“Brother John,” the text message on my phone read, “please, you have to come back to Balangabong right away. Junjun says he is dying, and he wants you to take him back to his home to die.”
Junjun had been a Christian for many years. Over time, however, the struggle to make a living and the problems of everyday life distracted him, and he stopped coming to church. As his faith waned, so did his health. He came to me for help when he could no longer walk, paralyzed from spinal tuberculosis. I started treating him, but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t see God helping him. He believed that his sickness was incurable. To top it off, his wife left him alone in his sickness to chase another man.
It all came to a head that night in late May. My wife Rodelyn and I were traveling when my native teammate texted me that Junjun was dying. “Tell him to hold on until tomorrow,” I texted back. “Help is coming.”
The next morning, Rodelyn helped me track down Junjun’s wife. We almost had to drag her to the truck, but finally she agreed to come with us. Bringing a few other relatives, we traveled back to Balangabong. For the next several days, we held counseling sessions with the couple, studied the Bible with them and reassured Junjun that the medicine was slowly curing him.
Yesterday as I sat on my porch taking a breather, I overheard happy chatter as Junjun and his wife playfully bantered with their daughter. Junjun is walking unassisted now, his wife is recommitted and happy, and the whole family are faithful Christians again.