Teaching Sunday school at Mount Hope United Methodist Church in South Fork is a happy and rewarding part of Lucy Stains’ life.

She gives elementary-age children lessons about God and life.

“I love to be able to tell the story of Jesus to our children and help them to grow in that,” Stains said. “The children are so spirited and innocent and just a joy to be around. We have a team of teachers that work together and it’s just a wonderful thing. But the children end up showing the team of teachers just as much as we show them. It’s just the way that beauty works.”

Stains and her husband, Pastor Joseph Stains, have been at the church for about five years. And the relationships developed during that time, including in her role as a Sunday school teacher, helped her get through the emotional and physical experience of fighting breast cancer.

“I can’t say that I lived in a lot of fear,” Stains said. “I had my ‘oh no’ moments, but, for the most part, I had peace about it and just trusted – through the support of my family, and my church and my friends, but most of all God – that no matter what the outcome of this that there were going to be some blessings and positive growth in this. 

“That’s just my outlook in life. I can’t live without letting Jesus hold my hand. 

“I think that’s what brought me the peace. 

“With all the support that I had around me, I can’t say that I was real fearful about it, just more practical and aware of it.”

She was diagnosed in the summer of 2018 and soon thereafter received a lumpectomy at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and radiation treatments.

“I was one of those people who had put my mammogram off,” she said. “Fortunately, my doctor, when I went in for my annual checkup, just went ahead and put it through that we were going to do that. I followed through that way. 

“That’s when they found it. I’m thankful that that system worked like that. I was just busy and putting it off myself.”

Stains said “living in the present and in the presence of God has been strengthened through” the experience.

“You do start to take life a little bit more seriously, and thoughtfully and thankfully. … I think it has played on me in a way that I want to tell my family – in particular, my children and my grandchildren – more of my thoughts of what I’ve learned in life and what I know in my faith, not to let those moments pass,” Stains said. 

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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