EAST ASIA – I recently witnessed God work powerfully through the prayers and faithful obedience of a local East Asian church.
One Sunday while Mei*, a faithful believer, led worship for the church’s online meeting, she suffered a serious stroke. After weeks in the ICU, she could not speak intelligibly, could not move her hand well enough to use her phone to text, and because of Covid protocols, her church family wasn’t able to visit. The doctor warned her loved ones that the stroke was too serious; they did not expect her to survive.
When Li*, a fellow church member, heard this news, she was deeply grieved and called me sobbing. Mei was a humble servant and loved by all in the church. Why did God allow it to happen, Li wondered? After weeping for a long time, we turned to God and poured our hearts out for this sister. I could hear Li’s grief turn into faith and hope.
Within a week, I got a call from Li. Mei was out of ICU and able to visit with Li and some other sisters from the church. This alone was a wonderful, providential answer to our prayers. But God had only begun to work in the life of Mei and her family.
Li asked if I would join them virtually in prayer while they were in the hospital room. As we prayed, Mei’s sister was in the hospital room listening. She wasn’t a believer but felt a holy presence in the room so tangibly she was covered in goosebumps after the prayer. Li and the other women shared the gospel with her and led her to Christ.
One morning a week or two later, Li’s two children felt God calling them to bless Mei after their family Bible study time focused on loving and serving others. The children called another boy from their church and they pooled their spending money. The three of them carefully selected gifts to bring to Mei’s hospital room where she was still recovering.
When they delivered the presents, Mei’s other sister was there. Her heart had been unmoved by previous visits from church members, and she had excused herself when possible. But this day was different. She watched the joy on the children’s faces as they gave gifts to their “auntie,” and something in her heart softened. She couldn’t deny the love and purity that she witnessed, and she put her faith in Christ as well.
Within days, Mei was up and beginning to walk. She could speak again, and with her voice she was praising God just as she had been before her stroke. The miracle was not only her restored life, but the new eternal life of her sisters as well.
Penny Sargent* serves with the IMB in East Asia.
*Names changed for security