team leader in rural Uganda, pointed me to Jesus today, through her story.
–DumbSheepDave, always needing to be reminded he’s a dumb sheep needing his ShepherdJesus
On Wednesday, we headed back to the Infusion Center for Round Three of chemotherapy. School is out so the kids went to the lake with my mother for a few days of fun and, honestly, so they would not have to be here when Travis is sick from the heavy medicines.
I had only stepped out of the waiting room for 5 minutes to call the kids to find that in my absence, Travis was holding hands with another woman!
A bit taken aback, I sat next to him and he introduced me to Virginia, an 80 year old angel who came to pray with us.
Previously, in the elevator to the Infusion Center, we had made small talk with Virginia before heading to our separate treatments. The typical: “You hanging in there?” “Yep.” “How about you?” “Yep, hanging in there.”
As her treatment was finished, she passed by Travis on her way to the elevator and heard the Lord tell her to pray for him. So, she turned from the elevator and told Travis, “I will pray for you every day” and then got on the elevator. Once inside, she heard the Lord say, “Virginia, why didn’t you pray for him then?” She replied, “Oh, Lord, I am sorry! You meant to pray right then too? Ok! But how do I stop the elevator?”
So, she rode the elevator to the bottom floor (because she did not know how to stop it) and rode back up to the Infusion Center. There, she proceeded to pray over Travis from top to bottom and loud enough for the other patients nearby to receive the blessing of her prayer.
And that is when I walked in and found them holding hands. Once I heard her story, I joined them in the hand holding.
And maybe that is what prayer has been for us lately. Hand holding. Like Aaron who held up the hands of Moses so that there would be victory. Like Jesus who reached out his hand to a drowning Peter who had started looking at the deep dark water surrounding him. Like Virginia who is bold enough to ride the elevator back up and hold our hands to remind us that God is with us.
I admit my theology of prayer is a bit wobbly right now. Maybe I am just growing in my understanding of how much I don’t understand the deep mysteries of God.
But what I do know is that God invites us to pray to Him. Alone in tears. Side by side in earnest. And with hundreds, thousands, in chorus, asking him for mercy and healing.
On Wednesday, we threw “the egg of disappointment” into the marsh. Every three years, World Harvest Mission gathers together for a week of teaching, singing, prayer, and just plain fun with other missionaries that are serving in some very hard places in the world. Instead of getting on the airplane to the Team Leaders meeting and then Mission Wide Conference, we were pleading with the airlines for a refund of our tickets. And instead of heading back into Bundibugyo to lead a full summer of interns, new ministries, and welcoming new missionary families, we sit with other cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and waiting for the side effects to subside. Yes, disappointment, indeed.
That is why one phone call was good medicine for our souls. As we were waiting to meet with the oncologist, Josiah Bancroft called us from Spain and we heard the voices of the hundreds of other WHMers that had gathered for the phone call and prayer. Our field director Scott Myhre began the prayer and then was followed by numerous teammates and friends who poured out prayers for courage, strength, and healing. Though we were continents apart, it felt like we were side by side, holding hands, speaking to the same Lord, and being held close to His heart.
When we decided to serve overseas, the advice we continually received was “gather a prayer team.” And we did. And you have prayed us through some really gnarly things: malaria, tribal conflict, dangerous traveling, sick friends, broken relationships, border violence, dengue fever, the need for teammates, and many times when we could not get an email out to ask you to pray, but knew to pray anyway. What a blessing to have a “prayer team” now! Hundreds of friends whom we can email to ask to stand with us, kneel with us, pray with us. To hold our hands.
Our mailbox has been overflowing with kind letters from people who remind us that they are praying each day for healing for Travis. Letters from fifth graders, former colleagues, people we have never met, friends overseas, and even from the “prayer warriors” at Leath Female Correctional Institution in South Carolina! They remind us that their friends are also praying for Travis. It is both humbling and encouraging. And needed.
Please continue to hold our hands in prayer:
Praying for courage to continue in treatment when the road of sickness seems so long…
Praying for the chemo to kill cancer cells and for no loss of feeling in Travis’s fingers…
Praying for faith to take today for what it is and not worry about tomorrow…
Praying for our hearts to be tender to the heart of God and to others who suffer…
Praying for our children to lean into Jesus when their world is shaken…
And we are praying for you too. As Travis is awake throughout the night, he prays for you. If you would like for him to pray about specific things, please email it to us.
Holding hands with you,
Amy and Travis