Part 2: Community

I’ve spent the past several months preparing myself psychologically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the big move not knowing where and when I’d be leaving or what I’d be doing exactly (at least to start). I feel like I’ve been in an indefinite holding pattern that has tested my patience and trust in this plan. Thankfully, God has provided small and sometimes not so small confirmations along the way to encourage and strengthen me – one of which has been my community group. I found this group right after I finally made the decision to follow my lifelong passion to go and work among the poorest and unreached populations. The group has been a sounding board, an incredible source of support and exactly what I needed over the past nine months to deal with the cycle of emotions (uncertainty, excitement, anxiety, fear, sadness, anticipation, etc.) that come with such a big decision. A month and a half ago, I asked the group to pray for my mom as she had to go in for a biopsy because of some suspicious micro calcifications in her breast. One woman in the group asked me if it would be a game changer if the biopsy results came back to indicate something bad. I quickly dismissed it thinking that since this (moving abroad to work in development) is God’s plan for my life, there is no way that the results would come back anything but normal because how could that even work? He knows that my parent’s well-being/health is the only thing that would hold me back.

One week later, we received the biopsy result: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), Grade 1/2. Well, that was not how I imagined or hoped things would work out. My PhD and research addicted self went into overdrive trying to read everything written about DCIS. There is debate in the medical community as to whether it should be called cancer or pre-cancer since it is non-invasive at the moment. The overall incidence of DCIS has increased dramatically over the past few years as the result of the increasing use of mammography and improvement in technology to screen for breast cancer. On one hand, what a blessing to be able to discover the (possible) beginning of breast cancer; yet, the treatment for this “pre-cancer” is the same as that for invasive cancer even though it is not certain whether it is necessary to treat. So we’ve spent the last few weeks meeting with specialists discussing options for treatment and have yet to reach a decision.

I try not to hyper spiritualize things in my life but I have my suspicions as to where this challenge stems from. I suppose you could ask – where is God in this? Well, for one – my mom only had catastrophic health insurance up until a few months ago. She called me while I was at new staff training for the NGO to tell me that my dad was hired from contract status with no benefits to legitimate employee status with full benefits, including great health insurance for her. A few months ago, we would’ve had to pay out of pocket to see all the specialists, my mom would probably have refused a biopsy and the decision not to treat would’ve been easy (due to cost). I am thankful that she has the opportunity to make a decision but I feel that it is my responsibility to get her as much information as possible to make an informed one. Knowing that there is this extensive family of believers who care and are praying for us, including my supporters and my community group, is reassuring and provides a sense of peace.

I’m not sure how this piece will fit into the puzzle but I am reminded that life on earth is finite and motivated even more to make an impact while I can.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your path. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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