A Manitoba familly has watched their dad and husband struggle with aggressive cancer this past year while finding it to be an opportunity for missions at the same time. 

Paul Emmer and his wife Allison have been full-time missionaries in Manitoba for the past 10 years on top of raising eight children. 

"Paul has a real heart for the Lord and missions," says his wife Allison. "He did work for YFC, and we've been with YFC for 10 years." Over the course of that time Paul was the director at the Drop-in at Stonewall, Man. just north of Winnipeg.

In February 2021 Paul was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer, stage four, which meant he had to step down from his role with Youth for Christ.

"We've had lots and lots of prayer. We have a beautiful prayer army who has been praying for us and our family, our ministry, and our journey for quite a number of years now. That's the power behind us now."

"He sees each doctor's visit as a missions trip."

Allison shares that there were not too many options to fight the cancer other than surgery here in Canada. However, the couple found an alternative option in Mexico.

"The cancer spread to other areas including bone, tissue, lung, and brain right from the beginning. He had radiation on his spine back in November. Paul didn't genetically have what was necessary for a targeted chemotherapy option. For that reason, we did a GoFundMe which allowed us to send Paul to a medical centre in Mexico."

After three weeks of care, Paul's cancer shrunk by 30 per cent. 

"Unfortunately since he's come home his cancer has gotten increasingly aggressive which is common with this type of cancer. Right now we're exploring a chemo option through Cancer Care that has such severe side effects."

Lifting Up the Name of Jesus

"Pray for Paul," says Allison. "His desire is that we all know Jesus and make Him known. He would love to continue to make videos and training programs and to share Jesus together with our family."

Allison runs a ministry called Heroic Family Missions that helps families do mission work as a unit, with children involved. The Emmer's children range in age from 13 to one and a half. 

"Children are not something you push aside to do ministry but they're fully engaged in the work of the kingdom too. There's no junior version of the Holy Spirit so we want our kids fully engaged in sharing the gospel and equipping people to do the same."

YFC has surrounded the Emmer family with love and prayers through this time, and Allison says they are so grateful. YFC staff members describe Paul as a passionate disciple, willing to take risks to share the good news of Jesus. He even broke up a fight on the streets of downtown Winnipeg once and ended up leading one of the people to the Lord.

How to pray

"Pray that our faith is rooted so very deeply in Christ because it's essentially how you get through anything," Allison says. "Pray for healing. It's our desperate desire to continue serving Christ together this side of heaven. But praise God for life and the opportunities we've had. Ultimately our prayer is that God is glorified. If our lives can be an example, then praise God for that."

Allison shares that throughout the cancer journey both her and Paul have been able to spread God's love wherever they are. 

"It's a challenging time but God asks us to bloom where we're planted. Under pressure sometimes there's a whole lot more fruit that can come out. We've been able to share the gospel with medical professionals, to pray for people, and give out Bibles. This is just another mission field."

Anyone looking to support the family financially can donate to the Paul Emmer GoFundMe page

"Paul's my hero. He was sicker than sick last Sunday and he preached because that's his passion. He's gone down this path with thankfulness, joy, and hope. He sees each doctor's visit as a missions trip. We couldn't do this without the support that we have from our friends, family, our children, and God's people around the world. If I can just say 'thank you' then thank you, for praying and everything."