Although Natalie and Shaun had to return to Australia during the pandemic, their friendships with people in their host neighbourhood in South East Asia unexpectedly deepened.
The most intense experience came when a friend contacted them to say that his wife, Mama Ira, was sick with a fever. She had been delirious for three days and the people were afraid she had a spirit.
Natalie explained to Mama Ira’s husband, “Jesus is able to cast out evil spirits! Would the family let one of our friends come and pray for Mama in His name?”
The husband agreed. And they asked a local church elder, Artha, to visit and pray with her, and to get her the care she needed.
The next morning, Mama Ira’s condition was better and she was able to eat again.
“She’d come out of her delirium in response to prayer. We rejoiced together in God’s goodness and power!”
But sadly, Mama Ira passed away before Natalie and Shaun could return to South East Asia.
“We felt immensely sad,” Natalie said. “Her friendliness was a huge part of helping us settle into our host country.”
But when they were finally able to return, their neighbours stopped them over and over again to talk about Mama Ira and how they cared for her during her last days.
“We never would have expected to grow closer to the whole neighbourhood after two years away—but that’s what happened.
“Only God can do that! We thank Him for His answers to prayer, however unexpected they may be.”
Natalie and Shaun* is an Interserve worker serving in South-East Asia.
Names have been changed.