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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advent Journey Day 7

Today I had the privilege of visiting a single mother from our church who is fighting cancer.  5 young adults from our church accompanied me and it was truly an amazing blessing.  It proved to me once again that to serve is to be blessed.
This woman was diagnosed with cancer in late October.  The initial prognosis was grim, but after a few treatments and scans, the outlook is more optimistic.  Even so.  It's a tough road with no husband to help out with the kids who are 3 and 9.  Fortunately her parents were able to come from Kazakhstan to provide assistance with the kids and households, but they only speak Russian, which is OK at home, but tough in the rest of society.  Her daughter who is 3 is quite possibly one of the cutest kids on the planet.  She speaks a blend of English, Swedish and Russian and seems to fully understand all 3 languages.  Of course, she has been hesitant around strangers but today, my second visit, she warmed up to me and even sat on my lap and gave me a big kiss good-bye.  Here she is holding one of the nice pepparkakor reindeer she helped to make!  
Her brother, who is 9, wasn't home.  We'll have to try to come again when he's around.  The team came to show some love and encouragement.  They brought pepparkakor dough to make cookies, a first for the daughter!  She loved trying to roll out the dough and then cutting the figures.  I'm not sure she loved the taste of the cookies however!  Others brought advent lights for the windows and I had purchased a lit wreath.  One couple who joined the fun were experts at cutting out paper snowflakes and another girl masterfully arranged them on the windows.  By the time we finished, the house looked quite warm and cheery.  This young woman will not be able to provide much for Christmas for her children so it was a blessing to brighten up their home.
Even in the midst of her difficult journey, she finds a way to welcome people into her home, offer tea, sweets, dried fruits, nuts and dates.  Her spirit is positive and her faith is strong.  It was a true inspiration to us all to be in her presence and sense her strength and resolve.  She is determined to beat cancer and stick around for her children.
This afternoon was great.  I am filled with joy and peace because I spent the day with these lovely servants from our church and sat in the presence of a lovely little girl whose laughter brought joy to us and brought comfort and encouragement to a mom who is fighting for her very life just now.  
Giving brings blessing every time.  What a gift to remember this during advent.