Jana and I have been sharing our story of her journey with Breast Cancer. We told it each of the last two weeks of Adult Camp here at Mount Carmel Ministries this past month.  2015-08-02 19.46.39

When we give the talk, it naturally causes many emotions to surface… both for us and for those listening. People identify with our pain, but they also re-enter their own stories of trial and loss… and this, of course, can bring tender tears.

As the group was sharing thoughts and reflections at the end of Jana and my presentation the other day, one gentlemen in the crowd (I will call him “Bill”) shared, though the tears, that his wife of many years had died of cancer a few months ago.He went on to say that, naturally, in his grief, he had been struggling to let go.

And then, with a tight throat and tears streaming down his cheeks, Bill shared the following experience which took place fairly recently.

12795119_10156610050235711_9128133260199630244_oHe told us that not too long ago…. a few months after his wife had died, he had been struggling to sleep well.. and he was lying in his bed on night, in the middles of the night, wide awake.

Then suddenly he heard his wife come to him and speak the following words, as clear as day:

“I’m not coming back.”


“I CAN’T come back.”


“Bill… I DON’T WANT to come back.”

When he shared that last word with us, a hush came over the room. I believe everyone of us hearing his story knew what he clearly knew: He had been given a great gift from God. And though he is certainly still grieving, as he NEEDS to do… at the very same time, his tears while telling this story were tears not ONLY of grief… but tears of assurance… with a hint of peace and joy.

Through this gift of God, his wife was reminding him that in Jesus something far greater awaits us on the other side. And so she blessed him (and now all of us) with incredible words of hope.

The Bible says:                                                                                                              “For we do not grieve as those who have no hope.”  (I Thessalonians 4:13) and     “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18).

Hear that truth in this woman’s words to her husband: “I’m not coming back. I can’t come back. I don’t WANT to come back.”

Unforgettable words. Undeniable Hope. Unstoppable Savior.

I look forward to not wanting to come back as well.

Thank-you, Lord Jesus.  IMG_9998

SURVIVOR STORY – A Powerful, Deeply Moving Presentation for your Church, Retreat or Conference

Jana Swenson is a two-time Breast Cancer Survivor.

She and her husband Jonathan (both ordained ministers) have begun to tell their story of her battle with this terrible disease. In this very moving presentation, “SURVIVOR STORY”, Jana shares portions of her prayer journal, and together the Swensons discuss their fears, questions, doubts and the ways in which God has revealed his Grace in the midst of the storm.

C and C Makeup with Jana During CancerJana and Jonathan share their journey with humor, tears, wisdom and great
honesty in a deeply personal and engaging way that helps listeners identify their own spiritual, emotional and relational needs when in crisis.

The presentation is powerfully relevant to anyone who has been (or is currently IN) a time of pain, loss, fear or grief. It is also helpful for pastors, social workers, health-care professionals, chaplains, educators, volunteer ministers, parents and grandparents (anyone who cares for others intentionally) and anyone who longs to be more deeply aware of God’s presence in situations where it would be easy to think God is absent.  

11822762_10155927879630711_1625316169436860615_nThe Swensons are available for churches, retreats, leadership gatherings,
hospitals, conferences, you name it. As part of this presentation, Jonathan (a trained actor) is also able, depending on time, to bring dramatic monologues and other elements to their sharing to offer variety, humor and interest. They have shared their story at Pastor’s Conferences, Leadership Gatherings, Hospitals and Churches around the country.


Here’s What People Are Saying…     “Jonathan and Jana shared their story at our annual Psychosocial Cancer Care Conference at the Nassif Community Cancer Center. This conference is for all types of providers involved in cancer care. Physicians, midlevel’s, nurses, social workers, etc. I am so grateful they shared their journey with us, and so were the over 60 people in the room that day. It was powerful, personal, informative and eye opening, but above all, it had God’s hands all over it. The raw pain, emotion and even humor that came through them as they told the story was not only instructive, but inspiring. It gave a real life, fresh perspective in how cancer affects both the patient and the caregiver and how faith in God can make a difficult journey bearable. Anyone going through a difficult time needs to hear this story, caregivers of any kind would benefit greatly from their story. More than anything though, seeing God’s love and grace at the forefront of their entire journey is what makes their story so special, touching and a message that NEEDS to be shared!”

Emi J Chapman RN
Development Manager/Cancer Services, Unity Point- St. Luke’s Foundation
Nassif Community Cancer CenterCedar Rapids, IA 52402

“The Swensons are wise, capable and kingdom-minded leaders in the church. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside of them in a number of settings through the years, and count them among some of the best people I have ever worked with anywhere. They will be a blessing for your event.”

Dr. Bill Donahue
Associate Professor, Trinity Int’l University; Formerly Director of Group Life and Leader Development, Willow Creek Church & Association, Barrington, IL

For more information about bringing Jana and Jonathan to your church, retreat, or event, please contact Jonathan at or call 319-431-9934.