Tu's Story

Tu tried everything to get well, but only deteriorated further in health. As a last resort she turned to God. Born in Varin District, Siem Reap Province, Tu had married a local boy and they had one son, Duk. Tu was a pretty girl before she got sick and lost weight. She had been to the local Shaman's for healing, and called the local itinerant doctors. Tu had spent everything she had but things were getting worse. She had heard that at the Christian church in Svay Sor, people had been healed so as a last resort she tried there. Guon and Tay, the local family who have been church planting in Svay Sor for 6 years, welcomed her into their home and ministered to her with prayer and sought advice from Wendy, who dispensed some antibiotics incase the problem was an STD. One Sabbath morning at 6:00am, Tim set out from home for the grueling 2 hour off rode ride to worship with the Svay Sor group, arriving just in time to join the nearly 40 members and interests worship our Lord. After the service the usual medical consultations began at which time Tim met Tu for the first time. Not being a doctor, Tim guessed her problem was TB and asked for her and her son, Duk, to come to Wat Preah Yesu for a better diagnosis from Wendy. On arrival Tu was hospitalized as she was too weak to sit up. During her hospital visit she was diagnosed as HIV+, as was her son, and latter her husband. When Tu was strong enough Tu returned to Wat Preah Yesu where she could receive support while trying to recover. She was given TB drugs as well as Anti-Retro-viral drugs by the hospital. She began a slow recovery but would have her down days when she would need intravenous fluid. Tu's husband refused to believe he was HIV + as he appeared to be in very good health. Seeing his emaciated 25 year old wife making little progress in recovery, he decided to abandon her and take another wife. This action will almost certainly lead to another HIV+ infection.

 After several months stay at Wat Preah Yesu, Tu took a turn for the worst and needed hospitalization again. In a western country you would call an ambulance and this process would be very simple. Not here in Cambodia. Tu was lifted onto Tim's motorbike and Wendy sat behind her to keep her from falling off. Half hour latter she was at the hospital. Tu died the following morning. A sad story with a joyful ending. Tu  had seen the love of Jesus in action and had given her life to Jesus. She did not receive the physical healing she had hoped for, but had received something  better, spiritual healing that she had never dreamed was available. Tim talked with Tu in the hospital the night before she died. Her breathing was labored and she was in a lot of pain, but her hope was running high. Tu knew she was going to die, but she also knew that Jesus is the Resurrection and the life and that he who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Tu went to sleep with the hope of the resurrection. Her name does not show up on baptismal statistics but it is written in God's Book of Life.

We could end the story here, but it has some more interesting details that you may like to know. The day before Tu died we had sent word for her parents to come quickly. Tu died at 5:00 am the following morning. The hospital gave us until 2:00pm to get the corpse from their un-refrigerated mortuary. By 1:30 pm Tu's parents had not arrived. Heng, the church Pastor and Tim consulted as to what to do, deciding to bring the body back to Wat Preah Yesu and have a burial ceremony in the afternoon. Heng organized the transportation of the body while Tim and a group of orphans prepared the burial site in the Wat Preah Yesu cemetery. The funeral ceremony got under way at 4:30pm. About 4:40 pm Tu's parents arrived and requested a cremation so they could take the ashes back to their district. At a moments notice the funeral was suspended until further notice and all able hands were called upon to assist with collecting firewood from around Wat Preah Yesu and to re-design the burial site into a cremation site. By 7:30 pm the funeral was restarted. the cremation was started with a bang. No body had remembered to buy kerosene to get the fire going nice and hot, so we opted for petrol instead. It was a little too volatile and before it could soak in, the fumes had ignited from the flame of a kerosene lamp and for a moment their was a ball of fire and then no fire at all. Eventually the wood did catch a light and the bones were collected at 1:00am in the morning. A successful funeral, but one that left extreme exhaustion for the participants.

Duk, Tu's son is doing well in the orphanage. He is receiving Anti-Retro-Viral treatment from the Angkor Children's Hospital. Duk will grow up in a Christian home at Wat Preah Yesu and if he chooses to walk with Jesus, be re-united with his mother on the day that Jesus comes again. Guon and Tay's witness as church planters has resulted in the expansion of family of God. With out them, Tu and Duk would never of heard of Jesus.

2004--SALT Ministries, Wat Preah Yesu
SALT Ministries P.O. Box 93007, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tel. (855) 12 804017, (855) 12 734102