After years of helping the homeless, disenfranchised, people struggling with substance abuse and at-risk youth, Great Commission Ministries founder and president, Bishop Walter Hanchell, is facing what could arguably be the greatest battle of his life – stomach cancer – for which immediate treatment includes chemotherapy and surgery to remove 70 percent of his stomach.
In March, Hanchell traveled to the United States seeking medical help. He said it was shocking when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, but one thing he did not do was question God as to why he allowed him to face such a serious illness.
“I know it didn’t take him by surprise and realized that he was teaching me a lesson, and I must face this test and win,” said Hanchell in an internet posting. “I love the Lord and know that he is with me.”
At the same token, he said his diagnosis has made him realize he never really knew what family, friends and loved ones with terminal illnesses such as cancer felt until now. “I’ve seen them suffer, but never realized the extent of their pain. I know now. Today, I have empathy towards the sick, hurting and oppressed.”
But to win his battle, Hanchell needs financial assistance, and his son, Tejado Hanchell, has created a GoFundMe account to which people can make donations toward the $150,000 goal needed for the costly medical treatments Hanchell urgently needs. As of Wednesday, $2,665 had been raised.
On March 3, Tejado wrote that his dad traveled to the United States for medical attention for a lingering feeling of fatigue, and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Hanchell began taking chemotherapy, which he said is taking a toll on his dad’s body – leaving him fatigued, lacking appetite and other challenging side effects. But he said Hanchell’s spirit is strong and full of faith in his God. And that he now needs the financial assistance of others.
“He has a proven record of fighting for others who cannot fight for themselves, now he is in the greatest battle of his life and he needs you to help him fight. Donating to this cause will help afford Bishop Hanchell the medical care that he needs to beat cancer,” wrote Tejado.
In an online post, Hanchell said he gives thanks to God in advance for his “complete healing and miracle” because he said faith begins by agreement with God and his word.
“His precious word assures me that it is well. I’m better and stronger. I believe I’ve become more tolerant, but cannot and will not stop my ongoing fight against injustice, oppression and poverty. I’m anxious to demonstrate the love of Jesus to all that I interact with.”
Despite not being able to eat because of a total loss of appetite and annoying hiccups and nose bleeds, and regardless of the nagging fatigue, severe weakness and having lost his physical strength, Hanchell said he is grateful to God for all he’s doing in his life.
“The treatment of cancer is not easy on the body,” said Hanchell, who serves as first vice bishop of the Bahamas College of Bishops. “In the past month, my body has taken a tremendous toll with the side effects. I have survived, and I’m still standing and holding strong, despite how I feel. Now, I fully understand the meaning of the just shall live by faith.
“I’ve lost my hair, but not my praise. I’ve lost some pounds but my spirit has been quickened and my faith is stronger than ever. I’ve drawn closer to Yahweh. He has humbled me and shown me how much he loves and cares.”
Hanchell said that despite his suffering, he still feels peace.
“I have requested all of my prayer warriors to not ask God to heal me anymore – but just thank him that I am healed. This is an act of faith, for the word of God declares that by his stripes you are healed. Rather than keep asking God to heal, we have moved on to the final and most important segment of this miracle, that is, believing and thanking God in advance, and standing on the word of God without wavering. Our faith has power to make us whole.”
Hanchell said the most important ingredient needed in people’s Christian walk is to have their faith grounded in God. He said without faith, people cannot please God, nor can they walk or live victoriously.
“Faith activates and grants access to all of the blessings and promises of God. Without active faith, one cannot be saved, healed, blessed or live a holy life pleasing to the most high.”
Some of the scriptures he said his wife and family pray over him daily while thanking God for his mercies and miraculous healing come from Jeremiah 30:17, Psalms 6:2, Psalms 118:17 and James 5:14-15.
As Hanchell wages war with cancer, he said he views his life as a miracle, and that if not for the grace of God upon his life, he would have been in the grave years ago.
“God delivered me from a life of gambling, sweethearting, drugs, partying, gang-banging, drunkenness, cigarettes and so much more. My life was one big party, satisfying the lust of the flesh. I was hellbound on a one-way ticket and I knew it, but couldn’t help myself.”
That, he said, was the case until one day 37 years ago in 1984, when he said Jesus looked down upon him and saw his state. “He came down and saw my pain and wretchedness and said unto me, ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest. Cast your cares upon me for I care for you, my son.’”
Hanchell said he confessed his sins and ran into Jesus’ waiting, loving arms and that Jesus has faithfully kept him from then until now.
“I’m so grateful to be saved, set free and filled with the power of God. I have traveled the world winning souls, ‘planting’ churches and expanding the kingdom of God. I have returned to my first love of soul-winning and can’t wait to get back home and minister to the unsaved, the sick and those oppressed of the devil.”
And he believes God will produce another miracle in his life on top of the ones he has already performed.
“I know what it is to struggle with high mortgage payments and I know what it feels like to have somebody pay my mortgage off in full. The Lord protected me when I was caught up in a civil war in a foreign nation, where people were being murdered each day for no reason. I survived two auto crashes that totaled the vehicles [and] I should have been dead. I have seen God open doors for me that seemed impossible. I know what it is to be down to nothing and watch God step in and turn things around.”
Hanchell said his greatest lesson in life was to break the spirit of pride over his life and to not allow people’s opinion to hinder him. And through it all, he said, he has learned to trust in Jesus.
“He is all I have and I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it’s the power of God unto salvation. I believe in miracles. I am one,” said Hanchell.
Hanchell said he will never again take the blessings of God for granted, nor the precious people he placed in his life, including his “queen” Minalee who he said has nurtured him day and night; his children and their spouses; and that he thanks everyone that has been praying for him in secret and the people who have given him financial assistance without any appeal, demonstrating the love of God in a practical way.