Doug Nichols is presently the president of Action International Ministries, a mission that focuses especially on the millions of street children in the big cities of the world. He is the kind of man who calls our church staff on the phone during an international crisis and suggests that we rent a jumbo jet and take a couple hundred of our people to Rwanda to help bury the dead so that doctors and nurses can do what they were sent to do. He is relentlessly focussed on pouring out his life for the helpless who need Christ.
For example, he writes to me every now and then, and almost always includes some sword thrust like this in a P.S. at the bottom of his letter:"In the last 'one minute' that it possibly took you to read this letter, 28 children died of malnutrition and diseases that could have been easily prevented. 1,667 die every hour, 40,000 children die daily! Please pray with ACTION for more missionaries to take the gospel to these children."
Doug was found to have colon cancer in April of 1993. Doctors gave him a 30% chance of living after his surgery and colostomy and radiation treatments. During horrible civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis, he got on a plane and went to Rwanda with a team of people, including some from our church.
His non-Christian oncologist said he would die in Rwanda. Doug said that would be OK because he is going to heaven. The oncologist was distressed and called Doug’s surgeon to solicit help in restraining Doug from going to Rwanda. The surgeon, who is a Christian, said that Doug was ready to die and go to heaven. When we got word here that Doug was going - with his cancer and his colostomy - to Rwanda, some of us on the staff gathered in the prayer room to pray for him.
I recall being led very specifically to Isaiah 58:7-8, which we prayed for Doug.[Is the fast I choose] not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him;And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery [your healing!] will speedily spring forth;
We prayed very specifically that the feeding of the hungry and the housing of the homeless in Rwanda would not kill Doug Nichols, but would heal him.
From Rwanda, Doug called his oncologist and said he was not dead. And when he got back he had a battery of tests that resulted in the assessment NED: no evidence of disease. God alone holds the future for Doug Nichols and his remarkable faith and ministry, but for now Isaiah 58 lives bodily in Doug's life as he pours himself out for the children.
John Piper, A Hunger For God (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997), 129-131.
Grant us, oh Father, to follow Doug Nichols as he follows Christ. For Jesus' sake!