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Cancer Treatment Fundraising for Japie van Kampen

Pastor of Newcastle Baptist Church

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JJ van Kampen
Bank: Capitec
Account: 1365163049

Introduction


Matthew 24:25 asks, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?" This verse confirmed Japie van Kampen’s calling to pastoral ministry in 2009. Before this, he was involved in missions for 15 years, travelling across South Africa, singing, and evangelizing in remote rural and urban areas.

It is common practice today for congregations to employ pastors. My father's conviction though is that elders are called, not employed and they must comply with the Biblical requirements for elders.  He believes that he must serve God’s people faithfully. Like the servant in the verse which confirmed his calling to fulltime pastoral ministry. When he was unanimously accepted by the church as pastor, it was acknowledged as confirmation from God. At that time my dad made a promise before God and the church to serve the church, not through a signed contract, but by giving his word.

What I see in my dad—and I'm not the only one—is someone desiring to live to the standard of 1 Peter 5:2. Shepherds of God's flock are encourages to willingly watch over them, not out of obligation, and to be eager to serve without pursuing dishonest gain.

The Journey

Why did I choose to introduce him this way? Well; in 2020; 11 years after his pastoral appointment, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Remaining steadfast to his promise to God and the congregation he continued ministering too and feeding God's people at the appropriate time.

Since the initial diagnosis, his health has deteriorated significantly. Three years after his diagnosis, he can no longer sit, and standing has become very challenging. Walking is slow and strenuous, and, most notably, he is in constant, excruciating pain. Yet, despite these challenges, his greatest desire is to honour God and continue to minister as long as possible. His calling has propelled him through three years of cancer progression, pain, and difficulties, yet he never ceased to care for, pray for, and minister to the God's household entrusted to him.

The Church

We are also encouraged by the congregation. We are experiencing how a small church in Arbor Park Newcastle is undergoing transformation that we can hardly believe. Even during these challenging times, the church is wholly supportive of my dad. The church has truly become like a family. It feels as though we are experiencing glimpses of the church in the book of Acts, having all things in common. We pray, cry, and laugh together. We bear each other's burdens as never before. Despite not being a wealthy congregation, members share as much as they can with one other and with my father.

The treatment plan

For three years, my dad pursued alternative treatment due to challenges with his hospital plan. Having devoted his entire life to ministry, he always trusted God to provide in all our needs. Our needs were substantial, but consequently, he couldn't afford comprehensive medical aid. Fortunately, he has since managed to secure a better hospital plan, but it does not cover much.

After his diagnosis, God opened amazing doors through an acquaintance of mine, enabling him to consult a highly sought after oncologist. However, the treatment was too costly, and at that stage he wasn't comfortable with the prognosis. He decided to pursue alternative treatment, placing everything in God's hands and trusting Him for guidance and wisdom. Although the alternative treatment was much cheaper than the mainstream treatment, it was still expensive. God, however, provided enough for him to continue with alternative treatment during this time.

Changing course

The alternative treatment plan was unfortunately not successful, and the tumour continued to grow. In March 2023, the tumour broke through the anus and the skin on his buttocks. This development severely decreased his mobility and significantly increased his pain. Despite these challenges, he remains committed to preaching every Sunday. Until recently, we didn't have any oncologists here in Newcastle. A palliative nurse assisted my father. She is a Godsend, helping him manage the pain enough to remain clear-headed and mobile enough to reach the pulpit. The church has also been tremendously supportive, making adjustments to accommodate his needs. The pulpit was moved from the platform to the bottom of the stairs so he can reach it more easily.

My dad hasn't been able to sit or walk much for about two years now. He spends his days lying on his side studying scripture and preparing messages and Bible studies. When we visit a doctor, he can't sit, so at times he lies the floor. This has been a humbling experience for all of us. He even lies down at church during members meetings, Bible studies and before preaching. We've all grown accustomed to it by now, and it has become inspirational. Despite his mobility issues, he stands behind the pulpit when he preaches. God truly strengthens him during that time. During one of our panel discussions at a conference for pastors in the Newcastle area, he was lying on the platform while engaging with the people. This demonstration of his willingness to continue ministry despite the obstacles he faces, exemplifies his faithfulness to me!

Oncology

A new oncologist arrived in Newcastle, and our palliative nurse got us in contact with him. Dr Zwane is truly remarkable. He listened intently to our concerns, he provided clarity and proposed treatment options we hadn't previously considered. During one consultation, he suggested: "Why don't you do fundraising?" This idea had honestly never crossed my mind, but it led to the birth of this fundraiser.

When we received the CT scan results, three years after the first diagnosis, the doctor looked at us and said, "You are a lucky man". We don't believe in luck, so we interpreted it as a blessing from the Lord. The tumour could have spread after three years, but it remained localized within his pelvis. Based on the CT scan, it seemed as if God set firm boundaries for the tumour. The Oncologist told us that there was currently a window of opportunity for treatment. He cannot predict how long this window will last. After three years, God brought an oncologist to Newcastle, connected us with him, and kept the tumour localized. To me, this is a miracle.

The current plan, God willing, is to continue with palliative chemo until we have enough money for the primary radiation treatment hopefully next year. The medical aid approved the payment of the chemo. It doesn't cover all the other medication my dad needs to combat all the side effects of the chemo. The hospital plan will reset at the end of the year. Next year, God willing, my dad will undergo the radiation treatment. We don't have enough, not even in the medical aid, for the full treatment, and that's why we're fundraising.

I must note that since our first meeting with Dr Zwane, God has used him significantly. The limited medical aid my dad has was able to cover the first six chemo treatments. He already received two sets of treatment. Dr Zwane and his team managed to arrange to get approval for the chemo port surgery. So far, the first set of treatments has shown positive results! Within the first week, the outward-growing tumours began to shrink. We understand that we should not get our hopes up unnecessarily, but whether my dad lives or dies, God will be glorified through it all.

The localization of the tumour is indeed good news, but the journey so far has been long, and we know there's still a long road ahead. In September 2022, we had a major scare. My dad had to undergo a colostomy due to the partial obstruction of his colon. When the tumour penetrated the sphincter muscles, his anus stopped functioning properly, leading to four sleepless, excruciating nights. This was the first time I saw signs of hopelessness in my dad. But once again, in His infinite mercy, God used people around us, and my dad had the surgery. In the hospital, I remember us talking about the peace that God gave us. Despite it not being a 'major' procedure, God comforted us, and I learned a valuable lesson: We shouldn't think temporarily and earthly, but we should keep our minds on things above. If we do, it gives us a whole new perspective on life.

I hope whoever reads this story is encouraged to persevere, regardless of what happens. My dad is not a superhero; he has his flaws, but the way God is enabling him to persevere is an example I want to follow. I hope you would be encouraged by it too.

Why I'm writing this

Why am I doing this for my dad? Well, I'm Stephan, his oldest son. Since I can remember, my dad has been a mentor and a role model for me. I believe God called me to ministry from a very young age, and I've been blessed to shadow my dad and learn from him. The news was a bit of a shock to me, and it took me a while to 'deal' with it. But God, in His great mercy, has given our entire family peace and taught me so much through this journey.

I write this with the hope that God will use it, not only to help my dad but also to inspire and encourage others to persevere, no matter what they're facing. We are deeply grateful for any support you can provide and we ask that you keep us in your prayers. We believe that whether my dad lives or dies, God will be glorified through it all.

Thank you for considering supporting this fundraiser and sharing in our journey. Your generosity will not only aid in my father's treatment but also help us continue his desire for ministry, service and faithfulness. Even in the face of adversity, we choose to remain hopeful, believing that in all things, God will be glorified.

Thank you once again for your consideration, and may the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He use you as you faithfully continue to serve Him.

Some more blessings

We thank the Lord for some really good times since his diagnosis. He was able to be part of my brother and sister’s weddings. He also had the privilege to preach at their weddings. At that stage it was still uncertain whether he would be at the weddings. There was no pain management and things seemed dim. It was a heartfelt moment, and very emotional time because we didn't think he'll be able to witness it. But God's blessing didn't end there. My dad is now a grandpa with his first grandson. God kept him and gave him the privilege to hold his first grandson.

 

PS* If you would like to receive newsletters and updates. You can give us your email address here: www. And I’ll include you in the updates.

If you would like to listen to his sermons you can do so here: https://newcastlebaptist.co.za/sermons/

If you would like to contact me directly, email me on: stephan@stenex.net

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More about his ministry

Cancer Comfort

Join my dad as he shares his stories and encouragement for other cancer patients.
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Newcastle Baptist church

Listen to him live or his past sermons.
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Singtell
Music

Listen to some of the songs he used to sing while ministring.
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