He is known to the Asia Challenge team as The Philosopher because of his desire to study, debate and understand. In a recent meeting, The Philosopher suddenly said, “I had evidence of Jesus on Monday.” The team asked him to explain. He said he was alone upstairs, wrapped in a blanket because he had a cold, while his elderly mother was downstairs. He decided he should pray and ask Jesus to heal him of his cold. As he began to pray, he felt an urgency to go downstairs. He knew he should listen, so he went.
Once there he found a pan on fire on the stove, with a gas cylinder to one side of it and a petrol-driven generator on the other. His mother stood chatting at the front door, oblivious to the fire. Our friend extinguished it before the situation became much, much worse.
As he shared this story he very calmly looked at the team and said, “I believe Jesus told me to go downstairs. After all, I was praying to him at the time.” One team member continues the story:
We asked him: “Do you believe Jesus is the Messiah?” He very directly and assuredly said, “Yes.” Our Philosopher friend went on: “But there is one exception.” He said if officials were to press him, he would say, “No.” I told him I appreciated his honesty.
A few weeks passed and the Philosopher didn’t show up at our Sunday Study. His father explained his son was in the hospital with aches and pains that didn’t go away. He had been diagnosed with a fungal infection of the brain; a kind of encephalitis. Over the next three weeks we visited but his condition deteriorated. On our last visit The Philosopher was barely alert and hardly able to communicate. We did pray for him, and sat talking while he held one of our hands. It was disheartening to see him in this condition. He had his Bible with him, so we read some passages to him. When he first went into the hospital, his father excitedly told us how he was reading the Bible avidly, and never forgot Jesus.
We returned a few days later and were told he had died. So we went to his house where quite a number of people were kneeling in the driveway. Four saffron-clad religious officials were seated in chairs in front, leading the visitors in prayers and chants. We quietly sat to one side, and silently prayed and waited. Eventually we were able to talk with The Philosopher’s parents who were of course sad, but happy to see us. One of us was able to join them for the funeral that afternoon.
The following week we decided to visit his parents with one of our national friends, who shared the gospel with The Philosopher’s three siblings. It was encouraging to hear details of those last days of our beloved friend, who we sense may have become a brother in the Lord. His father had brought some rosary beads to the hospital in the hope that his son might use them, as many Buddhists do. The 108 beads are thumbed one by one as the person recites a chant. The father recalled how his son just passed the beads one by one, repeating “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”
As we look back over this experience of knowing this young man, we realize once more the urgency of the task ahead of us all. Just four weeks ago the Philosopher appeared healthy. He was enjoying life and the Sunday afternoon studies. I still think back to the day he look straight at us and affirmed that Jesus is the Messiah. I hope that is how things stood at the end and trust he was fully reconciled with God.
Please be encouraged to pray all the more earnestly for those who come to these Sunday Studies and for their families; that God would bring them into His Kingdom.