IN MEMORY OF DOROTHEA HOFMANN CARDENAS, MY BELOVED WIFE.
Born March 21, 1954 to November 22, 1999.
Dorothea was one of 13 children, born in Germany, and raised on a small farm in a little town in Southern Germany. Before receiving her confirmation, she was asked to read Romans 8:14-16 (ESV)
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
These two words ” Abba! Father! ”not only caught her attention but became a reality in her own heart after the Holy Spirit bore witness to her spirit that she was a child of God. And from that moment on, she decided to live her life to serve God.
For a career, she decided to become a nurse and a midwife. But during the course of her training, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis which destroyed most of her lungs and threatened her life. God, in his mercy, spared her life and she was able to complete her nursing program with flying colors and was encouraged to further her studies to become a doctor.
However, it was during this time that Dorothea felt God was calling her to serve in China. She followed His lead by using her medical training to volunteer overseas at a Red Cross refugee camp in Thailand with Youth With A Mission (1979-1981) where she ran the Leprosy Ward and assisted mothers in childbearing. One of the many amazing stories that touched her heart was the time when one of her patients looked into her eyes and said, ” If your God is like you, I want to know Him.”
She later met her husband in Hong Kong, while they were both serving through YWAM. They went on to serve together in mainland China for 2 years. Dorothea furthered her education by completing the Early Childhood Education program at the University of the Nations in hopes of starting a bilingual Chinese/English preschool in Taiwan and China. She had spent 10 years serving in Asia and was eager to continue.
During this time, their family grew as they welcomed three children into their lives. But their lives took an unexpected turn when Dorothea was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer shortly after giving birth to their fourth child.
It shocked their hearts when they heard that a tumor the size of a volleyball was between her stomach and colon. Although they were able to remove it, she was only expected to live anywhere from three weeks to three months. However, God in his goodness and kindness gave her five additional years. Her remarkable faith and trust in God became an anchor to her family and she became like a stream in the desert for many who came to see her and needed hope and encouragement. She would be proud to know that her faith impacted her children and they are all following the Lord.
Johannes’ tribute (son of Dorothea and John):
Mom’s favorite verse was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” In the Word and in Prayer…
I can’t remember a day that went by where I didn’t see her either in the Word or in prayer. In the midst of her weakness, the Lord was her strength and her joy. In her daily dependence on the Lord, God used her to encourage and be a blessing to others.
Esther’s tribute (daughter of Dorothea and John):
Gentle, patient, steadfast, selfless, and strong. She had the strength and beauty that can only be found by someone so surrounded by God’s presence. Her faith was unwavering even in weakness, doubt, and grief. Her life left an imprint on everyone she met. She walked by faith so that others could taste and see that the Lord is good. Her life was a gift.