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Austin & Janiece's Story


Editor's Note: After a courageous battle, Austin died March 18, 2018. Please keep Janiece and her daughters in your prayers as they grieve and learn to live without a husband and father. 

A World Turned Upside Down

“It was a Sunday afternoon when our world turned upside down,” Janiece Hawkins shared.

After church that day in mid-April, Austin, her husband of 13 years and the father of their four daughters, experienced a grand mal seizure. He lost mobility and the ability to process or speak clearly. A week later, doctors told them Austin had a Stage 3 brain tumor.

“This was so unexpected and difficult to accept,” Janeice said. “That big word, CANCER, that everyone dreads to hear, has caused our whole lives to change.”

Adjusting in hope

Austin, 33, is a drafter and the sole provider for his family. Janiece is a stay-at-home mother homeschooling their daughters: Gracie, Emily, Naomi, and Kinley. Educating their children at home is not just a priority for Austin and Janiece—it is a God-given conviction.

With the cancer diagnosis and loss of income, the Hawkins family’s finances took a major blow. In addition to their normal living expenses, they needed money for medical bills and curriculum for the fall.

“Without a doubt, we know God holds our future and only through Him will we find the joy, peace, and sweet rest that we so need in these times,” Janeice said.

God partly answered their prayers in the form of Don and Debbie Woolett, Home School Foundation (HSF) State Ambassadors in Kentucky. The Wooletts attend the same church as the Hawkins and reached out to them as soon as they heard the news.

HSF’s Kentucky Ambassador Fund presented the Hawkins family with a grant not just to help with purchasing next year’s curriculum, but also to help cover living expenses and medical bills while Austin undergoes treatment. Because of the HSF Ambassador grant, the Hawkins family can continue their children’s education the way God has called them.

Persevering in faith

Austin has already completed an aggressive round of radiation and chemo. Despite him having presently lost most of the use of his right side, Austin and Janiece are trusting God with their future. Janiece is holding to the promise expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:5, “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.”

“His name is ‘Jesus!’ A much bigger name than cancer,” Janiece emphasized. “Through the radiation and now, chemo, the Lord has been with us every step of the way. The overwhelming outpouring of God’s people has been beyond what we could have ever imagined. HSF has been so generous, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!”

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