DAVE’S STORY CONTINUED…
By Dave McDonald
The last time I wrote for MTS I was excited to be sharing our plans to move from Canberra, after 22 years of ministry, to startover in the Northern Territory. We had gathered a team, arranged a house, had two MTS trainees with us, and had shipped all our belongings to Darwin.
So it came as an absolute shock on December 5th to be suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer. Two surgeries, three weeks in hospital, and at times worrying I wouldn’t even regain the strength to leave hospital. I returned home just before Christmas and began chemotherapy a few weeks later. I’ve now been through five (three weekly) cycles of chemo. Each cycle is a challenge, as the side effects leave me very sick, and it takes about half the time to recover for the next round. My future is unclear, and life is much more a short-term prospect. The oncologists do not hold hope for a cure, but we are praying good medical options, and ultimately for healing.
We thank God that we’ve been able to resume life in Canberra. Fiona has returned to work, the kids continued in their schools, and I have been kept on as an associate pastor at Crossroads. Our church has been a huge support to us, friends have rallied around us, and we appreciate the prayers of Christians from far and wide.
God has opened up new and unexpected opportunities for ministry. I’m no longer leading the staff team, preaching weekly, and setting the direction of the church. However, there have been new opportunities to share the gospel and to chat, encourage and support others in ministry. People have encouraged me to start writing and I’ve been blogging now for the past two months. [You can follow this at www.macarisms.com ] This has given me the opportunity to share my journey of faith in the midst of cancer, as well as to explore a range of Christian issues with people. God seems to be blessing this ministry as it impacts people in all kinds of places.
The biggest impact on me through this whole experience has been confronting my mortality in a very real way. Being told I may only have months to live is very ‘in your face’. There have been many tears, depressed moments (or days), and big questions about the reality of the resurrection. At times my faith has really been put to the test. This has pushed me to prayer, to the basics in the Bible, and to some fundamental apologetics once again. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but my prayer is that God will continue to strengthen my faith, and open new ways to serve him. I covet your prayers for my faith, for the faith of my family, and that God might heal me so that I can continue to serve him for many years.