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Feb 192015

Elijah is fighting for his life against cancer and I’m pleased to say he is currently winning. Working in a missions and benevolence organization (cleverly disguised as a family of fighters), I get to meet some remarkable people all over the world. Elijah is one of these.

Elijah - trainging session

He is one of our instructors in the Philippines and medical care is quite different there. If you cannot pay for your treatment up front, you are not treated. There is no “put it on my card,” no “bill me later,” no “contact my insurance people.” No money, no treatment.

That was unacceptable. We held a tournament last fall and adding some individual donations, his treatment was covered!

…and there was much rejoicing!

For a time, he had to breathe through a hole in the base of his throat and couldn’t talk. This didn’t stop him from training his class. After all, who’s going to let a little detail like non-functioning vocal cords stop them from instructing? Being the computer savvy sort, he attached speakers to his laptop and typed out his instructions to the class. “Forward stance, left punch…harder! Five push ups. Good job.” He healed, time passed, and they thought he was in the clear.

…and there was much rejoicing!

But the cancer returned and he began radiation. During our last training trip in January, he scheduled treatment around training sessions. He’s 50 pounds leaner since we last saw him and the radiation burns on his face and neck are visible. Eating a “meal” entails 2-3 hours of tasteless pain since his gums, mouth and tongue are being burned daily, yet he cannot afford to lose any more weight. Still, he came to every training time, joined us on the prison ministry trip, never complained, and did his best.

The bubbly happiness known to be part of Elijah has now boiled down to a solid simmer of stolid strength rooted in a bedrock of joyful peace that is impervious to temporal events. He is just one of the heroes leading the growing ministry in the Philippines.

The radiation is completed and he is improving.

…and there is much rejoicing!

Elijah - last day of radiation

Last day of radiation

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