Posted in General at 3:01 pm by Karyn

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 10 at 2:00 pm at New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, 7500 Germantown Avenue. A reception at the church will immediately follow the service. Click here for directions. All are welcome to attend.

Gifts in memory of Al may be made to Westminster Theological Seminary, with “Needy Student Fund” indicated on the memo line. Box 27009 Philadelphia, PA 19118.

Westminster Theological Seminary has a memorial page here.


Listen in…

Posted in General at 3:37 pm by Karyn

Psalm 138 reminds us to bow humbly with King David and “all the kings of the earth” before the Lord’s holy temple and give thanks for his steadfast love and faithfulness. You can listen to Al as he meditates on these words in a Westminster Theological Seminary chapel address delivered last winter:

Reflections on Psalm 138 by Al Groves


Westminster Hebrew Institute renamed in honor of Professor J. Alan Groves

Posted in General at 2:39 pm by Karyn

This is a news update from the Westminster website that I (the blog administrator) thought many of you might be interested in:

12/12/06–With great honor and deep appreciation for Professor of Old Testament J. Alan Groves, the faculty and board of Westminster Theological Seminary have renamed the Westminster Hebrew Institute the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research. Professor Groves is to be presented with the honor at a ceremony on December 15. He is executive director of the Center, which was established under his leadership in 1986. The mission of the Center is to apply computing and related technology to the study and teaching of the Hebrew Bible and language. Their most recent project is a collaboration with the Asia Bible Society on the Chinese Standard Bible, a fresh translation of the Bible into Mandarin Chinese.

Many of us are blessed by the fruit of Al’s labors in establishing and leading the Center. Hebrew study has never been the same, and translators have incredible tools to help bring the Word of God to people in their own language. This is a fitting honor for the man who has taught us so much. We hope this is yet another way we can say to Al, “God has used you and you have blessed us!”



Posted in General at 7:46 pm by Karyn

From the Blog Administrator:


In the last hour, the 50,000th visitor came to this blog to check out how Al, Libbie and the family are doing. I mention this not to just be excited about a tally in the internet world, but because those numbers are an indication of the incredible relationships that Al and Libbie have developed and nurtured over the years. And those relationships cover the globe. We can see visitors from just about every continent (no penguins checking in yet).

Thanks to all of you for visiting the blog, for leaving comments, for praying and encouraging. Every one of you is important. And thanks also to Al and Libbie for being willing to be transparent and candid and allow so many to feel like they (we) are a part of their journey. Thanks also to Alasdair (& Lauren), Rebeckah, Eowyn and Alden for sharing your parents with us.

Please continue to visit and leave comments. Thanks for all the love you have sent (and will continue to send) to the Groves family.


More alive than ever

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Reflections at 10:52 pm by Al

As Libbie mentioned in her note yesterday, we had a memorial service for a dear friend from church today. I was struck during the reading of the scripture for the homily (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) by the words that God’s power is shown even in our dying bodies. I can honestly say that in these past few months I have felt more alive than almost any other period in my life. God has been near and showing his goodness at every turn, large issues and small. While I would not have chosen it this way, the recent months have been a special time of knowing and seeing God and his love in powerful ways. Read the rest of this entry »


Power Maintenance will affect Blog temporarily

Posted in General at 5:37 pm by Karyn

On Wednesday morning (Sept 6) from 9 am until approximately noon this blog will be unavailable. The local power company will be working at Westminster to alleviate some of the power problems the seminary has been experiencing. This work will cause the blog to be off-line for a few hours. So feel free to check early in the morning, or wait until the afternoon. Thanks for your patience!


We’re Back

Posted in General at 3:34 pm by Karyn

Last night there was a severe thunderstorm which took out the power for the server which hosts this blog. Since this has happened a few times this summer, we have a “Plan B” if it happens again. So, thanks for your patience and keep checking back (and leaving your comments for Al and Libbie).


From Eowyn, again

Posted in General, Reflections, Updates at 10:08 am by Libbie

Hello all. I don’t know how other people are handling this situation with my dad, but I know that God has really blessed me with faith during this time, and I would love to share this faith with you.

Many people see death as an awful thing, and outside of Christ, it is the worst thing imaginable. However, my dad knows Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior. Frequently, people have come up to me and voiced their anger and frustration that “all of this” should be happening to “a good family like yours.” As much as I appreciate the reference to my loving family, I would like to strongly state: DON’T BE ANGRY WITH GOD ON OUR BEHALF. I think I speak for my whole family when I say that I know that God has a perfect plan, and that He is accomplishing His will with my dad’s cancer. And for my part, I feel like God is giving me a glimpse at that plan.

Throughout my dad’s cancer, so many people have been blessed by his faith through suffering, (myself included in that count). Jesus calls us all to serve Him with all our hearts, he just calls us each to serve Him in different ways. I believe that God is calling my dad to serve Him in the last part of his life by worshiping Him in the midst of suffering. God is using His dutiful servant to then bless everyone else. What greater calling is there than to serve the Lord your God in everything you do? And what greater honor is there than to die for your Lord in a way that will bless His flock?

I am deeply moved by everyone’s prayers for all of us during this trial. I appreciate the prayers for healing, but I would also encourage people to pray that God will complete His purpose with my dad, understanding that He is capable of healing, but that He may have something entirely different in store for my dad. The last thing I would want to see (or that I’m sure my dad would want to see) would be for people to be so caught in praying for healing, that if Jesus chooses to take my dad Home, that people will be bitter and angry with God. I feel that being angry with God on my dad’s behalf would be a disservice and dishonor to my dad, and his willingness to do his Lord’s bidding.

So take heart! Don’t fear death! As Christians, death is really the best gift you could ever receive! My dad will get to go Home to worship His maker, and my dad will feel no pain for all of eternity. He won’t be weighed down by the burdens and sins of this world and longer! Because Jesus died on the cross, death truly has lost its sting. So instead of being sad, please rejoice with me in our loving Father who is perfect, and who has a perfect plan for my earthly father.

With much love and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, your sister Eowyn

Here is some scripture that I’ve found very helpful during this time. It deals mostly with suffering, especially death, and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  

James 1:2-8

John 17:3

Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12

Isaiah 40

Romans 5:1-3 (esp. 3)

Romans 8:1-2

Romans 12:1-3 (esp. 3)

1 COR 15:50-58

Matthew 6:19-21 (I found this one to be special in that I think my dad really grasps and lives the concept of storing up his treasures in heaven.)

I hope that God might speak to some of your hearts through some of these verses as well, bringing comfort, peace, and hope.


Photos are worth MORE than a thousand words!!

Posted in General, Photos, Updates at 11:50 pm by Karyn

Libbie passes on these photos from prior to surgery (with promises of more to come).



Surgery Info and Prayer Time

Posted in General, Prayer Requests, Updates at 9:09 am by Karyn

UPDATE (9:40 AM):
Al left his room at 7:15 am this morning for another MRI, then went straight from the MRI to the operating room. There is no word on how long this surgery will take.

There will be a time of community prayer at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia at 12:30 today (Room 3 in Van Til Hall). If you are in the area, please feel free to join us. If you are not able to join us in person, please join with us in Spirit in praying for Al, Libbie, the entire family, and the surgeons.


Quick Update – Please pray

Posted in General at 4:13 pm by Karyn

UPDATE at 5 pm on Wednesday: Al is at the University of Pennsylvania hospital, where he is about to be admitted. The results of his MRI revealed that the brain tumor which was treated by gamma-knife in June has doubled in size; there were other smaller new tumors as well.

This is such a significant turn of events that Al will have brain surgery tomorrow to remove at least the largest tumor. The good news is that it is in a very accessible part of the brain.

Libbie will be posting something to Al’s blog at some point later today, please check back.

Please be in prayer for Al and his family over these next few difficult days.


Blood Clot

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Prayer Requests, Updates at 9:59 pm by Libbie

Just a quick note of update:

Today we found out that Al has a blood clot in his leg (apparently both the cancer and the treatment can sometimes increase the risk of that, as I understand it). He spent most of the day in the hospital, and the doctors placed a nifty filter contraption in his vena cava that stays there for life and catches any clots–present or future–that might break loose and head for places  where they could be deadly, like the heart. We are thankful for medical advances and for great doctors and hospitals nearby.

Tomorrow the doctors at Abington and Penn will decide whether anti-coagulants would be a good or a bad idea with the lung tumors. Please pray for clear wisdom for them.

Plenty else going on. Becky is home for 48 hours for a wedding. (Poor girl. It seems that every time she comes home one of us ends up in the ER.) Alden’s soccer team just folded, so the members are suddenly scrambling to find other clubs to play with. Some of Eowyn’s friends are caught in major teenage girl drama. And I’m trying to get a couple of papers written. It’s not dull around here, anyway. We are finding that God is a solid rock and a still point in the midst of the whirlwind, for which we are repeatedly grateful.

This is brief and without a lot of detail; maybe we’ll write more medical details later. But now that I’ve tucked Al in and written this, I’m going to fall into bed myself.

Thanks for walking with us!



Crowned at last!

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Reflections, Updates at 3:37 pm by Libbie

Thank you for praying–my tooth has a crown at long last! I honestly think the dentist was as relieved and excited as I was. I’m in a whole lot of pain right now, but I am SOOOO thankful!

After the first two and a half hours and 4 unsuccessful shots it looked as if this was going to be a repeat of the last attempts. But the dentist decided to give it 15 more minutes and one last shot, and lo and behold the area got decently close to numb. I still had sensation in the tooth, but it was pain I could live with (not that raw drilling-the-nerve kind of pain), so we went ahead. She could tell I was pretty nervous when she started drilling without it being fully numb, but it ended up being okay. And the job is done! Hallelujah!

I got to thinking about it. Last summer when I had a different tooth crowned, the jaw got fully numbed, and I remember vividly the exquisite sensation of non-feeling, knowing that I could just relax and lean back on that cushion of numbness that would protect me from pain. (With my history of problems with Novocain I was dancing dances of praise to God inside while I sat quietly in the chair.)

It struck me as significant today that we had to proceed without knowing whether or not, or to what degree, the pain would be there. I couldn’t necessarily count on the protective cushion of Novocain.

Recently it seems that the Lord has been calling me to walk in lots of situations that feel more like that: not knowing what will lie ahead with Al’s cancer and what the details of that will be like to go through; sticking with my the seminary course I had signed up for this spring and having to take that one week at a time, not knowing whether I would in fact be able to finish it or not; wondering what life will look like if/when Al is not here anymore–will I finish my degree at WTS? Will I need to find a job right away? Which one? etc.

These are uncomfortable lessons in living one day at a time and trusting things to the Lord. I’d rather have all my proverbial ducks in a row, sitting where I want them–or at least where I know I can find them. I’d like to know specifically what hard things lie ahead so that I can prepare for them, since I generally like to err on the side of being over-prepared for things. But the Lord is setting my path through lots of unknowns that will probably include painful things, and all he will let me know ahead of time is that he is and will be right there with me as I walk that path. And that is enough. It’s not the “enough” that I might think I need, but it is enough in his economy, his way of doing things, his love. Which means it is definitely enough.

I’d rather have had the comfortable assurance that I wasn’t going to feel a thing under the dentist’s drill. And I’d rather know that whatever lies ahead won’t really be too agonizingly painful. But the Lord knows better. If those things were true then I wouldn’t need to trust him or depend on him so much. And while I might prefer that, it would be my great loss.

He is gracious to lead us through hard places where we have no other options but to put our shaky little hand in his and hold on tight, knowing that there may be scary things on the road, but that he’ll guide us safely and protect us well.

So, I’m thankful–not only that my tooth is safely on the other side of the drilling, but that the Lord gave me a concrete reminder that I can (and have to!) depend on him.

Thank you so much for praying even for this recent little subplot in our lives. We treasure your love and support more than we can say.





Another attempt at crowning…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Prayer Requests at 5:07 pm by Libbie

A very quick request: tomorrow (5/2) the dentist is going to try again to crown my tooth. Please pray that this time the anesthetic will work.




Needing to be crowned…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Prayer Requests at 3:16 pm by Libbie

Dear Friends,

A quick prayer request unrelated to Al’s melanoma.

I (Libbie) have to have a tooth crowned that I cracked apart back in February (the day after we learned Al’s definitive diagnosis of melanoma). For some reason my body sometimes doesn’t respond to Novocain. I’ve experienced that in other places besides in my teeth, but that’s where it most frequently poses a problem. This has been an ongoing problem for years–sometimes the Novocain works fine the first time, and sometimes it just won’t take.

Read the rest of this entry »


Molecular Therapy has been restarted

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Updates at 8:36 pm by Al

I started the targeted molecular therapy on Friday night. My feet began to tingle by the next morning—last time it took a week to have any reaction. And then it was a few days before it became severe. So, like the old early warning system that was used during the Cold War (yes, I am that old), we are treating the tingling as an indication to head off and intercept the attack before it becomes severe. To that end I have been staying off my feet (even though I could still be on my feet for now), even using a wheel chair. I have also been icing my feet and keeping them elevated. So far, nothing worse than tingling and feelings of heat on the bottom of my feet. No blisters or deep redness. Read the rest of this entry »


Comments Welcome!

Posted in General at 3:55 pm by Karyn

Just a quick note to encourage friends and family to feel free to leave comments to the posts here. We’ve removed the extra step of registering first so that it is easier for you.

To leave a comment, just click on “Comments” (below the post you are responding to) and you will be taken to a screen that will allow you to write your message. When you post a comment you will be asked to provide a name and email address, but this is just to help keep “spam” comments out! Your email address will not be displayed with the comment. Your comments and thoughts are a great encouragement.

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