This week I have been inundated by news and images of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. The sobering stories of loss, as well as heartening stories of faith and sacrifice, fixate my attention to the newsreel. There, I also learned that other parts of the world like South Asia are facing similar catastrophic floods.
And then I received an email from Mercy Hill members living in Southeast Asia that reminded me weather is not the only force that can disrupt and displace. There, along the Pacific Rim, is a family under the threat of losing their home because of their faith.
Here is a little of their story:
Jenjen and his wife are an older couple that have suffered through a lot in the last couple of years. Physical sickness has been a constant challenge, but the breakdown of their family has been even more heartbreaking for them. Their two sons both made a series of bad choices that ended in their marriages ending and big financial issues for the extended family. The family ended up losing most of what they had and ended up living in a small, rundown house in an orange orchard. They were allowed to live in the house in exchange for tending the orange trees.
Around this time, some believers started engaging Jenjen and his wife with stories about God’s love for mankind. This old couple showed a simple trust in Jesus. They prayed with humility. They shared the stories that they were learning about Jesus with the people that visited their little home. They prayed for their sons to also find the true path. As they learned more about faith, they wanted to wait to get baptized as a family, with their sons (family decisions are important in this culture).
Through a series of events, one of their sons, Komang is his name, just recently made a major move towards faith. The changes in his life were a joy to our team. Komang returned home. He started caring for his children again. He asked for a Bible and then within the last month asked to start studying the Scriptures with one of our local partners. He wants a change in his life. The entire family is ready to make a public decision.
As this news started getting out, some indirect pressure was put on Komang and Jenjen. The implication was that if the family decided to “publicly” follow Jesus, then they would have to move out of the home on the orange orchard. They really don’t have anywhere else to go, so losing their home would mean losing everything.
As your attention and prayers are rightly drawn to those facing uncertain futures because of catastrophic storms, I hope this story also challenges you to pray for Komang and Jenjen. Pray for them to have the courage to follow Jesus even if it means losing their home and livelihood. They live in a community with no believers, so following Jesus will be a challenge. Pray for them to be bold in continuing to share what they’ve been learning so that there will be more followers of Jesus in their community. Pray that they would be bold enough to get baptized. Pray also for our field partners to know how to best minister to and encourage them during this time.
-Bryan Miller (Connections/Missions Director)