In Psalm 116 the Psalmist begins by bursting out in gratitude to God, since God has heard his cry: “I love the LORD, for He heard my voice, He heard my cry for Mercy.” This Psalm has been so true in my life. God has heard my cries as I’ve pray and waited and waited to get back to my missionary work in Andalusia, Spain. God has brought me all the documents that I needed one by one and He allowed me to be unanimously accepted as a missionary of my large home church in these tough economic times. The day after I successfully went through the interview process with the church leaders, I went out to have my Bible reading time in the Mill creek Wash, which my band tens years ago had made famous as “Mentone Beach”. I had a great time with God, reading through Hebrews, how Messiah is humankind’s one mediator between Creator and Man, and I read the classic Gospel message, that Messiah died for the sins of the world in Jerusalem, and with his innocent blood, made payment for the sins of all sinners, all time. I enjoyed a nice time of prayer that day with God. It may have been appointed for me to have that time alone with God to get me ready for something, since when I got home I had some news waiting for me. A new kind of prayer and fear have developed in my life since I got home last Wednesday, a different way of approaching God, and I think it is because when I got home I received news that my sister, Lisa, has been diagnosed with colon cancer.
Lisa has a good amount of confidence in her Spanish doctors. She has certainly seen more Spanish Hospitals & doctors offices than I have since moving to Navarra. She gave birth to my three nephews in Pamplona Hospitals. Her daughter, with a blood clotting disorder, has also had to spend time in Pamplona Hospitals, with Lisa & Dan by her side. Well now my family has a new challenge, that is, facing cancer when your only health insurance is in your missionary work location. Of course I’m not talking about the fear Americans faced when going to primative old hospitals in Nepal or Mali, but still, it is un-nerving to many Americans, the idea of going through with life or death medical procedures in a hospital that hasn’t yet gained your trust.
Well my sister is definitely a great woman of faith, in fact she left a very lucrative wedding dress business and a good elementary school teaching position, along with her husband, to become missionaries in Spain. Now her faith in Spain and her Spanish doctors is being tested.
She just underwent a major surgery there in Pamplona and still she has the daunting challenge of chemotherapy, since the emergency surgery did not rid her body of the cancer which spread to her liver and tailbone.
So what should we make of this new challenge as professional advocates of God?
We believe God does everything with a purpose. We know God has long-term objectives. So what do we make of an illness that could take my sister, who is a valiant missionary & mother of 5?
God is certainly using Lisa’s cancer to make the whole, family, and now I’m finding, our Family of Faith, to ask good questions about how seriously we trust God. I’ve found in the last 2 weeks churches praying for my sister in Wyoming, Texas, Colorado (the Western Slope & the Front Range), in Mexico in Aguacalientes, in Spain in Puebla del Rio, Andalucia, in Barcelona in the churches of the FIEIDE, in my church plants of Tafalla & Logrono in North-Central Spain, in Bordeax, France, and especially in Orange County & Riverside County California.
There could be a thousand people taking seriously the task of praying for the healing of my sister and the uniting of our church plant in Tafalla, well what do you know, it looks like she is being healed (Tumor removed this week by Spanish surgeons) and the church is uniting.
What do you know?