At 57, Greg Thomas was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in both his head and neck, and his family was told to prepare for his funeral, KARE 11 News reported.
After leaving his job delivering propane, he began taking long walks in the rural countryside with his dog when he came upon an old, abandoned church, which had been built in 1868 by Czech settlers.
He had wanted to go inside, but it was locked. “I tried [to get in] more than once,” Thomas told Lonsdale News Review in 2012.
Nevertheless, Thomas would pray on the concrete steps outside the church often. One day, he told someone in his small community his wish to restore the old church.
“He went to a neighbor and said he wanted to paint the church, and who does he talk to, so the neighbor sent him to talk to me,” Don Rynda, the church’s treasurer, said to KARE 11 News.
The church was thus handed over to Thomas for him to restore it. Though Thomas was suffering the side effects of his cancer treatment and had had to be fed through a tube for the last three years, he was, nevertheless, resolved to get the job done.
And that’s when Thomas’s life took another twist of fate; after having finished painting the church’s exterior, Thomas learned that his cancer had gone into remission. It would seem someone had answered his prayers.
“There’s been a lot of tears shed on these steps and they’ve been tears of joy, tears of pain, but tears of blessings too,” he said.
However, three years later, in 2016, he learned his cancer had returned, though he remained cheerful. “This hasn’t weakened me at all. It’s strengthened me,” he told KARE 11 News.
“Whatever God’s decision is, I’m okay with that,” he added. He later passed away in July 2017 at the age of 64.