Being diagnosed with a life-threatening tumour tested the faith of a young Mozambican woman and strengthened her testimony of God’s role in her life
Vanessa juggled her university and church responsibilities while simultaneously functioning in her family roles and enjoying life as a Young Single Adult. But one day in June 2013, Vanessa, 21 years old at the time, experienced pain in her left side. She approached medical experts and was sent for a variety of tests.
An ultrasound, magnetic resonance image (MRI) and endoscopy revealed the unwelcome news: a large tumor had developed on her liver. Six months after she had felt the first pain, her doctor advised her to go for immediate surgery. He told Vanessa that she would be in theatre for five hours, in hospital for 12 days after the surgery, and would need to recover at home for three months thereafter.
Family and friends, former missionaries and members on two continents were fasting and praying. On 22 January 2014 when Vanessa was admitted to Hospital Privado in Maputo. During surgery the following day, Vanessa’s tumor was removed in a procedure that took just one hour, rather than the anticipated five. In a further tender mercy, Vanessa was released from hospital after five days rather than 12, and the tumor was completely removable and benign.
“I did everything within my reach, as did my family and friends, through prayer and fasting, and God did the rest,” says Vanessa. She credits God’s love and power for allowing her to return home so quickly.
And recover she did. Less than six weeks after her surgery, her doctor found Vanessa sufficiently recuperated to return to her university classes. At that time, she told friends she felt like the individual in the “Footprints in the Sand” poem: her footprints were not evident in the sand because the Saviour carried her during her trials and suffering. And, she said, her dear family—aunt, uncle, and cousins—had helped and encouraged her, as did her network of friends at home and abroad.
At Christmas 2014, nearly one year following her surgery, Vanessa sent a message of gratitude to those who were such a support to her. She wrote:
“Thank you for being by my side in the moment that I most needed you; I could feel your love for me....prayers were answered. Today I am recovered, happy, and doing well together with my family and friends. I will finish my university classes in 2015, and am preparing to go on a mission. I am very happy because at times I felt that I would not be able to finish university. I want to express my gratitude and ask that God may bless you all for everything you have done for me and my family.”
Vanessa recently underwent her first medical check-up, in which doctors found that her liver was functioning normally. The 23-year old will complete her dissertation for her college course this year. She continues visiting branch Primaries throughout the Maputo district, helping children to learn and love the songs of the Saviour. In addition, Vanessa regularly accompanies her local sister missionaries to teaching appointments as she prepares for own opportunity to serve the Lord full-time.