During our first gathering, Cha Nan Ta and I were in her village of Sala Thai while visiting to speak about the opportunities for becoming part of the Hands To Heart Women’s Cooperative. She was shy compared to the vibrant group of chattering women excited to hear about the prospects of the women’s group. Soon after, I learned more as she left early to go back to care for her very sick baby Pa Nee Pai. Her precious baby was born underweight prematurely with a hole in her lung and required 24/7 oxygen. It was a full-time job shared with her caring husband while taking care of her older son and all the many other hardships that come with their village life. Financially they have struggled with hospital visits, additional needs for the baby, and beyond. The financial draining of the commitment to their own animist belief system for frequent sacrificial animals to give to the spirits in the hope of healing their baby.
As we rode away that day, He wrecked my heart through her story in a big way, humbling me with her display of quiet strength and undeniable love for her baby. The Lord put it on my heart to adopt this precious family. I quickly went into action, and through caring and generous donors, the Lord provided provision to aid her and her family during this strenuous time with hospital transportation costs, diapers, a stroller, and monitoring tools to care for precious Pa Nee Pai. It was a surprise to both her and her husband as to why and how this could happen?! Since then, I have had countless times where the Lord has opened a window of opportunity to show them and speak of the love of Christ. It is in my continued prayers for this precious family to know Jesus in a very intimate way to leave behind the cultural animist belief system of spirits and sacrifices.
“THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” JOHN 15-12
Beyond our first meeting, I observed Cha Nan Ta as not shy but a robust role model and leader in her community. She has become a member of Hands To Heart Women’s Cooperative and a leader of her village’s group. Perhaps her weariness during the first six months of sleepless nights, countless journeys to the hospital, and a mother’s constant worry left her needing something to kindle her spark and restore hope. Becoming part of this opportunity and experiencing the love of Christ through our team and all those who came alongside from afar seemed to ignite her spirit. I cannot describe it as it can only be felt at this point. He was definitely moving!
Fast track forward, I recently left this precious family while giving a workshop for the artisan leaders in product development, where they hosted us so generously. To my surprise, Pa Nee Pai had no oxygen mask on when we arrived. She had come out of the hospital ten days earlier due to fluid in her lungs. She only needed oxygen throughout the night. How could this be?! I knew it could only be the mighty healing hands of my Lord answering our fervent prayers for this precious baby. With her big bright brown eyes, Pa Nee Pai was active and attentive to her surroundings as if to know all of this already. I couldn’t help but think she must feel FREEDOM as she rid herself of the oxygen mask hindering her and all the love that He has surrounded her within the community. It was a joyous time within their hut of some relief and hope within this miraculous healing.
As a new mother, Cha Nan Ta spoke to me about motherhood and all the struggles and joys that come with the journey of raising children in the village, not let alone a very sick baby. She sighed and said, “You don’t sleep at night, worrying and listening for every breath your baby breathes.” I asked her what motherhood meant to her. She looked into my eyes and replied, ” Loving your baby more than yourself.” Her heart and love for her baby enabled her to hang on, no matter the cost. In my heart, I knew this survival mode all too well when I was lost and didn’t know the selfless love of Jesus, yet I clung to life. I felt a sense of peace and assuredness in my heart that He had carefully crafted our journey together. At this very moment, He was working all things for good, in His perfect timing and purpose, for this beloved family, Cha Nan Ta AND me.
“AND WE KNOW ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, TO THEM WHO ARE THE CALLED TO HIS PURPOSE.” ROMANS 8:28