By Mike Tenbusch | February 4, 2022

Last summer, we asked you and everyone else we know across the world to run with us in the Great IntSam Global 5K to give food to 1,000 families battling to survive the undulating challenges of this pandemic.

As it turns out, one of the lives that the 5K saved was my own.

I wrote to you last summer that my training for the race was not going well at all.  I couldn’t figure out why, and kind of figured that perhaps I was just getting older.  Finally, on the advice of my wife, I went to a doctor.  Over the next few months, a series of tests and my first colonoscopy ever made one thing clear: I should have gotten a colonoscopy when I turned 50, just like the doctors tell you to.

On November 19, the Friday before Thanksgiving, I woke up from my colonoscopy to hear my doctor telling my wife that I had cancer—he found a tumor in my intestine, which tests later confirmed was Stage 2 cancer.  My wife’s sister had just passed away in October after a hard-fought battle with cancer.  This was jarring news for both of us.

When we got home that afternoon, Maritza gave me a small booklet by Joel Osteen’s mom about how she survived cancer.  In it, she showed me a scripture I had read numerous times but had never seen: “Pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16).”  From that point forward, when friends and family members told me that they would pray for me, I asked them for one, specific request that I could pray for them during my six-week recovery period after surgery.  Then I put their request and picture along with that scripture on my prayer team board—and I prayed over each request every day.

Pastor Tonya Roberson, my prayer partner and director of our new fellowship program, with my prayer team.

By December 11, I was on the operating table, my life literally in the hands of the amazing Dr. Gifty Kwakye.  She took out 7 inches of my intestine, including 34 lymph nodes surrounding it.  One week later, she called me the moment she received the pathology report to share the news: there was no trace of the cancer’s spread anywhere in my system!

I sit here in awe of the fragility of life, and the opportunity to share more of it with you.

As I’ve returned to work over the last week, I have been overjoyed to hear unexpected ways in which God has been answering those prayer requests.  Small and large miracles have taken place all around.  I step back into our mission not only with a profound sense of gratitude, but also with more of a commitment to lead with prayer.  Prayers for the specific needs of our scholars and their families, as well as for our team members and supporters across the world.  If you have a specific prayer request, please let me know.  I would love to add you to my prayer team and the new prayer board I’m adding to our conference room at the office.  

Last year was one of the most difficult years of my life, which I don’t think is an uncommon sentiment felt across the world.  I can’t help but think that God has something special in the year ahead, and I look forward to praying for it, working for it, and discovering it with you in 2022.

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