By Conrad Dudderar
As Yukon’s Kristi (Crossen) Rhoton underwent chemotherapy this week inside Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, friends and family were outside cheering her on.
Rhoton, a 1994 Yukon High School graduate who is battling cancer of the lymph node, is receiving much love, respect and prayers from across the Yukon community.
Several hundred people converged Jan. 12 on the hospital’s north parking lot as a show of support for Rhoton, whose husband Ray is pastor of Bethel Community Church in Yukon.
Members of the large crowd held up a banner proclaiming, “Fear Not … God is Greater!” as fireworks shot off outside the hospital, 4300 W Memorial Road.
They arrived in the middle of Kristi Rhoton’s first chemo treatment, which would last 7-1/2 hours.
“It’s so humbling and powerful to realize that I get to see God working through Kristi to impact our community – and how she’s done that over the years,” Ray Rhoton said. “Kristi loves fireworks, so she said it was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to her.”
Seeing the crowd of supporters outside the hospital provided inspiration for Kristi.
“She’s been so sick for so long,” Ray related. “She went back to the room different. So, it was awesome.”
Kristi told her supporters, “I love you all so much. Thank you all for your prayers.
“It’s scary, but I’m going to do it. I need your friendship and love.”
Kristi’s husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1991. After a long and difficult year, Ray was cured.
Kristi’s final diagnosis is Diffused Non-Hodgkin’s Large B-Cell Lymphoma, a cancer that is 100% curable.
“It is the power of God, the power of prayer and the power of a community coming together that makes this possible,” Pastor Rhoton said. “Keep praying! We have only just begun! We have a long road ahead.”
Ray and Kristi Rhoton celebrated their 24th anniversary just before Christmas. They have two children, daughter Lily, 14; and son Max, 10.
‘TOUCHED OUR LIVES’
Love and prayers have been pouring in from across the U.S. – and all over the world.
“It’s amazing,” Pastor Rhoton said. “Any support we can get is really encouraging.”
The Rhotons are former missionaries who have impacted people in Africa, Central America, Europe and all over the United States. That impact has been seen for the past six years in Yukon.
Messages have been pouring on social media as word grows about Kristi’s cancer fight.
“Tonight, we got to show Kristi how much she means to us, how much she has touched our lives just by being here!” Yukon’s Karyssa Wurster Rosales posted Wednesday night. “I mean look at all these people that came together for her! Isn’t that amazing!
“Kristi amazes me daily by her love for people, her selflessness, her desire to help others. Kristi is not only my aunt but she’s one of my best friends, we laugh together, we get mad together, we cry together, we do life together!”
Another post came from Oklahoma City’s Colleen Johnson, who wrote:
“We knew from the first day we walked into Bethel Community Church it was such a special place. They have welcomed us with open arms. It’s a privilege to know these people. To witness the faithfulness of Ray and Kristi in the most difficult things.
“To watch a community pull off a celebration for her at the hospital tonight is a witness to their love for the community.”
Ray Rhoton invites everyone to keep updated through his blog, which may be found at kristiswar.com
“We’ve told our church that we are not going to be private, we’re going to be public,” Bethel’s pastor said. “That God will be glorified. That Jesus will be praised.
“If He thinks we’re worthy to suffer like this, then we accept.”