I need to skip a lot here. There is simply too much. Right now I am sitting in the airport in Amsterdam and on my way to Nairobi. Between the time of the previous post and this day when I am on my way to meet the people of the Log Church of Kenya, there have been many letters exchanged between Joel and me.
He has sent me a few photos of the church and the people, and of the orphans. When I asked for it, he sent me a list of the children in the orphanage, along with their names and ages. It seemed to me that the care of these orphans was a major concern of the church, and that they worked very hard to feed, clothe, and send them to school.
But there is one story that I would like to share. It is something that I think not many more than Vivian and I know about…oh, and the Log Church of Kenya.
Earlier this summer, a dark mud-colored mark suddenly appeared on my forearm. I did not at first think much of it, and when Vivian asked me about it, I told her that it was just “an old man’s skin mark.”
But the mark very quickly grew into a bump, and then quite a large bump. It began to bother Vivian, so I covered it with an ace bandage.
“See, its all gone now,” I told her.
But I also was getting a little concerned about it and wondering what it could be. Of course, the thought that came to both Vivian and I was that it may be cancerous, but I was not yet ready to take it to the doctor.
One evening I was sitting in my chair and decided that I would try to pop it. The bump was now pretty large and seemed to be continually spreading. It was surprisingly easy to pop, and when I did, it emitted a strong smell of rotting flesh. This finally got my attention. The next morning Vivian called the clinic.
“It is either MRSA (A flesh-eating bacterial infection), or it is cancer,” was the doctor’s initial assessment.
I felt I especially needed to find out since we were coming up to communion Sunday at our church. As we do it in our church, I place a piece of bread in each communicant’s hands when they come forward. I needed to know if it was something contagious. MRSA is a very aggressive infection, and quite communicable. I had to know if that was what it was, I could not serve the communion.
After I had popped the bump, it was now again a flattish mark and a rather nasty looking sore on my arm that was not showing signs of healing. The final word was that it was not MRSA, but cancer.
This made sense to me since it was on my left arm--the arm whose elbow stuck out of the car window in the bright tropical sun as I drove thousands of miles all over Venezuela when I was visiting our training classes.
“But it is not as bad as it could be,” the doctor told me. “It is not melanoma, but carcinoma.”
Without going into an explanation, basal cell carcinoma can usually be healed. I don’t remember now what they do, but it seems to me he told me that they surgically remove it, and this usually takes care of it.
His nurse made an appointment for me with a dermatologist. However, the earliest that they had an opening was in about two and a half months from the time when they called it in.
In the mean time, the mark kept growing, By now it was not a roundish spot, but it looked like I had taken a slice out of my forearm with a knife. It did not bleed and it was not healing. I thought by the time my appointment date would roll around, the cancer might have spread quite significantly.
I do not deny that it had me plenty concerned, but I was not so keen about telling everyone about it. I did not want the attention. Still, I felt an overwhelming need for someone to pray for it.
“Ask the brothers in Kenya to pray for it,” the Lord seemed to say to me one day as I was thinking about it.
I wrote to Joel about it and asked him to tell the church so that they could pray. The following Sunday, when they were all together, they prayed that my arm would be healed.
My spot did not disappear like magic, like when you see a time-lapse film of something going through a change. But the following day, I could tell something had happened. Instead of the raw-flesh-like appearance that it had before, the sore now looked as if there was a healing taking place. No scab formed, it simply began to look better. Within two or three days, it was healed.
With that healing after the third day, you can not even notice the scar unless I point it out to you. To see it now, you would laugh at me that I was concerned at all about it.
I canceled my dermatologist appointment. What would she look at? She would tell me to just go home.
Instead, I am going to Kenya to tell the Log Church about it. At least that is one of the reasons.