I don't remember her name or even her face. I do remember her saying she had been to the darkest side of dark fighting sex trafficking in a notorious Cambodian town. She was taking a vacation to the mountains in Mae Sai, Thailand to paint... to recover. I was delirious as she guided me off the plane, plopped me in a wheelchair, and wheeled me to the baggage claim and then the taxi. She rode with me to the hospital and even paid the fare. I probably will not meet her again in this life, but I am sure I'll recognize her by her love in Heaven. She was with me in a moment I have never felt more alone nor more vulnerable.
I stepped into the hospital waiting room filled with Arab women dressed in niqab, flashes of hot pink cloth peeking out from under the flowing black garments as they walked in their high heels following bearded men here and there. Africans with skin as creamy and black as night with smiling white teeth that practically glowed gathered in one corner of the room. The friendly Thai receptionist, in perfect English, guided me through the registration process and made all my 5 appointments for the day. The entire experience felt surreal both because I felt so weak and because I was coming from Phnom Penh, worlds away from this luxury Thai hospital.
The first two doctors ruled out possibilities like thyroid dysfunction and heart irregularities. The third informed me that vegetables and fruits are grown in such poor quality soil in Cambodia that they do not have anywhere near the vitamin content they should. He informed me I had huge vitamin deficiencies and would need to speak to a specialist. The specialist concurred. "What you really need, however," he said, "is no more children. I feel you should abort this baby. Caring for children is too much work and no one should have more than one." I told him I was a Christian and would not consider an abortion. He said he would not treat me and sent me to the final doctor. She helped me with a vitamin plan and said I should start feeling better in a month.
I was relieved to have some answers but discouraged by the time frame for recovery. The month came and went. My physical health did improve. My depression, however, was as deep as ever. I still had no idea it was depression. I was overcome by the "knowledge" I was of weak spirit and character. What else could explain my bizarre lack of self-control?
Then the power cuts came. There was no escape from the intense Cambodian heat. It was truly unbearable.
Around this time, we had several people come to our home. They each stated that they felt intense spiritual oppression. Being from a church background that does not teach much on this topic, we were at a loss as to know how to react. One couple even said they would not come back to our home. It was then we found out that our neighbor, an elderly woman, had been working against us spiritually and that we lived by a wat (Buddhist temple) that was inhabited by the ghost of the old rector and was considered to be one of the most important wats in the city.
Maybe, just maybe, I not only had a vitamin deficiency but was also malnourished spiritually. I began calling out the Lord like never before... but the silence was deafening.
Read the Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 in this series!