Image for Reality

Rain sprinkled down on us as we walked through the garden pathways of a resort near our house. Looking at the plants in this tropical garden gave us some quality family time. The misty beauty made us wonder what heaven will be like. We were just about at the end of the path when Jonathan’s phone rang, interrupting the beauty around us. We heard the news that one of our beloved teachers, Ma Ceort had been badly burned. We hopped in the truck, dropped the kids off at our house, and went to the hospital to see how bad the situation was. Ma Ceort had burns on about 80 percent of her body. The next 36 adrenaline-filled hours were a roller coaster of emotions. Uncertainty, frustration, sympathy, sadness, hope and disappointment ran through us as we tried to find medical help for our friend.

Every hospital where we would typically find treatment was filled with or reserved for COVID-19 patients. We finally found a private hospital that was not admitting those with COVID-19 so their facilities could treat trauma patients. Over the next 12 days, our team supported Ma Ceort, her husband Noy, and her boys in as many ways as possible. We prayed for her healing, for her boys, for funds to cover the medical expenses (no insurance here), but most of all, we prayed that this tragedy would result in growth for God’s Kingdom. At the end of 12 days, Ma Ceort passed away. We were devastated!

We helped Noy organize the first Christian Pnong funeral in this area. It was simple and filled with our blessed hope, quite a contrast to the usual funerals here. During the graveside ceremony, the pastor made an appeal to those attending to follow Jesus as Ma Ceort had, so they too could have hope. A few days later, Ma Ceort’s mother and another man who came to the funeral expressed interest in following Jesus. Please pray for these interests to grow into new lives committed to Christ!

Even though we were disappointed that Ma Ceort passed away, the reality is that we are in a battle, and the enemy does not give up territory easily. In this battle, we face pain, injury, victories, failures, traitors and more — everything that goes with warfare. You are in this battle, too, whether you want to be or not. Everyone is on one side or the other. Have you been feeling the warfare? We may lose our physical lives in this war, but just as with every good soldier, we fight for a cause bigger than ourselves. We fight for spiritual freedom and truth. We fight that others might have life, eternal life, even though they may die. Join us in this battle for kingdom growth!