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gillian marchenko

Author and Speaker


What would you do if you heard the word cancer? Warrior in Pink BOOK GIVEAWAY


What would you do if you heard the word cancer? I’m giving away a copy of Warrior in Pink, a Story of Cancer, Community, and the God who Comforts this week on the blog. Read on for details about the story and about the BOOK GIVEAWAY.


Here’s more about Warrior in Pink, and don’t forget to read until the end to find out about the BOOK GIVEAWAY, too!


The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

She had it all—described as an “Asian Martha Stewart.” Her home, the food she cooked, the clothes she wore, the clothes her children wore—all flawless. But then doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. My friend tried to reach out to her, others around her tried to help, but she refused them and shut down emotionally.

On Wednesday morning six of us met in the food court at the Irvine Spectrum mall halfway between our homes. Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, Irvine, California, boasted being the safest city in the nation. Our wicker chairs circled around a large, round metal table surrounded by potted flowers and towering palm trees. The setting described well the nature of our group and our self-appointed name: The Oasis. Week after week we unpacked our bags and filled the table with notebooks, four-color clicky pens, Bibles, coffee, and water bottles. And week after week trust grew steadily like the palm trees around us. We began to unpack the deeper places in our souls as we shared our struggles and secrets. Our choice to take time from our busy weeks to invest in building our relationship with God and each other yielded the blessing of a true oasis. Our group became a refuge and a place to refuel. Conversation came easily and we welcomed questions about the Bible. We laughed often, sometimes shed tears, and inevitably would go off on rabbit trails that eventually took us back to what we had learned in the Bible. What most groups covered in one week, we spilled over to a month.

This particular Wednesday morning Elaine shared about the Asian Martha Stewart. I leaned in to hear more. Her voice grew quiet as she struggled to share the last part.

“She couldn’t handle how her body changed. She couldn’t hold her perfect world together. She ended up committing suicide and left behind her husband and two kids.”

The story gripped me. I had never met the Asian Martha Stewart but could relate to her desire of wanting everything together, of being the strong one, of going inside when challenged with emotional pain, of not wanting to be a burden to others. I could see myself closing off from people as she did.

The conversation probably continued around me. But in that moment I sat still. I heard the background voices and sounds of the food court, the trays and ice machines, chairs being pushed into tables, paper wrappers being crumpled. Right then, I chose to pray. “God, if anything like that ever happens to me, I purpose right here, right now, I will let others in.”

I prayed this in October, two months before my life careened from the doctor call no one wants:

“You have cancer.”

And looking back,

that story,

that prayer,

that moment,

that decision.

It made all the difference.


Friends, doesn’t this book sound amazing? Leave a message here between today and this coming Friday, October 24th (before midnight) for a chance to win a copy! A random number will be chosen… it could be you! And tell us, how are you asked to be a warrior in your life?


Vivian Mabuni joined staff with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) 25 years ago. She currently serves on the Epic National Field Ministry Team (Epic is the Asian American ministry of Cru). An international conference and retreat speaker, Vivian recently joined the Speakers Bureau for Susan G. Komen, Orange County. Her first book, “Warrior In Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God  Who Comforts” (Discovery House Publishers) released in April. Married 23 years to her husband, Darrin, and mom to three wonderful kids, Jonathan (21), Michael (17), and Julia (12). They live in Mission Viejo, California along with their German Shepherd, Koa. Connect with her at the following places:, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Did you like this? Share it:
  1. Barbara Williams says:

    As you read this I am still processing the lump I found on my collar bone last night. This gives me hope that others have faced and won. I know God is with me today just as he was before the lump and it may be nothing. Please pray for me for strength and hope. This is such a blessing

  2. Kimberly A Ball says:

    I have been challenged to open my heart to others after being married for 23 years in an abusive marriage. For all of those years, I lived a lie, felt like a burden to others, and closed myself off emotionally. Now, I have authentic, Christian friends who help bare my burden, and I bare their burdens. It gives me hope… I move forward, knowing that God is big enough, and people are made to live in community and love and support one another in the valleys and mountaintops of life! Although tough, it’s such a relief to know that I’m never alone. Together… always better!

  3. Kaye Stuart says:

    Barbara I just prayed for you. May God go before you and prepare the way as he has for my husband and I. My Husband, Don has been diagnosed with brain cancer and tomorrow 22nd October in Australia is having a MRI where the doctor will mark places on his head where he will operate Thursday. This had happened so suddenly to a supposedly healthy almost 72 year old and myself and our children are in shock & waiting for what the surgery & biopsy will reveal. We can see how God has gone before us each step of the way and led him to a wonderful hospital and a wonderful neurologist. Of course it is still scary, but we know God is in control and trust Him for a good outcome.

  4. Beth says:

    I have lost several important people in my life due to the ugly C word. I dislike it as much as the next person. However, I have learned how strong people become when someone tells them they have cancer. These people have encouraged me. It makes me feel silly for complaining about useless things. I am right along side of them to fight.

  5. Michele s says:

    God has called me most recently to fighting chronic illness. I am fighting for medical answers and health. I am fighting depression. I am fighting for stability in my home. I am fighting to respond the way Christ would have me. I am fighting for joy.

  6. Gail Hollingsworth says:

    When I personally heard the word cancer it was surreal. I cried, I prayed and I asked God “how long do I have?” Cancer is scary stuff!

  7. Julie says:

    I went through breast cancer nine years ago and was so thankful to come out the other side of it! Recent scans showed something suspicious in my lung and after having the tumor removed from my lung, discovered from the pathology report that it was breast cancer. I will be see my oncologist soon to see what he recommends next.

  8. Marcia Hendrix says:

    I recently lost my sweet mother-in-law to cancer. She was brave and sweet until the end. I pray and pray for those cancer victims and survivors. Blessings….Marcia

  9. This book sounds amazing. I have read some of these comments and woman amaze me. We are strong and powerful even in our weak and broken moments. I am not battling cancer, I have held the hands of others who have, I have loved the warriors around me and begged God to heal them. I have cried so many tears and have had the faith that each tear was bottled up and every prayer was heard. Thank you for sharing this Gillian, I look forward to reading. xo

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