Could We Get Down?

October 7, 2009 | 22 comments

UPDATE ON October 22, 2009

Friends, for the most recent updates and for links to Mary’s obituaries, click here or click on the HOME page button at the top lefthand corner of the blog. — Jennifer

UPDATE ON October 21, 2009

Mary Anaya –Christ-follower and mother of 11 — passed away today. Her faith has become sight. We rejoice that she’s Home, but are left with heavy hearts and unanswered questions here on Earth.

I will post more information as it becomes available. For now, here is a brief obituary from the funeral home:

8/26/1967 – 10/21/2009
ANAYA, Mary age 42 years of Omaha passed away October 21, 2009. Celebration of Mary’s life: Saturday, 9:00 AM at Glad Tidings Church (7415 Hickory St.) Visitation: Friday, 4-8 PM at Braman Mortuary (72nd St. Chapel) Burial: Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

UPDATE on October 13, 2009

Friends of Mary,

I have received updated information from Michael Ross, with Christ for the City International in Omaha. (He is a ministry partner with the Anayas.)

These are Michael’s words, which he has allowed me to share with you as you continue to intercede on Mary’s behalf:

“Mary had fluid building around her heart and they performed an operation to drain that liquid. The doctors say there is nothing they can do to stop the cancer. They are trying to keep Mary alive for seven more weeks so her baby can be delivered. Mary, while heavily sedated, is alert at times; while she cannot talk because of the respirator, she does write a few words down and responds to questions by moving or squeezing her hand. Late last night the Lord gave me the opportunity to hear each of her kids tell her good night, I love you, come home soon… as Josue held the phone to her ear.”

Pray as the Spirit leads … Continue to pray for the miracle of healing.

In Him,

UPDATE ON October 12, 2009

Continue to storm the gates of Heaven for Mary Anaya. … I know that a number of you have come here from a Christian mothers’ forum, from Facebook pages and from other blogs. I will do my best to update information as it becomes available. I will add all future updates to this post.

There is real, resurrection power in what we’re doing
on our knees,
in our prayer journals,
in our vigils,
with our Bible study groups,
on our blogs,
even in our silent witness.

Keep Believing Big, dear ones.

I will post more right here as information becomes available.

You can also check Mary’s prayer vigil page here, for updated information. If you would like to donate, please review the information below. The Anayas do not have health insurance and need our help.

God bless you, prayer warriors…
— Jennifer


Mary Anaya has 10 children,
an 11th baby on the way,
a ferocious love for Jesus,
and a thriving ministry for the poor and hungry living in Nebraska.

She also has a diagnosis: advanced lung cancer.

The doctors say the prognosis is not good for Mary Anaya, this feeder of bodies and souls who has birthed babies and God-missions.

And what can I do but pray and plead and give just a little bit to help?

I’m not prone to do what I’m going to do just now — to plead with you like I’m pleading with you now. Could I be so bold as to step out this time? I can …

As I tap at this keyboard on a dark Iowa farm tonight, I can think of no words more important to say tonight than these nine words: Could you Get Down with Jesus for Mary Anaya?

The doctors’ diagnosis is grim: “Very little hope.”

But Michael Ross, one of the Anayas’ ministry partners, said this: “While the doctors say there is very little hope, the Anayas have faith and hope in Christ, His goodness, and His healing power…”

They have no health insurance, and bills are climbing to the tens of thousands of dollars.

A compassionate, praying, generous body of believers has already formed
to pray
and to Believe Big
and to dig into pockets
and to dump out piggybanks
and to cheer from faraway corners.

Could you and I do the same from our own faraway corners?


The cells in Mary are dividing and multiplying. Some cells promise life. Others threaten death.

A few weeks ago, Mary — mama of 10 — was hospitalized with fluid buildup in her lungs. Then came the diagnosis: advanced lung cancer. Now, the cancer has spread to her spine and liver. She’s in intensive care in Nebraska, on a respirator, with pneumonia.

And just now, doctors have discovered a new mass of overzealous cells. They’ve multiplied inside this mommy, pictured here with her husband Josue.

But there are other cells, too — God-molded ones that form little toes, and wee fingernails, and a beating heart that doctors can hear on the Doppler.

They wheeled Mary down to the ultrasound room the other day. Daddy Josue went, too. He saw proof on the screen: their 11th child was doing fine.

By now, Baby Anaya has fingers and wee legs that stretch out — even if Mama can’t yet feel those first fluttering brushes. It won’t be long. Baby Anaya has two fists that can open and close — and sockets for baby teeth.

Can you imagine Baby Anaya, joining that family that laughs and jostles around a big table overflowing with baskets and bowls and Sippy cups? They range in age from 21 to 2. And now baby 11 is on the way …

There’s always been room at the table for just one more. And you don’t even have to share the Anaya name to be invited.

The family operates the largest food pantry in the state of Nebraska. Last year alone, they sent more than a half-million meals out the door of this south Omaha food pantry. (photo at right from the pantry). That’s where I met Mary, in front of that sign.

Last spring, members of our little country church went there to help box up food, fill shopping carts,

and load grocery bags for hurting, hungry people. The boxes were so heavy that the pantry assigned volunteers to wait at the back door with shopping carts to carry each family’s food to the curb. (Photo at right: Me, with two special brothers in Christ).

These Anayas — these Jesus People — have invested lives into feeding souls and bodies.

Might I help multiply the feast — to fight these multiplying cells?


On Sunday, a man from our church filled the back of his pickup truck with pumpkins and squash: “Give a penny. Or give a hundred dollars. All proceeds go to Mary,” he told the kids and us parents. “Any pumpkin you want is yours.”

The children came with dollars and quarters — rescued from piggy-banks — and big checks signed by Dads. Before we picked out pumpkins, we gathered in the chapel to pray. All 14 of the Sunday school kids were there that day. The kids had something to say:

“Pray for Mary to get healed all the way!” one child cried out.

Another said: “And help her kids feel better if she dies.”

That’s how we grown-ups feel, too — caught between knowing we ought to pray Big for the miracle, but fearful of the failings of the flesh.

So we bowed heads, and folded hands, and prayed for the miracle.

Today, Lydia came home from school to tell me she’d prayed again.

“Mommy, remember this morning when you told me that if I heard the word “Merry” or “Mary” today, that maybe that was God reminding me about Mary in Nebraska? And that maybe I ought to stop right then and there and pray for Mary?”

“Did God remind you, Lydia?” I asked.

“He did, Mommy,” she said. “We were right in the middle of a story at school, and the girl’s name in the story was Mary! So I stopped and prayed for Mary, real quiet.”

“What did you pray?” I asked.

She squeezed her eyes shut to show me: “Dear God, Please heal Mary and help her children, too. Amen. … It was a really short prayer Mommy, but I had to keep reading my story for school. Is that OK — that it was so short?”

Yes, of course, it was OK, this little prayer — this more-than-OK offering to Jesus. For she had Gotten Down With Jesus for Mary.

Maybe for any of us, the littlest thing is the best thing of all. For any of us, it could be the first thing or the only thing. Could we get down on our knees? Could we Get Down with Jesus for Mary?

I’m Believing Big for the miracle. Will you believe with me?


The following is from Michael Ross, the Anayas’ ministry partner from Christ for the City International in Omaha, Nebraska:

“The immediate prayer need is for the Lord to guide the doctors and nurses in the next steps they should take and that the antibiotics would combat the pneumonia. …Would you encourage your pastor to lead your church in prayer this Sunday morning? Would you add Mary Anaya to your church prayer list?”

Some of us have signed up for Mary’s 24-hour prayer vigil here.

Some of us have given financially. Donations for medical costs can be sent to:

CFCI, PO Box 390395, Omaha, NE 68139.
(Checks payable to Mary Anaya)

Any questions about Mary’s needs? Contact Michael at 402-592-8332 or [email protected] . Or email me at [email protected] and I will direct you.

holy experience

Most Wednesdays, I join Ann Voskamp as we Walk With Him. Her community is posting today about “Thoughts on Prayer.”

These prayers —
even the little ones whispered between pages of school-day stories —
reach the heavenlies.
No prayer too small.
No problem too big.
No words too simple.
Each one finds its way to God.

by | October 7, 2009 | 22 comments


  1. Ann

    I'm believing with you!

  2. Bina

    These names have just been entered into my journal…and as I bow before our Lord each day, I will raise up my heart's cry on their behalf as I also believe with you.

    You have a beautiful heart, my friend…if you will excuse such an intimate phrase for you. 🙂

  3. ~*Michelle*~

    I will def. be praying for this beautiful woman and her family.

    Cancer is ugly
    Jesus Christ is beautiful

    I believe in miracles and the power of prayer. Matthew 18:20 reminds us that when we all join in prayer….God will be with us and hear our hearts' desires! My heart's desire is for a miraculous healing to take place and to give God all the Glory!


  4. Doug Spurling

    Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us your love, your compassion your desire to heal. Thank you for hearing our prayers of agreement on behalf of your Mary. We ask for her body to be completely healed now in this life and to give birth to this new life in her. We know you will continue the good work you have begun. Mary is not finished. We stand in the gap. Pray for divine intervention, command healthy cells to multipy and cancer to flee. In Jesus name we pray, we believe and we receive.

    Thank you Lord, thank you.

  5. Runner Mom

    Oh, what a beautfiul woman! I will be praying for Mary and her family.

    And, your daughter's precious hearfelt prayer brought me to tears. I love her faith!


  6. Deborah Ann

    Father, I lift up Mary to you today, and I ask for a supernatural healing miracle, that you flood Mary and her family with peace and love. Surround them with angels and shine down your glory over them. In Jesus name…

    Mary is at the top of my list for prayer…

    The movie "It's a Wonderful Life" just came to mind. I can almost picture a flood of heartfelt cries and unspeakable love and joy for Mary. Let it be so, Lord Jesus.

  7. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing the story of this beautiful life! Miracles do happen… I do believe!! I will be praying for Mary and her family.

  8. Lisa notes...

    I'm lifting up a prayer for Mary, too, and her family and her ministry. Blessings to you for sharing the need.

  9. LisaShaw


    I was at Michele's and saw this posted and I came over to say I'm praying for her and for the family and ministry.

    Believing GOD for a MIRACLE in Jesus Name!!

    Love you.

  10. Deidra

    He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 9:10

    This gift we have to pray on behalf of another – to participate in the miracles of God – humbles me and stretches me at the same time. Thanks for sharing this. I will be praying tonight for Mary and for her family.

  11. Rosario

    I am praying for Mary, and asking others to pray. I believe God will answer.

  12. Karen

    I came over from Michele's, too…praying now….

  13. optigrl987

    I cried when I read this post. Today my dad celebrates his 82nd birthday. Two years ago he was admitted to the hospital with a deadly staff infection. Three times, yes three, we were told he was dying. I am here today to tell you NEVER lose hope, ALWAYS believe and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. God does hear, will heal and will make a miracle. My heart is in knots thinking of this family, their devotion to helping others, the unborn baby and Mary. But I know the Lord will never leave her side, just as He never left my dad's. Please keep us posted on her progress.

  14. christy rose

    I have stopped and prayed for Mary Anaya and her family this moment. Thanks for sharing this need in the body of Christ.

  15. Jennifer

    I've prayed and have asked our ladies' Bible study group to lift up this woman and child, too. Every life is precious to God. Every life is a gift. And we serve a Miracle-working God!

  16. travelmom

    Praying in Wenatchee, Washington!

  17. Carol

    Praying with you and believing with you. I love to read your words. I feel like I know Mary. And I know her babies hearts. They love and need their mama. God hears, He can do miracles.

  18. Sande

    As a mom of ten too, that really, really hits home. Sometimes I think I believe I am untouchable because I have such a responsibility …. perspective would really be helpful right now although I know we can all lean on Him for that.

  19. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Thanks for your prayers, everyone.

    And Sande — that's been my reaction, too. I often read the obituary page, and on the rare occasion that a young mom is listed there, I'm rattled. I assume, too, that I'm one of the untouchables. This is Mystery-File material — hard to understand and fathom.

    Again, thank you, thank you for those prayers. If you want to sign up for her prayer vigil, there are links within the story.

  20. Niecey

    Thank you for posting this story. I have been praying for Mary, and now I have a place to direct other people to go read her story and pray for her too. Please post updates on here too.

  21. Dawn

    Praying for Mary!!!


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