Dorothy Hayward

A Healing Touch

They don’t understand! My husband doesn’t understand, and my family doesn’t understand!” Nittaya sobbed.

Saying those words with tears in her eyes, she leaned over and lay her head on my stomach. Lying on the massage table, I was in a bit of an awkward position, but I put my arms around her and gave her a reassuring hug.

Nittaya has become a friend, rather more than just a massage therapist. For 2 1/2 years, Bruce and I have frequently attended this massage parlor when we are in town. It is part of our self-care as we manage the occasional muscle ache or tight shoulder. Nittaya’s English is very limited, but it is better than our Thai, and we communicate amazingly well. When words are inadequate, and we must rely on Google Translate, a hug can convey much.

Many times over these months, I have lain quietly on her massage table and prayed for this precious friend. I had invited her to join in special Sabbath events specially prepared for Buddhist worshipers who know little to nothing about Christianity. I found a Thai Bible and shared it with her at one point. Now things were changing. She had to close her massage shop and move to set up a room in her home. Because of financial and other circumstances, she was now grieving the loss of her friends and the business she had built up over the past several years. Her tears told me volumes about how her heart felt about our friendship — “You are not just my customer,” she would tell me. But on this particular day, grief welled up, and she wanted my sympathetic understanding.

I expect that by the time we return from our trip to America this spring, she will have re-established her business. I surely hope so. I long to continue our friendship and bring her the good news of Jesus’ soon return. She says she is very interested in learning more, but her 83-year-old mother forbids her from entering a Christian church. “You were born Buddhist, and you will die Buddhist!” are her mother’s powerful words. However, in my heart, I know she will come to Jesus in His time as I continue interceding for her soul. Her very kind Australian husband is also on my targeted prayer list, as we have interacted with him occasionally.

Friendship and Christian love can go a long way to reach the heart of a committed Buddhist, but the Holy Spirit can break through any barriers the enemy may strive to keep in place. Would you please join us in praying for our massage therapist and friend? Pray that one day she will find Jesus as the answer to her search for meaning: a meaning beyond the Buddha shrine she has faithfully maintained in her shop’s waiting area.

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