In 24 hours everything changed for the Dean family. One day Daniel Dean was a lively four-year-old celebrating his birthday. The next day he was curled up on the sofa with an apparent infection. Tests revealed the worst news parents could get. Daniel had Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an explosive form of leukemia.
Worried about the aggressive treatment regimen and astronomical medical bills, the Deans turned to family for support – their family of faith. “In John 13, Jesus said ‘all will know my disciples by their love for each other,’” said Curt Dean, associate pastor of single adults at Lawndale Baptist Church, Greensboro. “People loved us with the Mother’s Day Offering.”
The Deans are thankful that Daniel has been cancer-free since April 2012, and they are very grateful for the support of the Mother’s Day Offering. “We’re called to be ministers to each other,” said Dean. “This is a way we can live out the gospel and love and bless one another as Christ has compelled us to do.”
Curt Dean, right, associate pastor of single adults at Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro, and his family faced a crisis when their son was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. They have been helped through North Carolina Baptists giving to the Mother’s Day Offering.
Gary R. Gunderson, vice president of Faith and Health Ministries of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, said, “Despite many profound uncertainties in health care policy, one thing has remained constant since 1920: the partnership between North Carolina Baptists and their hospital means that we are able to look anyone in need in the eye and say that we are here for them without regard for how the world sees them or their bank account.”
Sherri Sexton, another Mother’s Day Offering recipient, is one of the hundreds of patients who have been blessed because of the relationship between the hospital and North Carolina Baptists.
Sexton was worried. She had been a heart patient for nearly a decade, with a long family history of heart problems. The transient ischemic attack (TIA) that took her to Baptist Hospital was a warning sign that a real stroke may be imminent. It was also the final push that knocked her family over the edge of their personal financial cliff.
Sherri and husband Mark had been climbing a steep mountain for months. He had lost his job, and she was out of work on disability. Then a terrible car accident took everything they had left. The hospitalization for the TIA put them in a fiscal landslide.
“I was paying all I could, but sometimes it was only $10 because I had to buy medicine and food,” Sexton said. “We had been praying to God for work, to show us what to do, to help us figure out how to get this and our other bills paid. Our church was praying too. We turned it over to God and put it in His hands. We knew He would take care of it.”
God did take care of it through N.C. Baptists.
“When we got the letter from the Mother’s Day Offering, I thought it was from a collection agency. But instead, it was the biggest blessing. I fell to my knees crying and thanked God for working a miracle. I called my husband. He was driving a truck for one of our friends for a couple of days and had to pull over and cry a little bit, too. We praised and thanked God. It was the best feeling. People don’t believe God is real, but I am living proof. God has blessed us.”
For the Sextons, faith is all about trust, even when everything is going wrong – especially when everything is going wrong. “I believe if you trust in the Lord and pray, God will do what is best for you and will lift the burden,” Sexton said. “God never puts more on you than you can bear. He will take care of you.”
“For 90 years, North Carolina Baptists have faithfully and sacrificially given to the Mother’s Day Offering to make a life-changing difference for hurting patients and families at North Carolina Baptist Hospital,” said Leland Kerr, Baptist Health Care liaison at the hospital. He added, “Your gifts made all the difference in the world for people like Daniel Dean and Sherri Sexton and hundreds of other hurting patients and families.”
Kerr further stated, “We are grateful to North Carolina Baptists on behalf of the Deans, the Sextons and many other patients in great need. Your gifts to the Mother’s Day Offering provide a source of hope in the name of Jesus Christ and His love. Please join me in praying for God’s love to be at work through the Mother’s Day Offering. Please give generously and allow Him to touch others through you.”
The Dean’s story and the Sexton’s story can be seen at www.mothersdayoffering.org. Mother’s Day Offering materials were mailed to North Carolina Baptist churches.
Materials can be obtained by calling (336) 716-3027 or email Kerr at [email protected].