John Haetinger

Profile Updated: June 3, 2017
Residing In: TX USA
Spouse/Partner: Mary
Occupation: Retired
Military Service: US Army  
Yes! Attending Reunion

Although this platform was never intended to witness to God's grace, that's my intention. Read on.

Our family stopped attending the United Methodist Church in the center of town when a new minister took over in the early 60's. Our religious life became non-existent, except for televised Billy Graham crusades. It was during one of those crusades that I gave my life to Christ. That relationship however never grew beyond that until years later. It wasn't until June 1989 when I was baptized and more fervently pursued a closer walk with Jesus.

In November 2011, Mary, my wife of 35 years, and I felt compelled to retire from the Texas Education Agency where I worked as a senior analyst. We were prayerfully considering moving north to Pennsylvania to live near Mary's family. However, early in 2012, I was diagnosed with stage 2 large cell lymphoma behind the left eye, with some spreading to the bone above the right eye. The lymphoma mass was surgically removed but grew back within 5 weeks. PET scans verified a continued presence indicating the necessity for 6 iterations of chemotherapy over a 5 month period and then 4 weeks of daily radiation treatment that ended just before November 2012.

The Lord was with us throughout the entire process - the ophthalmologist who performed the initial surgery is an oriental American with a North-Carolina accent. His prayer with Mary and I at the end of the first consultation was an indication to me that God would be with us through it all. Verses like Romans 8:28, Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18, Proverbs 3: 5-6, Mathew 6: 33-34, Jeremiah 29: 11, Psalm 30: 2, Galatians 2:20, and 2 Timothy 4: 18 all took on greater meaning - and through some procedures like spinal taps were repeated often and vigorously. Along the way we met some truly dedicated caregivers and we are so very thankful of God’s provision through them. We also came in contact with other patients who were suffering much more than we, yet with smiles on their faces.

The radiation treatments involved being clamped to a table with a full formed face mask (no holes for the eyes, nose or mouth) - to obviously preclude any head movement.  During the first treatment, which lasted more than 30 minutes, I was actually overcome with a fear and panic seemingly beyond my control - I very nearly lost it.  I've never experienced anything like this in my life.

In retrospect, I came to realize over the course of those eight months that there are some things that I cannot control - despite my military background, the moderate physical conditioning, the daily use of supplements, and adherence to a healthy diet, I had somehow contracted cancer.  But during radiation, I couldn’t even control my mind - I knew what was happening throughout the entire treatment, I knew that my fears were completely irrational, yet I succumbed to them.  Only through an intense focus on God and His word was I able to make it through that and subsequent treatments.  I have now learned that the only one I can completely trust is God, and that is, I am convinced, one reason why He allowed this to happen.  It can be scary but almost cathartic to realize that you cannot even trust yourself.

The reason why I'm sharing this with you is not for sympathy, but as a testimony to the power, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in hopes that others would at least come to the point of the salvation question in their own lives, instead of never having considered it. The consequences are eternal. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. You can trust Him!

After 5 years, I am now cancer-free. My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit relentlessly pursues your heart – doing whatever it takes so that you may experience first-hand the loving grace of God.