Twenty-three years ago, a quilted comforter helped Su Hanson navigate her diagnosis of cancer. She remembers “Whenever I was wrapped in it I felt as though I was wrapped in the love and arms of my Comforter, the source of all comfort, my loving God,” she said. Six years later her friend was diagnosed with cancer. “Having received God’s compassion and comfort in such a tangible way through the comforter given to me when I had my cancer, this moved me to hold out God’s compassion and gift of comfort to another, by sending my comforter to my friend with cancer.” However, when a second friend was also diagnosed, Su was heartbroken that she did not have another comforter to share with her. After much thought and prayer, Su was led to start the Comforter Ministry.
How does the ministry work? If an individual would like a comforter to be sent to a loved one with cancer, they only need to contact Su and provide the loved one’s address. On her website, Su has a link with her e-mail, phone number, and street address by which she can be contacted. The loved one will receive the comforter in the mail along with a journal that shares the gospel message and a cover letter that explains who requested the comforter be sent and information about the Comforter Ministry. There is no cost to requesting a quilt. So far, an amazing 676 comforters and journals have been sent to loved ones.
Even more amazing is that Su has made exactly zero comforters. “As of August 25, 2019, 129 quilters or quilt groups from 22 states and one Canadian province have made 672 comforters that have comforted over 855 women with cancer from 38 states (USA), one Canadian province, Australia, the Caribbean, Japan, and Switzerland.” Like Su did with the quilt she received, recipients of Comforter Ministry quilts are given the option to send their quilt on to someone else with cancer if he or she is ready to part with it. In this way, many quilts comfort even more men and women.
What has Su learned from her Comforter Ministry? The generosity of others. “I am continually awed by the magnitude of willingness in others to share their talents, gifts, time, and energy.” Some individuals and groups have donated completed quilts. Others have offered to finish a quilt that someone else has started and in this way grown a friendship with another quilter. Su said she has also learned to be patient and to rely on God’s timing rather than her own. She finished by saying the messages she receives from recipients are heartwarming and inspirational. “I have received so much more from the Comforter Ministry than I have given to it. God is amazing!”
Are you interested in supporting this ministry but don’t have the skills or ability to sew a quilt? “Prayer is also a huge part of this ministry as well. I have an ongoing prayer list on the website as well as a prepared prayer to use. I regularly encourage my supporters to keep the Comforter Ministry, its recipients, their loved ones and caregivers, the medical community who serve them, and cancer research in their personal prayers on a regular basis.”
So picture this: right now a loved one with cancer is being wrapped in the love of the Comforter through the tangible wrapping of a quilt; her spiritual needs are being addressed through the comforting words within the journal; and she is being prayed for by people all over the U.S. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
The Comforter Ministry also accepts donations to help cover the cost of shipping the quilts and printing the journals. For more information about the ministry, to request a quilt, or to view the prayer list, please visit comforterministry.com.
By Allison Spaude, BAN, RN
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