Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Crystal, the Angel
~from Jim King, cancer survivor
Last fall and winter I underwent cancer surgery, which was then followed by simultaneous radiation and chemo treatments.  On Mondays I received both treatments and then on Tuesday thru Friday just radiation.  As a few weeks passed and it became mid-December, I was having a very rough time on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Then one Monday at 9AM I received a call from an "angel", Crystal Downing-Swanton who herself was undergoing cancer treatments.  The call was to inquire as to how I was doing. We then spent over 15 minutes with Crystal telling me to let God take over and to rely on friends and family.  When I tried to ask of her state of affairs she just moved back to my situation.

I was so -- oh, I don’t know -- lifted up and I felt encouraged to go on.  We talked and I ended up saying this cancer is not going to win, I will beat it, but that is not the end of the story.  After another week of treatments and struggle, the very next Monday, again at 9AM, I got the call from Crystal. 

How did she manage to call me that morning??  Wow, here is someone who had been struggling with her own battle with cancer yet still always greeted folks with a smile and a hug, calling and helping me fight the fight.

Well, the afterstory is that Crystal has now gone on to become an Angel of God and I think that her time with me was merely her training session.  I think of her often and marvel at her spirit and devotion to God.

God bless Crystal the Angel. I am still amazed at her courage and willingness to reach out!

Monday, August 22, 2016

An Unlikely Encounter
~from Kathy Chambers
On a Wednesday in September 2005 a man told his daughter that he wished he knew someone who could give him first hand advice and information about a major health issue that he was facing. That very evening John and I attended a LIFT program at our church (something we rarely had the opportunity to do).  At dinner we chose to sit at a table with a young family that we did not know (again, unusual). The young mother shared that she was very concerned about her father who was starting cancer treatment in Florida the next day. John asked what type of cancer. She said “It's for a rare form of cancer that you’ve probably never heard of… tongue cancer.” John's immediate reply was "I had tongue cancer! In fact, Kathy and I both have had oral cancer!” We were all completely flabbergasted and sat in disbelief! She contacted her Dad that night and gave him our phone number. He called us minutes later. John and I each shared our stories and answered his questions. He said later that he was so comforted from just having spoken to us. That night we were able to calm his fears prior to beginning treatment and we continued to stay in touch throughout his experience. We were given the gift of a friendship that continues today.
Often when I need reassurance of God's presence in my life I will think of  the events that led to this unlikely encounter. I believe that we are meant to use our experiences in life to help others along the way. This experience continues to remind me of how God orchestrates our lives and uses us sometimes even when we least expect it.