Sometimes life takes unexpected and frightening turns.
On July 1, 2005, we experienced one of those turns. It began with a mid-day phone call from a member of our congregation. The call came from Dr. Mark Hassel. He asked if he and his wife Jennifer could meet with me because of a serious family crisis.
The urgency of Mark’s call alarmed me. I knew his medical practice was far too busy for him to take time off for anything but an emergency. I couldn’t imagine what had happened.
Was it one of their three beautiful children? A personal or marital difficulty? My mind anxiously raced through scenarios common to my work.
After encouraging them to come directly to my office, upon arrival, Dr. and Mrs. Hassel shared the shocking news that Mark was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer that had spread to his liver. We embraced, wept and prayed as we tried to…
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