Last month I came to Galilee to say “Thank you Nigel”.
You see 5 years ago my life bumped up against a very rocky shore. I had a persistent pain in my back and I wondered “What’s wrong?” In August of 2012 I received the dreaded CANCER phone call and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable pancreatic and liver cancer. This is a terrible diagnosis – only 1% of people with pancreatic cancer will live for 5 years. To make matters worse, the cancer had escaped my pancreas and spread to my liver. It could not be surgically removed. At that time the doctors told me I had 6-9 months to live. I was in my mid-fifties with a healthy lifestyle, rarely sick, no family history, a great marriage, three children and a rewarding career. How could such a beautiful August day hold such bad news? I had a death sentence over my head. And yet I had everything to live for.
My husband, my friends and my church decided that we were going to work this illness hard. Medically and spiritually we would bring every weapon to bear against this. I began 12 rounds of chemo at the University of Chicago. By Christmas 2012 I had only made it through 5 of the 12 prescribed rounds of chemo. I was desperately sick. I could barely stand, eat or think in a complete sentence. I looked like a concentration camp victim. But God knew my need. And God began to orchestrate gifted healers to enter my life. Nigel is foremost among those healers.
In February 2013 Nigel came to a nearby church, St Marks Episcopal in Geneva IL, to teach a weekend seminar on healing prayer. My friends carried me to see him. In our appointment with Nigel he took a careful spiritual inventory of my soul, our marriage and talked to us about healing. The elders of St Marks, my husband and friends sat in a circle around us and Nigel began to pray over me. I felt heat and electric current run through his hands. The Holy Spirit descended powerfully. In the following weeks and months my friends and church family came every Friday to anoint me with oil, lay hands on me and pray for healing. I was soaked in prayer. I learned to be open to many types of prayer: with words and silence, friends singing over me, friends reading Scripture over me, long and short, soft and loud, usually with touch, speaking in tongues, wise words and simple prayers. I am convinced that God hears all prayers and that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us as only He can.
I believe that Nigel “jumpstarted” my healing on that cold February day. My healing did not happen instantly. Most of my healing came in the year after meeting with Nigel. Healing is rarely instanteous and always mysterious. I completed the 12 rounds of chemo. I did not see myself as helpless but I got up and got moving and God blessed. Doctors expect that pancreatic cancer will come back within a few months of finishing chemo. By now, you’ve guessed that 5 years later I am doing really well. My blood counts have been normal for several years and the CT scans show scar tissue but no active tumor in my pancreas.
Healing is a gift God gives His Church. As a church, Galilee you have believed in this gift. WIthout razzle-dazzle or flashy words you have supported and nurtured Nigel’s ministry and the ministry of your prayer team. Healing is a gift that God has given to Nigel. Thank you for loaning him out to other churches for healing seminars, for supporting The Welcome Home Initiative, for loving and praying for him. Gratitude is foremost in my thoughts. Keep going, keep asking. I want you to know what a difference God and Nigel have made in my life and to a watching world.