If you receive our update Newsletter, you know that a good friend of mine is in the hospital receiving chemotherapy for Leukemia. Her name is Marietta Welter. She is a precious sister and a dear friend. Gary, her husband, and his daughters have been staying in my home to sleep at nights since the hospital is only 15-minutes away.
Yesterday morning, Gary told me that God’s people have been graciously sending cards and gifts. They have been greatly touched by all of them.
An observation he made that I found quite interesting is that over 90% of the people who contributed money to help defray the enormous financial burden they are under came from people who gather outside the institutional church. One such person Fed Ex’d them $1,000 overnight.
By contrast, the vast majority of those who belong to institutional churches simply sent cards notifying them that they, their churches, and their prayer networks are praying for Marietta.
Gary and Marietta are deeply appreciative of both responses. But I found the dichotomy interesting.
Could it be that those who gather outside the religious system tend to think more in practical terms when someone is in need? Someone made the observation that in many institutional churches, the minds of the congregants are programmed to separate that which is “spiritual” from that which is “secular.” Hence if someone is sick, the overriding thought is simply to pray for them.
In my experience, there’s practicality to living in Body life and a sense of family that goes along with it that translates into practical help that goes beyond offering prayers. I’m sure there are exceptions that move in both directions. But I wonder if there’s something to this that’s confirmed by the Welter’s situation, or if it’s just a coincidence.
Be that as it may, here’s a letter that Marietta wrote recently to all who have offered prayers and other help to the family.
Update: Regrettably for us, Marietta fell asleep to be with her Lord in the Spring of 2009. So this letter is all the more precious.
August 2, 2008
Dearest Friends and Family:
I just wanted to write to all of you today. I have finished my first week of chemo. It still seems so unreal that I am here, away from my normal, everyday life. Away from home. I wish words could express how wonderful and loving our Lord has been to me. His love ministers so sweetly to me. Sometimes I see Him, or the beauty of Him, and He is surrounded by His glorious Body-His Church-all of you. I get overwhelmed at the sight and how He is directing His Body on my behalf. His love is very passionate. It has touched Gary and I deeply, the outpouring of support from all of you. He has given me perfect peace-removed all fear-something only He can do. I know He is in control of all things concerning me. They are taking wonderful care of me here at the hospital in Gainesville. I find it so natural to share the love of Christ with those He puts in my path. I always thought I should witness more, but never wanted it to be in a religious way. I find it’s just totally about Him and His love-that’s what people are longing for. Just letting Christ love others through you-how easy He has made it. The Lord is so good, the Lord is faithful. Psalm 103 has ministered to me this week.
On a side note: the first week of treatment, according to the doctors, has gone as well as possible. They keep asking the same questions: any pain, any nausea, any this, any that-it’s quite a list of symptoms. My answer has been: no-no-no-none of that. Thank you, dear friends, for praying. It has made the difference. Glory to God!
My hair is expected to exit in another week or so, but really, it doesn’t bother me. Mandie has ordered a cute blonde wig; I’m throwing all caution to the wind. I’m glad God has given me a sense of humor, and laughing at myself comes easy.
I’ll try to write again. Due to the medication, it’s hard for me to control my pen. Which is strange, because I’ve always had such control to draw and paint. But God knows all about that, too.
Thank you again. I love you all, and I miss you, church family. I hope to be with you in a few weeks.
Your Sister in Christ,