This article is from a personal friend of Pastor Okubo's who is an LCMS missionary in central Asia, and first appeared on our site in December 2005. Because of persecution, their location, their names and the names of the people they work with have been removed.
Walking up the unevenly spaced stairs, we got a whiff of the sterile smell of alcohol wafting through the cracked wooden doors on each floor. Unlike some other buildings with cracked windows and peeling stucco, this one has been kept up and clean. F's son and daughter came to the stairway and handed us the supposedly disposable robes. They blue robes were not only torn but filthier than our own clothes. H reminded us, "If you don't put these on, the doctors won't let you in to visit the patients. Remember, five minutes is all you got."
F just went through major surgery for cancer. On the hospital bed, she had multiple tubes hanging out from her blanket. Tears slid down F's wrinkled face when she saw us. We had to bend over and bring our ears close to her lips in order to hear her faint voice. Her health was so fragile that she could hardly reach out her hand to hold ours. We prayed together for life.
Now sitting across a table from F and watching her serving tea, I couldn't stop thinking what a marvelous healing she went through in the last four months. But my heart was troubled when I heard where she had been this morning.
"So you brought your grandson to a Russian babushka (grandma) for some kind of mysterious healing?" I was astonished. "You should have brought the baby to God." I reminded her how God brought her from the hospital bed to her own kang (bed) at home, and how she slowly was getting back on her feet. Over the course of her sickness, my husband witnessed to her many times. "God gives life. He knows how to heal the sick," I said.
"The baby has been so sick for days. His body doesn't retain any fluid and food. And today the doctor didn't do much to help him either." F looked away and sighed, "Perhaps, I should have taken the baby to an Ah-hong (leader of a mosque) and let him read the Koran over him."
"I could pray for him right here in the name of Jesus," I offered. F and her daughter and son-in-law wanted me to pray for the baby and the family. I wasn't sure if they were desperate for some kind of magical healing or they really believe God hears our cries.
Most of the people we serve are proud of their Muslim faith. Yet in times of need they turn to other sources of help instead of Allah. Why? In their minds, Allah is way up high and holy. He is unapproachable. How I wish my dear friends would grasp the blessing that God Himself came down from heaven and lived among us in order to reach out to us in our pain. Please pray that they would receive "the robe of righteousness" God has provided to give us free and eternal access to Him.