Guest Blogger: Brenda Neyens- “Payback Ministry” because cancer can’t win…
Life changes on a dime. In a mere 24 hours, my focus turned from my mission field preparation (return to Africa) to a personal battle — CANCER. I came to find out that feeling great physically does not always mean a clean bill of health, that I can be treated like a statistic rather than a person, and that researching medical terms may become part of my daily routine. I learned that perfect strangers are apparently quite comfortable quizzing me about my lifestyle seemingly in hopes of discovering the keys to cancer prevention. I experienced the ups and downs of cancer treatment, varied reactions to my diagnosis, and the absence of follow-up care.
Yes, I am a cancer survivor. Eight years have come and gone. Ultimately, cancer can’t win, for those of us in Christ. While this indiscriminate illness can take a life, it cannot touch a soul. This Truth removes the terror, the teeth if you will, from this dreaded disease. While this side of Heaven I will experience periodic cancer fear, which is not a commentary on faith, in the big picture I have His peace and assurance of life in Him.
Cancer can’t win because wherever I walk – I walk in Him. My story is His story of faithfulness. Not because I was healed physically, but because what really matters was never in jeopardy. My identity in Him was never on the line, not because of me but because of Him.
I walk a messy life journey, which is the reality of living in a broken and fallen world; as a cancer survivor I am even more aware of this reality. Even in this, I can almost thank cancer for my increased zest for life, but I will not give credit where it is not due. Jesus Christ authors my life.
My cancer survivor story is this: my weakness is made perfect in His strength. I can’t defeat cancer. I can’t use Scripture to make myself into a bold person; The Word remakes me into Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. I can’t make a mission field, as His disciple, where I walk is the mission field. The cancer community is not my choice but in Jesus it is my “calling”.
I hate cancer; yet, it is my testimony. I hate cancer; yet, it has taught me greater compassion. I hate cancer; yet, I have learned to not take life for granted. I hate cancer; yet, it leads me to The Cross as a lament on behalf of others. I hate cancer; yet, it is my “payback ministry.” That which the enemy intended for evil, namely fear; although God did not author it, He has been redeeming it.
Cancer Can’t Win, missional community, is “my” payback ministry. While there was a time I needed to fight this horrible disease for my own well being, in addition and at the Lord’s leading, I am beckoned to fight on behalf of others as well. Namely, to reach out to those who do not know Jesus and witness to them. Individuals who do not know that cancer can’t win. Those paralyzed by fear from an uncertain future. What about the cancer patients and cancer survivors who do not know Christ? Terrifying.
Will you join me in the tension of hating your personal and/or secondary experience with cancer yet in Christ offering your testimony that it may bring others to know Him? Cancer Can’t Win, missional community, is a group of people committed to reaching “the lost” within the cancer community – those who do not know Jesus.
We will meet twice a month: to participate in a local cancer fund-raiser, and, to offer a healthy living forum/meeting, which will include testimonials. We will start meeting in May with the logistics TBD; however, both opportunities will offer easy invitational points for believers and non-believers. Those determined to fight cancer. Those who want to make friends, meet Jesus, and make a difference.
Missional Communities at King of Kings are groups of people that gather around a shared vision, where you can make friends, meet Jesus, and make a difference. It’s not just a social club, a small group, or a tool for social change. A Missional Community is a vehicle for discipleship in which true friendships are made and strengthened, and the love of Jesus is shared and experienced in real ways. Through each Missional Community, the community around us is made better and blessed by the God who sends us and invites us to join in His mission.
For more information about this Missional Community, any other Missional Community, or to begin one of your own, please contact Brenda D. at 402.333.6464 or by email at Brenda@kingofkingsomaha.org.