Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Satan's Hold

   Marcus and I (Casey) went to the Russian Hospital to visit and pray with victims of the stampede that killed 350+ people at the end of Water Festival Monday night. Since the hospital is far from the river, there were fewer patients. With the help of my blue-eyed darling, we were able to speak with many of them. I had asked God to lead me to speak to those whose hearts might be softened or who needed a listening ear and the mercy of comfort, but I felt no leading for the first hour and a half. Everyone, as is normal for me when I have the children, wanted to know how old Marcus is and how it is that I speak Khmer - could this blonde child have a Khmer father???  :)  Many asked me why I had come to the hospital, and I responded I was coming to meet a Friend and see what He was doing. As time passed, people began sharing their how they found out their children were hurt and how many people had died.
      I had to pause a few times to collect my temper and remember that Khmer culture is different. People often smile and laugh when discussing horrible things. I, however, was in little mood to hear laughter over the number of dead young people. Thankfully, God gave me an extra measure of strength and self-control.
     After some time, I wandered down a corridor that was empty except for a precious pair of aged farmers from the countryside. I felt God leading me to them and was greeted with such warm smiles and words of blessing.
     “Why are you here, child?” they asked right away.
      This time, God prompted me to answer differently than I had. “I’m here to pray for God to help those who are hurting.”
      “Oh, that’s good. We’re Christians. We went to a Christmas holiday once,” they responded.               
      “How long have you believed?” I was excited!
      “Well…we went to that party a year ago.” I got the picture they weren’t true believers, but I was so thankful they viewed The Way in such good light.
      As we were chatting, a young doctor came up with a newspaper – more grotesque photographs of bodies and crowds. “You speak a lot of Khmer. Why are you here at the hospital?” he asked.
      “I’m here to pray to God, My Master, to help the people who are sick.”
       He smiled then pointed at a picture in the newspaper showing all the victims’ clothing and shoes that are still on the bridge where the stampede occurred. “Did God help them? If He is going to help people, He should help everyone.” He practically snarled. Never have I encountered such blatant anger and contempt in this country nor such a statement of belief in God from a non-Christian.
      Before I could think (or maybe I wouldn’t have said it), I spoke loudly enough for all in the small crowd to hear, “God made life. He can give it, and He can take it.” People whispered amongst themselves. The young doctor scoffed and walked away. I continued to talk with the family then made my way home.
      Since the tragedy, I have had such bad dreams, really just one bad dream over and over again. In my mind, I see the dead in their party clothes walking through our bedroom, pausing to look at us then continuing out. At the risk of sounding mystic, I have felt the presence of evil since that night. I had gone to buy something that evening at the “mall” after the kids went to bed, and Chris was working at home. The crowds were huge but none bigger than the group of about 100 craning their necks to see the small TV showing the blood and gore of Apocalypto at a video store. I felt nauseous thinking of the hold Satan has on people here. I still feel nauseous.
      Our people feel the evil, too, though they just don’t know who they need to fear. All over the hospital were little shrines were set up to ward off the spirits of those who died, to keep them from coming and taking the people who had survived.
     Before the stampede, Chris and I were discussing how promising mission works looks, at least in theory, in this country. Why, we asked ourselves, are the results of so much work little to none? Recovery from war, liberalizing of society, and improving infrastructure are great reasons why things should be going well, but, the truth is, Satan has a hold on this country that at times weakens my faith. I have started daily praying for a miracle. IT IS ONLY BY GOD’S HAND THAT THE KHMER PEOPLE WILL CALL HIM LORD AND SAVIOR.
                Will you join us in prayer?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I will pray for you and that your work to shine the Lord's light in the darkness there will be fruitful.