leaders aren’t supposed to be depressed. How can you tell others how to have hope in dark times if you are at a low point? Do I fake it?”

Since then, Tim and Tracey have faced the illness head on and communicate with other parents whose children have Friedreich’s. They add that their faith, once shaken, is now stronger.

Tracey recalls that a week after Andrew was diagnosed, she was reading from Isaiah in preparation for a Bible study. She was struck by the words of verses 30-31: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

In January, Andrew was named student of the month at his elementary school. Tracey was surprised when his picture was taken in front of a mural at the school and she saw the words behind him that read, “Our students soar on wings like eagles.”

The Boyntons’ son, Luke, 12, has shown no signs of the disease.

The read more of their story, visit the article at the Fresno Bee.

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