Four years ago, Ann Lao was inside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, weeping at the foot of the cross. Her doctor had cleared her for the trip—she had just completed her 25th radiation treatment for cancer in her sinuses. But that’s not why she was in tears. Kneeling in the place widely believed to be the location of Jesus’ crucifixion, she realized she didn’t know Him. And she felt desperate for that to change.
Photograph by Ivan Kashinsky
Weeks later, in her native southern California, Lao and her boyfriend attended a church service overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They tried to remain anonymous, but a curious church member noticed the couple and invited them to a Bible study. After a few sessions, Lao repented and professed faith in Jesus.
Then, a couple of months into her new life with Christ, Lao found a lump in her right breast. During surgery, doctors discovered and removed three more, and the biopsies revealed she had advanced stages of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At the height of the pandemic, she was alone in the hospital. Lao found comfort in Dr. Stanley’s sermons during the long stretches of isolation and nine sessions of chemotherapy.
One day the Lord spoke to her heart: “I’m going to give you more time, and there’s a purpose.” With faith rising, Lao wiped away a tear, convinced He meant she would beat this cancer. After working for years as a wealth advisor, she was sensing the call to teach classes at no cost to those with little or no background in financial literacy. Cancer-free today, Lao is helping people achieve success in managing their personal resources. And she shares openly what the Lord has done in her life, reminding others that it is never too late to turn to Jesus.