The family of co-founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), Loren Cunningham, has announced he is living with Stage 4 cancer. In a message posted on Facebook, his wife Darlene said their priority was his quality of life, over extending the 87-year-old evangelist’s life with the disease.
"Thank you so much for your prayers for Loren and his health. As you know, the doctors did a biopsy on some very slow-growing nodules in his lungs earlier this month, when they got large enough to biopsy. They turned out to be cancerous, which led us back to Honolulu for a full body scan on February 22nd," she wrote.
"The results from that scan have just come in, revealing that there is extensive cancer in Loren's lungs, bones, and lymph system (stage 4 cancer).”
Founded by the Cunninghams in 1960, YWAM's stated purpose is to "know God and to make Him known”. The organisation sends up to 25,000 young Christians out on short-term missions every year.
In her message, Darlene emphasised her husband would be continuing in ministry:
"One miracle is, the cancer cells have not spread to his brain. Another is that Loren is able to be quite active at this time!".
"We believe with all our hearts that these miracles are an answer to the prayers of the Saints. Everything about this case has been unusual. The oncologist said that usually, lesions in the lungs grow very quickly; Loren's have grown very slowly. We don't know whether that will be characteristic of the growth of the other lesions as well. But what we DO know is that he is in God's hands," she added.
"We have already decided as a family to prioritize Loren's QUALITY of life over trying to extend the length of time, through chemo or other treatments that could reduce his energy and productiveness. He has Jesus, family, friends, and vision. Who could ask for more?" she wrote.
Sports camps, drama presentations, musical events, volunteering, and other creative and performing arts are among the different ways YWAM volunteers and staff share the Gospel.
Last month, 85-year old founder of mission organisation Operation Mobilisation, George Verwer, announced he had advanced Sarcoma cancer. In an update to supporters, he asked that people don't pray for his healing.
“I really am looking forward to heaven," he wrote.