On July 11th, we received the news from Tony
, one of our longest serving missionaries, that his wife, Iris, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is generally bleak, and we have been deeply saddened by this news of her health. When this process started, Iris was in extreme pain. Through her testimony, we see God’s goodness and promises for Iris and Tony and today, with the help of chemotherapy, Iris is pain and nausea free! Despite difficult circumstances, God has answered prayers of so many for comfort and a painless journey for Iris. Even the oncologist is surprised at how well she is doing. Iris has been allowing her health to be an opportunity to share the truth of Christ. Not only has Iris shared about the love of Christ with family and friends, but her oncologist and other members of her medical team as well. Join us in praying for Tony, Iris and their family as they continue this journey of surrender to Christ.
Below are letters from Iris that she has graciously allowed us to share with you.
August 20, 2017
“We do not look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT)
May this verse encourage you just as it has me, especially in the last few weeks. I have been so blessed, indeed spoiled by the love and care God has showered upon me and my family through your prayers and your concern. Thank you for your emails, phone calls, cards, visits…
Together with Tony and Stephen, I had a helpful visit via video conference with a well qualified oncologist on August 4th. He advised that I undergo three rounds of chemo therapy to help with pain management. The cancer clinic at a regional hospital only a 90 minute drive from our house, was able to arrange for my first treatment on August 8th. Perhaps because I was already quite run down from the spreading pancreatic cancer, this treatment did not go well and I ended up in emergency in our local hospital in a lot of pain just two days later. I could no longer keep down any of the oral pain medication so had it administered directly into my veins. After experimenting with nausea and pain medication in the hospital I was discharged on August 14th. It was great to be home again with the amazing support from my family. Medical staff can help in many ways, but they can never be replaced by loving family and friends! With all the help and attention my strength was good enough to undergo a second round of chemo on August 18th and this one went much better. Praise the Lord! I anticipate the third round of chemo this coming Friday, August 25th completing this session to then determine if further chemo or a neuro block would be helpful for my palliative care.
At this point everything is being put into place for me to stay at home as long as possible. I need to be proactive with pain and nausea meds and pace myself, to enjoy all I can still do. What can I still do? Visit with family and friends, read, (especially God’s Word), watch the latest series of BBC Planet Earth, which I highly recommend to you, putter about the house, go to appointments… I can also pray and have been praying for you, especially those of you who are going through great struggles as well.
I am looking forward to Tony coming home tomorrow from an event that was planned many months ago. Thank you to those of you who were praying for this event. We will let you know how God answered.
September 5, 2017
The other morning, Tony received a thought provoking Skype message from a dear friend in Iran. He was reminded that many are praying for us about the terminal pancreatic cancer journey I am on. He wrote that how we are responding will speak more loudly than all the devotionals and classes that have been taught at the conferences.
Now that puts on the pressure… or does it? We are on display! If I think that it is me who is on display I feel the stress to be a good example. However, if I think it is me on display, given an opportunity to showcase what God is doing in and through us, there is no pressure but rather a privilege. It is all about Jesus. “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the help I need.” Phil 4:13 This is the same Lord who said: “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
All I need to do and be is a servant who does her duty. Jesus said:
“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of the sheep, he doesn’t just sit down and eat. He must first prepare his master’ meal and serve him his supper before eating his own. And the servant is not even thanked, because he is merely doing what he is supposed to do. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, We are not worthy of praise. We are servants who have simply done our duty.” (Luke 17 :7-10)
I trust you will also see your testimony as one that is an honor to share for the glory of God.
Thank you for your prayers. God is helping in wonderful ways. The pain and nausea are under control and I can eat small meals and thus enjoy the company who bless our home. I will have blood work done again on Thursday. If it is OK, I will have another chemo session on Friday for palliative care.
* Bible verses from the New Living Translation.
Thank you, Iris, for your testimony. We appreciate that you have chosen to use your situation for God’s glory on earth as in Heaven and to see Christ glorified through your circumstances. We rejoice with you that he has given you comfort for each day!
We will continue to pray for Iris and her health and that every day she would be able to glorify God and be a witness for him. Would you join us? We would also love to forward any notes of encouragement you may have for Tony and Iris.