Welcoming Cancer at my Door

I should shut the door.  I should say “No…..cancer is not welcome here”.  This is what my mind tells me.  My heart tells me differently.  My mind and my heart have wrestled all week long.  My heart is winning.  Let me explain.

Several blogs ago I explained that I had hired a new pembantu (house helper).  Specifically to help me in the kitchen.  My former full time house helper is not too thrilled with my decision and informed me, that “she has breast cancer”.  Not sure if this was just hearsay or the honest truth, on Thursday I decided I just needed to ask my new pembantu for the truth.  She was clearly upset that I had “found out”.  Yet she was free in sharing her story with me.  Already it has been 5 years.  She will not have surgery because she says all the ladies who have surgery here are dead in one year.  “They are quick to die”.  So she is juicing.  Yet that is difficult, because it takes so much fruit and vegetables to juice.  Much more expensive, then just eating a normal diet.  There is no chemo or radiation here in Papua.  Which equals having to make the best healthy choices.  And BELIEVING.  Shirley is crying while telling me her story.  And yet steels herself to be strong.  I’m sitting listening to her story, full of compassion….in disbelief that there is no hope of treatment, admiring her faith, wondering if I really want to enter into this story, thinking about her children and her husband, pondering buying vegetables and fruit, contemplating how long she will be able to continue working….a million thoughts.

I choose to enter the story, even before our conversation ends.  I ask if I can pray for her and we both just sob and hug at the end of the prayer.  Rarely have Indonesian women hugged me. 

It would be easier to walk away, but Shirley represents to me so many women with breast cancer.  Then add to it:  women with breast cancer with no or little treatment options. 

I will open the door and allow cancer in, but I am believing in healing for Shirley.  Would you join me in believing in healing for Shirley also?  She needs our prayers and she needs a touch from Jesus, the master physician.

Welcome Shirley to my home and my life.


  1. Your compassion, love and friendship are true gifts to Shirley. You are a blessing to so many! Praying with you my friend!


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