During Mission Weekend, we’ll celebrate the transformation God has done in the lives of adults and students alike. Check out this testimony of high school student Katie Granger, who will be baptized on April 30:
My name is Katie Granger. I was raised in a Christian home and, like most Christian kids, I had been attending church ever since I was a baby. I also attended a Christian school, so at a very young age I’d heard about Jesus and how much He loves me. Life was very normal when I was growing up. When I was 7 years old, after a small group meeting at my house, I asked my parents if I could have my own Bible. My mom asked me why, and I told her that I wanted to learn more about Jesus because I wanted to ask Him to come into my heart. My mom and dad explained to me what it meant to be a Christian, and that is when I decided that I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my life.
Little did I know how this decision would play a vital role in my life when it all changed in December 2015, when I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (a rare type of bone cancer). That was when my relationship with Jesus’ became more real and personal to me.
Amazingly, God was already orchestrating my core support and showed Himself faithful even before we knew what was going on. A few weeks prior to my diagnosis, very close friends of our family, whom I call Mom and Dad #2, were supposed to be transferred to Germany. Just a few days before I was diagnosed, the military told them that they were no longer being transferred. No one understood the reason why at the time, but then we saw how God kept them here to support me in my journey.
When my mom first took me to the pediatrician and an MRI showed I had a tumor in my shoulder, that night my dad told my brothers what was going on and that we were not going to let this shake our faith. We were going to keep trusting God and allow God to use this for His purpose and His glory. The following day, my parents, my mom and Dad #2 and I went to Johns Hopkins to see the oncologist team. The orthopedic oncologist confirmed my diagnosis and recommend that I start chemo soon.
My chemo started the week after Christmas and at first I couldn’t see how God could use me to shine a light for him at the pediatric oncology unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We started playing Christian music in my room and had Bible verses hanging on my IV pole, so when doctors and nurses would come into my room they could listen to the music and see the Bible verses. Mom #2 found a specialized t-shirt that had two zippers on the front, thus allowing easy access to my port during chemotherapy. The nurses and doctors were amazed at the shirt and had never seen anything like it before! The shirts would allow the doctors and nurses to access the ports easily as well allow me to maintain modesty. We decided to serve the Lord by forming a charity organization called “Hearts and Hands for Hopkins” by which we would hand out these chemo shirts to other pediatric patients. We had these shirts custom-made with my favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11, printed on it. We have handed the shirts to Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and people of other faiths.
During my hospital stays, many of the nurses and patients’ families would ask how come we were always smiling, and we told them it is because of our relationship with Jesus! The day before my surgery to remove the tumor, Pastor Rich and Dustin came to our home to pray over me. My surgery was expected to last 12 hours, but because of the many prayers on my behalf, everything went smoothly and my surgery lasted for 9½ hours. Right before they were about to put the oxygen mask on me, the nurse asked me which radio station I would like to listen to, and I said 95.1. When they turned on the station, the words the announcers said gave me peace and comfort, knowing that God is in control of my surgery. They said, “You are now under the shadow of the Cross…”
After the surgery, the surgeon came out and told everyone that the surgery went very well and that my margins were all clear of any spreading cancer. The Lord was faithful and in control! I was told that the surgery might affect my ability to move my fingers because they had to cut off part of my shoulder and my arm bone and put a prosthetic bone in its place and reconnect all the nerves. But a week after surgery I was already able to play the piano. Once again, answered prayers. I resumed chemo a couple weeks after my surgery and completed chemo in August of last year.
There were days when I didn’t feel well due to the side effects of chemo, yet I was able to get through them because of the many prayers on my behalf. Jesus had carried me through my cancer journey and I know He can carry you through anything that you are going through in life.
Some of you may ask “Why would a good God allow this to happen?” I don’t have the answer, but what I can tell you is that God is good and faithful and He has a plan for my life, just as He says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I don’t know why God allowed me to have cancer, but I am so thankful that He allowed me to go through this journey to show me that He can be trusted and help me to shine a light for Him. For example, at the pediatric oncology unit, they have a teen room where I would often go and play the piano. Many of the nurses, doctors and patients and their parents told me that it made their day when they heard me play. They also noticed that I had peace and joy.
Every day when I was in the hospital, my mom would always remind me that God loves me and His mercies are new every day. I have seen glimpses of God’s mercies during my journey. Many of you have prayed for me and brought meals over, other cancer foundations have reached out to us by providing us a vacation home to stay at the beach. Even though I couldn’t see God’s purpose for me at times, He was still there through it all, right by my side. God is too wise to be mistaken and He is too good to be unkind. I know that when I don’t see God’s hand I can trust His heart.
I want to get baptized to tell others about all that God has done in my life, that He is good and point people to Him. Exodus 9:16 says, “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name will be proclaimed in all the Earth.”