Devastating Illness Brings Family to God

Ten-year-old Neina walked to the forest near her home to collect firewood. In their very remote village, they had no electricity, transportation or communication, and schools were very far away. For the most part, Neina stayed home to help her mother, Jaslyn, with household chores. For her, this was just like every other day.

Devastating Illness Brings Family to God - Woman gathering firewood

Neina, like this woman, often gathered firewood for her family

Suddenly, pain shot through her foot. Neina looked down to see a big thorn had pierced the right side of her foot. What was she supposed to do now? After all, she still had to gather firewood, but she was in too much pain to carry on. Neina decided to return home, but it hurt to walk. Imagine the young girl, wincing, fighting back tears, slowly making her way back home, in pain with every step.

When Neina finally arrived home, she told her parents what had happened. She was in so much pain that she could no longer walk. Worried for their oldest daughter, Jaslyn and her husband, Cadell, took Neina to the hospital.

After several days of medical treatment, Neina’s foot healed. Once again, she could walk and play with her sisters and even help her parents with chores around the house.

Unbearable Pain and a Shocking Discovery

But the pain-free days only lasted a short while before severe pain came flooding back in her right leg. Once again, Neina’s parents took her to the hospital. What was wrong with their little girl? Her wound had healed. Why had the pain returned?

After thorough testing, the doctors gave them grave news: Neina had cancer. Shock fell upon the family. How could this happen to their daughter? What were they going to do now?

With no real answers, they returned home with heavy hearts. They had no peace, knowing their eldest daughter was suffering so much. Jaslyn and Cadell sought answers, spending precious money and even selling their property to pay for further medical treatment. They took her to other medical doctors and witch doctors, but nothing worked. Pain and sorrow overwhelmed Neina’s family as everything they tried failed.

Instead, Neina’s condition worsened. A sore developed on her right leg, grew larger and spread up to her knee. Pus and blood oozed from the ulcer. Neina couldn’t stop the pain from consuming her. Would she ever be able to walk or run again? Would she ever be able to play with her sisters again? In the depths of such pain, the memories of playing and running around must have felt like a lifetime ago.

With injuries, medical treatment is important to ensure that infection does not set in. However, people in rural areas of Africa and Asia, such as Neina and her family (not pictured), often struggle to reach medical facilities or afford medical care.

Determined to not give up hope, Neina’s parents once again took her to the hospital. Would they find answers this time? Could someone help their daughter?

After several days of medical treatment, the doctors told them something the parents certainly didn’t want to hear: Neina’s leg needed to be amputated. The news shattered their hope. Unable to do anything more for their daughter, Jaslyn and Cadell brought her home.

Perhaps Neina overheard her parents discussing their options. Did Neina have any future? If they didn’t amputate, she had little chance of survival. If they did amputate, who knew if she would actually be cured? And, how would having only one leg permanently impact Neina’s life, especially in a region with few resources for people with disabilities?

“I am no more going to live in this world,” she told her parents, “because my condition has become worse than before.”

When her parents heard this, they broke down and cried bitterly. The last thing they wanted was to lose their daughter.

How all of this must have weighed on this mother’s heart! Was there anyone who could help her daughter?

Devastating Illness Brings Family to God - National Missionary

GFA pastor Adron is one of many national missionaries, like the pastor pictured, who dedicate their lives to offer people desperately needed hope.

A Glimmer of Hope

Then Jaslyn encountered GFA pastor Adron. Maybe he saw Jaslyn was deeply distressed and discouraged—maybe he was simply being friendly. But something compelled Pastor Adron to stop and talk to the mother. He offered Jaslyn some booklets about Jesus, the one true God who offered hope, and encouraged her to read them.

Something about Pastor Adron caused Jaslyn to tell him everything about her daughter’s illness and their ensuing dilemma. She may have simply needed someone to talk to—someone who could give her direction and tell her what she should do. Or maybe she just knew that she could trust him. After all, he was one of them—one of the locals. It was easy to confide in him.

Pastor Adron made a bold claim to Jaslyn: If she believed in Jesus, her daughter would be healed because Jesus is the healer and peace-giver. The pastor also invited Jaslyn to attend a worship service at his church, and Jaslyn promised she would.

The conversation with the pastor must have lingered in Jaslyn’s mind all day. Was it true? Could this Jesus really heal Neina when everything else had failed?

True to her word, Jaslyn attended church the very next day and heard from the Word of God. She learned Jesus alone could give peace and joy, and she learned there was healing in His name. Jaslyn pondered all these things in her heart. When she returned home, she told her husband, Cadell, everything she had learned and asked him to attend the church with her.

GFA Pastor prays

GFA pastor Adron visited Neina’s family (not pictured) often to pray for her and minister to her family.

Christ Is Enough

Together, they went to the church to learn more about Jesus. Was it true that Jesus could heal their daughter? They asked Pastor Adron to come to their house and pray for Neina’s healing, which he did.

Pastor Adron began to visit the family regularly. Even if it took days or weeks, Pastor Adron was committed to persisting in prayer, and by God’s grace, Neina recovered completely—to the amazement of her family. Unable to deny the power of Christ, who had restored Neina to full health, the family accepted Christ as their Savior, who had blessed them with peace and joy in their hearts.

Neina’s healing was made possible because God led Pastor Adron to Neina’s mother in the moment of her desperation. National missionaries are always looking for those who need encouragement, but they need support as well, and you can support them, enabling them to share Christ’s love and His Good News with those who desperately need it.

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