Guest Post By Janet Greidanus

It will seem strange to some that although it is now summer, this blog is founded on a phrase from an Easter story. It actually has its inspiration from another blog written by my friend, Brian, a former Christian schoolteacher, who has been living with multiple myeloma since 2018 and has gone through numerous cycles of remission, relapse, and various clinical trials.

There is a short phrase in the Easter story that caught Brian’s attention this year: …but we had hoped…” These words from Luke 24 were spoken by one of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and they are filled with lament and sadness that things had not turned out the way they thought they might. They are words that appear in the very same chapter as the impossibly joyful words, “He is risen!” But the disciples don’t know this yet.

Brian writes, “And while I believe and rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection, it’s those words of lament on the Emmaus road that often surround us (he and his wife) these days. With all of you, we had hoped that there would be less suffering and war in the world and those refugees could find their way home; that our cities would be less violent and their vulnerable populations could flourish; that environmental injustice would end….” And more personally, Brian writes how he and his wife had hoped they could grow old together, had hoped that they could travel a little, perhaps stand on a shore in Newfoundland scanning the horizon for icebergs. “We had hoped for a calendar that wasn’t filled with blood tests and unending chemotherapy appointments.”

I was still thinking about Brian and his reflection a couple of weeks later while in Toronto celebrating the 75th anniversary of EMAS Canada. I was struck by the relevance of those words, “…we had hoped.

There was a lot of joy in the stories we heard from the various EMAS mission teams, so many lives changed thanks to medical, surgical and dental interventions freely given to those in need.  But there were also feelings of disappointment and heavy-heartedness, even tears shed, as we heard about the deteriorating situation in some countries where teams have worked for years. In Haiti, for example, gang-sponsored terror activities such as kidnapping for ransom is rampant. In China, some doors appear to be closing and it’s more difficult to get a visa. In Myanmar, political instability has not improved and the mission team waits in prayer for when they can travel there again. Just to name a few.

The amazing thing is, that while several teams had hoped to return to countries they have served for many years, they now find themselves adapting to the obstacles and challenges, exploring and opening themselves to new opportunities for service in places like Mongolia, Indonesia, Cambodia, partnering with a hospital in Israel, creating new projects in countries like Zimbabwe. There are many reasons for rejoicing. God is with us. God is raising up leaders in new countries. God continues to have a plan for EMAS.

Brian ends his blog with these words: “May the certain presence of our risen Lord help us to keep the faith and to find hope, no matter the road we walk” (and may I add) “or where we are called to serve.” May we embrace the promise of God’s abiding presence and together, may we move forward into an unknown future with confidence that all will indeed be well.

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All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV).

Quotes from Keep the Faith blog (

Feature image: Pierre Plourde & Krista Waring sharing an emotional report on unprecedented challenges in Haiti at the 2023 Leader’s retreat and 75th Anniversary Celebration. Photo by EMAS Canada.

A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.


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