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“Why Church?” – Martha

Seventeen years ago I was reeling from a diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer. Many people helped get me through the difficult months of treatment that followed. Among those, there was so much support from our church—leisurely chemo recovery-days, visits from working mothers who pretended to have time, handmade cards full of cheer, the constant backdrop of prayers and more prayers …

But in those first very frightening days, it’s Joan Engberg who stands out. At the time, I just knew her as one of the elderly church ladies who quietly got things done. In the midst of calls from acquaintances and friends of friends with practical advice for the coming months, Joan called and started firing off names—names of other women of the church who had had breast cancer twenty years and more ago.  Joan harrumphed and said “I had it twice, and the doctors didn’t even know what they were doing then, so you’ll do fine.” With that, she said goodbye and hung up.  Why church?  Joan E. is one of my reasons.

Martha L.

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