Anita, as a new international student, met Elva Craig back in 1984 at the University of Iowa. Meeting with friends for a weekly Bible study, Elva led Anita in understanding that following Jesus was not just a “Western religion,” but a matter for every heart in the world. And as they say, the rest is history.
Now Elva is facing the time we all will come to someday, some of us sooner than others. But there is no escaping that we will all come face to face with our mortality. Last week’s blog shared the decision we each must make before that moment, What will you do with Jesus, called the Christ?
Last week I asked Elva’s permission to share her latest newsletter with my blog, to show what it is like when you are walking with Jesus and facing what most people fear most. I added links for your convenience. What a delight, what a joy, what a hope those who know Jesus have! Death has lost its sting; the grave has lost its victory! Because He lives, we will live also!! Enjoy reading Elva’s testimony.
From: Elva Craig
Sent: Sun 1/31/2021 9:54 PM
Subject: Feb. 2021 Prayer Letter
I know I haven’t written for a while,but I kept waiting until I had something definite to tell you.
2020 is almost over and most are very thankful. Many things have happened since the beginning of the year. Retirement has not been good to me. In early January I had spine surgery. My lower disks were deteriorating and squeezing a nerve that caused pain in my hip and leg. They put four small titanium rods in my spine to keep the disks from squeezing the nerve.
One Saturday night I had a seizure, but I did not know what it was. I contacted my co-worker (a nurse), and after she brought me to the hospital, the doctors saw something that looked like tiny tumors. It was at this time we started the nation-wide quarantine.
Because I had a seizure I could not drive for six months and then another seizure took away all hopes for driving. As a result of both of those things I stayed home lot. I made a lot of cards to send to church people and others I knew who were also home alone.
In April the hospital took another MRI and determined that I had three small tumors in my brain, in the optic area. Two were close together in the front and one in the back. On April 24 I had brain surgery, where they actually drilled a hole in my head and took out a piece of one of the tumors to see what kind they were. The tumors are what they call glioblastoma, a kind that cannot be killed. I began taking chemo (pill) and radiation therapies. The chemo was every night and radiation was five times each week.
Then I signed up to help out with a research project to see how large doses of vitamin C might effect the brain tumors. For this they put a port put in my chest so they would not have to stick me with needles every other day. The vitamin C infusions were three times each week. It is a slow drip that takes 2-½ hours.
In between all these I met with doctors, had MRI’s, x-rays, and stayed away from people. This all went on for six and a half weeks. Actually the vitamin C part goes on much longer, but I have a month break.
On top of all that, came the covid virus when everyone stayed home. The tumors have affected my eyes so I cannot see small letters or numbers when they are close together (e.g., telephone numbers, check books, etc). Also I have trouble writing things clearly as well as memory problems. So if there are problems with spelling or grammar, forgive me. [very few, but c.a. fixed these.😉] After going through all these things, the doctors told me they had done every thing they could for me and it was now up to God, but he did not think it would be much longer before I went Home (not his way of saying it).
Now on to the brighter side of things. Through all of this, God has been very good to me in many ways, as He has promised. Ann, my co-worker, went to many of my early appointments and helped me understand what they were saying in plain English, not medical terminology. She also arranged for me to have rides to the hospital every day with different ladies from our church. I thank the Lord that so far I have not had any reactions or pain from chemo or radiation. I do get a little unsteady and tired. Also, now I have more time at home to enjoy longer devotional times. Because of my musical background, God somehow puts a song in my head, out of the blue, which usually stays with me all day. Two that I really enjoy are “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Take My Hand Precious Lord.”
In regard to CBF (Campus Bible Fellowship), we know things will be different at all the universities because of the virus. We did not have our Furniture GiveAway this past year and we do not know where we will get new contacts. I am having my own GiveAway, trying to give away most of my things. If you were here you would be welcome to them.
I told one of the social workers here at Iowa that we work a lot with international students. Some of the ones I worked with have gone back to their home countries. I have many contacts from the International Women’s Club where I taught English. I do not know if they will meet this coming semester. Our CBF group was so small, that losing some to graduation and jobs, we do not have much to work with. We do not even know if groups will be allowed to meet on campus. This semester we met by Zoom so we could see and talk to everyone.
I will close with another thing that has been very special. The doctors do not know how much longer I might live on earth. I have been able to live my life serving the Lord, so now when I think of dying, all I can think of is seeing my Savior and my whole immediate family. What a joy that will be! Every time I think about it I tear up.
Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and provision of salvation so we have no fear of dying. I said that to a social worker and she said, ”Are you thinking of committing suicide?”😄 I have been able to talk to some of the nurses about the promises God has given us. And I am looking forward to the Lord’s return. Here is a song that I sang with one of the ladies from church. It seems to fit the situation.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me! By His own hand He leadeth me!
His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me!
1.He leadeth me O blessed tho’t! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
2.Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine, Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content, whatever lot I see, Since ‘tis my God that leadeth me!
3.And when my task on earth is done, When by Thy grace, the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee, Since God thro’ Jordan leadeth me.
Please keep praying for me, that I will remain strong.
Looking forward to meeting you all in heaven. Hope to see you there.