TV 10
Source: TV 10

Terminally Ill Man Is Cured While Restoring an Abandoned Church Building

Ayesha Muhammad
Feb 25, 2022
01:40 P.M.
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When a dying man lost all hope, he began taking long walks through the countryside with his dog to relieve his stress. While walking one day, he stumbled upon a crumbling church building. What happened next changed his life forever. 


Often, we come across stories of people recovering from illnesses overnight. Some recovery stories are utterly shocking and might even defy logic and medical science.

But they prove that miracles can happen anytime and surprise us when we least expect them. Today's story talks about a similar scenario and might resonate with people who have believed in the power of miracles at some point in their lives.

The old church building [Left]; Greg Thomas pictured with his dog on the chapel's steps [Right]. | Source: TV 10



In 2009, Greg Thomas of Montgomery, Minnesota, was diagnosed with stage four cancer in his head and neck. The diagnosis turned his life upside down, robbing him of his ability to perform everyday tasks. 

The then-57-year-old man kept pulling through, knowing that the subsequent years would only add to his misery. His darkest fears were proven correct when he experienced difficulty swallowing and used a feeding tube. 

Life became cumbersome over time, and his condition prevented him from continuing his job. Consequently, he was laid off from his job of delivering propane. 


Greg Thomas pictured taking a walk with his dog. | Source: TV 10


"When I found out that I had cancer, they told my family to go ahead and start planning my funeral," shared Thomas. While his worsening health impacted his loved ones, it had hit him the hardest, and the emotional trauma was unbearable. 


After publishing a book in 2016 and becoming a public speaker and minister, the Minnesota man hoped the future would be promising for him and the little church.

There were days when the Minnesota resident felt hopeless and scared. When the stress took its toll on him, he started taking long walks through the countryside with his dog. 

The old church building. | Source: WAVY TV 10



Thomas hoped that walking would help him cope with his trauma, and taking his dog along made him feel a little less alone. During one of these walks, he came across an old church building, which immediately caught his attention. 

The church was abandoned and dilapidated, with a weak foundation and chipped-off paint. Thomas felt an urge to enter the chapel, but it was locked. Instead of leaving, he sat on the steps for some time. 

Later, he discovered that Catholic Czech settlers had built the chapel in 1868. After they moved to a larger parish, the church had not had a congregation in over 100 years.


Church treasurer Don Rynda. | Source: TV 10


Owing to a strong urge, Thomas decided to talk to the people near the chapel. Since he had lost his job and had some time on his hands, he thought repairing the crumbling structure would help him find repose. 


Thomas talked to Don Rynda, the foundation's treasurer that looked after the church cemetery and asked permission to paint the chapel. Soon afterward, the ancient chapel was clothed in fresh white paint, and Thomas's cancer was in remission. 

After restoring the chapel's exterior, the older man said he planned to fix the roof and the interior. While he had no family ties to the church, the people who did were grateful for his hard work. 

Thomas pictured repairing the chapel. | Source: TV 10



"There's been a lot of tears shed down on these steps. They've been tears of joy, tears of pain, but tears of blessing too," uttered a teary-eyed Thomas while sitting on the chapel's steps with his dog in 2012. 

By December 2015, however, Thomas was being asked to cancel an annual Christmas open house that invited over 500 people to the church. The senior citizen was told he couldn't enter the chapel without an escort. 

Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, the owner of the church and the surrounding cemetery, asked him to call off the event.


Thomas pictured sitting on the chapel's steps with his dog. | Source: TV 10


Trustee Gene Mach commented that while he was grateful to Thomas for repairing the building, he objected to the gas fireplace and the electrical service installed by Thomas.


He added that the church didn't have enough restrooms and handicap access, and the cemetery lacked parking space. Mach also mentioned that Most Holy Redeemer wished for the chapel to serve as a "showpiece," without public access. 

On the contrary, Thomas wanted the ancient building to serve as a place of worship for people. He said he felt hurt when Most Holy Redeemer told him they had changed the chapel's locks, and he was allowed to pray only with an escort. 



When Thomas proposed to buy the church, Most Holy Redeemer declined his request, citing the building as holy ground amidst a cemetery. The older man had spent years fixing the chapel, during which time he successfully beat cancer.

However, in 2015, Thomas learned that the disease had returned. After publishing a book in 2016 and becoming a public speaker and minister, the Minnesota man hoped the future would be promising for him and the little church. 

Here's another story that follows a similar context, and it's about an older man who claimed he was cured of cancer after two angels visited him. You can read the full story here. 


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