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I squirmed a bit as I forced myself to listen to my friend cataloging her problems. After three hours, I interrupted her gently to ask, "If you were to draw a circle to represent your life, what would be in the center?"

She thought a moment, then said, "My problems." My friend spoke the truth.

A week later, I sat across the hospital bed on which lay my younger sister, Joye, who had just been diagnosed with acute leukemia. Gray and perspiring, with a swath of bandages encasing her throat from a biopsy, Joye talked to a student nurse who was interviewing terminally ill people to see if there was any way she could help them.

"Oh, Jan, I'm a bit fearful of the pain and process of dying--but I'm not afraid of death! It'll just be a change of residence for me," I heard my sister, her face radiant from within, say to this student nurse. And for forty-five minutes, Joye explained the good news of Jesus Christ to Jan.

Afterward, I thought, Both my friend and sister have serious problems. ...

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