Emily: I was changed by the Gospel at the age of 9, but it wasn’t until years later that my story started. I have gone to church my entire life. I co-founded a Bible study at my High School. I haven’t missed a year of church camp since age 3. I joined a church while I was in college and began to serve. I served in the children’s ministry, college ministry, taught small groups, interned at a church plant one summer, and so much more.
After my college spring semester of 2015, I was told I had a brain tumor. After it was removed, tests showed it was cancer. My life came to a screeching halt. Not only did I have brain cancer, but also a pediatric brain cancer called Medulloblastoma. Science says I should have never gotten this cancer. Medulloblastoma has been studied for 30 years by my oncologist, Dr. Gajaar, and studied in thousands of kids all over the world. KIDS. 96% of the people who have gotten this cancer are BOYS between the ages 2 and 10. So, I started my journey as a patient of St. Jude Pediatric Cancer Center on my 22nd birthday as the oldest Medulloblastoma patient. Through those 8 months, I endured radiation and the strongest chemo protocol St. Jude had. All I could ask God was, “Why? Why did I get cancer, God!? I was faithfully serving You! I had a year left of college! I surrendered to Your mission field. Why!?”
In the book of Mark, a father’s son is possessed by a demon and is brought to Jesus by the disciples. The father says to Jesus, “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” Jesus replies, “If I can? Anything is possible if you believe.” The father says, “I do believe! Just please help me overcome my disbelief.” I found myself asking God to help me overcome my disbelief through all the uncertainty. I got through my uncertainty by listening to Grace Wins, Strong Enough, as well as songs from so many other Christian singers and they gave me the strength to even ask God those questions when sometimes it seemed easier to give up. Today, I’m 6-months cancer free and I’m currently taking seminary classes to further prepare myself for more kingdom work.