“The blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor.” – Matthew 11:5
When was the last time you experienced a modern-day miracle of Biblical proportions?
Well, friend, we just did! And when I say “we”… that includes YOU. It is always a group effort at the Mission and these stories of victory are for all of us to celebrate. Every prayer warrior, volunteer, staff member, donor, board member – and even our website, believe it or not! – plays a crucial role that contributes to these stories of triumph.
There are a handful of miraculous stories in the Bible in which someone has an infirmity or is paralyzed, is healed and then is able to walk. These miracles impact us so much because walking is such an important part of our lives, and we can imagine the devastation of not being able to walk, hike, or run. Perhaps these miracles are so moving because, as the Bible describes: “they all went walking and leaping and praising God.” (Acts 3:8) But there is one miracle recorded in Matthew 11 that is even greater than the joyous celebration of someone walking again. That is the miracle of Jesus literally saving a life.
Don has been a guest of The Mission for years, but several weeks ago everything took a very interesting turn. Don’s mom, Beverly, from out of state, got on our website and clicked an important button we placed at the top – the result of a highly intentional redesign – that says I Need Help. We know this button has already helped many people. Darvin’s reunion with his family in Las Vegas last year started with his mom finding and clicking our I Need Help button. Sometimes we are given these serendipitous blessings simply by River of Life Mission showing up on the top web searches as a result of doing ministry on Oahu for 35 years.
The power of this story unfolds as our legendary staff member, Shervelle (aka Shevy), was moved to action, spurred on by the cry of this desperate mom. You see, Don knows Jesus but even as Shevy says: “Sometimes it’s the hurts, habits, and hang ups” that can get even the best of us. Don was struggling in a way that he couldn’t escape on his own. His mom, from thousand of miles away, was moved with concern and reached out to River of Life Mission. Shevy was able to connect with Don on the streets, and through some other compassionate leaders from a local church (like Leitu and Judy from Calvary Chapel Kaneohe) we were able to help Don.
Don was neglecting a very serious condition to the point that he was going to lose his life. Don had kidney cancer. When kidney cancer goes untreated, most people die within a short amount of time. Kidney cancer is also of one of the few cancers that absolutely requires surgery. Without surgery, most doctors predict the survival rate with kidney cancer is around the 10% mark. Whereas with surgery, the survival rate can jump to above 80%. Don absolutely needed a miracle and needed surgery. But he was constantly being pulled back in by his “hurts, habits, and hang ups” – all while ignoring a reality that he hoped would just fade away. Don was caught in a downward spiral that could cost him his very life.
But God, in a way only God could orchestrate, transformed this hopeless situation into a miracle that we all got to be a part of. Because of the love of a compassionate mom, an angel of a staff member named Shevy, and the tireless efforts of local churches, pastors, and volunteers, a man’s life and future was saved! This small group of faithful people worked together to ensure Don received the life-saving surgery he desperately needed! As I write this, I have tears in my eyes. I am so blessed and proud to be able to send you this miraculous report!
We could not do this without Jesus at the helm or without the prayer that is constantly going out on behalf of the Mission. I say with certainty: your generous support for River of Life Mission is literally saving lives. Please accept our deepest gratitude for all the ways your partnership is bringing hope and life transformation to our neighbors, our VIPs – vulnerable important people – in their deepest time of need.
I’m overjoyed to share that Don came back to the Mission a few days ago and asked Tracy (another one of our incredibly staff) if he could write Don a letter of reference to help him get a new job. It doesn’t get better than this! We will see you next month with further news from the Mission of all God is doing as “we” work together to extend the love and hope of Jesus all over Oahu. Let’s continue fulfilling God’s Word from our verse in Matthew 11 “…and the Good News is preached to the poor.” All praise to Jesus – onward, outward, and upward.
Pastor Paul Gates