Pehpay and Belony, April 28th
His smile stretched from ear to ear and his hands were literally shaking with excitement as he lifted the paper for me to see. On it were scrawled two names.
"This man," Belony pointed, "He is sick. He is very very sick. And we talked to him about the Lord, and he said, 'I want that.' And I said, 'Oh, you cannot become a Christian just so that maybe God will heal you! You must become a Christian because you want Jesus to be the Lord of your life!"
"And I explained more to him, " Belony continued, "And he began to cry and cry, and I said to him, 'Are you crying because you do not want to die?', and the man said, 'No, I do not care if I die. I am sad because I have wasted my life without Him. I am sad that I waited until now. I am sad that I might only serve Him but a few days.'"
Then, last week, I shared about our visit to him, and how burdened and thoughtful I felt in regards to healing and the hopelessness of his situation...
Just this past week...my heart is busy pondering it all. Belony, Charitable and I visited a man Wednesday that was one of the the two first converts on Tuesday. They had told me his was sick, but...he is SICK. We trudged through mud and open sewage to arrive at his "house." A shriveled ancient-looking woman with kind eyes introduced herself as Marie-Claire, his sister, over a steaming pot of mush. She led us inside a hut built from woven palms once covered in hard mud, now crumbled and patchy.
A Haitian hernia operation gone bad had left Pehpay bedridden. The hut wreaked of urine as we huddled around him, and I fought back tears as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. He had once been clearly a tall, very able man, with huge feet, huge hands, a broad jaw and broad shoulders. Today, his stomach was hugely bloated, his biceps and forearms so shrunken that his elbows were by far the largest part of his arms. He wheezed as he shared his story, and tears followed deep paths in his face as he reconfirmed his new salvation.
"Do you believe completely that He is your Lord?" Yes. "Do you believe completely that He can heal you?" Yes. "Do you want to be healed?" Yes. And then we prayed for him for a long time, and as I held his hand and prayed, my mind and heart were just swimming with Bible stories of healing, testimonies of healing, all my life's questions of healing and what it looks like and how it works and when it comes and how...
I kissed his weathered cheek and we headed back to the campus, now silent. We could hear his haggard coughing persist as we walked on.
Well, yesterday was Matt's turn to go out with the students while I stayed home with Lily. On their way home from a Bible study down the road, they popped in to visit this gentleman, known around the community as Pehpay. Around the time they should return, Belony came running across the yard to our house (Matt had a meeting at 3), just bounding and grinning. I knew something exciting had happened, but hadn't thought it would have anything to do with Pehpay.
"Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!" Belo rejoiced, waving his hands in the air and twitching from excitement. "Pehpay, who could not speak the first week, and who could not sit up the next week, whom we all but lifted to a sitting position, got out of bed and stood up, BY himself, today!"
I hate to tell you that I didn't even believe him, thinking we must be talking about a different person. "The old guy with the hernia operation, that is dying? Marie-Claire's brother? The guy we prayed for that couldn't breathe and couldn't sit up?"
"YES!" Belony all but shouted. "PEHPAY! We went to pray for him on our way home, and when we came in, he was saying, "Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!" and I said, 'Yes, let's praise the Lord that He has saved you!' and Pehpay said, 'Yes, because He has saved me, but look, He is healing me!'"
Then Pehpay sat up, on his own (which I swear to you, would absolutely not have been possible just a week ago...it took all three of us ALL our might to make him sit up), threw his legs over the bed, and stood, all on his own, and began praising the Lord again!
Even hearing it and knowing it to be true if Belony says it is true, it is very hard for me to believe. Matt's got Lily this afternoon so I can go and see him. That day I blogged about healing, I was feeling so broken and despairing over Pehpay and sickness in general...and just a week or so later, I have the joyful and humbling gift of telling you of a man, newly our brother, who now is standing, for the first time in over six months...
Can't wait to see him, to tell you more, and to share his God, my God, the God that truly sees, with more of His creation this afternoon!