Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WEEK OF PRAYER: Cancer becomes one of God's 'greatest gifts' to IMB missionary

DURBAN, South Africa (BP) -- Roger Hesch should be dead.

After stage 4 bone marrow cancer decimated his body, his recovery encountered several life-threatening setbacks, each of which should have overpowered his ravaged immune system. Doctor after doctor told him the chances of survival were next to nothing.

But God had more for Roger to do.

Saying 'yes'

Years earlier, after graduating from high school in his hometown of Little Falls, Minn., Roger spent a year in South Africa as part of an international exchange program in Johannesburg that exposed him "to the bigger world," he said.

He and his wife Meg met while attending college in Minneapolis and were married in 1980. Early on, the couple made a commitment to say "yes" to God's leading, regardless of what that meant. They said "yes" to Roger attending seminary and pastoring two Southern Baptist churches.

"In January 1986, I was speaking on the Great Commission and while I was preaching, God said, 'You can't encourage other people to do what you are not willing to do,'" Roger recalled.

It was then the couple said "yes" to serving overseas as missionaries with the International Mission Board.

"We said we'll go where other people can't or won't go," Roger said.

That led them to live in a dangerous country in sub-Saharan Africa with few missionaries -- Roger was even wrongfully imprisoned for a week. But he and Meg remained obedient, seeing 70 churches multiply to 500 in about six years.

It was after a move to North Africa to pastor an international church that Roger and his family -- which now included three children -- would face their biggest challenge.


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