Last year we wrote two articles about a man in our church called father Kanhaa. (see “Father and son” and “on fire for the Gospel”) It was a privilege for us to meet him and see him come to faith. The way that his life changed and his health improved were an amazing testimony to the people around him. Everywhere he went he would tell everybody he met that he was a Christian and that they should also believe in Jesus. Later on his wife Angun came to faith and together they were faithful members of the church in Nong Rua.
Since the beginning of this year father Kanhaa started to have more and more health issues. Almost weekly he was admitted to the hospital to receive treatment. At times he would be confused and discouraged. It was very special to see that coming to church or joining for worship together with other Christians at his house always helped him and his wife to cheer up. One Sunday he was not able to come, so the people from the church decided to encourage him by singing a few songs for him in the hospital. Can you imagine, a group of 20 people singing out loud about the God that created us and cares for us in a room full of sick people. Father Kanhaa was beaming and couldn’t get enough of it.
When father Kanhaa fell sick a few years ago, both his sons didn’t look after him and left the house. In another article we already wrote about the relationship that was restored between him and his youngest son. It took some time for father Kanhaa to also forgive his oldest son, who still had not come home. Together we went to see this young man, but although this was a good visit, he still refused to come and visit his father at home. In the week before father Kanhaa passed away, he was admitted to hospital again. When we visited him he was surprisingly happy for someone being in the hospital. “My son came to visit me”, was the first thing he said. He had been waiting for this moment for more than 3 years. Only a week later father Kanhaa suddenly passed away and went home to be with the Lord.
The family agreed and entrusted the church with arranging a Christian funeral. Funerals are very important in Thai society. This would be the first Christian funeral in Nong Rua. We tried to make it as accessible as possible for the people in the village to come and join in with the different activities. The local temple did not agree for a Christian ceremony, so together with the family we decided that father Kanhaa would be buried at a cemetery in a city nearby. In the days leading up to the funeral we gathered every day at the house of father Kanhaa to worship and witness about the love of God and the hope we have through Jesus Christ. It was very encouraging that many of our Christian brothers and sisters from other places came to encourage the family. On the day of the burial we shared the story of the prodigal son. This story meant so much to father Kanhaa and his family. We thank God for father Kanhaa; his courage to be a witness and for his faithfulness till the end. We pray that through his testimony in life and death, many more people and especially his sons will receive Christ.