Renee Bruynzeel, wife of Pastor Chris, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Updates will appear below so that family and friends can stay up to date on Renee's treatment. Thank you for keeping Renee and the Bruynzeel family in your prayers during this time.

Please be sure to scroll down to the Apr. 7 update at the bottom to read some special reflections from Pastor Chris on what this season means for him and Renee.  May it be an encouragement to you.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:28-29 ESV

Tues., Sept. 4, 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I did our last update.

Life has been busy but good. This has been an unusual summer for us with our kids in the military and Renee fighting cancer. Over the last month, we were overjoyed to:

  • (a) travel to Chicago to see Jake’s Navy boot camp graduation (he’s now in South Carolina for his A-schooling/18mon);
  • (b) get our Tay back from Army training (reserve status, searching out God’s next-steps for her);
  • (c) receive the good news that the chemo has been shrinking the tumor (it works); and
  • (d) confirm that she doesn’t have to do rd6 of chemo.

God’s shepherding of us has included this trial, yet we are so thankful for His strength and His comfort through it all! We’ve grown closer together as a couple – – stronger as a family – – even more amazed at God‘s love and His church!

Can’t tell you how grateful we are for the many prayers and encouraging words from all of you.

Ps 36:5-7 5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. 7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Here’s the latest update as to Renee’s cancer journey (but please know words can’t express our deep appreciation and love for you all!):

  • Praise—Renee does not have to do chemo round #6 after consulting with our oncologist, due to the increasing side-effects on Renee. The chemo has shrunk the tumor so we know it has been working.
  • Prayer—(a) the lingering side-effects (extreme pain in her legs) would go away and that there be no long-term effects of the chemo; and (b) the next big hurdle is surgery on Sept 27 at UCLA Santa Monica (4 night stay)—wisdom & skill for doctor’s and swift recovery for Renee.

Renee will be down for up to 6 weeks so we’re not “looking forward” to it, but this is the last major step (Lord-willing).

Thank you for your prayers, support and love. You are an amazing family—I can’t tell you how many times people have commented about your example to them of “what a church family is supposed to do” in caring for an individual family in the church.

Praise God and you have our deepest love and “thank you!” we can give—words can’t express!

your brother & sister in Christ

Chris & Renee

*Tay & Jake love ya’ll too!

Fri., July 20, 2018

Well, Renee and I are praising God! Today, we went down to UCLA radiology in Manhattan Beach today for a scan to see how the chemo was affecting the tumor. (The drive down was beautiful along the coast – – at least for the first 40 miles… Tons of traffic but we didn’t care—great time together!)

We didn’t expect to hear the results until next Monday or Tuesday. We were so excited to get a call from her surgical oncologist on our way home with the good news: one section (a slender branch) of the tumor had totally disappeared and the main part of it had shrunk noticeably. Dr Kuske was so pleased with the great progress—as were we, to say the least!

So, what we have ahead of us: two more rounds of chemo (Aug 1st & 27th) followed by surgery in late September and the finishing surgery three months later. We’d appreciate prayers in the meantime—the chemo treatments have an accumulative affect. She’s feeling worse sooner and longer—low energy, nausea, some pain.

Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. We are overjoyed!

Wed., July 11, 2018 - Chemo Round 4

Back to the Westlake/UCLA offices for round 4 of chemo. Not much is different in our lives. Kiddos in the military; busy with church & work. Our chemo routine is to catch up with emails and calls and watch any online sports we can (enjoyed watching soccer and Wimbledon).

The impending benchmark will be next week when we go in for a scan to see if the chemo is working and the tumor is shrinking. Definitely praying!

Wed., June 20, 2018 - Chemo Round 3

Well, it’s been a crazy last month with our Oklahoma trip to see Tay/boot camp, our wedding anniversary, Renee’s 50th bday, Jake’s graduation and goodbye party…glad to have things slow down a bit. Only big thing left—Jake ships out to Navy bootcamp on Monday, June 25th. Life’s a-changin’ for the Bruynzeels.

Renee has handled the chemo treatments so well—what an amazing woman! Couldn’t be more thankful to God for all your love & support.

We’re sitting here getting rd3 of chemo right now—watched one soccer game (Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia) and waiting for the next one at 11am.

So, to pass your time (if not watching the World Cup—go BRAZIL!!!), here’s a couple things from Renee:

  • Any guesses on Top 4 New Songs on Renee’s “Chemo Playlist”?

  • Renee’s Top 5 “Perks to Being Hairless”
    1. No hair care products! #likeadolphin
    2. Super quick showers #saveH2O #gameondrought
    3. No “Drain Hampsters”! #pestcontrol (Chris gagging as he types this… #Reneeisgross)
    4. Twins with baldy hubby #KojakvsGIJane
    5. Ready to go in 10min’s! #outthedoor

Picture: Thank you to Christina Spalinger for the snuggly chemo blanket & cool coffee mug. Thank you to Ann Mayhew for the cool “Faith Family Freedom” t-shirt. Thank you to so many who have brought us meals—Jake is a happy camper (since Dad is not the main cook)!

love ya’ll

Chris & Renee

*Trusting our great Physician & Healer—no matter His path of recovery for us!

Ps 41:3   3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Wed., May 30, 2018 - Chemo Round 2

Well, it's been a couple weeks since our last update. It's been a whirlwind. Here's the long & short of it.

--days4-7 after Rd1 chemo hit Renee like a ton of bricks, but she just hunkered down, and recovered--back to work on day8on... #sheisastudette

--on day14 after Rd1 chemo, Renee's hair started to fall out so we shaved her head (Jake did too...I finally did on Memorial Day)

--she has 4 wigs & has named them all: Cleo, Wanda, Justine, Marlo (we did a facebook & instagram poll to see the "winner"--the comments were hilarious)

--Wed, May 23-Sat, May 26--Jake, Renee, and I all flew out to Oklahoma to see Taylor graduate from Ft Sill Army Boot Camp--great time with our girl (Tay left before we found out about the cancer, so it was SO GOOD for Renee & Tay)

--today, Wed, May 30--our 26th anniversary--we are here at UCLA Westlake getting Rd2 chemo #thejourneycontinues (picture from this morning at right: Wanda is my companion/girlfriend is here—to be clear, it IS Renee, just in her “Wanda” wig)

Upcoming for us (crazy!)...

--Renee's 50th Bday is June 7th—next week—WOW!!!

--Jake graduates NPHS next week June 8th (awards ceremony tonight; grad party for several church youth group students June 2nd)

--Jake's going away party/grad party June 15th (all are invited to the bbq at our house)

--Jake leaves for the Navy (bootcamp in Chicago 10wks; then South Carolina for nuke training/schooling 18mon...then deployed)

--Tay graduates combat medic training in Sept...may enlist full time...or...may continue reserve and pursue nursing here in SoCal

--I'll finish, Lord-willing (& to the amazement of our church!), our 3yr journey through the Gospel of Matthew--so enriching, challenging, heart-transforming...Jesus the Messiah-King: the Savior & Shepherd--our only Hope!

There you have it.

We are trusting God and at peace with whatever He has for us.

We are so thankful for the amazing people here at Westlake UCLA--so kind, patient, helpful.

We are amazed at the amount of love, support, encouragement God has provided through all of you. Like I've said before, and will continue, it is overwhelming the love shown to us--thank you, thank you, thank you. The huge numbers of prayers and the encouraging emails/texts/letters/calls...and...the amount of money donated is staggering. Thank you!

Our church is THE BEST!!! We love ya’ll & are so thankful for you—you minister to us!

Love ya'll

Chris, Renee (Tay, Jake) Bruynzeel

Mon., May 7, 2018

First, I’ll say it again & again, God is good! Our loving Shepherd continues to walk with us and love us and care for us. This is His best way forward for the Bruynzeel’s right now and we rejoice in His plans to transform us and to use us for His glory—however & whenever & wherever that may be!

Second, the Chemo Journey…

Sat, day4—hit her like a ton of bricks—super sore, probably worst ever—she says “flu-like symptoms is an understatement”—stayed in bed all day

Sun, day5—same…sends her love to everyone—hated missing church

Mon, day6—same

We were told these would be the worst days (4-6) of the chemo treatments. Supposedly (everyone reacts differently) she will start feeling better tomorrow. Crazy lady wants to get back to work. DrMe is keeping her home as long as she is hurting bad.

*Day 14 is when her hair should start falling out—so, day9 I’m going to shave her head (they say it’s better to do it early b/c your head starts to hurt, the hair follicles especially).

She’s in bed today & wants everyone to know she so appreciates your prayers & love & encouragement.

Wed., May 2, 2018 - evening

Well, we got to the clinic at 8 AM and they got her all hooked up and over the first 2 1/2 hours loaded her up with Benadryl and anti-nausea medication

And then chemo around noon. We were on the road coming home at about 1:30 p.m.

They were glad as she had no adverse reaction to when the actual chemo went in

When we came home, she was drowsy due to the Benadryl, and went to bed. She’s up right now—several visitors have briefly dropped by but she is headed back to bed.

She really is doing well! Praise God…definitely tired but in good spirits…tons of people calling, texting, facebook’ing, etc… We know that the bumpy/rough days are ahead of us… They say days 4–6 are the worst – – flu like symptoms… But, taking one day at a time and praising God for today!

We are so thankful for you, and all of our friends and family in the Lord who God uses to show his love and give us extra strength! Our Bridge Church Moorpark family is an amazing blessing from our Lord!!!

God is good… Love you all – Chris and Renée

Wed., May 2, 2018 - morning

Just a quick prayer update: Renee begins chemo today - takes about 6hrs.

Prayer—her body reacts well & chemo works to shrink tumor. This is the 1st of 6 rounds (every 3weeks—1st day infusion; rest of time recovering—they say the first week is like having the flu).

Prayer that we have a great testimony to all those nurses/assistants while we are there.

Praise that our Lord is walking with us—He’s our rock, our shelter, our refuge, we will not be shaken! (Ps 18, 62).

Praise for all the support, love, encouragement and prayers from so many! What a blessing!

Thurs., Apr. 26, 2018

Quick Renee update...

First, we found out that the scans were good--praise there’s no cancer anywhere else (huge relief!).

Second, this past Monday, 23rd, we met with surgical oncologist at UCLA. Here’s the rundown: doing chemo first (6 rounds, 4 months—starting next week); the surgeries will follow after. We know the road ahead of us will be a challenge, but we know now some of the timeline.

Our journey begins today/Thursday. We’re leaving this morning to go back to UCLA. Renee’s having minor surgery to get the port in.

Early next week, Renee begins the first round of chemo.

Finally, we are SO thankful for all your prayers, huge number of calls & emails & texts, and financial help... truly overwhelming! While we are not immune to worry or fear, at times, we continue to follow our Great & Good Shepherd, our Loving God. He leads us in the good, as well as the dark/scary times of life (Ps23). Yet, we can count on Him always.

One of the hugest blessings is that He has provided a caring, praying group of family/friends like you all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So, here we are--trusting God and rejoicing in His goodness to us! Love ya’ll and will let you know Sunday (or sooner, if need be) any updates.

Sat., Apr. 21, 2018

We thought we’d have the full news on her scans from our appointment at UCLA by Monday, but that didn’t happen. Renee received a partial report from her doctor by Tuesday and we’ll find out the full prognosis when we meet with the surgical oncologist on Monday, 23rd, when we head back to UCLA. We know the cancer’s back (previous biopsy) and in the same place, so surgery is certain, but not much more than that as of today.

Thank you so much for the flood of support and love and care. You are all amazing. We’ve had several responses from friends (Christian & non-Christian) about your care for us. God is glorified in this church family—and we are the recipients. Thank you from the totality of our hearts!

Sat., Apr. 7, 2018

So, Renee had a biopsy a week and a half ago and the cancer has come back. Same spot, same size, same type. We just found this out on Wednesday are slowly getting the word out to our prayer teams and family and friends.


Thursday: pet scan and MRI to make sure it’s localized.

Friday: meet with our doctor to go over the results.

Following Monday: meet with the surgical oncologist.

Then surgery to follow soon – – lumpectomy.

Chemo and radiation to follow shortly after that.

Last year we wanted to give her immune system a shot at battling the cancer by going to holistic route. Now that it’s back in the same place, we are going to pursue chemo and radiation.

So thankful for all your love and support and prayers – – what an amazing family we have! Thankful that our great and loving Shepherd is guiding us always – – our journey continues. We’ve always wanted Him to use us for His glory, therefore this is His best plan for us at the moment. We are disappointed at the news and what we are facing, of course, but trusting His plans for us.

I’ve written this before, but bear with me ☺

  • We know He’s always at work to shape and mold us in all circumstances of life (Rom 8:28-29; Phil 1:6);
  • We know that He doesn’t cause evil (Gen 1:31; Jam 1:13; 1Jn 1:5; 1Cor 14:33), but allows it for a time, and He is never baffled nor stymied in His purposes, especially for His children, by sin and its corruption (Rom 8:28; Jam 1:13; 1Cor 10:13);
  • We know that He also is sovereignly working ALL things to His purposes/plan—Is 46:9-10, see also 45:6-7), including cancer in my sweet Renee;
  • We know that cancer is one of the results of the Fall/sin entering and corrupting creation (Rom 5:12; Gen 3:14-24; Rom 8:20-21) and that one day all sickness, grief and death will be done away with forever (Rev 21-22), and we long for that day;
  • We know that God knows and has created each of us uniquely and specifically to relate to Him and accomplish His plans as He lovingly leads us in all of our lives (Ps 23; Ps 139—incredible chapter; Eph 2:10; Jn 10:14-16; Psalm 73:24; Psalm 143:10);
  • We know we are called to rejoice—to focus on the Lord and His shepherding of us in this trial (Ps 23; Jam 1:2-4)—and to present our requests before Him (Phil 4:6-7) with thankfulness (because He hears us, cares for us, and has allowed this into our lives);
  • We know that we are called to pray for each other, bear one another’s burdens, love & encourage & care for one-another—which you all have done, are doing, and we know you will continue to do. So thankful to God for our church, for our friends & family—what a blessing!

Truly rejoicing in God and what He plans to do in us and through us.

Love you all and see you tomorrow at church – – your brother Chris