The Houk Family

Otsego, MN
$4,949.88 raised of $20,195.55
Mortgage/Rent $10,003.20
12 months
Insurance - Renter's $1,762.53
1 months
Utilities – Electric $4,080.00
12 months
Insurance - Auto $1,200.00
6 months
Utilities - Internet $899.88
12 months
Utilities - Cable $449.94
Utilities - Phone $1,800.00
6 months
    Joel Houk
    Brain Tumor

    On November 13, 2022, Joel found myself waking up in an ICU after suffering a seizure. With further testing it was determined that I had a brain tumor. The tumor was operated on to remove as much as possible and sent to pathology to determine what type of tumor. It tested to be consistent with a stage 4 glioblastoma. It is an aggressive terminal brain cancer. He is  starting radiation and chemotherapy the protocol that the oncologists have set up to keep his cancer at bay. We are told it will continue to grow. He is the sole provider for our family of 5 kids. Four of them at home still, the youngest being 4. About 3 years ago, he made a change in his career to be at home with his family more and tend to their needs. Our youngest 2 children were adopted and at stages in their lives needing time from Dad. We made a family decision to start a home business as a handyman. It hasn't been easy but rewarding to have time as a family working together. We have homeschooled the kids, which has kept Melissa at home and busy with that.

    My family discovered this campaign through a family in our homeschool community, that lost their child 10 years ago. Upon hearing Joel's diagnosis, this is a way that they suggested as a help to care for my family. My family and I have put our trust in the Lord and believe that God will help us in our financial provisions. Thank you for considering to allow my family to be together and care for my needs, doctor appointments with my diagnosis.

    November 21, 2023
    Houk Family Trust Together

    It has been a year…..

    When people say time flies….. I’m pretty sure that is truth. We are standing at a year from when Joel was first diagnosed with glioblastoma. Life has changed at our home. Days are tricky. Conversations are challenging. Parenting is gritty. Although not all days have been easy, We celebrate each day that we have had. Every one of them has been a gift. We are not promised tomorrow. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    I can certainly say those words but living them out literally is a battle all in itself. 

    This past year we have chosen to live life and live it to the full. Of course Within the restrictions and the numerous doctor visits, weekly lab work, radiation, chemo, pharmacy pick ups, and much needed naps. 

    Many of you have helped in carrying our load of this grave diagnosis. We are thankful for everyone that has reached out. The acts of kindness, prayers, and encouraging words have meant more than anyone can possibly imagine.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the continued prayers and support.


    “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭11‬:‭9‬-‭10‬ ‭NIV‬‬


    “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬-‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬


    Without those prayers, encouragement and having faith in our savior we would not have been able to put one step in front of another. There is an old song that comes to mind filled with bits of God’s word. Somedays we don’t know how to face tomorrow. 


    “And because He lives

    I can face tomorrow

    Because He lives

    All fear is gone

    Because I know

    He holds the future

    And life is worth the living

    Just because He lives


    God sent His son

    They called Him Jesus

    He came to love

    Heal and forgive

    He bled and died

    To buy my pardon

    An empty grave

    Is there to prove

    My savior lives”


    We plead beg and cry out just as the persistent widow. 


    “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ””

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭18‬:‭1‬-‭5‬ ‭NIV‬‬


    We continue to believe for Joel’s complete healing despite what we know about this stupid cancer. We know that God has a plan and He will be faithful to complete it. 

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family Trust Together

    Joel and I have had a weekend to remember..... As most of you know, we have spent our lives pouring into our kids. A privilege we have been so completely honored to do. We have homeschooled, which has ended up to be a long fulfilling journey, twenty one years and counting. Jakey is already going to be a big kindergartener in the fall. This weekend was different since all of our kids were occupied. All the olders had the opportunity to have a sibling weekend with each other enjoying the mountains and other adventures that keep you on your knees praying as parents - stories yet to come from the kids. Joel's sister Jill, and our niece Ashley, took Jakey for the weekend. He was so blessed,he wanted to stay forever. Jake also got to spend some time with Adaira. He did all things Jake.... Swimming, flying airplanes, walking, splashing in puddles, making a snowman, going to the zoo, and sleeping like a tornado. Joel and I spent some long-needed time together alone and with some friends. We thoroughly enjoyed our time having some adult, non interrupted, conversation. Unfortunately, while we were out on a walk, Joel experienced another seizure. This meant a ride in the ambulance and his driving privileges were snatched away in seconds. The doctors are keeping a close eye on him and switching around his meds and we will revisit later this month with another MRI.

    We continue to battle all the challenges that have been thrown at us and we continue to Trust the Lord. The absolute best part of our weekend was the privilege to spend time prostrate in the presence of the Lord at the altar. We know most of our lives, especially large decisions, have been confirmed by spending time in His presence.

    This week our church is starting a corporate study on the Holy Spirit. You can't underestimate the help that the gift of the Holy Spirit can have on your life. Anna shared this song with me since it touched her so much. It is such a powerful prayer!!

    "Fall Like Rain"

    Passion 2023

    God, I live to worship You

    All my life I offer You

    Simple melodies of sacrifice

    Open hands and open heart

    You're the only one I want

    Your presence is my treasure, my delight

    Fall like rain

    Holy Spirit

    Fall like rain

    Holy Spirit

    Have Your way

    Let Your Glory fall down

    Let Your Glory fall down

    One thing I ask, one thing I seek

    So much more than anything

    To dwell within Your house for all my days

    Knowing You is everything

    So I let go of lesser things

    You alone are worthy of my praise

    So stir in me a passion for Your Name, Jesus

    And fall like rain

    Holy Spirit

    Fall like rain

    Holy Spirit

    Have Your way

    Let Your Glory fall down

    Let Your Glory fall down

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family Trust Together

    Another look

    We went to visit with the doctor this week. They examined his brain with an MRI. Joel gave more of his blood to test for how his body is reacting to the chemotherapy. It appears the blinders have not been taken off yet. We still really don’t know anything. We don’t know what we don’t know. The results are inconclusive and they say that still has do to with the radiation zone. We have been informed this can continue to change for up to six months but most of the cloudiness or unknown happens in the three months after treatment. What we do see…..We see significantly more swelling. Joel is experiencing biting his cheek while he is eating since his face is drooping on one side. He is experiencing more difficulty with clear speech. He is, however, understanding what is being communicated so we are so thankful for that. He wants to participate in all that he can. He works hard to rest so that he can serve and be present.

    In Romans Paul writes, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭12‬-‭13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    It seems as though this message was important and needed to be heard since it was repeated to the church in Thessaloniki.

    “Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬, ‭18‬ ‭NIV

    God’s inspired word will go out. It is still relevant to us today. His words were and will always be our guide.

    I have been challenged to be Joyful always, keep praying and believing despite the changes in our lives.

    I’m not going to lie, life has been scary and the unknowns are strangling at times. There are moments when I feel I can’t get out of the pain.

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

    ‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬-‭4‬ ‭NIV

    I’m not sure how much I consider it “pure joy” - it hurts. but I know who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    I do “put my faith in Jesus the anchor to my soul … I put my faith in Jesus

    My anchor to the ground

    My hope and firm foundation

    He'll never let me down. “

    Promises. Maverick City Music

    We are still praying and believing for a complete and total miracle. We are seeing miracles along the way. We thank God in the good and we thank God in the bad. He is Faithful!!!

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family Trust Together

    Update 3-10-23

    Joel has finished round 2. Woohoo! Now we wait again. We try to live life as normally as possible. Physically Joel is doing great. He gets out to walk a couple miles a day and he manages to get us out there too, which is good for us. He really enjoys that time. That is a specific answer to prayer. Joel is still experiencing significant swelling in his head but no headaches. Another answer to prayer. It is challenging for him to get complete thoughts out. Words are also difficult to speak. In conversations, with multiple people he wants to say things but can’t get his words out quick enough before the conversation takes a different direction. This is especially noticeable at church when I talk with others. He knows that I just have to get my words out and that he won’t get any when I’m there. He smiles and waits so patiently.

    In our waiting, it has been so impressed on Joel’s heart to continue to serve in whatever capacity he can. He wants to keep pressing on. We both love to serve, it is Joel’s strongest love language. We have had the privilege of serving together in preschool for many years. The sweet tenderness of the littles is so enjoyable. Their simplicity to life, their excitement to help, their eagerness to hide God’s word in their heart, and their praises are completely unmatched. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

    ‭‭Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭14‬ ‭NIV

    Little ones are so important to the Lord. It is also their incredible bold and expectant faith that is an example of how we are supposed to live. Children trust that their parents will care for their needs and provide for them. We as Christ followers need trust in God that same way even when things seem terrifying or impossible. We need to take God’s promises literally. Jakey is learning Revelation 3:20 His interpretation “ Here I am, I stand and knock,” I open the door and he has to eat with me. Jakey simply believes that Jesus will eat and be with him. No other thoughts just simple faith.

    With Joel struggling to get his words out we have been serving in the nursery. Joel figures the babies have trouble with their words too so they are perfectly matched. I just love to hold the babies. I think that is such a perfect way to serve.

    Thank you so much for your continued prayers. We have felt them and have been encouraged by them. Thank you for continuing to believe with us for God’s miraculous healing. Thank you for the cards and words of encouragement. Thank you for sending us promises from God’s word that He has pointed out to you. Thank you for the meals and the groceries. Thank you for the financial help. Thank you for the special care given to all our kids. We have been so blessed. We have been so encouraged by your acts of kindness and your generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!

    ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’””

    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family Trust Together

    Waiting is Difficult

    Waiting in the unknown is not comfortable. I’m not exactly a fan. We made it through a long month of unknowns. Joel went to the doctor this week and had his first MRI since his surgery. Quite honestly, the scan looked worse than it did before his surgery. They call this pseudo progression. It gives a possible false view of a larger tumor without actually being larger. Swelling or scar tissue could be impeding the view or the invasiveness of radiation can do this. Although it is not common it does happen. Joel will start Chemotherapy again this week. This time it will be a much higher dose but shorter duration. He will follow his week of chemo with another rest and in a month we will return to have another scan. The doctor will hopefully have a clearer photo of his situation going on.

    So what do we do now.... We pray, we trust, we read God’s word to understand His plan, we enjoy the gift of each day. So many times we try to hurry the wait, we take things into our own hands, we mettle to make things happen the way we think God should do things. We make scenarios to guide God do what we think is best. When in all reality, He really does know best and we just need to get out of the way. His plans will be accomplished.

    Sarah does this… She was barren. She was given word that she would have a son. She laughed since she was old, thought it was not possible. In her waiting, she panicked and attempted to take matters into her own hands. She convinced Abraham to sleep with her maid servant Hagar. Hagar became pregnant and birthed a son. Sarah manipulated the situation to make things happen and ended up despising Hagar. Sarah suffered and so did everyone around her since she rushed, worried, and attempted to rush God’s timing and blessing. Her unbelief was momentarily speaking louder than her faith. But God is faithful to His promises. “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.””

    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭18‬:‭14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    This encouraged Sarah’s faith and she did indeed deliver Isaac. Sarah is counted as faithful in Hebrews 11:11 despite her trying to carry out plans in her own hands.

    God will indeed carry out the plan He has for us. Our job is to trust, believe and have faith in the process. He is working even when we cannot see him. In the silence and in the unknown He is working.

    “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”

    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family

    I’ve witnessed it

    My beautiful girls had the opportunity to attend the Passion Conference in Atlanta in January to celebrate 2023. They had a wonderful time being challenged and encouraged in their walk with the Lord. This is the second year they went and have plans to go again next year. They are hooked meeting together like Hebrews 10:25.

    I’m so blessed to have girls that had a deep passion to follow and serve the Lord. I’m so grateful how they pour into their brothers and love them so fiercely. Both continuously find ways to love Joel and I. On their adventures I beg for them to send videos or posts to live vicariously through them. They are not huge social media posters. I have been privileged to visit the bustling of Atlanta, the mountains of Colorado, vastness of Texas, the paradise of Hawaii, and the sunshine of Florida. With this adventure, I was overcome with emotion of God’s faithfulness. The stadium was filled with young adults praising our Savior. I look forward to the day to be praising and worshiping face to face with our Savior. This song “I’ve Witnessed it”, is a challenge to tell the world that the Lord alone is worthy. To share our story, our testament of His goodness. This song was just released and it is such an encouragement. I love that both Abbi and Anna separately sent me it to take the charge of sharing encouragement. Anna shares her gifts, her hope, our Lord with the residents she cares for. She is gifted in how she loves and cares so deeply for them. And Abbi is so perfectly placed with the littles she loves to care for and gets to encourage them in their faith journey. She pours into those precious souls. I’m so proud of both of them. I love them. Be encouraged today that God is working today for you. He has a plan for your lives and He will complete. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot change, His word does not return void. You can trust. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬-‭13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    You’re good and I’ve witnessed it

    You’re strong and I’ve witnessed it

    You’re constant, I’ve witnessed it

    And I’m confident I’ll see it again

    You love and I’ve witnessed it

    You heal and I’ve witnessed it

    You save and I’ve witnessed it

    And I’m confident I’ll see it again

    You’re good and I’ve witnessed it

    You’re strong and I’ve witnessed it

    You’re constant, I’ve witnessed it

    And I’m confident I’ll see it again

    You love and I’ve witnessed it

    You heal and I’ve witnessed it

    You save and I’ve witnessed it

    And I’m confident I’ll see it again

    By Passion Music Melodie Malone

    April 7, 2023
    Houk Family

    Where the rubber meets the road…

    Joel has completed his radiation and his first round of chemotherapy. He tolerated treatment very well, despite how significantly snug his mask smashed to his face. On his last day of radiation, his technicians allowed us to join him to see the enormous machine that administered the radiation. It was precisely pinpointed at his cancer. In fact, you can see the exact area, since it’s in line with where he is smoothly bald.

    We have been blown away by the support of some young men that have shaved their heads. Sam was challenged to shave his head and use it as a conversation piece and lead with his Chi Alpha men. He has been asked why he would shave his head in such frigid weather. He did it in support of his Dad, and when he is cold, it is a reminder to pray for his Dad. But most importantly, it is a chance for people to ask about it and share our story of hope and faith for people to come to know Christ as well.

    Thank you for all the prayers and support in so many intricate ways. I see it as a large puzzle that so many of you are a piece of. We have had meals, groceries, gas cards, vehicles attended to, snow plowing help, financial support, toilet paper, hair stuff, organizing, filling out paperwork, help with medications, driving the boys, and play dates for the boys, cleaning, visits, texts, cards, emails, and phone calls. We have greatly appreciated it all. It is beautiful how the church body has surrounded us. God’s word is alive and active spurring one another on to love and good deeds. Each person being a part of the body. 1 Cor. 12: 12-27.

    We are now entering a season in our journey where we have to wait. Waiting is difficult. A flurry of thoughts race through my mind. If I look forward too much it is scary and it brings great fear. We are choosing to fight with God’s word with Faith over fear. Psalm 91 is so good. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

    Isaiah 26:3 NIV

    We choose to fight with prayer and thanksgiving. We rejoice for the coming answers knowing we are in the palm of his hands. We are thankful in all circumstances. We know God will light our path He is above it all.


    In the waiting You get the glory

    In the healing You get the glory

    In the breaking You get the glory

    In the breakthrough You get the glory

    by Charity Gayle

    We are continuing to pray for complete healing. Joel will have another scan in the middle of February to see what has happened since starting this journey. We have to give his body time to rest. We believe we will see healing taking place.