Rain Blessings on the Zellers

For: Zeller Family
Organizer: Bettencourt Family
Rain Blessings on the Zellers (Zeller Family)
of $95,000 goal.
Raised by 921 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT THE ZELLER FAMILY?  Visit Misty's blog at www.charliessong.com where she is making regular updates.  


My name is Catherine Arnsperger and I have walked alongside the Zellers through this last year of life, after having lost my own baby girl eight years before, on Charlie's birthday (Reid & Misty's full term stillborn son).  I know the Zellers well and know that they have far more financial stresses than they have been willing to admit.  They are not only emotionally and physically decimated, they do not feel entitled to anything, especially your generous gifts.

I've pressed the Zellers to be more open about their financial needs, so their fundraising goals have now been raised to $95k.  They have had months of medical bills and months more to come, and there is a chance they may have to get rid of even their cars to avoid continual cross contamination of the toxic mold that has destroyed Misty's health.  

The kids have no books or toys anymore and the whole family has no clothes. The girls had to give up their dress up clothes and their dolls and Fred had to give up his Cardinals Baseball toys and shirts.  And they are just kids!  

The weight on Misty and Reid is immense.  Reid is struggling to be strong as he watches his wife fight for her health and Misty's body is betraying her at every turn.  Both of them are heartbroken as they watch their children suffer disappointment after disappointment.  

Thank you for your support!  You have all been such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.   The Zellers know that God is good but it feels good to know He cares about their physical suffering, and you are God's hands and feet to the Zellers.  Thank you!

Love, Catherine Arnsperger

Excerpts taken from Misty's recent post, From the Eye of the Rain Storm, on her blog, Charlie's Song, written on February 18, 2014...

Seventeen days ago, we found out we had toxic stachybyotrys black mold growing in our house. And so...exactly sixteen days ago, we moved.

We decided that because of my rapidly declining health, the first priority was to immediately get out of the toxic place, so we just hoped for the best and moved. Honestly, it was like moving...with lice. Every single thing we moved had to be wiped down with clorox wipes, and every single piece of clothing had to be washed in ammonia twice before moving. And we moved knowing that we still may not get to keep any of our things. Live mold is one thing. It's easy to see. Easy to wipe down. And that would have been great. But there wasn't really any clearly visible live mold growing in our old place. And the only way to know the extent of the mold poisoning, was to get an $800 mycotoxin urine test done.

So we tested my body. And then we moved.  We moved, we washed, we cleaned, we waited, and we prayed.

And then, on Valentine's Day, the test came back.

A test that will forever change our lives.

The doctor who is treating me is the Presdient of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and one of the top mold doctors in the country. Her assessment of my test results, combined with my extremely serious symptoms, is that I have endured extended exposure to the highly toxic stachybotrys chartarum which is in the trichothecene group of mycotoxins. One would commonly know this as toxic black mold, typically found in water-damaged buildings, like those found in Hurricane Katrina. It is also the same mycotoxins used in biological warfare.

Basically, mold creates mycotoxins which are infinitesimally small toxic particles that destroy immune function. I was tested for all mycotoxins, and the results indicated that I have double the detectable limit of the mycotoxins produced by stachybotrys. There are many side effects and symptoms related to these mycotoxins - neurological and reproductive problems, thyroid and respiratory problems, and sadly even cancer.

Because mycotoxins are virtually indestructible, too small to remove, and still can be toxic for years, our doctor has assured us that the only way I will improve is to literally eliminate all of our porous material possessions because those contaminated possessions cannot be sufficiently cleaned and will cross-contaminate a new environment. This means, yes, everything. Every love letter. Every book. Every picture. Every single lovey and stuffed toy. Every car. Everything.

I can't tell you what it feels like to get this news. I haven't even begun to process what it means that I went to fourteen doctors in the last twelve months, and every one of them looked at me like I was a mental case and just told me "babies die" and "keep trying" and "I don't know what's wrong with you." Fourteen. And meanwhile, I would come home to a toxic house where every one of my babies died, and we would eat and sleep and grieve and play and love and live in a home that was making every single one of us sicker and sicker by the day.

I don't know if I'm going to be ok. I am not "allergic" to mold...I have been poisoned by a dangerously high dose of deadly my body is literally shutting down on me. I've had an ear infection for the last six months. I have an upper respiratory infection and brusied a rib from the painful hacking. I cannot remember things, even though I used to have an incredible memory. My nose is the "dirtiest nose" my doctor has ever seen. And I've seen two doctors now who believe I may have developed thyroid cancer from this.

And three babies died in my body.

We are not ok. And we are not going to be ok. I can barely function physically and my parents are flying in tonight to help us get through the day. We have spent thousands of dollars on medical bills and are completely financially decimated. Every sock, every sheet, every towel, every toy, every envelope still needs to be replaced if we have a fighting chance of making it through this thing.

And it may all be too little, too late.

We take the kids in for mold testing next week and are praying desperately that their exposure to these deadly mycotoxins was lower than mine. I ache thinking that our precious Sophie spent almost every breathing moment of her life...in a place that could take her life. We live in the shadow of cancer every day, and we would so appreciate your prayers for our family during this time. 

And where is God? I honestly don't know. I know He's still somewhere deep inside the whirlwind and the storm. But we also feel deeply defeated and are struggling to believe that He really sees our endless, catastrophic suffering.

Ultimately...I know God made our bodies and ordained and numbered all eight of our lives.

God provided the house.

God sent the rain.

God let the roof leak.

God grew the mold.

God led me to the right doctor who finally ordered the right $800 test.

And God took us out of that death hole and finally brought us to a house that was safe. The first house we could find...and a house we actually like, that happens to miraculously be two blocks from the beach.

God gave and took away, and gave.

But like Hagar in the desert, at the point of death and watching her child on the brink of death...I am struggling to see.

Please pray. Pray that we would see.  Play that we really would "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  And that we would see God's face and cling to that as earth's one true beauty...on even the darkest of days.


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 28, 2014

Posted on February 28, 2014

Only God Could Know

by mistyzeller

Today...is my birthday.  I had hoped that I would be writing this post about our encouraging doctor's appointment yesterday, and what a wonderful birthday present it was...but I'm not.

It was actually really, really rough.  It was five hours long with no breaks, except for the brief moment the kids got to go through the sticker box.  And though the kids didn't have to stay for the entire appointment, it was incredibly hard for my mommy heart to watch them have their check-ups.  We won't know without further mycotoxin testing...but it seems symptomatically, like our sweet little Emma was the hardest hit.  She really struggled through some of the neurological tests, and has had a number of other really difficult symptoms.

It's a lot to carry.  And the appointment only went from bad to worse.  After the kids left, we spent hours talking through every detail of our treatment plan with our doctor.  And the more she talked...the more discouraged we got.  First, the lovely little rumor floating around the mycotoxin world that you can vacuum pack and eventually kill them...well, it's just a rumor.  Mycotoxins aren't living things.  They are chemical matter...like a chair or a box.  They willneverever die.  So there's no point in boxing them up.  We may be able to someday handlethe things we put away, but forget about the vacuum packs.

Even worst...the doctor believes that our collective exposure has been so significant that she doesn't think we can keep most of our furniture...even the stuff that we had thoroughly wiped off.  We had hoped Clorox wipes would be enough, but since we had a lot of old, vintage furniture, that unsealed wood was just too exposed to mycotoxins.  So...out went our furniture.

Thenwe found out that our little vintage camper we named Whimsy is also going to probably have to go.  We had bought Whimsy with plans to embrace a life full of Whimsy and fill our kids childhood with special camping adventures...but apparently, we're probably not.  So, out went the camper.

And then,after a very dramatic pause she said, "And...you probably need to get a haircut."Ideally, it would be best to actually just shave my head since the mycotoxins there cause the worst exposure, but I sort of stopped listening after she said, "Hair cut."  All I kept thinking about in that fragile moment was the scene from Little Women when Amy gasps at Jo's haircut and says, "But Jo!  You're one true beauty!"  

I don't wantto cut my hair.  I don't wantto sell the table and chairs my grandparents got as a wedding present.  And I certainly don't want to watch Whimsy drive off into the sunset.  It's like we've justwatched our entire house burn to the ground, and now the onebox left...is about to get thrown on the fire.

It's not much of a birthday present.

But I dowant to say this.  I have learned some invaluable lessons in my 33rd year of life.  It has been a year filled with the deepest sorrow and suffering I have ever known.  It has been a year filled with tears. And sometimes, miraculously, it has also been a year of laughter.  Laughter that probably even meant more than the laughter in all the other years...because it cost so very much of my heart to make it.

And it has been a year filled with reminders of who God is.  Which is, after all, what all of these years are about anyways...knowing Him and making Him known.

And so, since it's my birthday and I can blog if I want to...I want to share perhaps the most important truth I have learned about Lord in this 33rd year of life.

God is Sovereign.

He knowsthings.  And plans things.  And doesthings that ONLY HE COULD KNOW.

When I was in college, I started something called my "Only God Could Know Book."  I, like every college (slash that-HUMAN) girl, struggled with believing the truth of my worth.  And so...every time I felt like God did something or said something throughsomeone else that ONLYGod could know...I'd put it in the book.

For example...one day I was reading in 1 Peter 2:9 and how it says that we are a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."  I remember thinking in that moment, "God, I don't feelvery royal.  I don't feel like a Princess?"  I shut my Bible with what I'm sure was a rather emphatic thud, and went for a run.

I went to college in downtown Chicago, so runs were full of lots of stops.  As my friend and I came up to a stoplight, we saw two guys clearly dressed in gang attire standing there.  We came up to the stoplight and, I kid you not... one of the guys turned to me and said, "Hello there Princess."  

He may have been a gang member.  He may have been an angel.  But what I'm absolutely sure about is that only God could know I had read that very passage and had those very thoughts, right before I stood on that very street corner.

And I know that that is true of Him...because He's still in the "Only God Could Know" business.

This week, someone I've only met once held an amazing online auction full of beautiful handmade goods.  Hundreds of beautiful people made and bid on the items and then gave the proceeds of the auction to us.  As I was looking over the items the day of the auction I actually said to Reid, "I wish I could bid on all of these.  They're so great!  And I especially love this little birds nest necklace."

Are you ready for this...fifteen minuteslater...I got a message on Facebook from the girl who makes those very necklaces.  She wanted to send me one.  OnlyGod could know.

We have been so incredibly bombarded with love over the last seven days.  It doesn't even feel real to be thisloved by so many people all at once.  But I felt especially humbled that I was being sent a beautiful little birds nest necklace with six tiny pearls in it...because there's only One person in all the world who knew I wanted one.

And He's the King of all the birds nests. And all the gang members on random Chicago corners.  And most of all...all of my baby birds.

If there is one thing I've learned in the last year of life...it's that God's sovereignty is a precious gift.  It is a hard gift on the days when God does something that only God could know, especially when that thing breaks your heart beyond being put back together again.  There hasn't been one moment of the last week I wouldn't have gladly traded in for ten secondsof baby Charlie in my arms.  Or the next baby, or the next.  I don't like all of the things God knew and did.

But I trust Him.Because He is GOD.He knowsthings that we don't.  He sees things that we don't.  He hearsthings that we don't.  He doesthings that we don't even fathom the far reaching sovereign implications of.

And at the end of this incredibly painful year of life...I truly can say, just like Habbakuk once said,

Though the fig tree does not bud
and my precious babies are in the ground,
though the olive crop fails
and there is no new baby in my womb,
though we lost almost everything we owned,
and now I have to get a mom haircut,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

I've read this passage a thousand times.  But this year especially, one word alone has become an anchor to my heart.  The Sovereign Lord is my strength.  And He is my strength...because He's sovereign.  Only God could knowwhy we have suffered so much.  And only God could knowthe beautiful eternal outcome.

I could not do this life...if my God was not sovereign.  I just couldn't.  I have wrestled deeply with every one of the hundreds of passages on His sovereignty over this last year...and it is becauseHe is sovereign, becauseHe numbers each and every one of our days, and because He is the God of a lifetime of only God could knowmoments for each and every one of us...

I trust Him.

Posted on February 26, 2014

Posted on February 26, 2014

Christ-mas like

A few months ago I wrote a post called “Always Winter, but Never Christmas.” (http://charliessong.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/always-winter-but-never-christmas).  One of the BEST things about winter for us in the northern hemisphere, is that the harsh winds, bitter cold, and icy roads are accompanied by one of the world’s very best things…Jesus’ birthday.  That’s also how I used to feel about having babies.  There is so much pain…and then, like Paul said, you forget all about the pains of childbirth ager, because there is just so very much JOY.

But what about when there is no joy?  I’m sure there will be many moments of sorrow yet to come in our lives.  But the night I gave birth to Charlie armed with only a heart shattered to pieces, and an epidural that wasn’t working…I thought I would actually die.  And there was nothing more painful that could have happened in that moment than what did…we heard the cry of another little newborn in the room beside mine.  They got Christmas…and we got heartbreak.  Right about then, I knewI was going to die.  That something so deeply breaking had just happened to me, and though I would probably keep on breathing…for every one of our dreams for every one of our precious lost lives…Christmas was never coming.

But this week…something happened that felt very Christmas-like.

We don’t buy our kids a lot of Christmas presents at Christmastime.  They each get exactly four.  Something they want, something they need,something to wear, and something to read.It works out quite nicely for everybody.  The kids know exactly what to expect and are always really happy with their four special things, and mommy and daddy manage to survive December actually remembering what Christmas really means.  We don’t have boxes upon boxes piled up under our Christmas tree.

But that was exactlywhat happened this week.

Yesterday, our lovely mail person arrived at our doorstep with package…after package…after package.  When she finally put down lucky package #23 she let out a huge sigh and said, “Whew!  Finally!  That’s the last one for today!”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that tomorrow was probably going to be even more crazy.

And it was crazy.  When you have to get rid of almost everything…you end up needing a lotof things.  And I’ve never seen my kids so excited about socks, underwear and beach towels in my life.

But even more than all of the brown0paper-amazon-packages-tied-up-with-string…what most ministered to my heart was the sheer beauty of the moment through all of the little things.

The six boxes we got from people in Germany whose names I couldn’t even pronounce properly.

The note from the man I don’t even know who sent Emma a princess dress and included the words, “This ones for you…love the Lord with all your heart little girl.”

And most of all, the bewildered joy on little Fred’s face when he put on his new Captain America costume and exclaimed, “I LOVE my new costume from Sara Fisher!  Wait…whose Sara Fisher anyways?”

It wasn’t Christmas because of the boxes.  I know that they will someday have to go…just like so many of our things went this week.  It wasn’t Christmas because of their joy.  My kids are pretty joyful most days, which is an absolute testament to the mercies of God after such a deeply painful last year of life.

It was the Body of Christ.

It was the very real and unforgettable object lesson that happened right before their little eyes, as they were loved on and loved on and loved on some more…by hundreds of people in the Body of Christ.

There are some devastatingly painful moments that my kids will probably always have to carry in their hearts and memories.  There is nothing more harsh and winter-like than celebrating a first birthday in a cemetery in January.  Winter is still, and always will be, very much a part of even our children’s life stories.

But this last week we have been given some of the most incredible glimpses of Christmas that a child of God could ever be given this side of eternity…and it’s all because of each and every on of you…His earthy hands and heart and feet and voice.

Thank you so much to the hundreds of hands that clicked “buy” on Amazon, made us meals, helped at the garage sale, and wrote so many incredibly kind and thoughtful things.

Thank you to each and every one of you who gave so deeply sacrificially to our family.  A week ago one of the biggest decisions looming before us was whether or not to order the best (but very costly) test to properly measure the exposure level of each person in our family.  Your absolutely unfathomable generosity has made that one very easy decision to make.

And most of all…thank you for your prayers.  There are so very many people who have told us that they are praying for us every single day.  I’m pretty sure I don’t actually pray for anyoneevery day, and after another long and physically painful day, your prayers mean the world to me.

I still live in winter.  I still live in world where babies die, and bodies ache with pain, and children have to deal with deeply complicated and painful questions way beyond their pay grade.  And that will always be.  But…this week, through your incredible generosity, prayers and outpouring of love…my kids have also seen some of the most beautiful glimpses this side of heaven…of what heaven will be like.

A place filled with people who love each other deeply.  People they’ve never even met.  But people they love simply because Christis still in Christmas.  And Christmas is most definitely coming.

Look in the photo gallery to see my favorite pictures of our kids experiencing this wonderful outpouring...


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