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Uncle

By Nikki White

As he lowered himself shakily to the ground, there was a certain sense of relief. At least, he thought to himself, the end would not be violent. Oh Mau lay there, bruised and breathless, and embraced the deep stillness of the Myanmar jungle as he waited to die. 

Old age had not gone well for Oh Mau. With the steady waning of his strength and vitality came a steady increase of abuse from his alcoholic son-in-law. In addition, he knew that the burden of caregiving had become untenable for his family. More and more, he was left to fend for himself and to fend off the blows as best he could. Until one day, he decided to choose a different death, and walked quietly out into the jungle. 

“Uncle!” a voice called out. The exclamation startled Oh Mau and he squinted weakly, recognizing his former neighbor, Ko Myo, who was quickly approaching him. Confounded by the sad sight of the old man sprawled out on the ground, Ko Myo knelt beside him. “Uncle, what has happened to you?” he asked with respect and affection in a way that Oh Mau had not heard for a very long time. 

As Oh Mau told his story, Ko Myo was filled with compassion. The thought of him dying alone in the jungle was intolerable. Without another word, he simply picked up the old man in his arms and carried him out of the jungle. Only a few hours away, there was a farm where Christ-followers lived who would care for this failing soul.

“I cannot let you die, Uncle,” said Ko Myo firmly. “I will not let you die.”

Ko Myo carried Oh Mau to the farm where he was bathed, clothed and fed. For a time, they were not certain that he would survive but, as they prayed, the old man began to recover. Oh Mau had never experienced such care before. Their selfless love amazed him and dispelled the shadow of death over him. In time, he was persuaded that perhaps he could, after all, choose to live.

As he gained strength and gratitude, Oh Mau sought some useful work suitable for his gnarled old hands and sensitive soul. He decided to take up weaving. His face lit up with pleasure and purpose as he spent hours each day weaving bamboo strips into beautiful floor mats, which helped pay for his keep. 

Some on the farm called him Oh Mau, but to those that grew to love him, he was known simply as “Uncle.”

“God made you, Uncle,” they told him repeatedly. “He made the whole world and every human being. God loves his creation, and he loves you!” 

Slowly, Oh Mau began to believe them. Then, when he finally grasped the enormity of that love, portrayed by the sacrifice of Jesus on a cross, Oh Mau gladly confessed his sins and welcomed Jesus as his Savior and Lord. 

On the day of his baptism at the farm, Uncle Oh Mau said, “I know God is love, because no one had ever loved me like this before. With all the days that are left to me, I will serve him.”

Lighthouse Team - Thailand, Witness