“Whether I live or die, I will not leave
A powerful testimony
God must have a plan for him
“We want to come to this Jesus”
Bei’s face and hands are weathered and wrinkled beyond her 50-some years, but she exhibits the strength and agility of a much younger woman. We first met Bei after we were able to take her very ill daughter, Artebella, to the hospital. Bei couldn’t have been more thankful. After that, she began to watch. We built a prayer/residential bamboo hut in her village, and she would come and watch without saying anything. When we started fellowship and prayer at her village, she came and listened.
After some months of quietly watching and listening, she declared that she too would follow Christ Jesus. She was immersed in a beautiful river near her village. After the baptism, we joined together in singing and prayers. As we walked back to the village, Bei danced for all of us. She was so very happy. Before this, we had only known her serious side. We’ve seen so much joy in Bei since her baptism. She loves to give. She brings her money for Sunday offering. She brings sticky rice for me. She sends home vegetables for my family.
But as we got to know Bei more, we realized her life has been submerged in pain and sadness. She lost her father before she was born. When she was very young, her mother also died. After that, she was raised by one of her mom’s brothers, but when she was still 10 or 11, he sold her in marriage to a man more than twice her age. With a sad and painful look she told us, “I was sold for two bags of rice, one pig, and sixty rupees.” The man who bought her treated her very badly, hitting her countless times. She still carries scars over her joints and wrists. For the last 12 years, though, her husband has been paralyzed and confined to his bed. Her sons are poor and can barely take care of their own families, and so she carries the burden of providing. She is an expert midwife. She helps women deliver, and the families pay her small amounts. With whatever income she thus gathers, she runs her house.
Her woes have not ended, though. Bei’s ailing husband still threatens her with dire consequences. Most of her sons and some villagers started avoiding her when she became a follower of Christ. Some scolded her fiercely for leaving her old faith. But she was not shaken. Clinging to the hope she’s never known before, she joyfully declared, “Whether I live or die, I will not leave ‘Jisu Baba’ (Daddy Jesus).”
We first met Artebella when she was having complications following a miscarriage. Her mother, Bei, was very grateful when we were able to take Artebella to a hospital, but it was there that we learned just how serious her situation was. She was suffering from a miscarriage, jaundice, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and liver and kidney problems all at the same time. She stayed in the hospital for three weeks until her physical health was finally restored. And due to the faithful sharing of the gospel, she became a Christian, and God healed her spiritually as well.
During her three week hospitalization, her home village somehow received the message that she had died. So, imagine their surprise and joy when she came back to them alive and well. Now she is a powerful testimony to her village and a clear witness to the Lord’s goodness. Artebella invited a church planting team to come to her village to help her share the Good News with those close to her. Soon a small bamboo prayer hut was built and a new church began to take shape. The church is there to this day, growing and spreading the Light of the World.
One of our field workers met “Peter” (not his real name) at a small church with walls made of bamboo and a sheet metal roof. After the church service was over, the field worker asked Peter to share his story and about how he became a Christian.
Peter’s father was the village witch doctor. He was well respected, and everyone brought their sick to him to be healed. One day, however, his oldest son became very ill. Everything the father tried failed to heal his son. The father grew desperate. In a nearby village, there was talk of a group of people who had powerful prayers. They would pray, and their prayers were answered. As a last effort to save his only son, the father sent for these people. This group of Christians came to the father’s village and prayed for his son. They also introduced him to Christ. The father declared, “If my son is healed, I will follow your God.” Within one day, the son was miraculously healed and walking around. So the father destroyed all of his witch doctor materials and became a Christian.
A couple of years later, Peter was born. When Peter was a young child, he too became very ill, and it was believed that he would die. So Peter’s father, who was “a very straight forward person” as Peter describes him, prayed, “God, if my son will grow up to serve you, save his life. If he will not, then take him now.” God must have had a plan for Peter’s life because he was healed and has served God ever since. Now Peter is faithfully serving in the little village with the bamboo hut church.
On our way to a remote village, we saw a father carrying a tall boy who was strangely thin and clearly sick. The mother was following with a cloth bag and an umbrella. They had walked for days to a regional hospital to get medical treatment. Their 12-year-old son, Shantimoi, had a bloated stomach, which the doctors had diagnosed as an intestinal obstruction requiring immediate surgery, but the family had left the hospital and was going home. They had no money for the treatment, even though the family had sold their only ox and the solar lantern they had to give their hut some light at night. They had nothing else to give. They were making the long trip home to wait for their son to die.
Trusting the Lord to provide what they needed, we took the family back to the doctors, promising to help with the expenses beyond what they could pay. Two surgeries later, Shantimoi is completely healed and has a second chance at life.
But God is healing more than just physical wounds. Before the illness, the parents were strongly opposed to Christianity. They never liked the followers of Jesus. But, because of the love shown to them by our team and the clear declaration of the Gospel message, both parents committed their lives to Christ. At their baptism, they testified, “We found your prayers worked. We carried our dying son to and fro. Lots of people saw us. No one helped. But you people of Jesus showed mercy to us. We want to come to this Jesus.” Shantimoi’s story has traveled into many villages and people are talking positively about the Way, the Truth, and the Life. A new church has now been planted in their village. God is using missionaries to heal the whole person, physically and spiritually, because He doesn’t want anyone to perish. Are you ready to be a part of what God is doing?