ChaDree died last Monday, November 7, 2017. I was not in BYT that day, but was returning from America 86,000 feet up in the air traveling at 580mph. Oh how I had wished to see him one more time! May God be able to save him for heaven is my prayer.
I must write out what is on my heart because we have worked and struggled over ChaDree’s life and salvation more than any other person during our mission service in BYT. His life has been monumental to us.
ALLOW ME TO REMINISCE: It was 6 years ago, 2010 when I first met ChaDree. We would visit his village, LaGlah, every other week to treat the sick. He told me he had rectal bleeding. After no other treatment would help him, I concluded that he must go to the hospital to be evaluated for cancer. ChaDree was very impressed when we continued to walk to his village even during the rainy season, because it is quite a struggle to get there by foot carrying medicine. He wondered how we could be so happy all the time, really care about the people, and give all the medicine for free. He wanted to worship the God we served. He was tired of going to the witch doctor all the time and giving him his cows, chickens, and pig for sacrifices to the devil, with no good results.
DEVIL STRINGS: One day ChaDree invited us to his house to give worship. To my amazement he asked us to cut all the devil strings off him and his family. As the devil strings fell to the floor he made this unforgettable statement: “Yesterday we worshipped the devil, today we worship God!” My heart would sing with joy every time we visited him to explain more about God. He seemed to have some kind of influence on others, and soon 4 families also wanted to worship God. We visited his village often. One time after a simple Bible study on Jesus second coming and heaven he said: “I want to go there, but how can I get there if I don’t know the way?” We assured him not to worry, because Jesus would take him!
TROUBLE: One day while BletJhaw was gone and I was alone with a student, ChaDree’s son-in-law came to visit me in BYT. He told me that ChaDree was sick. He had not had a bowel movement for 2 weeks, and was suffering abdominal pain – could I come and help him! I packed my bags immediately and headed to LaGlah village. It was rainy season, making our walk up the mountains quite slow and laborious. When we arrived to check him, I concluded that he seemed to have a blocked bowel! This is very dangerous and life threatening. An acute abdomen! How could I get him out by myself with no truck or motorbike, just rain and mud everywhere? The family called a friend who could meet us way up at the main highway, but we had a long way to walk. How could ChaDree make it up there in his condition? We were about to find out as he, his son-in-law, the student, and myself began to climb the mountain. It took us 2 hours to climb that straight-up mountain. Because of the rain and slippery mud we had to take our flip-flops off and struggle on. If it was extremely difficult for me, what was it like for ChaDree? I prayed for him all the way up as we all kept pulling leaches off our feet. Finally we reached the summit. As I looked down at my feet I saw so many leaches that they all looked like giant hairs waving up at me! We began to walk down the other side on a terrible jungle road. Finally a truck came along and took us the rest of the way out. The student took a song tow back to the school and the 3 of us took a song tow to MaeSot, where ChaDree was admitted and expecting surgery the next morning.
HOSPITAL #1: In MaeSot I found a motel and returned to the hospital early the next morning, but saw that the doctor had already checked ChaDree and was finishing his rounds in that section. As he walked past me to go to the next section of patients, I signaled to him and said, “Excuse me could you….” But this doctor did not want to talk to me. He was a very large man and he slammed into my chest with his elbow so hard, that it sent me headlong backwards and into the wall! I was shocked and pained. I looked at ChaDree who shot straight up from the bed, saying: “I’m going home!” I said, “That’s a good idea because if you go to surgery with this doctor, he might kill you!”
HOSPITAL #2: Now what shall I do? I prayed and soon found out that Maria, a missionary friend was going to Bangkok to take someone to the airport. She was willing to take us to the SDA Mission Hospital. This was a city of refuge for us, I thought. I was certain they would help us. I was so happy and thankful for the transportation, but it was a long way and I became increasingly worried about ChaDree. His pain had intensified, so I thought I should take him to the large hospital in TAK. It was on our way, so we got dropped off there and soon were able to see the doctor. He promptly told me that my patient must go to the larger hospital in Phisinulok and I would have to pay every bit of the hospital and surgery costs. I did not have much money, so I called Maria, who in her sweetness, graciously turned around and came back to get us.
HOSPITAL #3: It takes about 7 hours to get to Bangkok Mission hospital from TAK. Oh how I prayed that we could get there in time. I sort of know the American doctor there, because I have called him in the past when in difficult situations. Now at last I sat at his desk – but I can hardly believe the words I am hearing.
“No, we cannot do surgery on him here unless you pay the entire bill. We have had to lay off some of the staff even – you need to take him to ChiangMai.”
“B–b–but,” I stammer, “I believe he has an emergencey – even a blocked bowel!”
“Sorry.” Came the reply.
I implored my poor sweet friend Maria the next morning if she would please take us to the bus station because I need to go to Chiang Mai.
HOSPITAL #4: We get on the early morning bus because it takes 9 or 10 hours by bus to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. I wish you could have looked in on us. ChaDree is filthy dirty and very sick. He wears a shirt so dirty that you cannot determine what the original color had been. It is torn and ragged. He wears a lungee, (Man’s skirt). Because of his physical condition, his bowels are leaking and a horrible smell exudes all around him. Thai people are fastidiously tidy and clean. They look with disgust at my patient and scramble away trying to find an empty seat as far away as possible. I don’t look too good myself, as I have come immediately scrambling out of the jungle, to face the culture shock of city life. Every time the bus would stop for breaks, ChaDree would go to the bathroom. He would stay a very long time, until the bus started to pull away! I had to call out: “Wait, wait, please!” to the driver, then I would run into the building and yell into the men’s bathroom calling ChaDree to come out. I felt so sorry for this man suffering and putting up with such pain and anxiety. I would do whatever it takes to help him, if only somebody else felt the same way, but they were all only disgusted with him and his problem. How does Jesus and all of heaven feel as they watch this dreadful scene? This man is just as important to God as the king of Thailand.
I somehow managed to get ChaDree into the Maha-Rah training hospital in Chaing Mai. We were placed in an outpatient department and told that we could not see the doctor until the morning because we were too late. I was praying unceasingly for ChaDree. How could he possibly wait so long? Somehow the night passed – no sleep for me. The next morning we wait in a crowded waiting room for our turn to see the doctor. It takes hours. Finally a doctor checked ChaDree and then said to me: “You are in the wrong place. You will have to pay all the money for him here. You need to go to Omkoi hospital!” I am appalled because Omkoi is 7 hours away in another direction and they don’t even do surgery! So I tell the doctor that is impossible, could you please check my patient for a blocked bowel, I think he has an emergency! This man was mean and told us to go wait in the waiting room.
I went to Social Services at this point because once before at this hospital they had paid the entire cost for a girl I had brought needing abdominal surgery. However in that department I met with a different person who was cold as ice. He said: “You need to learn where to take patients, you can’t just go anywhere!” I was crying at this time, but my biggest cry was to the Lord: “Oh Lord You must please help us. You know how to help ChaDree, You know I am doing my best!” I feel totally helpless and alone, but God is love. God cares. He is my One and only best Friend in the world!
Finally we get in to see the doctor the second time. This time he says he will order a KUB. (Upright xray of the bowel). If it is an emergency he will stay, if not he must go. Fair enough I thought, and waited the results. When the xray came back the doctor could not read it, so he called in another woman doctor who took one look at it and exclaimed: “This is a blocked bowel! This is an emergency! Admit him!
“Thank you dear Lord!”
WAITING: Poor ChaDree, even though he is admitted now, he does not get his surgery that day or the next. Surgery is full. He has to wait his turn. Three days later he goes to surgery and receives a colostomy. Later he will return to get the rectal cancer removed. I take many long trips to this hospital with ChaDree for follow-ups. After that second operation, he was told he needed lung surgery because of a spot on the lung. I returned with him for that surgery, but when it came right up to the time of surgery he refused and we went home! He said his friend had 3 surgeries and the 3rd time he died.
CHADREE’S LAST YEARS: ChaDree lasted 6 more years – some days were good, some bad. He reverted to opium, of which I could scarcely blame him to handle the pain and discomfort. We came every week as much as possible to give him IV’s and encouragement from God’s word. We shared the wonderful words of life! He seemed to understand and remember more of the truths of the Bible than others in his village. I have prayed and pleaded with God for his salvation. I know that God understands where he has come from and can save him. His will be done.
THE FUNERAL: BletJhaw told me later that someone called him from BYT on November 7 when ChaDree died. They needed him to come and do the funeral because he had asked for a Christian burial and nobody knew how. BletJhaw had never done a funeral service before, but he studied and went. He gave the people the hope of the final resurrection morning. Some of the people wanted to do their own half-devil, half-Buddhist ceremony, but that was not allowed, unless they did it on their own in another place. The people of LaGlah village are very stoical. Nobody cried or showed any emotion. I am so glad I was not there, because tears are coming to my eyes even now, as consider a valuable life ended and with it is the deciding factor of his eternal destiny.
“Oh dear Lord, may I be faithful to bring your gospel to the people here while they are still living and while there is still a little window of time! More earnestly I will work for You! Thank you loving Lord.”