Even in Sickness

Tarin, who had already planted a church among the Kimyal people of the eastern highlands, now felt God's call to venture into a new area, far to the south of Sumo in the lowlands, where the Dekai people lived. After taking a furlough among his own people in the Toll Valley, he set out, going first without his family and with another Dani missionary, Nggiwunggen. The men made a potato garden to ensure having food when their families came. After they had stayed a few months attempting to learn the difficult language, they returned in January 1981 for Tarin's wife and three younger children. The oldest three stayed behind to attend school.

Soon after the family's arrival in the lowlands, four-year-old Bayita fell on a slippery log, injuring her head and back on a fallen tree. The following day she died. The heartbroken parents prayed, "Our Father, we have not come to this area for our own good but because You called us here. You must be in control of the situation. We will trust You:" They buried their child right there and worked to open up the difficult area.

Then Tarin's wife Yabok and a son, Wayon, began to have trouble with their feet swelling so badly they could not walk. "It is the dreaded filariases. You will certainly die of this," the people gloomily predicted.

"Tarin, I want to go to the doctor," Yabok pleaded. But they were in an isolated area, and the landing strip was not yet ready.

"My wife, perhaps we should not go immediately to the doctor. Let us first pray to the Lord and ask Him to heal you and our son. Because the people here cannot go to the doctor every time they are sick, we must show them that we have a doctor in the Lord Himself-that He can heal our sicknesses.

"Lord, we have come here to serve You. We have lost one child, and now two of us are sick. We know You can heal and strengthen, and we commit ourselves to You. We believe it is the enemy who is causing this sickness. He does not want us bringing the Word of God to these Dekai people. We take a stand against the enemy. And we ask You to heal the feet of Yabok and Wayon."

In a short time, both were up and walking again. As a result, their faith was strengthened, and they rejoiced that the Lord had called them to this place. "Even though we have lost our daughter, it is a privilege to pioneer this new area for Jesus Christ." They praised God through their tears.

The people had been watching to see how Tarin's family would react to the death of their child. Now as they saw how the Lord healed the feet of Tarin's wife and son, they admitted, "Some of our people have had this same problem, but they died. Your God has healed in answer to your prayers!" They exclaimed.

"Tarin and Yabok, you said you had come to bring us good news, and we can see that it is good news to have a God who is so powerful in the face of the diseases and troubles you have been passing through."

Tarin thought about that. He didn't want them turning to God just to save themselves from trouble. He taught them, "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:8). The people listened intently, knowing that Tarin was talking from his heart out of the depths of his own experience. This made a great impression on them, and many responded. "Tarin, in the past we have thought just of ourselves and not of the Lord. Now you have shown us that we belong to God regardless of what comes into our lives. We want you to stay with us and teach us more words from God."

Dekker, John (with Lois Neely). Torches of Joy. Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 1985, 1999 p. 179-181.

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