By: Nathaniel Ng
The Missionary at the Bhutan Border
(disclaimer: I do not know the full details of the story, so for the story’s sake I shall be adding details here and there that would not affect the message and the whole outcome of the story, especially at areas where I do not know what happened.)
Jack (Not his real name. I don’t know his real name) looked up into the surrounding mountains. He shivered a little and pull his thin coat nearer to his body and the biting winds blew about.
Fog escaped his mouth as he sighed. How long more? He wondered.
Jack had been there for days, for months, for years alone, toiling hard in the preaching and the sharing of the good news, yet as stubborn as the sun would not rise in the west, so would the people of Bhutan who’d crossed the border not respond the saving message of Jesus.
Yet he knew it was not his part to convert them or “close the deal”. He could only pray and continue on in full faith that God was working.
Lowering his peak cap, Jack muttered a quick prayer for the village facing him, before setting down the snow ridden path toward it, in bid to visit and pray for families.
Maybe today, God will reveal Himself, he thought. The sun felt warmer.
(Another disclaimer: I was not told how the boy came to be saved in the knowledge of Christ; this following part of the story is made up by myself in bid to give the story a flow. The cultural aspect of the story might not be accurate as well.)
It was getting dark, and dejectedly Jack swung open the door to his threadbare and rustic wooden house that stood alone for a kilometre in radius. Closing the door behind him, the sound of the wind ceased to a high whisper. Not one house let him in to pray for them.
Throwing some wood into the fireplace, he carefully started up a fire, this time remembering to remove the leaves because they caused ashes and they flew around him and went up his nose. And he didn’t like it.
Finally, the fire started up and burned steadily, and Jack pulled his rickety chair toward the fire and proceeded to warm his paws. The chair creaked in complain.
Just as he was getting really comfortable, he heard a timid knock on the door. Jack got up and opened the door. A small bundle of skinniness greeted him.
“Come in, come in. Oh dear you look so cold! Come to the fire.”
The tiny figure miserably waded in and went straight to the fireplace and sat on the floor. A trail of water followed him as the snow dripped off.
Jack hurriedly filled his kettle with some snow and placed it next to the fire. He dropped a few leaves pleasant in fragrance into the kettle. Jack didn’t really know what to say.
Suddenly a highish voice called out, “I’m hungry, Mr. Jack do you have anything to eat?”
“Oh yes I do, let me get you something.” He got up from his squatting position in front the fire and threw a few more sticks in and went to his modest cupboard and got out a few biscuits and placed them on a plate. The kettle started hissing.
“What is your name, young boy?”
“My name is (I really have no idea what their names are like) Wang. I’m curious Mr. Jack. Why so you keep going around to our houses?”
Jack looked at Wang as he thoughtfully crunched the biscuit.
“Well Wang, that is because I want to share with everyone about this great, big living God of mine, who responds to prayer.”
“Oh I see. Can you tell me more about your God?”
His heart sparked in joy, and Jack excitedly exclaimed, “Of course!” His prayer was answered! And for the next hour or so, Jack shared with Wang about Jesus and His great love for sinful men.
The boy believed, and grew over the months spiritually, with Jack as his spiritually father. The two came to grow close to each other, loving each other greatly with the love of Christ, as also how a father would love his son.
The seasons passed, came and went, and the village came to know of Wang’s open profession of his decision to be a disciple of Christ. Many mocked him, and he faced verbal persecution.
One day, came the monsoon season. Rain was down really hard. Trees were uprooted, rivers were overflowing and everywhere was just wet. Wang was at Jack’s house, and they had just finished a blessed time together of a Bible study of a passage in Genesis.
Wang got up, and said, “I’m really sorry Uncle Jack, but I’ve got to go home for lunch. My mother expects me home.” Jack replied, “Oh dear, very well then, take care, and change your clothes once you get home, if not you might fall sick.”
“Yes Uncle Jack, I will.” With that, Wang smiled at Uncle Jack and headed toward the door.
“One more thing Wang, let your parents know again that I’ve been praying for their health.”
“Yes Uncle Jack, thank you so much for praying, I will tell them.”
“Thank you. Alright, I shall see you next week, then?”
“Yes Uncle Jack, goodbye!”
And so Wang set off for the village and Jack meanwhile continue to pore over the passage.
The next day, as entered the village to buy some grain, he was surprised to see hostile faces. Recently the people had let their guard down after realising that Jack was only just an irritating crazy man who wanted to tell them stories of his Jesus.
Some had begin to smile at him, and some even said hi. But today, unfriendly faces greeted him wherever he turned, and some even wore expressions of fear.
“Get out of this village!” He heard a shout. Several men nodded in agreement. “Get out!”
Jack was puzzled. “What did I do?”
“What did you do? You are bad luck! Everything about you is bad luck! You and your Jesus is bad luck! Get out, get out, and get out of our village! You’re not wanted here! Get out before more bad luck befalls us!”
“Hush now, he didn’t do anything wrong.” Said another bystander.
Feeling very puzzled, Jack quickly got to the grain shop. Jack liked the grain shop owner. He always had a nice smile for everyone, and was always generous and cheerful. This time though, while he wasn’t unfriendly, the grain shop man was… different.
“Here’s your rice, Mr. Jack.”
“Thank you Sung. It is the same price, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is, Mr. Jack.”
“Sung, can you tell me, what is happening? Why is everyone so angry with me?”
Sung didn’t dare to look at Jack’s eyes.
“Please tell me, Sung. I need to know.”
“Well Mr. Jack, Wang drowned yesterday when he fell into a river after he left from your house and everyone is saying that it is your God that caused all this misfortune to befall him. Some are saying that it would’ve been better if he’d never heard about the name of Jesus.”
The bag of rice that Sung had tied and passed over to Jack slipped from Jack’s grip and hit the floor. It lay as lifeless as a dead body.
Jack stood rooted the spot, stunned and unable to say anything. His mind raced.
His dear boy, Wang, drowned? Jack swallowed, and in a trembling voice asked, “Sung, is this true?”
“I’m sorry Mr. Jack. It is true. The body is now at his family’s house. I don’t think you should go and see the parents. Wang’s father is known to be very temperamental. He would kill you.”
Jack didn’t know what to say. That explained the hostility of the villages. Especially those who were devout attendees of the local temple. Those who didn’t want to hear of a God who loved them and wanted them to stop their sinful ways and turn to Him.
Jack snapped out of his trance. He pulled out a few notes and handed it to Sung.
“Thank you, Sung.” His voice was barely an audible hoarse whisper. Trembling like a leaf in the breeze, he walked home, visibly shaken to all who saw him. Everyone avoided him.
When he got back to the house, the reality of the death of Wang hit home, and Jack fell to the floor and wept and grieved and was filled with great sorrow.
His one and only convert! The one he had come to love! Tears would not stop flowing as his whole body shuddered with choppy motions. The only one that had loved him! He felt torn apart. And he wept till he was too tired, wept till he had no more tears, and wept without tears, till he fell asleep.
He got up the next morning, the world spinning around him. He tried to stand up, and collapse on the floor, a Kafkaesque world greeting him. Tears erupted, and he fell back into deep sleep, choking on his tears and mucus, with only the sounds of his sniffling accompanying him to sleep
In the early afternoon, he got up, heard the chirping of the newborn birds which had a nest outside his house and got angry.
“KEEP QUIET!” He shouted. These birds had no right to chirp. He was so angry with them. These young birds possessed something which Wang had no more. Life.
“GOD!” He bellowed. “WHERE ARE YOU??!” He paused. “WHY DID YOU LET HIM DIE??”
“DIDNT YOU LOVE HIM??”
“HE WAS MY FIRST CONVERT!!! MY ONLY FRIEND!!! GOD WHY GOD?!!”
Then it dawned upon him. What about the testimony? What would people think? He then realised that people were already thinking that way.
It was because he was a Christian that he died.
“NO GOD NO!!! WHAT WOULD MEN THINK ABOUT YOU!! ARGHHH!!! GOD WHY DID YOU LET HIM DIE?!!”
Jack continued shouting and shouting, till he was sapped of strength, and fell down to sleep.
When he got up, it was getting dark. But Jack was resolved. He must get that body for a Christian burial. It must not touch the satanic rituals of the local priests.
He that in mind, he collected himself unsteadily and tramped off toward the village.
Heading straight to Wang’s house, Jack relaxed his walk and respectfully approached it. He knocked on the door.
The door opened, and light streamed out. The look of grieve on the face of the man who opened the door change in an instant to hate.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!! HOW DARE YOU COME HERE AFTER WHAT YOU DID TO MY SON! GET LOST!”
At the sound of shouting, curious neighbours came out of their houses.
“Please, sir, I would like to have the body to give a Christian burial.”
Wang’s father exploded into fury.
“WHAT?! YOU ARE IMPERTINENT ENOUGH TO ASK ME FOR THE BODY?”
His hand reached for the side of his hips and clutched something. Jack saw it was a hilt of a long knife.
Wang’s father bent his head closer and whispered in a voice heated with hatred.
“You know, if Wang didn’t love you so much, I would’ve killed you long time ago. And if you don’t leave now together with your Jesus, I will cut off your head.”
Jack heard, and stared helplessly.
“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO!. GO.!”
“GOO!!! GET LOST!!”
The last blast was so loud that Jack took a stepped backwards. People around started murmuring.
“Yes sir.” With that, Jack took another step back, and had the door slammed at his face. Light sundered its face from him.
Jack could only pray.
The next day, Wang’s family called the local priest down, and he came, with all his instruments and holy relics. He prayed over the boy, and chanted and performed the rituals required to see the boy through into the after world.
He then poured the oil and flammable liquids onto the boy and proceeded to light him up, but the boy didn’t light up. The priest muttered, poured some more oil, and lit the boy up again. The boy would not burn.
The priest left, puzzled, and a little frightened.
The next day, the family called in a bigger priest, and got him to do the same thing for Wang – to make sure his passageway into the after world would be a safe one.
The same rituals were performed, and the boy had the liquids poured upon him, and the flame on him as well. He still would not light up. Stubbornly, try after try, the boy simply refused to burn. Word spread, and great fear fell upon everyone.
The next day Wang’s father found Jack, and gave the body to Jack.
“Take him, take the boy. He cannot burn, take take him!” Fear was evident, and Jack received the body of Wang, and his father left.
Still with much sorrow and anger, Jack gave the body a Christian burial.
What Jack did not see that day, and what we often do not see from our limited human perspective, is that God has a bigger plan, a greater plan, and we must trust Him, just as Abram trusted in God, and it was counted unto him as righteousness.
Because of that incident, great fear came upon the people of the land, and they were sore afraid of the Living God.
For to them, it is like pouring kerosene on the floor and lighting it up, but not having it light up – it is impossible, unexplainable, and frightening for them, who were illiterate and uneducated people who could not even have used science to come up with the simplest explanation.
Because of that incident some came to know the Lord, and when Jack planted a church, no one dared to oppose him for they saw that the Lord was with him. I believe that the death of Wang had that greater purpose, and it glorified God and prepared a safety hedge around the church when it was planted.
This day, there are (I can’t remember the numbers) many more churches planted because of this incident. The power of the Living God and His fame spread far and near, and God was glorified, and the work was continued because of that.
25 years from then, when Uncle Peter went to visit that missionary, Jack mentioned this story to him, and said that in retrospect he sees God’s hand in all that happened. I hope you enjoyed reading this story, and I hope it has strengthened your faith just as it was intended to strengthen the faith of the pastors in Gujarut facing persecution.
Again, I must say again, that the story is not entirely accurate, and I’ve added in quite a bit here and there. When Uncle Peter told it, he told it in about less than 2 minutes, I suppose if you told my version, you would find that it would last significantly longer.
But the message is still the same. The only convert of Jack drowned, Jack was so sad, and was threatened by the father after requesting for the body. Due to the power of the name of Jesus, the body of the boy just would not burn, and because of that supernatural act, the power of the Living God was made known to the people, and God built Himself a name there.