I had just returned to Africa from the states in May 2008. I had taken our middle son, Jordan to join his brother as a student at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. He was joining our oldest son, Remick and had lived their whole lives in Botswana, Africa where we have lived since 1987.
Returning to Botswana, the land of my heart, I was full of excitement for what was ahead. Two weeks prior I had a very unique experience when a friend treated me to a 5 day getaway to connect with God on a Ranch in the Texas Hill country. http://fellowshipofthesword.com/ It was a transformational experience! Little did I know what lay ahead for us a week later. I arrived in Botswana on Saturday May 24. I was so excited to get back into our busy lives there and particularly eager to see our long awaited rescue center for babies-the Lorato House Rescue Center, up and running. It had been a long, 6 year battle for licensing and we were getting close to opening our doors.
Sitting down to a good cup of Earl Gray tea, Jerry shared the recent report he had been given from the Doctor but kept to himself, awaiting my return. A week before my home coming he had learned in the Capital city, Gaborone, that he had stage 4 Cancer. As he shared this unbelievable report of their findings, Squamous Carcinoma. The left side of his neck was full of cancer. In all the years we have been serving in Africa, our Father had never let us down. Just a year prior, friends had given us catastrophic health insurance. Little did we know what we would be facing.
The leaders from our church wept with us, encouraged us, then took arms to pray for us. I repacked my bags to travel back to the states with Jerry the next week to MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston, TX.
We live in the remote village of Maun 10 hours away from the Capital City Gaborone. National church leaders began calling & asked us to fly through the Capital on our way out of country so that they could pray with us before we left. They showed great love and respect to us for our years of work in their nation and promised to hold us up in prayer and see us on the other side of this battle. Upon arriving in Houston, we were invited to stay with a dear friend, Susie Wolf at her beautiful home less than 5 minutes from M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center.
We arrived full of faith and determined to return and resume our assignment in Botswana. We were greeted by a wonderful Christian Oncologist Dr. Anne Tsao who told us we would need to be willing to give her 6 months of our lives for treatment, Jerry as the patient and me as the caregiver. Consulting with our spiritual Mom Dodie Osteen who had been healed of Cancer many years ago & Dr Paul Osteen, they encouraged us to walk the healing path the Lord had put us on.
Chemo Therapy started right away. The cancer was aggressive and had spread so they had to give the strongest dosages humanly possible since Jerry was healthy in every other way. Three Months were scheduled and after the first round- miraculously, no cancer was identified in the first PET scan!
We were so excited and thought we might be able to go back to Botswana and get back to work! Dr. Tsao reminded us that we had committed ourselves six months to her care which meant 3 months of chemo and 3 months radiation. Jerry had one request, really a demand if he was going to follow through with further treatment. He would do the treatment as outlined if he could fly back to Botswana where our 10 branch churches join the main church, All Nations Village Church for our annual leadership conference in between the Chemo and Radiation treatments.
The doctors and I would ‘wink’ at each other and say yes, of course we can try. By the time to leave for the conference, Jerry had lost weight and all his hair but was counting the days before his awaited departure date. He was on injections of blood thinners twice a day and 3 heavy doses of Chemo had taken its toll on him
I went to Sudan for a few days to speak at a conference beforehand and meet Jerry in Johannesburg and go on to Botswana. Jerry made his way with our good friend, Doug Stringer, who accompanied him to the conference who was one of the speakers. He used his air miles to get Jerry in Business Class to be more comfortable.
Jerry was there at all the sessions and in between he rested up for the next service. The church was electric with excitement and all rejoiced at their Pastor’s presence there in the midst of the storm! It was a crucial time of encouragement for the ministry team in Maun. We had a great team around us and Jerry and I have always believed that the ministry has never been built around a man, but around THE man, Jesus Christ.
We returned to Houston for the last 3 months of treatment and stepped off the plane to go straight to MD Anderson for the first round of Radiation treatment. Throughout our journey we were encouraged by a picture the Jerry bravely kept before him. It was a very real picture of he and I in a sail boat out on the sea of Life. The dark clouds were looming overhead the wind was blowing harshly against the sail, the waves were lapping against our boat trying to sink our dreams and future! But in the midst of the dark clouds and raging waters, Jesus was there and told him to look to the other side and focus his eyes on the shore line. As we did this this, we could see something beautiful & bright awaiting us there. This filled us with courage and joy! Every day Jerry got up, no matter how he felt, showered, dressed and had a purpose in each day, if even to do a simple task. We ministered to others around us at MD Anderson, preached in churches on weekends, we gave our best to others and it filled us with strength.
At a time when America and the rest of the world were feeling the economic struggles of the year 2008 we came out on the other side of this enemy called Cancer. We reached the shoreline and the months that followed were nothing short of supernatural! Six months later we headed back to Botswana with a clean bill of health and a mandate to get regular checkups as prescribed by the Oncologist. Four years later, Jerry continues to remain Cancer free! The enemy is taking some serious blows for this attempt on Jerry’s life and we are walking safely on the shoreline with Jesus!