Young doctor/team-leader of missionaries in rural Uganda,
just diagnosed with colon cancer. All of World Harvest is in shock. I’m copying his letter to his Pray-ers below, because it will point you to Jesus. This is for your benefit, not his. He has plenty of folks praying for him.
–WeakDave, trying to promote the Jesus-dependency this friend is requesting
This past Friday I was diagnosed with adenomcarcinoma of the colon- colon cancer. When the GI specialist told us he found a suspicious mass on a colonoscopy, tears fell down my face. I was hoping he was going to show me a 12 foot long tapeworm that he pulled out of my gut. I feared maybe some sort of inflammatory bowel disease. I did not expect cancer.
I am thankful for how Africa has given me a chance to walk closer with Jesus. There are three things that I have learned these past three years that He has reminded me over the past several days.
First, suffering is a part of this life. It is not an anomaly. We all suffer. Most of the world suffers much everyday. If you have not read “Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken, please do. We live in a broken world in which suffering is as assured as the sunrise. So, my reaction is not “why me” but more “why now?”
Secondly, Jesus is in the depths of suffering. He purposely does not prevent suffering. He purposely draws near to us in our suffering. The believers I know who have suffered much, know Jesus deeply. Instead of praying daily, they converse with Jesus continually. I have learned this from some of my dear Uganda friends.
Jesus is in the midst of this newest trial/adventure/curveball/scare. It is amazing to me that we are near my family with a caring church and some of our closest friends. This was planned before I had symptoms. We have already been showered by these dear friends and family with prayers, help, words of truth and ministry of presence. I am in the US and not in the jungles of Africa. I am near a fantastic medical center. We have a place to stay, a job that allows me to be available for appointments, and a mission that is praying for me from all over the world. I had a colonoscopy because of symptoms similar to amebiasis. The symptoms are not necessarily related to the mass I have, especially given the smaller size of the mass. These symptoms have largely resolved over the past week since my colonoscopy. It could be that my symptoms are from an infection or the strange fever I had last fall and only related to the mass by the hand of God, who wanted the mass to be found.
Sometimes I find myself stuck on a passage and meditate on it for days or weeks. This month, I have been camping out on Psalms 16. I wasn’t sure why Jesus had me there, until after the diagnosis. I re-read it that afternoon and the words seem to jump off the page as if the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me. In all of these I am thankful to say that we have seen and felt profoundly Jesus’s presence and His tender care to go before us. I have another chance to walk with Him grasping His hand tightly.
Thirdly, prayer moves the heart and hand of God. Over and over again in Uganda we saw how your prayers seemed to change outcomes, overcome fears and open up doors for Jesus to be worshiped.
So, once again, I ask you to pray. I know God hears. I know He cares. I know He acts when His people ask.
Please pray for the following:
Pray that we can listen- that we may be able to take the time to see how Jesus is present and working around and through us. We do not want to be so rushed in “fixing” the problem to miss an opportunity to walk with Him and hear what He is saying.
Pray that we will know the right treatment plan of cure for me. There are a couple of surgical options and chemotherapy options that are available. We want to be wise and correctly treat the cancer I have. We want to be aggressive. We do not want to walk in fear and take an approach based on fear of what might happen down the road and could lead to unneeded side effects or outcomes. I don’t know what is best at this time.
Pray that God will protect our minds in Christ Jesus with a peace that passes all understanding. Today I can honestly say I do not fear the cancer. I do see this as a chance to walk with Jesus. I also know this will change daily as news causes me to vacillate from confidence to being disheartened.
Pray for Amy and I as we walk this together. She will be bearing the brunt of the changes and consequences. Pray for encouragement for her. Pray that we can communicate well.
Pray for our children. As always, my prayer is that they will know and love Jesus more because of my life. Pray that we go to Jesus together constantly and I know how to include them in this chapter of our life.
Pray for our team, friends, and ministry in Bundibugyo. We will certainly be delayed in our return which will impact a lot of people. Pray for wisdom as we try to sort out what the plan forward should be.
Thanks so much for your friendship and love. Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement. Keep them coming. We are desperate for these.
Thankful for you,