2021–2023 Mission Grant #6 "Hope of Christ for Cancer Patients — Phil’s Friends" $70,000

Phil's Friends: Prayers and Cares. man standing next to boxes inside Phil's Friends building.

Phil’s Friends: Prayers and Cares

By Pastor Michael Salemink, Executive Director, Lutherans for Life with Eden Keefe, Mission Editor

In 2010, Phil’s Friends received a grant from LWML, and women from all over the country began praying for the ministry.

Phil’s Friends sends care packages around the nation to comfort those affected by cancer. The care packages open doors to a relationship and bring opportunities to share the Gospel. With the help of the LWML, they have distributed 45,000 Bibles and delivered over 1,000,000 Cards of Hope containing Scripture and prayer. They have prayed for thousands of people at hospital bedsides, in homes, over the phone, and in support group meetings.

Former LWML President Betty Duda said it best. “Receiving a grant is wonderful, but all the prayers that come along with it are even more powerful.” In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Prayer is our communication tool with God. The more time we spend with God, the deeper our relationship with Him grows. Through prayer, God penetrates dark situations with light.

Cancer is dark and widespread. It is often a debilitating disease that brings physical, emotional, and psychological problems. Thankfully, Jesus has the power to brighten any dark situation, and that’s why Phil’s Friends is about spreading light.

Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37–38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” God has blessed this organization with workers because they go about the Father’s business. He uses the seeds that are scattered and causes them to grow.

When they work, people take notice. Dave had stage four cancer and eventually went home to be with the Lord. After he passed away, his daughter, who was in her 30s, was baptized. What was her reason? She had never experienced love in such a pure form from a community of believers who wanted nothing in return. Thank you, Jesus, for changing lives and defeating sin, the cancer of this world.

“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:36 NIV). In verse 40, Jesus goes on to say, “The King will reply, ‘Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Through prayer, God brings healing to the sick — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven (James 5:15 NIV).

group of people praying over care package boxes

Prayer touches every aspect of this ministry. Sherry decorates boxes and prays over each one (pictured top). Jason prays with patients on the phone. Laurie prays over every card that is sent. Groups of volunteers pray over every completed care package (left).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things …” (Revelation 4:11).


Phil Zielke is a two-time stage four cancer survivor and founder and president of Phil's Friends. He lives in St. Charles, Illinois, with his wife Carrie and two sons, Graham and Hudson.

Download or print the story.

This story was originally featured in the Fall 2022 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

View More Grant Updates and Thank You's