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Navigating the Trail of Healing Experienced on Earth, Healing Experienced in Heaven

Two women, both diagnosed with cancer, and the journey Faith Assembly of God recently took as God chose to heal one on Earth, while the other received her healing in heaven.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, ESV).

Faith Assembly of God in Ripley, West Virginia, learned the truth behind that verse in 2023.

Andrea Donohew, wife and mother to two young girls, attended the church for years with her family. She was an encourager and prayer warrior. In February 2022, she got the news no one wants to receive from her doctor.

Jessica Buckbee, wife and mother to a son and daughter, had started attending Faith AG the year prior. With a renewed faith firmly grounded, she found herself sitting in a similar doctor’s office a month later.

The same two words were said to both women: Breast cancer.

The two women, who graduated the same year from the same high school and went to church together, didn’t expect to have another thing in common. Yet they found themselves in the same position. Buckbee was diagnosed with HER2+ at stage four; it had also metastasized to her liver. Donohew’s was stage two, triple negative (the quickest spreading) and already in her lymph nodes.

Immediately they had a whole church behind them. The congregation reached out, prepared meals ahead of time for treatment days, accompanied them to treatment, and most importantly prayed. Pink ribbon T-shirts were made and handed out with a portion of 2 Corinthians 12:9 — “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” — imprinted on them.

Donohew and Buckbee started their treatment journey. Donohew began with a natural route while Buckbee started chemo. Every treatment day, the ladies of the church donned their support shirts and sent pictures of themselves in their shirts with prayer messages. The church threw out any doubt and believed in God’s miracle-working ability.


Donohew’s cancer began spreading into the bone. Even in the midst of discouraging news, she held onto her hope. “The battle is the Lord’s, and I am eagerly awaiting the full victory to be revealed,” Donohew said. “He is able and so faithful.”

There were many times she couldn’t attend church because of the pain. The cancer began fracturing her bones. She decided to begin chemo and radiation in hopes of stopping the cancer growth. She never ceased believing God was going to heal her completely.

The Lord blessed her with another Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2022, which the doctors had said would be impossible. She continued pressing on, claiming Psalm 118:17-21: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.”

Buckbee’s doctor informed her, with the type of cancer she had, and it being at stage 4 already, “The only thing we can do is prolong your life for five to eight years with chemo until it doesn’t work anymore.”

After hearing the news, Buckbee broke down in her car. “I’m not going to let the doctor have the final say. Only God has the final say…!”


The church body prayed for the ladies at every service, yet they felt they could do more. They began fasting meals. Each member of the church covered a meal in the week. Soon every meal was replaced with prayers for God’s mercy.

Buckbee’s original tumor marker was extremely high at 1,300. The normal is 25, which the doctor informed Buckbee she would never see again. After treatment, her doctor estimated her level to be around 800-900. Buckbee began praying that when her doctor called with her latest test results her number would be 25.

“This trial gave me a new perspective on life. I realized I couldn’t fix it, I had to lay it at God’s feet. When I did that, truly gave it to Him, is when I started really seeing progress,” Buckbee said.

The phone call came and the doctor said, “I have your results, but I don’t understand.”

“I do,” Buckbee said. “It’s God! What is it? We prayed for 25.”

“It has to be God — it’s 15.”

Not only did God do the impossible, but He placed her results below the normal range. Later her doctor showed her phenomenal blood work to colleagues who couldn’t believe she was a cancer patient.


The church body was torn. It was hard to compensate praising God with Buckbee for her miraculous testimony, while fervently begging God to do the same for Donohew.

Soon Donohew had to be admitted into the hospital. She was unable to walk after the cancer broke her hip. In the darkest place she never gave up trust that God was going to heal her body. The church also believed.

Early Sept. 5, Donohew’s earthly body failed — her pain and suffering forever replaced with unimaginable joy as she entered the presence of God and was gifted eternal life!

“…you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, NLT).

Her church family had believed, without a shadow of a doubt, she was going to receive physical healing. Their faith and trust had become so strong. It was a mix of emotions. Disappointment. Shock. Unbelief. Numbness.

While still in the stages of grief, joy appeared. Buckbee’s scan results came back. The doctor told her the tumors stopped shrinking. She feared it was a bad thing. The doctor said, “You know what that means? The tumors are dead!” They would continue to show up on scans but they were only scar tissue. She had defeated cancer with the help of God.

“He is faithful to complete his work!” Buckbee said in her testimony post.


Donohew and Buckbee have two completely different healings. One shares her miracle story here on earth; the other needs believers who knew her to share her testimony of trust, belief, and faith with the world. Faith Assembly of God believes that each of their stories will impact lives in a way no one saw possible.

Through Buckbee’s trial she has witnessed and testified to countless individuals. Almost everyone she comes into contact with leaves knowing she serves a God who still heals. Her cancer journey has been used for God’s glory. And that’s exactly what Donohew wanted as well. Through the tough times, not only did the church grow together, but they all grew closer to God — including Donohew and Buckbee.

Rejoicing over Buckbee’s latest test scores and praising God for the miraculous is something the whole church gets to participate in. And grieving in times of pain and loss when thinking of Donohew’s shortened life also involves the entire church body.

Donohew said many things which were inspirational, but one text message she sent, talking about her life and her Maker, particularly sticks out:

“I know personally, that I’d not trade this trial for the world! I have learned a deep and lasting truth in that He absolutely has a purpose for ALL the things that we, as believers, go through. I know that without this trial, I’d not have gained this knowledge of His goodness, to then be able to be an effective witness for Him of His faithfulness, His promises and His absolute ability to heal! He trades beauty for ashes. I am learning… to continually seek Him and trust Him at His Word! I can’t wait to see where He leads me this coming year, and beyond, with all He’s given me to work with! I’m so excited!”

Donohew’s excitement to use the opportunities she was presented to share of His faithfulness continues to be an inspiration to other believers. Every Christian has a testimony to tell. Some circumstances end with an extraordinary miracle as in Buckbee’s life; others may lead to loss and intense grief. Whichever it may be, believers have the choice to praise Him anyway.

“…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Trust in God’s faithfulness, believe in miracles, rejoice, weep, and praise at all times.

*To read the Assemblies of God Position Paper on divine healing, click here.

Lydia Nester

Lydia Nester is an Assemblies of God pastor's daughter with a passion for writing, reading, sewing, music, photography, and spending time outdoors in God's creation. She is currently a seamstress for a local sewing shop and planning to start Appalachian District School of Ministry classes in the fall of 2024.