“Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth, to walk where He trod. . . . But we need not to go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.” Desire of Ages, 640.
While going forth in the villages of southern Mindanao to find souls who will accept the message of truth, my wife and I met Jomer and Maricel Carlos and their young family, who belong to the Lumad group (a term for the indigenous people here). For some reason, we both felt that we should stay and talk awhile after the Bible study. We ended up staying for an hour just visiting.
As my wife talked with Maricel, she learned of the affliction of the couple’s 4-year-old daughter. Calling me over, she pointed to the tiny child inside the bedroom, saying, “Look, there’s a baby girl who has been suffering for a year already.”
Looking at the young girl, I felt real pity for her. Instead of being an energetic toddler, she was thin, malnourished and unable to walk. “How did this happen to your child?” I asked.
The parents sighed. “When Lyza was three years old, she was fell off our bed and hurt her back,” Jomer explained. “We tried to massage it and make her feel better. For three months she walked normally and played with the other kids. After that, we noticed that the baby started coughing all the time, and was often short of breath.”
“We thought it was normal,” Maricel added. “We thought it was because of the change in the climate between the dry and rainy seasons.” It turned out the baby’s cough and poor health were not normal. As the months passed, Lyza’s condition worsened until she could not walk anymore. She could crawl around on her hands, but she couldn’t seem to operate her legs and her body properly.
“Lyza used to be a very happy, friendly child,” her mother told us. “But now that it has been a year since her injury, she just lies on our bed and waits for us to bring her food.”
My wife and I felt so sorry for this pathetic little girl. Her body looked like nothing but bones, and we knew the hard bed must be uncomfortable and tiresome to her injured back. “Why haven’t you sent her to the hospital to have an x-ray and find out what is wrong?” my wife asked.
“We wanted to do that, sister.” The mother’s eyes looked sad. “But we cannot because my husband’s income is only enough to buy food for us and our four children every day.”
Before we left, we offered a special prayer for little Lyza. Then I told the family, “Don’t be discouraged because of what happened to your daughter. God is merciful.”
Tears filled Maricel’s eyes as she thanked us for the prayer and encouragement. We could see how much she and her husband both wanted to see their baby recover and play normally with the other kids. As a parent myself, I felt their burden!
Although it was sad to see little Lyza suffering, we rejoiced at this family’s openness to hear the truth. Attendees of a Pentecostal church, they nevertheless gladly accepted our offer to study the Bible with them. As the studies progressed and they learned of the true Sabbath, they expressed gratitude to God for giving them light. They were just as willing to accept His truth about speaking in tongues. Even though they had thought that the Spirit was using them every Sunday when they spoke in an unknown tongue, they realized that it could not be the true gift of the Spirit because they themselves could not understand what they were saying.
As the Carlos family has accepted the light of truth, they have become allies to help us reach more in their village. Because of their interest in our message, they have introduced us to their neighbors and helped make us welcome in many more homes!
“The Scripture says that ‘men ought always to pray, and not to faint’ (Luke 18:1); and if ever there is a time when they feel their need of prayer, it is when strength fails and life itself seems slipping from their grasp. Often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies continued to them day by day, year after year, and they render no tribute of praise to God for His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. . . . The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength.” Ministry of Healing, 225, 226.
To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask you to remember little Lyza in your prayers. Pray not only for the Lord’s healing touch on her body, but for grace for her and her family to endure this hard trial and keep their faith in the Lord!
By Temtem Piedraverde. firstname.lastname@example.org. Support for Pastor Temtem’s work in the Philippines may be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058, or online at www.missionspro.org, marked “Philippine workers.”