Her devotion, “Walking in the Light,” was taken from 1 John 1: 6-10. She said, as Christians we’re walking in the light and most people can tell by the way we smile and talk, illustrating her point with a Thomas Kincade porcelain lighthouse with a small light bulb that lit up when turned on. She said, “You know a lighthouse — it shines and if it weren’t for that lighthouse, ships would go astray or maybe wreck or whatever. That’s the same way with us,” she added. “We have to have faith and we got to let our light shine ... when I was a little girl, probably the first thing I learned was the Lord’s prayer and my mother taught all my kids the Lord’s prayer.
Bostic said it’s so important to get everybody you can living for the Lord and “if we can only get them to live for the Lord, look at the people, maybe they can get involved.”
Guest speaker Marilyn Thomas of Welcome Friends, a greeting service in town, gave her testimony as a cancer survivor and the power of prayer.
She handed out a small piece of paper with scripture verses including Romans 5:2-5 and Romans 8:26-27.
Thomas said she was interviewed at the Cleveland Banner about her life. She and her husband moved to Cleveland 11 years ago and met club member Peggy Meyer, “Tom and I moved here from Jacksonville, Fla., and he is retired Navy ... served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and then went into civil service.” They lived in Oklahoma at several different times, as well as Texas, California, Michigan, Okinawa, New York, Jacksonville twice and finally Cleveland.
She said she was from the northeastern corner of Oklahoma, near Joplin, Mo., where a massive tornado hit last year. Thomas said the Lord protected them last spring from tornadoes that hit a few miles south of Cleveland on Leadmine Road, where they live. She said, that she grew up poor and everyone else around was poor too, but had plenty to eat and life revolved around their church and they had a wonderful life. While in college, she earned an associate in arts degree in home economics, which she used for the rest of her life cooking for the family, church and others.
Thomas said she was a waitress, a cook, a hostess, worked at a gas station, at a YMCA camp, at a county Extension office and worked civil service for 17 years at various jobs from cashier at the commissary, in aviation support, civilian personal, secretary at a Marine and Navy training squadron for F-18 fighter jets.
Thomas said that throughout those years she was a Mary Kay consultant and sales director for seven years. When she and Tom moved to Cleveland, she thought about retiring, but got a job with Welcome Friends where they hand out welcome packages to new people moving in, new businesses, new babies, newly weds, new home owners. Lately, she was trying to get new packages out to tornado victims who lost their homes last year. The packages are free.
Thomas said she had tubal ligation, carpal tunnel surgery, and gallbladder surgery in Jacksonville, and after they moved to Cleveland, she had several medical emergencies and surgeries and on June 28, 2010, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said, that her mother died from complications from stage three rectal cancer seven years ago, at age 86. “She had a wonderful life — my mom had a servant’s heart,” she said.
Thomas said she went ahead and had a colonoscopy to check for rectal cancer too and everything turned out find. Five years later, she was scheduled for another one and this time the doctor found some cancer and referred her to a specialist in Chattanooga. The doctor told her that he didn’t want to do surgery, but said, “If you’ll trust me, Memorial has had wonderful results in curing your type of cancer.”
She told the doctor, “OK, let’s do it.” She was informed it would be a rough program, but went ahead with the treatment, involving chemotherapy and radiation, so her treatment started leaving her sick and fatigued often, and when a blood clot happened she had to do blood test ... “day after day after day,” she said.
Thomas said her doctors and nurses prayed for her everyday. When she had a reaction to the chemo on her first week the hospital staff provided an atmosphere of prayerful healing, since her chemotherapy was 120 straight hours on the pump at a time — which was awful — and not the usual few hours and come back in three weeks.
She said, “I had a reaction and they thought it might have been my heart, so they put me in the hospital for heart tests and stopped the chemo.” Marilyn tells about one of the hospital volunteers, who was so kind to her, came to get her and take her to another room for heart tests, he asked if he could pray for her and she accepted, since the hospital allows prayer for patients.
Thomas said she’d received more than 100 cards from friends that all said, “We’re praying for you.” She said that she learned a lot through her cancer treatment. Her church gave her good prayer support, “It’s a very humbling thing when you think about all those people praying for you, it’s very humbling and so I start praying for them,” she said.
“Hope does not disappoint us,” Thomas said, “because God has poured out his love into out hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us and I think through the whole thing, through the whole journey that I put, it was the hope that meant so much.”
Thomas invited the group to the “Relay For Life” for cancer patients and survivors set for this May 4 and 5 this weekend. She said, “Let me tell you these people can tell you stories, my story doesn’t compare theirs and some of these people have gone through cancer four and five different times and they’re still hanging on to God’s word and it is truly amazing.”
“In closing,” Thomas said, “I want to say, ‘God loves us, He loves us no matter what we do’ — God has enough love to cover all of our sins. I’ve been cancer free for 20 months and thank you for having me.”
Bostic said how everyone enjoyed Thomas’ talk and urged everyone next month to wear some red, white and blue for next month’s special guest speaker, state Rep. Kevin Brooks.
The door prize, compliments of Steve Robinson of Cleveland Plywood, was won by the speaker, with Martha Ledford winning the second door prize, which was donated by Shawn Markie, club recorder. Joe Ben Chase gave the closing prayer.
Others present were Peggy Meyer, Barbara Tucker, Sonya Kasper, Calvin Davis, Betty Keith, Evelyn Denton and Alexander Delk
The next meeting will be held at Golden Corral Restaurant at 11:30 on May 29.
For more information on the United Club meetings, you may contact Bostic at 478-5766 or Markie at 476-5426.