“Oh Chief God, my mother is sick,” 12-year-old girl Maiyn prayed the words after me with a big smile on her face looking up towards the rafters of her house. “Will you please come and stay in my home? Will you please make my mother well again? I want to know you more. Please come to be with us. Thank you!”
A few hours ago Maiyn prayed this prayer. Her mother, Yoh, Yau’s eldest daughter, spent most of the day Sunday in our home as we worked to stay ahead of the malaria. She had been sick four days before she came and hadn’t been able to drink for three days. She was throwing up everything. She was seriously dehydrated and in bad shape. Johanna went to get her with the truck, but the hospital was closed over the weekend. The other private doctors either had their doors locked tight or said they couldn’t help. So we brought her to our home, explained that we weren’t doctors, and then asked if we could speak with the Chief God and ask Him to heal her. She was anxious, eager for us to pray!
Throughout the day, after different treatments we found in our medical books, she was able to drink over a liter of rehydration fluid and eat some banana bread and some enchilada rice. We took her back home in the evening. She was again eager for me to pray. Last night I visited her and the family was thrilled with her quick recovery even though she was still terribly week. But they warned me that they had heard a jyak during the night and that they felt sure a jyak was after her. We prayed again and I encouraged them to pray alone when I left. “We don’t know how,” they kept repeating.
Tonight when I visited, they recounted the horrible night before when Yoh woke up at midnight in horrible pain with a high fever. “I know for sure now that someone is angry at us,” explained Chay, her husband. “They are angry at me and are trying to kill her instead.” One of the elders entered their home as we talked and paced the floor listening to every word we said. I encouraged the family to look to the Chief God for protection. Then I asked if I could pray again. Both Chay and Yoh wanted me to pray. Maiyn sat with us as well as her three little sisters and two little brothers. They watched me carefully as I prayed. Then I said, “Would one of you like to pray?” We don’t know how the family chorused. Again I explained how Chief God listens like a father and asked again if they wanted to pray. Then I looked at Maiyn and said, “Just follow me.” It was a beautiful little prayer. When she finished, her little 10-year-old sister wanted to pray. Again I led her in the words as she spoke with her Savior for the first time in her life.
When we finished Chay asked, “But what do we do now? These people hate me. What do we do?” I knew it was an important question but I didn’t know exactly what he was asking. So I silently prayed for the right answer and replied, “First, you pray and ask Chief God to be here with your family to protect them. Then when those who hate you speak bad things to you, reply with good things. When they do bad things to you, do good things back to them.” I can’t explain the surprised smile that came over Chay’s face as I spoke. I looked at me as if he were astounded at the wisdom of my words. He kept glancing at his sick wife repeating, “That’s exactly what we’ll do. That’s it! That’s it!” I continued, “When those who hate you come near your home, invite them in and give them something to drink and some food to eat.” Glancing at the banana bread I’d brought I said, “Offer them some banana bread. Speak nicely with them and show them that you are not angry at them. Show them that you do not hate them back.” Chay was deeply impressed with my words and I believe they will be life changing. Aren’t the words of Jesus always that way? I love how God’s word becomes living and active in everyday life.
Then I told the family, “God will never forsake you or leave you. He is the one who molded, sculptured the first humans from the soil.” Before I could get another word in, the tipsy elder who had been pacing the floor behind suddenly joined the conversation with great enthusiasm. “That’s exactly right,” he said. “I have heard the ancient legends and stories about how Chief God molded man out of the earth. That’s exactly what happened. He stooped down and formed the people out of the dirt and that’s where the first humans came from. That’s right! That’s right!” Everyone in the room was excited now. “He knows what he’s talking about,” someone commented. “He’s an elder. He knows the old stories and legends.”
This is all happening a week after Yau received an important visitor from Vietnam. It seems one of her distant relatives from across the border had come to see if she still had living relatives alive in Cambodia. Yau came to our house to tell us the story. “She’s a Christian,” Yau said with excitement in her voice. “She became angry at the gods when her mother and father died and many of her relatives. She now says that she knows the God of light and no longer serves the gods of darkness. She’s so thankful that she started following Him.”
She added, “I know what she was talking about since God kept me safe from the jyaks all those months after Koin’s death. I told her about that experience. I told her all about you and the things you’ve told us. It was so nice hearing from a relative about the same God you tell us about. It must be wonderful to stop serving the god’s of darkness and serve only the God of light.” When I was speaking with Yoh, she too told me about the visitor from Vietnam and she too commented how wonderful it is to serve only Chief God instead of all the other gods.
I feel this is a significant moment for this family and Boan Village. Please pray today if you get this message knowing the family is facing a powerful spiritual struggle. If you’re praying in the day, remember its night for us here and the jyaks are walking. If it’s night for you, know that important conversations are happening. But please pray!
I’ll keep you updated,