Our trip compass pointed north, so we added boxes of Christian literature and Bibles and planned a detour to Love Packages in Butler, Ill. I like to read and share books so I collect to give to Love Packages which provides literature for individuals, churches, schools and pastors in third world countries. At the warehouse, we backed up to the delivery dock and, with the secretary’s help, hoisted boxes of books into bins.
“How’s Steve doing?” I asked as I passed a box of books.
“He’s fine. He had surgery and is here today.”
It seemed only a couple weeks ago he asked for prayer after a diagnosis of throat cancer. The doctor said the cancer’s location ruled out surgery because it could damage his vocal chords and rob him of speech. Not good news for Steve Schmidt who preaches often about God directing his prayers, the ministry and shipments of books since the 1970s.
“Yes, he is here. You can go speak with him. He is on the forklift helping load the shipping container.” She walked us to the loading dock where Steve manipulated a fork lift to wedge boxes into a metal shipping container. He slid off the forklift. A volunteer took his seat. The left side of his neck bore a long surgical wound. “They tried to cut off my head,” he joked before explaining. “My PET scan lit up with cancer. Monday, the doctor planned a biopsy to determine the kind of cancer and treatment.”
The day of his outpatient surgery, as Steve prepared to go, he said, “I thought about people who had said that their cancer was just hanging by a thread. I started to pray, ‘Lord make it so it is just hanging by a thread. I stopped. That didn’t seem right. I stopped and began again, ‘may it just be hanging there.’ That seemed like the way to pray.”
Steven went into the operating theater for his 15 minute biopsy. The anesthesiologist inserted the IV to put him to sleep for a short time. The doctor touched the nodule to snip it. It moved. “It’s just dangling there. Let’s take it out today,” he said.
The staff stared at him.
“You know what to do. I know what to do. I’ve done it many times before. We have what we need here. You get him ready. I am going to go talk with his wife.”
Steve’s wife Jeanie listened to the surgeon and with her sons’ input agreed to have the dangling cancer removed immediately. Four hours later, Steve woke to learn that instead of a 15 minute biopsy, he had had a dangling cancerous node removed along with 10 other lymph nodes.
“Unless there was a stray cancer cell, I am 99.99 percent sure you are cancer free,” the surgeon told him.
Steve stayed in the hospital that night and went home the next. Two days after surgery he was back at Love Packages. “I’m just operating the fork life. After we finish, I will work in the office until noon and then go home to rest.”
With tons of books, Bibles, Christian literature and lessons awaiting shipment to folks who desperately need them, Steve has no time to waste.
We praised God with him and returned to our van where the rural route mail carrier waited in her SUV for our van to leave the receiving dock. She needed to unload dozens of boxes of Christian literature packed into her SUV. As we drove away we saw the mail lady and secretary unloading boxes from across the country. Each held Bibles and books that churches and individuals had shipped to Love Packages to share around the world.