I want to tell you one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in my life. It is not some exciting achievement or celebration, but it is the most sacred and special experience, which touched me at the core of my being. It has taught me great lessons and has shown me again God’s mercy, grace and the power of the prayer.
First, I want to say my most sincere thank you to my fellow followers of Christ from San Francisco “Hand of Help” and “Russian Gospel Temple” churches, Sacramento “God will provide”, Santa Rosa Calvary Chapel “The Rock”, Modesto church as well as my friends and co-workers at Disability Services & Legal Center. While my Dad was on a verge of death and I was flying back to Europe to see him for the last time, you together carried me through this most difficult time for me.
While this was such a horrible unexpected turn in my life, those several weeks were incredible at the same time. It still brings me to awe when I think of it. I want to share this with you so it may serve you, strengthen you and your faith.
In November of 2015, I received news from my family in Lithuania that due to serious heart issues my Dad was driven to the hospital by the emergency. My father has had numerous issues with his heart, and I thought this was one of those cases when after some treatments he would return home. This time, however, my Dad did not return home. His condition appeared to be more serious than we could imagine. After some time, when Mom told me he was already able to speak, I called my father on his cell phone. During our conversation father told me the truth – Doctors told him that his heart was beyond any chances of improvement. He could die anytime, and the only way for him to extend the time of his life was the heart transplant surgery. I asked him what the predictions were of how long he would have to wait for the new heart.
“I don’t know Inga…”, my father helplessly sighed. “Doctors don’t know exactly. They say maybe two months, maybe ten months, maybe two years… it’s unpredictable”
Right that moment I knew exactly what I was going to do. After our conversation, I immediately got down on my knees before the Lord my God and prayed asking Him to give my father a new heart soon to extend the days of his life. I could not see myself losing my father; besides, he was not saved for the life after death, and I pleaded with my Lord to give him more time to have another chance to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord. I felt strange to make that kind of request because it meant someone else had to die. But I knew Heavenly Father is righteous and just God, and He does not make mistakes determining who and when needs to go. I trusted the Lord. Fully realizing that only the Lord God has the power to extend the days of his life, I surrendered my request to Him.
Next week I received a phone call from my Mom.
“Daughter”, I heard Mom’s trembling voice. “Our Dad is already with the new heart. It was very unexpected. The donor’s heart came in quite unexpected in the middle of the night and they did the operation on the emergency basis.”
I could not believe this. Even though I prayed for it, it was hard to realize this was really true – after the prayer, my Dad received a new heart in less than a week!
We all praised the Lord for the miracle, which brought many in astonishment, including my father. Being excited about this beautiful miracle and a gift of a new life, my Dad and my Mom and brother made every effort toward Dad’s recovery.
However, bewilderment came upon their hearts watching how first significant improvement started going backward: Dad’s other organs were failing and he would refuse to eat. When he was driven back to the ICU, medical specialists started doing again all kinds of tests to understand what was going on. Not long after, I received my Mom’s phone call. Barely holding tears, she told me the news – Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 4. He would not be able to go through another surgery and besides, cancer was at a stage that was beyond chances to win the battle. Later it turned out that cancer was there already for a while; only it did not manifest itself drastically. However, when Doctors gave my Dad medications to reduce the immune system in order for the body to not reject the new heart, it created perfect conditions for cancer to spread its tentacles. And now, the question was just a matter of days.
Fatal news just paralyzed me. I did not know what think and what to do. I couldn’t see myself continuing my life without seeing my father before he passes on, but I did not have any extra money to travel across the globe to my homeland, and I did not see how this could possibly happen. For a moment, it felt I again appeared in a hopeless spot. Yet, throughout the years the Lord my God has taken me out of the most desperate situations numerous times and opened up opportunities where there were none. He has turned the impossible into possible time and time again. So, the very first thing I did was I went on my knees before my Lord. I prayed in tears to my Heavenly Father that I wanted to see my Dad, and asked Him to arrange circumstances somehow in such a way that I would see him before he leaves this life. I beseeched the Lord not to take Dad’s life until he knows Jesus, which was my prayer for many years and so He keeps him alive until I see him. I fully surrendered myself and the whole situation to the living God.
Lord’s answer showed up right on the next day – after finding out what was going on in my life, my sister in faith Viktoria called me and asked me if I would not consider going home to be with my Dad. I responded that without any doubts I would go right on the next day if I could, but I did not have financial resources to travel to Europe from California and I did not see how this could be possible. Viktoria firmly encouraged me and even urged me to go. She added “Don’t worry about finances. We all within the church will collect it and will ask friends in Sacramento church to help you with this. Go ahead and look for the airline ticket and get ready for the trip” And, she started reaching out to brothers and sisters in Christ raising funds. My other girlfriends posted my need on Facebook with my PayPal account, asking people to support me during this time to help me obtain the ticket to go home. After I told my Mom that I was going to fly back to Vilnius, she urged me to come as soon as possible. Dad was getting weaker with every day.
I started looking for the airline ticket to get on the flight as soon as possible. What a surprise it was when I started looking for the ticket – normally the roundtrip tickets at this time are $1,500 – 1,800 and above, and I found the roundtrip airline tickets for $1,169! After Doleris.com made the discount, my total ticket price $1,145! Since there were only a few available seats left for the date I needed to go and funds were still in the process of being raised, my friend Svetlana offered her credit card to purchase the ticket for such a low price.
To my astonishment, in two days enough funds were raised to pay for the ticket. Furthermore, my friends Svetlana ad Viktoria took further initiative and continued reaching out to raise more funds. Thus, in few more days, more funds were raised and I was able to give a substantial amount of money to my Mom and brother to help them with the funeral costs when the time comes. Upon my return, I received an even more financial blessing from my fellow Christians from the local church I go to and few other churches in San Francisco and Modesto.
I was just in tears watching how my friends and even people whom I personally did not know showered me with love, care and so much needed financial support.
They carried me through this difficult time and through them my request was fulfilled –
despite how impossible it seemed for me to go back to EU, after the prayer trip arrangements started happening immediately on the next day, and four days later I was on the airplane flying back to Lithuania to see my father.
During 23-hour trip, I had a lot of time to think, and I was observing and analyzing the latest events. After the prayer, it seemed like circumstances took life upon themselves and started changing in my favor. Observing how after the prayer my situation turned around just in the matter of several days, it taught me again the lesson – fight your battles first of all on your knees. Because it’s the Heavenly Father who has the power over all circumstances and people’s hearts. The living God can get you out of the most hopeless situations, and He can open any doors you need no matter how impossible it may seem at first.
I will never forget how shocked and pleasantly surprised my father was when I showed up at the doorstep in the hospital. He had no idea I was coming, as I wanted to make him a surprise. After I told him how I was able to come, my Dad was deeply touched by the kindness of people and asked me to thank each person who made it possible for me to purchase the airline ticket and come visit him. Therefore, using this opportunity I want to thank again each and every one of you who did not pass by my need, but responded and helped me to see my father say goodbye.
And now, I want to share with you what struck me the most. I have experienced so much mercy and grace of God in my own life and I heard many stories about it, but this one touched me at the core of my being.
When I arrived and on the next day saw my Dad, along with my joy of being able to re-connect with him I was deeply emotionally struck. My father was always my rock and it was unbearable for me to watch him now so helpless and in pain. When I returned home from the hospital, I immediately went on my knees before the Lord my God feeling broken and confused. I prayed in tears asking Him to explain to me – if my Dad already had cancer and he was going to die from it, then why all this heart transplant surgery was needed, why the Lord answered my prayer and did such an incredible miracle by giving him the new heart in less than a week…what’s the point of all of this. While I was praying, a thought/feeling came to me “Remember your prayer”.
Those words were like the lightning that brightens up the dark sky – that moment I understood everything: for many years, my prayer for my father was asking God to give salvation to my father and not to allow him to die until/unless he knows Jesus Christ and has the eternal life with the Lord. Knowing my father, if he got to know earlier he had cancer, I know he would be angry and bitter and there is no way he would have listened about the Lord. So, the Lord did not allow my father to learn about cancer no matter how many tests were done a few years ago and now before the surgery. And now, when my Dad started having serious issues with his heart, the Lord God gave him a new heart sooner than he could have ever expected, even though chances to receive a donor’s heart soon were so minimal. Thus, the living God extended my Dad’s life to give him another chance to receive salvation for his soul, and this way it was a personal experience of God’s love for him. Receiving a new heart in less than a week after the prayer was an astonishing miracle to my father as well as to everyone else, and, this time, my Dad was not laughing about God or the power of the prayer; in fact, he agreed that it’s a divine miracle.
When I learned the news about cancer and few churches in the Bay area started praying about my Dad’s salvation, at the same time my brother in Vilnius started seeking arrangements for someone from the church visit my Dad to talk with him and pray for him, hoping that Dad would accept Christ and prepare his soul for the eternal life. All circumstances were arranged in his favor, and a brother in Christ, who does the ministry of Evangelism sharing the Gospel with people, agreed to come see my father on the next day. While my brother was arranging this meeting, he had one concern – there was no privacy because there was another patient in the same room where Dad was and besides, doctors were constantly coming in and out. He could not imagine how this would work out, but he also could not even foresee what a surprise was ahead! Brother said he could not believe this himself – on the day when the Minister was available to visit my father, the other patient was taken out to the operation room for many hours and doctors ‘somehow’ also stopped coming in like they normally did, and my Dad had full privacy for as long as they had the conversation! And, after few hours of discussion and finding answers to questions, my Dad asked if they could pray for him because he wanted to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. My brother and Mom shared that after that prayer my Dad became so much more at peace.
When I arrived, I found him already saved and at peace. On the second day of my visit, after my prayer the night before, I told my father that the true reason why the Lord God gave him a new heart was different than we thought – all of it was done to extend the days of his life so he would have more time to accept Jesus Christ. Dad looked at me with this deep look and calmly said
“Yes… I know. You are absolutely correct.”
Dad added that he was wondering at times if he was dreaming or this was all true that everything suddenly turned around to good. I confirmed with him that everything was real because that’s how much God loved him. We started praying together again. I surrendered him to the Lord’s care and asked Jesus to let my Dad know that he’s going to be well and give him peace about what’s ahead. When at the end of the prayer I opened my eyes, I saw my Dad looking up and around as if he had seen and observed something, and then he looked at me. His eyes were full of light! I’ve never seen this brightness in the eyes of my father. He looked at me so deeply and said,
“All will be well. All will be well. And, I will not worry about you anymore either.”
He said it as if he had a firm awareness that he was going to be well and that he did not have to worry about me because I was being taken care of. I reassured him there was absolutely nothing to worry about for the Lord God watches over me and protects me. He peacefully sighed. And, that moment I understood that this was my last conversation with my Dad.
And so it was …
On the third day of my visit, he was no longer able to speak and have a conversation. My father passed away three days after I left Lithuania.
He crossed the bridge into the eternal life just a few weeks after he received salvation for his soul.
I cannot even describe you how much better and at peace I feel that I got to see him. Lord is never late. I arrived on time, while he was fully present and able to hold the conversation. We had the opportunity to talk, and hug each other and pray together… While it’s heartbreaking to not have my father here physically, I thank my Heavenly Father in tears for He heard my prayer and fulfilled my request.
My Dad’s last sentence that I heard was “I am glad it’s all coming to the end, and that it’s such a good ending”
How can a dying person say this?
He was talking about his soul because he knew he was going to a good place to be with the Lord.
Having gone through this experience, I want to encourage you to pray for your loved ones. I know it can be discouraging to continue praying for them, especially if they laugh at it or reject you for your faith. I sure did feel discouraged at times, because we want to receive the answer to the prayer soon and see the difference quickly. However, this taught me how important it is to continue praying for people regardless whether we see the answer quickly or not, because the Lord God is faithful to His word, and He will save the person according to our prayers. My father used to laugh and be sarcastic about prayers and reading the Bible, and at times his salvation seemed to me like a hopeless idea. Yet, I put my trust in my Lord that He could do the impossible and my hope was in Him. And, my Lord answered to prayers which He heard countless times – He did not allow my father to die before he knew Jesus and had the eternal life with the Lord.
Doctors were absolutely shocked how come they did not see he had cancer. They all stated that this was the first and the only case in many years of their practice when they did so many tests prior the heart transplant surgery and did not notice such a serious thing like cancer. They firmly stated that if they had seen the least sign of it, there is no way they would have performed heart transplant surgery. Yet, they did not see cancer which was at stage 4! Why? Because it was the will of the living God to give my Dad a new heart to extend the days of his life and give him one more chance to receive eternal life with the Lord.
You know, when he and I prayed, my Dad’s request to God was not about his health or anything else; he said the only thing he wanted to ask God was about other people so that others would have this kind of chance as well, just as he did.
With that, I want to say – may his prayer be fulfilled. And that is my wish for you and for people you love and care about. I want to encourage you to pray for your loved ones. May the discouragement will not be stronger than your commitment to fight for your loved ones, so they also find the most precious jewel of this life and spend the eternity with the Lord. None of us are guaranteed to have tomorrow. Pray for your loved ones until you receive the answer. Base your faith not on the experience how and when you see your prayers answered, but lay your foundation on the Word of God. Faithful is the Lord and He fulfills His promises. We only need to put our unshakable faith in Him.
I hope this was a blessing to you.
Trust your God, and… Be strong. Be determined and persistent. Be unstoppable.