At Kodaikanal International School, we have started the second semester of classes a week ago with a series of tragedies. On the first day of classes two staff members—the fourth grade teacher and a dorm parent—received word that their mother had died. The following day, we lifted up a fifth grade boy in prayer. He had arrived from Bangladesh happy and eager to start a new semester in class and in the elementary dormitory, but rapidly became critically ill with an unknown infection. It attacked his body, shutting down his kidneys and threatening his life. He was rushed to a hospital three hours away to be in an Intensive Care Unit. The parents of a sixth grade student, who happened to live near that hospital, helped to facilitate his care and went to visit the boy. On their way home from the hospital late the next night, they were in an accident. The sixth grader's stepfather was killed instantly. His mother received severe head and facial injuries and was rushed into surgery, which lasted over nine hours. As we write this, five days later, she has just regained consciousness. Oh, how we have sought the Lord in these days for His comfort, for His reassurance, for His healing power.
One of the close neighbors to the professional staff house where we live is the family of a maintenance staff worker. Noble is one of the school plumbers. His wife, Jasmine, is a lay health worker, teaching basic sanitation and health to villagers. She is also a Bible teacher, visiting homes of local people to lead Bible studies and pray. The other evening, after we had received so much sad news, Betsy, along with Lisa (12) and Kara (10), went over to Noble and Jasmine's home to ask if they, too, would pray for the sick boy and the boy whose mother lay in the hospital. Noble asked if we could have a prayer meeting immediately, and invited us into his home. We entered the small main room, which serves as living room, dining room and bedroom. Jasmine chose the passage James 5:13-16. Noble read it in the Tamil language and Betsy followed with the same passage in English. They sang a Tamil praise song and Jasmine began to pray. She prayed in Tamil (only some of which we understood) and poured out her heart to God. She began with the praise and adoration of many "Stotharum"s and "Hallelujah's, building to a fervent plea for healing and comfort, asking God boldly for a miracle from His healing power. Next Betsy prayed in English and they closed with a Tamil hymn, the tune of which was familiar and we could at least hum along.
We continue to lift up those who are suffering these tragedies. The fifth grade boy is now on a ventilator, as well. This child and his family are Muslims. David, as the Elementary School Coordinator, is working to help the other elementary students to understand and cope. We also praise the Lord that in the midst of the sadness, He gave us an opportunity to come together in His presence with a local family.
Jan. 20, 2002 - We want to update you on the boy from Bangladesh who became so critically ill. He passed away January 18. The cause of his sudden illness is still unknown. His family, though they are Muslim, have specifically asked for our prayers.