I am a cancer survivor of almost five years from bladder cancer. I was treated successfully by the Cancer Treatment of America in Phoenix and Tulsa. My wife Donna has been my caregiver and supported me throughout. I want to share the good news of a ministry that has recenty helped us, in the hopes that others can benefit from these resources.
The Journey of Hope cancer ministry is a biblically-based program administered by the Cancer Treatment Center of America and is an opportunity to be trained as leaders, to teach and enable others to meet needs of cancer patients and their caregivers at the local church. Each church can have several leaders to teach more than one group of five to nine people at a time. The training involves a two-hour class per week for eight weeks and then follow-up sessions monthly as needed.
Here is the mission description from their web page:
"Cancer care ministry is a hope ministry. While it involves prayer, counsel, visits and assistance, it is centered on bringing God's hope to patients and their caregivers, family and friends. This requires an understanding of the impact of cancer, how people react to it and how God has called his people to respond. Above all, it requires us to have within ourselves an unfeigned hope that we can take to those in need."
The website gives an abundance of information on this ministry and when classes are available at each hospital at most of their locations.
As part of the East Region of the Dallas-Fort Worth Church, we went to the leaders training in Tulsa at CTCA and once commissioned, set up our first class of the ministry. We meet on Monday nights for eight weeks and used the training material supplied by the Journey of Hope. We have set up a Facebook "Companion 'n' Courage" group to enable a prayer group just for cancer needs. It has helped us focus on just those needs around cancer patients and their caregivers.
Carrie Bell, a member of our group, provided a great description of this need:
Companions 'n' Courage are a group of God-fearing individuals that have been called to serve others in a focused area. We have been called to serve their needs during their journey with cancer. Our goal is to be compassionate, encouraging and to serve them and their families by empowering them with and showing them that there is hope during trying times. We are commited to being available to pray for and listen to, at any given time, the individuals and their families. We recognize that once the cancer is in remission, that this does not mean the fight is over. This is a fight that leaves wounds that need help in healing, as well as scars that may need to be revisited from time to time.
We have also reached out to friends outside the church who have cancer and given them a card for contact us if they need help in any way. We have started forming one-on-one relationships within our region and plan to teach another class soon and extend it to the other regions of the church. Just recently we have just started a lap blanket program with a local hospital to provide blankets for chemo patients in the hospital.
We encourage you to check out this program and see if it can serve people in your church and community.