Autor: Binu John
Category: Kinder & Jugend
December 19, 2004 was supposed to have been a special day for Junosh Paul. It was to be his 13th birthday! Instead of happiness, for parents and siblings, the day was left with rather painful memories.
Jaundice claimed the life of Paul. Paul’s parents were cross-cultural missionaries in Malkangiri, Orissa, India.
The name Malkangiri would ring alarm bells in the ears of those who have been to this place before or have heard about it. And chances are that they wouldn’t want to go there again. This is the place where poverty, starvation and deprivation echoes. Malkangiri is known for the horrible epidemic malaria. Four of five people, that is over 80 percent of the population in this district live below the poverty line.
The attack of naxilites on the other side is fearful. The death in constant encounter between police and naxilites cause the police to flee from there. Who would like to risk their life as a missionary here? Benya did.
The decision to go there involved high risk. “If I don’t go, who will go?” bothered Benya. As a result, he with his wife and three children set out to be missionaries. The people there had an entirely different culture from theirs, they spoke different tribal languages and the lifestyle was different. Yet, the less reached with Gospel welcomed Benya family.
Very soon, they began to count the cost. Youngest son Paul fell sick. Sickness is very common here and there is no proper medical care available.
It all began after a convention at Semilipadar village. Benya was the speaker. Travel to Semilipadar was tiresome – 65 kilometers by bus, another four hours in a boat and finally 15km by foot. Whenever it was possible, Benya took the whole family with him. This time, Benya’s wife and youngest son Paul also had accompanied him. The convention went well, they came back with the untold joy of seeing people accepting Jesus as their Lord for the first time.
On reaching home, Benya and his wife fell ill. Severe fever. Benya was healed within a few days, his wife was caught up with malaria. After a week, she too was well, but the youngest son Paul was down. His sickness ended up in typhoid. The limited medical facilities in Malkangiri made the doctor to prescribe further treatment in an adequate hospital in Nabarangpur, 150km far from Malkangiri. Thus, Benya rushed Paul to Nabarangpur Christian Hospital.
After few days of continuous medication, he was healed and they returned to Malkangiri. Traveling back to Malkangiri was burdensome. While Benya and wife stood in the swaying bus throughout, Paul got little space to sit upon the heated bus engine. The severe hot weather and the tiresome travel caught Junosh with jaundice. By this time, Benya’s wallet became empty. He could not pay the electricity bill and thus there was no power in the home.
The further medical care did not help Paul. Within two days, his body pain increased, was unable to urinate and he could not sleep either. The boy’s health deteriorated with the tickle of the clock.
His condition was crucial. Leaving all his pain aside, he said goodbye to this earthly home. The parents, his brother and sister painfully watched him breathing his last at his very age of twelve. The mother shut her eyes tight and burst out crying. Tears choked the siblings. Benya held so hard on his tears but he finally let loose with a heartbreaking cry looking at the dead body of his son.
It was an emotionally shattering hour. God said ‘no’ to the prayers of Benya and family, taking Paul to His eternal home. Their house was quiet and filled with bitterness. Why did God allow their hearts to break? His death opened a yawning chasm of doubt before them.
They are left with aching memories of Paul, playing, laughing and laying on the lap of his mother. Left with images of him smiling, going to school, coming back from school, running to keep the bag and playing with siblings. Paul’s sound of laughter is gone. His quarrel with his siblings are no more. They lost their loving dear youngest brother and son.
I received a word about the death of Paul and I could not believe it. My mind recollected the memories of seeing him playing, smiling at me and going to nursery when I first went to his hometown as a missionary. I began to think of the parents’ situation at this painful incident. Their commitment to serving the Lord caused them to work in that malaria affected area. This experience has profoundly touched my heart and my soul. Questions come ‘Why a young boy had to die early in life?’ No answers. As I began to sort through my feelings of unbelief and sorrow, I realize that I can only rejoice that Paul is with the Lord.
The parents knew already the risk of working in Malkangiri. They knew the dangers in advance. But if they didn’t go, who will? The children did not chose to come here, it was because of parents’ dedication. This reminds us that the price of such missionary work is very high indeed. Disciples of Christ who take up His cross daily, risks losing the things they hold dear to them. There is no easy way. This testifies to their great sacrifice. Paul’s parents were willing to obey the Great commission. Before God their lives have been a beacon leading many to Christ on their journey.
Junosh Paul was a gift from the Father as a tangible expression of God’s love. Willingly the parents gave him back to God. Even in this life’s greatest pain, the missionary family comforted themselves in the fact that God also buried His beloved begotten Son on the mission field for the sake of others. The parents earned their credit with God.
Junosh Paul, like a kernel of wheat, fallen to the ground and died, no doubt, will bring a great harvest in the coming days in Orissa, India.
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