THE WORD 208
“They Say it’s Science, I say it’s God.”
Elder, Local Church of Marikina
I am Sister Ched Evangelista, a CPA by profession and a Church elder by heart and soul, from the local church of Marikina. I may not be one of the best elders in the Church, but I am striving to hold my position with pride and care. I’m the first fortunate member of the family who accepted the precious gospel of salvation in a crusade way back in 1986. The salvation I received was also shared to my siblings’ families and relatives as well.
Being a believer does not exempt one from trials, problems, and illnesses. As you grow roots, your faith will be put to test. But when one’s own life is at stake, it can’t be helped to utter, “why me?” When I experienced this, the first thing I did was to cry and pray. I asked for forgiveness for all my wrongdoings and negligence in my responsibility as a member of the true church. I just hoped my faith would suffice.
In 2008, I felt pain in my left breast. After having a mammography, I was recommended to have a breast ultrasound because the lump was beyond borderline size. My faith faltered when I was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive carcinoma. Never have I felt so afraid in my life. With my 3 kids in college and 1 in high school, I did not know what to do. I had panic attacks. A lot of it. I was numb with fear but pretended to act normal in life. But then I was impatient to ask God for instant healing. When my oncologist explained that I had to undergo mandatory treatment because I was already at risk of having my cancer cells flow into my bloodstream, I finally accepted that I was not one of those blessed for instant healing. Perhaps God wanted me to stay still, like Job, to prove to Him how deep my faith is. All I’m certain is God lends life and gets it when your time is up. It all begins and ends with God.
I made a list of the things I needed to prepare to help me get through the worst, and God is good to supply exactly what I needed:
1. My Faith – I don’t have enough. Being the first believer in the family, I know they look up to me with regards to the faith. I cannot afford for them to see me as a person who preached about heaven and also a person who is scared of death. Pastor Toti Pablo, my brother, gathered all my family and relatives to have Bible Study at home regularly. We prayed and fasted intensely. But knowing that a prayer from the Goodman of the House is most sufficient, I requested Pastor Kate Saulog to give my prayer request to the Apostle. After these, I felt much better emotionally; certain that I will be alright with all the brethren’s prayers.
2. My Money – I requested assistance from DSWD and PCSO but still, they weren’t enough to support the hospital bills. My eldest daughter’s friend endorsed me in a case study at St. Luke’s Hospital for an experimental treatment, free of charge. Though it was very risky for my health and there was no guarantee that the new drug for breast cancer will work, I decided to take part of the clinical trial. I talked to my family about it and they agreed. We decided that the supposedly half a million costs of treatment will be given as thanksgiving offering. The experimental drug which is free may cost me my life. But my heart says that if I die, I might as well do it right.
3. My Body – The drug will kill my cancer cells, but it will also destroy my good ones. My liver and kidney will be most affected. I asked Pastor Polly Mendoza for advice. He told me that my body will only be able to endure everything if I continually prayed and lived day to day having the mindset that each passing day is not about another trip to the hospital, but rather another journey of blessing.
I may have possibly shown off fake bravery as I was very scared inside, but I always embraced my faith. I missed several church services due to treatments but I committed myself to always attend Sunday Worship. Being stuck at home, I cannot help but feel pitiful. I felt useless in my family and worse, in the Church. I locked my room and I prayed and cried for healing until the words of the Apostle struck me—” prayer is the ultimate answer…” I then realized I should be praying for the whole Church and not only for myself. I hurriedly made a list of all the local churches and prayed for each until I memorized them all effortlessly. Who would’ve thought that the more you pray for the Church and less for yourself, the more you become stronger in body and spirit.
Days came torturously and months passed agonizingly but by God’s grace, 6 months of excruciating pain for my body became months of rejuvenation for my soul. I clung to the Word of God that serves as my weapon and hold onto prayer that serves as my shield. There were casualties in the clinical drug trial, but God is merciful and just to answer my prayers and the brethren’s. Being at the brink of death was not easy, but when you know that you are with God, death and life just equates to life—a life in heaven with the Almighty Father.
All I knew is that after a year of treatment, I was healed. Up to now, I am thankful to my Creator, my Father in heaven, and I always hope to be of service in every way I can to the work of God. Medical records are there to authenticate that I was healed, but I claim my validation in God. It is just as my youngest daughter said, “They say it’s science, I say it’s God.”
Sister Ched Evangelista is a recipient of the 30 years faithful servant award given in Marikina local church in 2017. She holds the office of eldership in the Church since 1990 and held various positions in the elders and adult department. Currently, she is an officer in the elders’ department, and wife of Church elder, Brother Rene Evangelista, from Southbay Locale. They have a son and three daughters of which 1 is a minister and another is a student of the Maranatha Bible School.