We want to thank you for all your love and prayers for Non, the 14 year-old who came off a motorbike, who fought so very hard to live. Sadly he died the night before we reopened after the Christmas break.
The hospital had discharged him back to his slum house and it was truly awful to see how someone so seriously unwell had to live without windows, aircon etc, and we managed - with kind donations - to get him into a nursing facility, but he died of an infection.
We prayed with him such a lot, and told him not to be afraid because God was with him and he had previously accepted Jesus as his Saviour. We know he is now in a better place. It was very hard though as the last time we saw him Leah and Natalie had gone with us when they were here for Christmas. For the first time he was able to move his arm and was eating some food and had seemed to be progressing. It has been a hard road to travel, to see the injustice of his hugely inadequate medical care because he lived in poverty, compared to the over-treatment of every ailment for those who can pay. His sisters are Christians and attend our discipleship groups and have continued to find their comfort and peace in Jesus.
Non’s mum had a traditional Buddhist funeral for him and his body was layed out in the temple, not much more than a skeleton. His family and school friends broke their hearts as they saw what he had become and grieved for his loss. We had sent some flowers and they had been placed prominently in the front of the temple saying ‘Place of Grace’ and it was a reminder that God was there, even there. John drove the family to another temple to put his ashes into a lake. We then had a memorial service for him at the Place of Grace which his family and young people from the Place of Grace attended. Each of the staff spoke and we had a video which Natalie put together for those who couldn’t be there, with Natalie and Leah and previous staff and a Christian song playing. We prayed for the family and then released balloons with messages attached for Non. It was very emotional. Please continue to pray for his mum, who we keep in good contact with, but who goes round as many Buddhist temples as she can to try and make merit for Non. Please pray that we can continue to share the hope of Jesus with her.
We have also run another Youth Alpha course this year and took the young people who attended away for a few days recently. We had an amazing time as we saw God challenge and change each one and saw those who didn’t yet know him all ask Jesus into their hearts. It always strikes us how difficult so many of these youngsters’ lives are, and yet when they meet with Jesus for themselves, he is able to bring such light and hope and peace into their darkness. One of the toughest girls who comes to the Place of Grace sobbed for two hours after she asked Jesus into her life and you wouldn’t even know she is the same girl since - praise God. Thank you for your commitment to pray for the children at the Place of Grace. We know that God is answering your and our prayers.
We held an Easter activity day for all the children the day after we got back, and it was chaos to have all the children together, but very precious for them to have the whole day seeing the story progress. As we washed their feet, we marvelled at the preciousness of what we were doing. Many come without shoes and as their feet changed colour they marvelled at the God who loves them so much he chose to die for them. We love to see them flourish under the attention and fun they are able to have when they can play every week in a safe place. Today we watched as a tough group of older girls spent an hour playing with Natalie’s old Bratz dolls - just enjoying playing.
The foodbank also continues to be busy and we see people who are elderly, unwell and living in very hard situations blessed by what they are able to receive. We had a meeting with all five community leaders recently in which they said how much the foodbank and the Place of Grace generally helps those in their slum communities.
Thank you, we so appreciate each one of you, for your support, prayers and encouragement.
John and Gillian and family xx
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