"How is your husband?" I asked. They had borrowed my crutches a while back.
"He's better," she replied. Then she dropped her voice and added, "But we used alternative medicine."
"Oh. You used Chinese medicine," I clarified.
Again, in a low voice, "No."
"Oh. You went to a dukun."
Later Ibu Dian told me the whole story. When her husband's leg first started getting sore, he went to a regular doctor. The doctor reported that the sore leg was not the result of a medical condition, but of black magic. Not satisfied with this answer, Ibu Dian and her husband went to several doctors and even sought the help of a specialist.
Her husband did not get better. Eventually, his leg was so sore, he could not stand up straight. The pain spread into his hip and lower back. He had to walk bent over at the waist.
One day, an acquaintance of Ibu Dian's examined her husband's leg. She confirmed that the sore leg was caused by black magic.
So Ibu Dian phoned a kiai (a religious teacher) in Java. Two days later a bottle of medicine arrived. The bottle contained paper with writing on it and jamu, a mix of spices. When Ibu Dian's husband drank it, he started to shake, and asked Ibu Dian to pray for him. Then there was a bad smell that turned into the smell of flowers. He stopped shaking immediately and stood up straight. He was healed.
When Ibu Dian finished her story, I was speechless. What would be the long-term effects of the medicine Ibu Dian's husband had taken? What could I have done differently, so that Ibu Dian's husband would not have taken such extreme measures to be healed?
- Pray that Ibu Dian and her husband would learn that they can turn to God alone for help, and do not need to seek out "alternative medicine".
- Pray that followers of Jesus in Southeast Asia would have the courage to pray with friends who are sick, and that God would answer these prayers with miraculous healings.