The Hidden Village
Goal: Start a branch Sabbath School within a few weeks.
Problem: No known contacts or location.
Teacher, where are we going to start?” I didn’t quite know how to answer. As a new outreach leader in Sunshine Orchard’s Medical and Bible Outreach Training program, I’d been assigned to take two inexperienced students into a new area. Other outreach teams had connections in their turf, but not us. Yet along with the other teams, we aimed to start a branch Sabbath School within a few weeks. We just didn’t know where!
“Let’s start walking and see where God leads,” I told Tee Too and Paw Ta Shu. We found a community of nice, fenced homes, but not many people seemed interested in visiting with us—except when we happened upon two poorer residences. The next outreach period, we decided to try a different part of town; but in this new neighborhood, hardly anyone was home.
As we wandered along, we saw a group of children scampering up a trail that went straight up the hillside. A man followed not far behind. When he greeted us, we asked where they were going. “There’s a village at the top of the hill,” he motioned. “Come along and see!” Hopeful of finding people to minister to, we scrambled after him.
At the top of the hill, our impromptu guide took us to meet the village headman, and then next door to visit a sick man. Although barely into his forties, the man seemed little more than skin and bones. On the right side of his neck, a fist-sized lump oozed a foul liquid. We learned that he had been dealing with this condition for over two years. He had declined surgery—whether due to lack of money or courage we weren’t sure—and now he had so much pain he could do little except sit in the house all day.
After prayer and some words of encouragement, we left the family with supplies to put clay poultices on his neck and told them that we would be back later with a doctor. Only a miracle could heal this man’s cancer, but whatever the outcome, I knew God could use the situation to reach someone. My team all agreed that we would be happy to work in this village.
The next Sabbath, we met a warm welcome in the home of the sick man and then in the home of an elderly couple. Adults crowded in for help with health needs. Children whispered and stared. We took blood pressures, gave health counsel and told the children a story and a health talk. All too soon, we had to wish them goodbye.
A two-week school break interrupted our visits to the hidden village. When our weekly outreach resumed, it was time to get our branch Sabbath School started. Would an older couple who hardly knew us consider letting us use their home to teach about health and the Bible? We decided to ask.
To our delight, the couple welcomed us to visit and share any time. The next Sabbath, more than 20 people gathered in the home. We told the creation story and how sin began. Then we shared about the benefits of water.
Each week, we also visited the man with cancer. As our friendship grew, it became even harder to watch him suffer, weaken and die. Yet our friendship with his family and the village kept growing. Since his passing, we’ve continued with our branch Sabbath School, and we’ve kept giving simple treatments to the sick. Some of the children have come to church with us on Sabbath morning, and even the older people seem to be opening to Jesus. The light is dawning for the hidden village!
Hannah and her family are missionaries at Sunshine Orchard Learning Center in Thailand. www.sunshineorchard.org
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Pray. The Medical and Bible Outreach Training (MBT) program was started for Sunshine Orchard graduates who want to become missionaries to their own people. Pray for the MBT participants as they minister in the surrounding communities—and pray for the people to open their hearts to Jesus!
Donate. Sunshine Orchard Learning Center relies on donations to feed, house and provide education to over 200 students. Send your check marked “Sunshine Orchard” to Jesus for Asia, PO Box 1221, Collegedale, TN 37315, or visit www.jesus4asia.org/invest/ and scroll down to “Sunshine Orchard Learning Center.”