Category: Special Updates

Prayer Request for Pastor Sauser

Update: “Pastor Sauser is out of surgery. It went well. The family will see him shortly. We’re on our way home. Praise the Lord!” – State Rep. Capon (We have also received a request to pray for pain management.) 

As the Lord leads, please take a moment during your day on Friday to pray for Pastor John Sauser (and his wife, Deb) of Harvest Baptist Church in Williamsburg. He will be undergoing CABG open heart surgery Friday morning in Iowa City. It is expected to begin around 7 am and may last 6-7 hours. We will post updates as they become available.


Special Update – Russ Farrell

Retired pastor Russ Farrell entered heaven on February 8, 2018 after being diagnosed with bone cancer in January. Russ accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior in 1938 at the age of 10 at Grandview Park Baptist Church. He committed his life to Christ in 1949 and graduated from Omaha Baptist Bible College in 1957. Russ, along with his wife, Merilyn, served the Lord in a variety of capacities including as Pastor at Adelphi Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Monroe, Knoxville Regular Baptist Church, Heritage Baptist Church in Moberly, Missouri and First Baptist Church in Prairie City. He also served as an interim Pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Corwith. Russ founded Altoona Regular Baptist Church and Northwest Heights Baptist Church in Kansas. In retirement, Russ assisted his grandson at Calvary Baptist Church in West Des Moines. You can read the full obituary here.

Service Information:



Monday, February 12, 2018
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Altoona Regular Baptist Church
803 3rd Avenue SW
Altoona, IA 50009


Tuesday, February 13, 2018
11:00 am
Altoona Regular Baptist Church
803 3rd Avenue SW
Altoona, IA 50009

Special Update-Russ Farrell

Retired pastor Russ Farrell (pictured at left with his son, Pastor Doug Farrell) fell at his home last Monday and was taken to Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines. He remains hospitalized there and has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer. Pastor Farrell and his wife, Merilyn, have served the Lord, and IARBC churches, faithfully in various capacities for many years. Please pray for Russ, Merilyn, and for their family during this difficult time.

As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God. – Psalm 18:30-31

Special Update-Micah Hartwig

Here is an update from the Hartwigs from 1/4/18.  Please continue to be in prayer for Micah and his family. 

What a day. Because we had concerns about Micah’s eye, the doctor was able to see him today. Then he had a MRI (his third one in the last month). The results showed us what we thought. The tumor has continued to grow rapidly. His vision is affected and the health of his eye compromised. Tonight, he said that his eye is starting to hurt. His eye is no longer healthy.

Tonight we made the heart-wrenching decision to have the eye surgeon remove the entire eye and the cancer. This decision has been long in the making, yet one we have been dreading. It is probably the hardest decision that we have had to make as parents. Yet, as dreadful as it is, we know that we have to make it. We don’t have any other options. Even if the clinical trial would work, we don’t have enough time to give it a chance to work. This is our last chance at trying to get rid of the cancer while it is in one location.

As I was waiting during the MRI today, I read Psalm 31:24 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” The Lord is giving us courage and peace as we trust in Him. Thank you all for praying for us and Micah. The Lord is giving Micah peace and courage as well in the sadness. I’m sure that it will be a roller coaster in the days ahead, but we will keep seeking to look to God.

If things come together, his surgery will be tomorrow afternoon/evening (1/5/18). We will post as we know more details.

You can read updates on the Micah’s Journey Facebook page.

Special Update: Judy Merchant

Judy Merchant, wife of retired pastor Rev. Dan Merchant, passed away on Thursday, December 21st, 2017 following a long battle with cancer. The Merchants served at Cedar Street Baptist Church in Tipton prior to retiring to Dysart after Judy was diagnosed with cancer. During her life of service to the Lord, Judy particularly enjoyed women’s and children’s ministries.

A visitation will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Dysart from 4:00-7:00 PM on Tuesday, December 26. Funeral services will be held at Calvary Baptist Church at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 27 followed by interment at the Garrison Cemetery, then a luncheon at the church. Rev. Daniel Hartwig will officiate at the funeral and graveside services.

A full obituary can be found here.