On April 5, 2014, Leon Freitag received a death sentence. He was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. “The doctor told me to gather my family, because I had 12 to 18 months to live,” Freitag recounted. “According to the doctor, I had no hope of survival.” Freitag, who has served as superintendent of the North Dakota District Council of the Assemblies of God since 1999, had little time to absorb this life-changing news. He was in the midst of preparations for district council, which would begin two days later.
News of Freitag’s illness spread quickly in North Dakota, where Assemblies of God ministers and members are closely-knit like a family. What was going to happen to the soft-spoken, gentle spiritual leader who was known for his love for people and his passion for soul-winning? Would he live? Would he resign from office? Freitag responded to the news of his cancer by committing himself to live out his faith in front of the people he served. With tear-stained cheeks, he told the crowd at district council that he was believing God for a miracle. He intended to serve out the remaining year of his term, and he viewed his suffering as an object lesson for those around him. MORE