Pray for Bella Langford.
Just before Father’s Day, 3-year-old Bella was hospitalized and had surgery for a blockage in her colon.
Days later, doctors confirmed that Bella has Burkitt’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system named after Denis Parsons Burkitt, a surgeon who first described the disease in 1956 while working with children in Africa.
It’s a haunting coincidence.
Bella’s father, Ben Langford, is one of the most remarkable men I have ever known. He grew up playing soccer, then played in college and then coached at Cascade College in Portland, Ore. From his undergraduate days at Oklahoma Christian University
, he showed great commitment to mission work in Kenya and Uganda, often spending most of the summer working effectively with the tribesmen there.
When he was at Cascade, he married an equally talented young woman, Kym. They made the decision to join a mission team in Jinja, Uganda. Eventually, Ben’s brother, Adam, made the decision to leave his job with an international financial firm to work with the Jinja team.
Adam Langford adjusted quickly and began to be an important part of the team. One evening in January 2007, he decided to go with a Ugandan church leader, Moses Kimezi, and a driver to pick up coffee at a nearby plantation for a coffee shop that provided resources for the church and the community. On a twisting road, the driver missed a curve and plunged into a ravine. Adam and Kimezi died in the accident.
Adam and Ben were an amazing pair in soccer and an amazing pair in mission to Uganda. Ben and Kym served in Uganda a few more years and returned to the U.S., where Ben serves as director of the Center for Global Missions
at Oklahoma Christian.
Now, the Langford family again faces a crisis. The family’s patriarchs, Kathy and Terry Langford, are people of strong, active faith. They suffered severely with Adam’s death, and now they are facing their granddaughter’s critical illness.
Our hearts are so sensitive to the plight of so many families who lose young children to strange diseases.
Earlier this year, Lisa and John Pickens lost their talented, 18-year-old daughter to a long battle with osteosarcoma. Just over a year ago, I shared the courageous story of Rebecca Stafford, a precious young lady just about to turn 21, whose death was caused by Ewing’s sarcoma.
Years ago, I shared the story of my dear friends Michael and Rhonda Roach, who lost their precious Kyler to a blood-fed hemangioma when he was 4 years old. Since that time, we have seen family after family wracked with indescribable pain as they have given up children to fatal diseases.
Bella’s disease is not necessarily fatal, but if we all join together in prayer for her, we increase the prospects of her having a full recovery without the many possible complications that are real threats. When we unite in prayer, we also strengthen the body of Christ of which we are all part.
Please understand that I know death is a wonderful transition for anyone from a cursed and troubled world to an ideal and perfect place with God. Yet the death of a child is such a challenging loss that it takes families years to recover.
Selfishly, I want Ben and Kym Langford to be spared that pain because I know that God is using Ben’s work to strengthen his kingdom around the world. Ben’s deep spirituality, his strong influence on young people and his godly leadership will make a stronger church around the world.
Pray for Bella Langford, please. CONTACT [email protected]