Something Unexpected

April 8, 2024

{Pictured is Merce on the far right, with a group of others involved in Cancer Care}

Cancer. The word that can bring fear, shock, panic, and thousands of scary questions into our minds. Thoughts we could never see coming or even begin to prepare for. 

Many of us have received the unwanted news of a cancer diagnosis, and with it, our lives have been turned upside down. Thankfully, God has inspired scientists and doctors to keep developing new and successful treatments for every kind of cancer. Praise and thanks to our merciful Lord and Savior!

But how do we navigate the spiritual, emotional, and relational challenges that this diagnosis brings into our lives? As we leave the doctor’s office, or end the phone call, we begin one of the most difficult journeys we will ever face. We at Cancer Care believe that our study can be of help. We’ve seen it in the two years since we started it. We have seen people thrive and be encouraged! 

We have adapted this course from Together Living with Cancer by Juanita Ryan, adding and changing some things to make it our own. Lennie Spitale agreed to develop our current participant binder, which contains ten topics from Ms. Ryan’s course. We were so appreciative! Topics include concepts such as changes in our relationships and how the personal experiences of anger, fear, pain, and doubt can and do affect them. We discuss how we can understand those feelings, examine our faith, and look at accepting our need for help. We talk about ways we can experience gratitude, and then we come together to pray for God’s healing. Participating in this study has been an amazing experience!                

It began one morning when I received an email from one of our pastors, Jim Donohue. He asked the question: “Would you like to lead a Cancer Care study at our church?” With a nursing background and a desire to help others, I prayed to God. I asked him for direction and for help. He provided an answer to my question for guidance with a loud “Yes!” but I was hesitant to be the one to lead the study. I remembered catching up with Gwen Spitale the week before. She had expressed an interest in finding a new way to serve our Lord. God then shouted to me, “Ask Gwen!” And I did. She graciously agreed to lead this study with me. Together we worked to bring cancer support to anyone who was interested. Each of us prayed for people to attend this study, and God again answered our prayers. People came! As we taught, we gained insight, which eventually led to the course we are using today.      

I have been so inspired and humbled as I have seen how God’s grace is working in all of our lives. These cancer survivors, and those that have gone to be with our Father in Heaven, have helped me to see how to be courageous and caring—no matter what trial we may face in this life. 

I am very thankful to the pastors for asking the question and trusting that God would provide exactly what we needed to make this study happen. The help from our church support staff is essential. We could not do it without them!.            

We, as a Cancer Care Team, are united in our efforts to accomplish the Lord’s goals for this ministry. We welcome anyone who is newly diagnosed, currently in treatment, or post-treatment, and those supporting them, to come and find out how our study can be a source of God’s help and love as we fight this cancer battle together. 

[Community Ministries including Cancer Care will be starting their Spring courses April 10th at 7pm.  Link to more info about Cancer Care]

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