This is a little more about my friend Melanie in Namibia. She has shared her story with me and I can’t help but share it with others. It’s just that awesome! You can read the beginning of this story here… http://wp.me/pwmux-1r
The amazing, strength-giving faith that carried Melanie through her diagnosis continued to carry her though treatment. When her diagnosis came in August of 2010, Melanie told me about her illness through an email.
“Dear Manda, it’s good that I tell you this, sister. I’m feeling well today, things are getting better for my soul though worse for my body at the same time. Having had the tests I told you about, the results have come back saying I have cervical cancer. I asked the Lord what He would have me to do next and I decided to seek treatment. I am getting chemotherapy now. This is hard for me, but I know God will heal me one day even if it is through death. I would very much like to get better soon though. I do not wish to be this sick always. With knowledge of all these things, He is still good and gracious in all His ways. I love you sister! -Melanie”
Shortly after this, Melanie’s doctors in Namibia recommended that she seek the help of a specialist in Cape Town. This trip would mean re-visiting the place where she had been trapped in the horrors of sex trafficking. Knowing this, it’s understandable that she would be wary of returning and that she would spend some time in prayer beforehand. I’m happy to tell you that Melanie decided to make the trip. The LORD brought the courage that she needed to make the journey seeking both physical and emotional healing. When she had returned to her home in Namibia, I emailed her asking how she felt about her trip. Her response was, “Sister, it was all grace. And when grace is all that you have, you will know that it is all you need.”
After this trip, Melanie continued her treatments in Namibia. All the while, she continued serving in her local church and volunteering at the orphanage where she and I met. As she continued working, fighting and praying for healing, her health continued to deteriorate. In February of this year, her doctors told her that her body was not responding the way they had hoped. They gave her a prognosis of three months.
Melanie took this information (that would bring most people to their knees) in stride. She informed her doctors that while she appreciated their help and valued their opinions, she had already died several years before and that her body was no longer her own. She told them that while she lives she will serve the Living God, her Healer. She finished by telling these doctors that her death would come at the appointed time and not an hour before. (Don’t you wish you could have seen their faces at that point?!)
In early March, Melanie was no longer physically able to volunteer at the orphanage or attend her church’s meetings. In this time, prayer became her primary ministry. For example, Melanie emailed me late one Saturday evening (early Sunday morning in Namibia) saying, “Manda, I am unable to go and be with my church this morning so I will be praying over you as you sleep.” This loving act of a sister in Christ supporting me in a time where she herself was in great need helped me to see the time I have with my church family through fresh eyes. This time together is so priceless and is too often mistreated or worse, forsaken. Melanie’s faithful service in her sufferings and her longing for community stand as examples for those of us with ample access to times of corporate worship and communal fellowship.
Throughout all of this, I told Melanie how much her faith had encouraged me and how her steadfast love for the LORD amidst her suffering helped me to grow in my faith. Melanie’s response to this was to say, very matter-of-factly, that this is what she has been praying for – that her suffering would be for her Father’s glory and that, through it, others would come to know Him more.
The third (and most exciting) part of Melanie’s story is right here http://wp.me/pwmux-2S