Mark Woodman’s Final Struggle

It has been over 2 years since Mark Woodman passed away on the 23rd of June 2010.  Though I only knew him for a short time, the impact he had on my life and many others, will only truly be understood once we pass into eternity.  He started a fire in so many people’s lives, and I hope his experience can in some way be a comfort to anyone who has had a similar struggle.

It can be a very morbid thing recalling an event like this, but as followers of Christ, as Mark was, we have the great hope of a reunion with our Brother.  We are never to forget this quote from the apostle Paul:

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

That means all things, including things as tragic as this event. Sometimes it is hard to believe something like this is God’s will, but I know it is.  How?  Because he told us through his prophet:

God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.  {CC 278.5}

 

It seems that this was Mark’s cross before his crown.  I saw a change in him from this experience, that can only be called miraculous.  I believe you will be able to see the transformation of his Character during the following letters also.  We can never know the heart of a man, but I believe this text is for him:

Revelation 14:13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

At the same time, I would ask you to keep in your prayers Mark’s family, and ask that God will comfort them.   A loss like this is very difficult, even when we know it is a part of God’s plan.

Also, never forget what Mark said at his last meeting in Australia: “if I’m gone, who will continue the work?”.  The answer is, you and me.  We have an obligation to proclaim this message to a dying world.  And at the same time, continue to grow in faith and understanding, so we can be prepared for the great and terrible day of the lord, that is far closer than you think.

God bless,
Ben

Following is a timeline of the public communications that Mark had during his struggle with cancer.   At the end there are links to the video of his funeral and other events.  I warn you, some of the images are a little gruesome.


1st October 2009

Mark’s Surgery a Success!

Over the past couple of days we have received a number of emails updating Mark’s condition. On Thursday 1st October Retha spoke with Cherryl. Mark’s condition had deterioted and he was needing immediate surgery.

Mark’s brain surgery began at 11:00am SA time and the doctors were out of theatre by 2:28pm SA time. The operation was a success! All of Mark’s tumours were successfully removed without any damage to the brain (they were practically loose from the brain) and the bleeding stopped. The doctors turned from not so positive before the operation to very positive afterwards. God was at work during the operation, thanks to the power of prayer. Mark is on a ventilator at the moment and will be kept in ICU until he stabilises. He still needs a lot of prayers for his recovery.

Mark is in the Groote Schuur Hospital and we will continue to update this information as we learn more. Please keep Mark, his family and his carers in your prayers. There is a prayer page for Mark on Facebook too – Prayers for Mark Woodman – if you’d like to leave a message for him. Retha has been reading the messages to Mark in between his treatments and he says they have been a great source of comfort and hope to him.

Authored by Leah Jones on behalf of Ben Jones. The above information is compilation of emails from the ‘Prayers for Mark Woodman’ administrators.

 

04 October 2009

Mark is awake.

Subject: Mark is awake!

The latest update to my knowledge is this:
Mark woke up this morning (presumably Sabbath, 03/10). New brain scans show no sign of cancer. He is back to his normal chatty self and thanks everybody for their love and prayers.
What an awesome, mighty God we serve!!

Kristie Gibson’s message to the members of Prayers for Mark Woodman.

 

 

5th October 2009

Thank you Fanie Fourie for this update! See below the latest email from Mark’s friend, Gerhard, who visited Mark on Sunday. Two new photos have also been posted below.

Dear Friends

As you probably know by now, Mark Woodman underwent brain surgery on Friday morning because the cranial pressure became too high and the pain and pressure became debilitating. (The operation was being scheduled for the coming Tuesday). The two cancer growths became one and was nicely contained with no spreading. The blood was also nicely contained and was also removed. A biopsy was taken to determine the origin. Only the tumors on the brain was removed.

Sabbath at lunch he was joking and clear in mind coming out of anesthesia. I visited him on Sunday and took the photo’s. The preparation (treatment that was done the week or so before the operation) for the operation was clearly visible when one compare him with the other patients that came out of the ICU at the same time. Mark is actually walking to the toilet and doing his thing all by himself already. And his brain is as clear as crystal.

His eyesight in his left eye is fully restored, but his sight in his right eye has areas that are still blurred. Previously to the operation there were but little sight in this eye.

Although he is out of immediate danger and cheerful, please remember to pray for him since there are still the cancer growths in the lungs and adrenals to deal with.

Kind regards

Gerhard


06 October 2009 –
Mark’s been discharged and has full eyesight in his left eye and partial in his right.

Please find below two more email updates from Mark’s friend Gerhard.

Another email from Gerhard on Monday, 05/10. Gerhard is from the health centre where Mark is attending.

Dear friends

We expected Mark back from the hospital by Thursday, but we underestimated him. He arrived back here today and we have started with some natural remedies already. He is completely out of pain, but is still taking some medicine for swelling. He is of good cheer and he joined the group worship tonight.
But from tomorrow we will start the natural remedies in full force in conjunction with the medical staff in Groote Schuur and a brain specialist in Rustenburg who has shared some great expertise in the decision making. We have also received some good advice and remedies from our overseas centers.

Please pray for his eyesight and the rest of the cancer condition.

Kind regards
Gerhard

08 October 2009

God is in Control!

An update from Fanie Fourie:
Just spoke to Mark on the phone. 20:30 on Wednesday October 7th.

He is in good spirit although his days are a bit up and down. Some days better than others. But he is making progress.

The tumor they removed from his brain was 6.5 x 3.5 cm big with lots of bleeding. Next Wednesday Mark is due to have the clips removed from his head, and they hope to have an indication then of the type of cancer he is fighting. Considering all this, he said it was unheard of to have this kind of surgery on Friday, and walk out of the hospital on Monday. God is in control!

He asked me to thank everybody for their support and prayers and especially the Facebook group.

Medically he is in good hands, and has the support of his wife Retha, his parents and Retha’s parents with him.

Regards
Fanie

From ‘Prayers for Mark Woodman’ on Facebook.

 


12th October 2009

From Facebook:

An email from Cherryl (Steps to Life):

Hi

Two hours ago the STL staff spent a delightful I/2 hour with Mark on the phone. He told us of all the miracles that have been happening and I pray he is able to write all of this down when he feels up to it.
On Thursday 1st October, he went into a coma and was very close to death, he was rushed to a close by country hospital where the neurosurgeon cancelled all 11 other operations and rushed him into theatre. The 6.5 x 3.5 tumour was sitting loose beside the brain like a hens egg and they could remove it without affecting the brain. By Sunday he was walking around the general ward praying and sharing Jesus with the other patients. Monday the surgeon said he might as well go back to the health centre as he was amazed at his recovery.
He is now able to work in the garden, has most of his sight back, and his weight is stabilizing. Wednesday they go for a check up but they are not too sure when he will be able to have another CT Scan to see what is happening with the other tumours.

They both have incredible faith and are praising God for what He has done for them so far.

His parents and parents-in-law were so amazed at what has been happening to him that they are now on the same health programme that Mark is on and last Sabbath was their first Sabbath they kept. Mark and Retha are just over the moon. The Lord was able to get the parents and Retha’s parents there by Thursday night so they could be with him and Retha in their most trying hours of their lives.

He expects to be at the health centre at least until 25th October.

Please keep praying for Mark.

Christian regards

Cherryl
Mark and his family 28th Feb 2010 

 
3rd March 2010

update from Mark

Dear friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ

It has been 3 months since I last sent out an update.  I thank you for your patience in waiting so long for this email, and for all the prayers that have been said on our behalf.  Each thought, prayer, phone call, sms or email is deeply appreciated.  I and my family have been overwhelmed by the kindness of people all over the world.  It is incredible to see how many lives the Lord has touched through the burden of my illness.

The path we have been down since I was diagnosed with cancer has been deeply spiritual, and I thank the Lord regularly for allowing me to go through this.  I know this probably sounds a bit weird, but I really mean it.  This cancer and its associated pain and discomfort has been the most spiritual experience of my life so far.  I am grateful that the Lord has allowed me to go through this so I can grow spiritually.  I believe that this is the goal of anything that happens in our life—good or bad… to grow spiritually, get closer to the Lord and learn to truly trust Him.  Why not thank Him for allowing something in my life that has brought my family together and brought us closer to our Creator?  And what better way could He have chosen than to allow me to almost lose my life, and then bring me back and give me time to contemplate the workings of His grace!  I am truly honoured that I can have gone through this experience so far.

 

Anyway, you probably want to know how it’s going, and what has happened since the last time I wrote to you…

Well, since the end of Nov (last update was on 29-11-09), much has happened.  During December and over the festive season the pain I was experiencing increased tenfold.  When my parents were here in early/mid Dec, I was grey and ashen in my face from the pain, and I was doubled over most of the time when trying to walk.  By the time my in-laws came to visit at the end of December, the pain was so drastic that I sometime just lay on my bed crying like a child.  The pain was coming from the adrenal gland area, and we had no idea what was going on.  The next scans were scheduled for the 3rd of Feb 2010, and we would have to wait till then to find out what was going on.  The main focus was to find natural pain killers, as I was not prepared to use morphine etc. (By the way, because of the enormous pain I was experiencing, I did try a mid range morphine-based pain killer for 3 days.  It threw my systems out completely.  My right leg didn’t want to work; I was drunk and falling over; I lost my appetite entirely—and up to then I had been eating well; I had terrible nausea and even though I had not eaten anything for a few days, I experienced vomiting… I can go on.  After 3 days the terrible impact of these chemicals on my body was so obvious, everything was upside down that should have been the right way up, that I decided to, on faith, leave the chemical drugs and trust that the Lord will open a door and show us what natural pain relief methods we could use.  This was one of the best decisions I have made in my life).

 

Only through the grace and kindness of the Lord and my wife’s dedication, did we find that white willow bark and a fixed combination of extracts from aspen leaves and bark (Populus tremula), common ash bark (Fraxinus excelsior), and golden rod herb (Solidago virgaurea) slowly lifted the pain more and more, until the pain was almost unnoticeable.  The Lord is truly kind!!  I believe that, due to my wife and my conviction that we will not just submit to chemical drugs and because we held fast to the Bible promises like:  Luke 11:9  … Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you, the Lord opened the ways for us to receive this tremendous blessing.  Today I am almost pain free and stronger than I have been for many months.

 

As stated, the scans were scheduled for Wed 3 Feb 2010, and for this we travelled through to Cape Town.  Because we had closed all the gaps in our plant-based diet and were sticking very strictly to the Biblical health principles, we knew that we could trust that the results would be positive.  With the aggression of adrenal melanoma, it would be a miracle if the tumours had just stayed the same size, but due to the pain I had experienced over the Dec/Jan period however, we thought that there might have been a slight growth of the tumours.  We really did not know what to expect from the scans, and Retha and I prayed earnestly before the time that whatever the results of the scans were, that we would accept them in faith—good or bad.

 

After a long wait on the 3rd of Feb, the scans were completed and we received the report.  What we read in the report shook our faith to its roots.

 

The one adrenal tumour had grown from 4.5 x 3.5 cm in Sept to 14.5 x 12.5 cm (almost like a small rugby ball).  The other adrenal tumour had grown from about 1 cm to 4.5 cm in diameter.  The lung tumours had pretty much stayed the same, but the cancer had also moved into the lymph system and was causing numerous areas of trauma within the stomach and bowel area.  The report showed that there had basically been a massive worsening of the cancer and it had spread throughout my body.  Having done everything that we believed the Lord had asked us to do, we were totally shocked by this result.  We thought there might have been a slight degradation, but such a massive shift had blind-sided both of us into silence.  The oncologist stated that this massive increase in size is what they expect from adrenal melanoma, and is why he had given me a prognosis of anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 months to live (from Sept 11, 2009), with or without chemo/radiation/surgery etc.

 

We left the hospital and sat in the car just staring in front of us.  We didn’t know what to say.  Retha has this wonderful characteristic in her that always looks for and highlights the beautiful things around us, so she decided to immediately take us on a drive around Cape Point so we could look at the beauty of the creation.  She hoped that this would take some of the pain and confusion away that we were experiencing.  It worked.  At one point, we sat overlooking the sea, speaking and softly singing hymns.  There were many tears as the thoughts rushed through our heads about our children and what would happen to them if I were to pass away etc.  Anyway, this experience helped us pull ourselves together and we drove home.  We prayed together earnestly for further relief and understanding.

 

The next morning (Thursday) was very hard.  We were both very teary and could hardly speak to one another. Much time was spent in contemplation and prayer as to what was going on, and what we could do differently.  By the afternoon, we were a little better as we had some appointments that took our minds off the immediate, endless, “in your face” thoughts.  That evening we went to bed and prayed again earnestly for guidance.  Then the most wonderful thing happened.

 

Early Friday morning, about 4 am, I woke up from something that had disturbed me.  It was as if I was unable to sleep because of a thought that would just not go out of my mind, but it was not a thought, it was a hymn.  I woke up humming a song which I had not heard probably since my primary school days.  I woke up to the words of: “I have peace like a river, I have peace like a river, I have peace like a river in my soul”.  It was the most amazing experience.  In the deepest turmoil of our lives, when science was telling me that my life was basically over, I not only had the words of this hymn in my mind, but I truly had peace like a river in my soul.  There was a quiet contentment that had come over me, and when Retha woke up she told me that she experienced the same peace.  This was a major turning point for us.

 

I was so grateful that we had asked the Lord beforehand to help us accept whatever the results were, as He truly had come through on His word.  The whole of Friday, Retha and I could not contain our smiles as we had the deepest possible peace and contentment in our hearts.  Thinking back, we can’t but smile when we think of the oncologist’s face when he asked me what analgesics (pain killers) I was using to cope with the pain.  When I told him white willow bark and some other natural substances, he could not believe it; he thought I was permanently on morphine by now.  He also stated that he does not understand how I could be walking and driving with such advanced cancer, as I should be permanently bed ridden.  He said that whatever we are doing must be working/helping to keep the cancer and the pain under control.

 

We did the scan in early Feb 2010 and received this terrible report, but thinking back of the improvement in my quality of life that has taken place since Dec/Jan, we believe that had we done a scan a month or two earlier, that the tumours would have been even bigger than they were in Feb.  We believe that they have started to reduce in size. Naturally there is no proof for this and science mocks us for believing this, but I have also come to realize on a very deep level that science and faith are incompatible—not science and religion, but science and faith.

 

True faith holds onto the impossible when science is still battling to study and prove the possible.  True faith holds onto something even when every evidence points in the opposite direction.  Peter walking on the water to Jesus is scientifically impossible, but by faith it was made possible.  The story of creation is scientifically impossible, but through faith it is made possible.  As Hebrews 11:1-3 explains: Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. … Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. (Contemporary English version).  So, if we live by faith, science cannot and will not be able to help us.  I understand this now for the first time, and this is the reason I am so grateful that the Lord allowed this illness in my life, as the result is I now live my life by faith to a much greater degree than I did before.  For this reason, we will not be going for another scan until I am healed.  There is no reason to check up on the Lord to see if He is healing me according to the standards of science.  If He so decides that my health must again greatly deteriorate before it improves, then that is up to Him.  As Psalms 27:14 states: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. This is what we will do.

 

Since our trip to Cape Town, things have continued to improve.  2 months ago I had little or no strength, and now I am up and busy for much of the day.  As I explained to our loved ones in Australia, “I am feeling better,… I am driving, walking, singing, playing cello, going for treatments, eating (well), sleeping, etc, and working on a new series”.  On Sunday past, we went on a 4X4 route which took us deep into the mountains.  We left at 10am, and returned at 6pm.  Amazingly, I was able to drive all the way in and out and had a wonderful day with my family and friends.  Such days/moments prove beyond doubt that we need to stop telling the Lord how big our problems are, and start telling our problems how big the Lord is.  Such days/moments give us as a family joy which is unexplainable, as we see the Lord’s hand working in my life.  Truly, we are experiencing the kindness of His undeserved love.

 

About 2 days after the scans, we received a wonderful message from the Lord.  In a matter of 36 hours, about 4 or 5 people sent us the exact same Bible text.  It was incredible.  Some people phoned us, others sent us text messages and I think I even got an email.  The text that the Lord sent us was Ps 118:17 which states: I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Isn’t that absolutely cool (for the want of a better word)?!!  Anyone who knows me will understand that this is what I live for—to declare the works of the Lord.  Although we had to wait a long time till His timing was right, the idea that the Lord can send me such a definite and clear answer to all our (yours and ours) prayers, boggles my mind.  I can just say ‘thank you’.

 

I hope that by now you are starting to get an idea of why I said in the beginning of this update that “I thank the Lord regularly for allowing me to go through this”.  There really is no reason to be unhappy and mope around feeling sorry for myself.

 

Oh yes, I attached some photos for you to look at.

 

Photo 1: (Please note that the scans are done from in salami form; i.e. they cut my body into thin slices, so the image is from the bottom up and not from the front as last time).  This is the scan of the one adrenal tumour.  I have highlighted it a bit with a yellow line.  This image shows the size quite nicely and also how the other organs are being squashed together as a result of my personal rugby ball.  This is the one that caused the massive pain over Dec/Jan.

Photo 2:  This scan shows an image of the lung and clearly highlights the tumour in the lung.  There is another smaller tumour which cannot be seen below this tumour.  The radiologist also thinks that the spots could possibly be new tumours forming in the lung, but they have not changed since the first scan in Sept 2009.

Photo 3:  This photo was taken on Sunday (2 days ago) at one place where we rested for a moment in the mountains.  I hope the tangible joy we had and still have is visible and is contagious that it fills your hearts as well.  Please note the contrast between the first two tumour scans and the third one of my family—you will clearly see why science is scratching its head.

When the Lord called me to work for Him, he gave me Joshua 1:9: Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.Our decision was that, even though we had massive resistance to our new life and way of living, we would live according to Joshua 24:15:  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; … as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. This was our decision and I am so thankful we made it.  The fact that I am still alive and active is a testimony to the health message as laid out in the word of God.

 

Thank you for all your prayers.  I really mean this.  The fact that I can get up in the morning means that someone is praying somewhere in the world.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support—you can see it has made all the difference.  I pray that we will learn to pray for one another more, as you have done for us.

 

Lastly I want to thank the Lord Jesus Christ that He has tested our faith and that our situation has touched you.  May His name continue to be glorified.  All honour and praise goes to Him for His kindness and guidance.

May He bless you and keep you, till we meet again.

Kind regards

 

Mark Woodman

Mark’s Goodbye: 

Mark’s Last Interview – vimeo
Mark Woodman’s Goodbye – youtube
Mark’s Funeral – vimeo

If you have read this far then you may wonder – Where to from here?
If you are new to this faith.. or even have been in it for a long time, there is a huge journey ahead.  God is perfecting his people, and we don’t like to be perfected.  We are poor, miserable, blind and naked, and we don’t know it.  If you wish for spiritual growth beyond the vitally important wake up call that Mark gives, continue on to the sermons which will be here every week; start your own ministry work; draw nearer to God by reading his word (including the spirit of prophecy).  Download and listen to the audiobooks on this site, which are vital for your salvation.  read Daniel & The Revelation (in the store, for free as pdf).  If you have read them once, read them again, the word of God takes far more than one read to understand.  To know the truth is not enough.  The devils believe and they tremble.  The truth has to become a part of you.May God bless you on your journey, I hope we can meet soon in the heavenly kingdom.

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