The last time I had seen Chari, we’d had a heart-to-heart talk about God. Soon after that, he left our area and went home so his mother could take care of him. He suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis that attacks the spine and causes severe, chronic pain and discomfort. The doctors can’t help him much, so his mother took him to the local spirit healer. “I didn’t want to go,” Chari told me by Facebook Messenger, “but every time I talk to her about God, she gets angry.” I encouraged him to pray for his mother. He replied that he had been praying for himself but had forgotten to pray for her.
Over the next few weeks I continued chatting with him and tried to be encouraging. I learned that his house is upriver and on the opposite bank from our target ministry site. Including the ferry crossing and drive, it’s about an hour away. It is beautiful farm country hardly touched by the outside world. Of all the places Chari could have gone, God kept him within our reach! I asked Chari if Stephanie and I could visit him, and he gladly agreed.
We went to visit on Easter Sunday since we were already in our ministry village for baptisms on Sabbath. Arriving in Chari’s home village, we found him living in a tidy house on the riverbank. All around his house, garbage from the town was piled several feet deep on the riverbank waiting for the monsoon floods to carry it away. But we could tell Chari’s family tried hard to keep their property clean despite the surroundings they couldn’t control.
Chari’s mom had a meal of bitter gourd stuffed with pork and fried fish and a dish of fried morning glory greens waiting for us. While we were still on the way, I had reminded Chari that we were vegetarians, so his mom had run to the market to get the greens. We finished off the meal with marvelous mangoes.
After several months with nothing to do, Chari was bored. Only in the last few days had he been able to sit up on his own. We prayed together for healing and a blessing on the family. I gave him an abridged version of the book Prophets and Kings, and He said he would probably finish it in a day or two.
Chari misses his work and visiting with his friends at coffee shops in the city. He is worried that he won’t get better and could be bedridden and dependent on painkillers for a long time. He isn’t a Christian yet, but his heart is open. We will keep visiting and encouraging him as much as we can, and we invite you to pray that he and his mother will meet the Healer of the soul even while life on this earth is still a daily struggle.