Thank you for your love for Stuart and Autumn. So many people are reaching out to them with words of encouragement. We are asking that you share your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, and questions here. We will respond ASAP if needed and Stuart will see each one!


Messages to Stuart

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and questions here. Stuart WILL see all of these. Please refrain from texting/calling the Paynes right now. They are so grateful for the outpouring of support.

Please wait...

A GoFundMe has been established by the family for Autumn and Stuart. If you would like to help support them financially in this time, please click the link!


Thursday, October 18th


Good evening! Greetings from Stuarts hospital room. I’ll give you a brief update today.

How is Stuart doing? – Actually, really well right now with his recovery from surgery. I (Cody) walked three laps around the nurses station down the hall from his room. He is trying to accomplish this 3x a day. He is not on any IV and very limited medication! Pretty awesome. His head is healing. We don’t know a lot about the cancer yet. That is in conversations to come. We will let you know when they have learned what the need to know and they are comfortable sharing.

Several Points of Prayer – Many of you have committed to praying for this couple. Here are some areas where you can focus.

Autumn’s health. Something in Stuart’s room triggers a severe allergic reaction for her. She is trying to work through it but it has been very difficult for her to remain in the room for extended periods of time. She has specifically asked for your prayers here.

Wisdom in important decisions – Many decisions coming in the next days and weeks. Autumn and Stuart are asking for your prayers to make wise decisions.

Stuart and Autumn are grateful for each of you. Your messages have encouraged them and continue to be a source of inspiration. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, October 16th

2:00pm – Things as they are right now

Hey Friends,

I am going to try and give as much info as I can right now. I literally just watch Stuart walk from his chair to the bed. Wow! Stuart and Autumn are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support. They are currently reading through the messages sent here on this page. If you want to share your thoughts and prayers with them, please do it here and not by text or calling. We are trying to limit that to the caregivers and to free Autumn up to focus only on Stuart as he is recovering. So here it goes:

How is Stuart doing?

Stuart is awake and talking as much as he is able. The breathing tube is out, they are very pleased with his progress. Seriously… it is amazing to see him sitting up and eating. We are excited for this. The doctors say he may come home as soon as Friday to truly begin his recovery.

Did the surgery work?

There is a lot to be discussed in the coming days about Stuarts health status and the plan to help him recover but one thing we know: The doctor said he successfully got everything he could possibly see under the microscope as he performed surgery. No complications. He also said that Stuarts body responded well during the surgery as the tumor was removed. So yes. As far as we know, the surgery accomplished what we had hoped

Can we come visit Stuart?

In the hospital – No. At this time, the medical team helping Stuart have said that there needs to be as few people here as possible. Autumn and family are doing an incredible job of serving Stuart as he recovers. They know that and are so thankful for the desire so many have to see him. That will come when he is ready

At home – Not yet. When Stuart gets home, he will not yet be ready for visitors. The Paynes will slowly reach out and share when Stuart can have people come see him. He is only moving home because it is a more favorable location to recover. We promise… when he is ready to see people, we will let you know.

How can we help Stuart and Autumn?

Pray – Seriously, this is not a last resort. This is the greatest gift you give the Payne’s. Someday, they will share theirs story and how much your prayers have meant. Don’t stop. Double down. Keep praying. Fight this battle along side of them on your knees.

Encourage – Above, we have given you an awesome way to share encouragement with them. This is the preferred way for them to hear from you. Autumn will spend time over these days reading through these messages to encourage Stuart. Thank you.

Serve – There are several areas where you may be able to serve Autumn and Stuart over the coming weeks and months. From meals when they are home to helping with our Middle School ministry. Message us on the form above

Give – So many have asked how they can give financially to help the Payne’s navigate this time. We have linked the GoFundMe account above. Consider giving there. Definitely share the GoFundMe as well as your love for Stuart on your social media.

Monday, October 15th

8:00pm – Still celebrating a successful surgery. Word from Stuart’s room is that he is awake, talking away, and he might want to color Maximus’ fur purple. I’ll have to check on that one. He remembered who he was, who Autumn was, and all of the important stuff. Pray for a good rest tonight.

3:30pm – DONE! Stuart’s surgery went well. The doctor came in and said that as the tumor was removed that his body responded positively and even better than expected. Several days of recovering are ahead here at the hospital and then weeks out of the hospital. Oncology discussions to come as well. THANK YOU for continuing to pray for Stuart. Autumn has been uplifted by your messages throughout the day. She will be reading them to Stuart throughout the week to come. Today we are celebrating.

2:30pm – We are 6.5 hours into surgery now. Word continues to come back that things are OK, going planned but still going. No more news than that right now. Thank you SO much to those of you who have shared the GoFundMe page (above)! We are over 500 shares!

11:45am – Just received our 4th update from the staff at the hospital. All of the updates are the same: “Just got word from the O.R. Everything is going as planned and all is well.”

7:15am – Friends and family left the room as the nurses started preparing Stuart. This team here is amazing. Stuart is understandably nervous but completely confident in the Lord. Pray!

6:00am – Pastors and friends surrounded Stuart and Autumn this morning in prayer.

Sunday, October 14th

5:28pm – Just returned from the hospital with Stuart. His surgery is scheduled for 8:30am tomorrow morning. He will go back to anesthesia around 7:00am. He has an incredible surgeon! #PrayForStuart #DotThatIBro

Stuart will have a procedure at 9am this morning to find out some critical information for his surgery on Monday. Please pray that this procedure goes well.

Saturday, October 13 – The original message

Dear Parents/Students/Family/Friends,

I want to take take a minute and send out an update on Stuart Payne, our Middle School Pastor at Bethlehem. Over the last few weeks, Stuart has dealt with some illness. Today we want to bring you, our Student Ministry family into the loop so we can be praying for the situation.

First of all remember God is in control, and prayer is what we do……We ask our heavenly father to direct and guide in all situations. We knew by Thursday night that Stuart had a brain tumor in the back of his head, he was transferred to a hospital in Charlotte on Friday, and went through quite a bit of testing.

The most recent testing diagnosed that Stuart has stage four cancer. We are still waiting on an exact protocol for treatment, and they are talking about taking the brain tumor out on Monday.

Stuart and Autumn have quite a bit of family here and friends that are walking alongside them, and what we can do best for them right now is pray, and be ready to help when the time comes. They are both great young people of faith, and they are trusting God through every twist and turn.


SEND ENCOURAGEMENT!! Please share your thoughts and prayers with Stuart and Autumn by posting above. Texts and calls can be overwhelming. Please use this to share/encourage/ask questions.

TALK AS A FAMILY: Please take some time to discuss this as a family. Does this situation bring up questions with kids?

PRAY! Autumn and Stuart are asking that everyone surround them in prayer!

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