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  • Caleb Byerly

A boy named Juvy

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

In 2010, we started redeeming the musical instruments of the Tigwahonon tribe. We had a musical instrument making workshop and many of the tribesmen would come to learn to make their musical instruments. Many of the tribesmen were able to learn craftsmanship skills and also grow in the Lord. During that time, there was a little boy named Juvy that came in the scene. When I first saw him, he had the appearance of a 10 year old. But actually, he was 15 years old. I was told that he had a stunted growth due to a bad horse bite. Juvy roamed from place to place because he didn’t have a family. Sometimes, he would be sleeping on the cold ground. Being nomadic, he would go around asking if people needed help in their cornfields or pig pens. He would work for a place to stay.

He came to us one day asking for work so we let him live with us and help us build instruments. Every day we would spend hours working on drums and flutes, talking and laughing together. We could see that he was happy to finally have a warm home to stay in and people to interact with. He asked many questions and observed our lifestyle of family but always kept quiet about himself.

One night as we were having dinner he began telling us things about his life. It shocked us. He told us his story of rejection of never being accepted in homes, including his father’s home. We stopped eating just to listen to him tell his sorrowful history. As he was finishing, he simply said, “And after I die, I know where I’m going, the place where I deserve to go. Hell.”

Eddie, sitting opposite of the table, responded in objection, “No, you are welcomed into the family of God and it’s free for you!”

Juvy replied, “That family is for you but I have no education, no parents, no money and no life. It’s obvious where I’m going”.

Eddie spoke up, explaining to him in their own language the goodness of God. He talked for a long time explaining what Jesus did for him and how he is loved and cherished by God. This was his first time hearing it and the Holy Spirit softened his heart. He said that he wanted to enter the Family of God. So he did!

The next day was an amazing day for him. He had life in his eyes and he seemed so happy and excited for life! His work was different than before, he was more passionate to work because he knew he was doing it for the Lord. As I watched the joy beam from his eyes, I thought of the years ahead for him. I thought about the decision that he made the night before and what new journeys he will take with Jesus!

The day after that, something interesting happened. He stumbled up to me panting ferociously. Something was severely wrong with him and I wasn’t sure what it was. Not long after that his mother appeared. I never even knew that Juvy knew his mother. She had a very worried look on her face. They explained to me that Juvy had many different problems with his body. His mother, who never had the chance to take care of him because she didn’t have any resources, looked helpless. The instrument makers and I decided to take him to the local medical clinic to get examined. The nurses told us that we needed to rush him to the hospital.

We drove Juvy to the closest hospital nearly an hour away. The only way we could take him there was on a motorbike. We rushed him in and the doctor took a look at what was going on with is body. The doctor looked at us with.a sad look, explaining that their hospital is simply not equipped enough for them to examine and operate on him. They said that we would need to travel another 5 hours to a German hospital. By that time, it was late afternoon and Juvy’s body was not doing well. We quickly jumped on a vehicle to get to the hospital as fast as we could.

Arriving, we found out that he had many problems. A germ that he attained from stepping in filthy water had gone up his body and was attacking his kidney, heart and brain. He had high blood pressure, dengue, brain cancer and rabies and they were all reacting after getting the germ in his system. He was fighting for his life and was barely holding on. No one knew about all of these problems, except Juvy. He just kept it in.

In the hospital bed, he lost feeling in his body and couldn’t speak. He could only hear and see. I stared into his eyes, asking if he wanted Jesus to heal him; and he raised one finger up signaling to me that he agreed. I pleaded to God for his life because I didn’t want him to go yet. I remember walking out into the hallway as I talked to the Lord about Juvy’s life, saying that he needs to be healed. I’ve seen the Lord heal people so many times before, I knew he was also going to be healed. I prayed three times confidently that God would heal him, but he wasn’t healed. We stayed with him through the whole night praying.

The next morning, around 8am, he passed.

The sense of sheer sorrow swept over our drained, feeble souls. We felt defeated. Returning to the Tigwahonon tribe, we arranged for his body to be taken back with us. Arriving in the village, his body was set in the center of the village and everyone gathered around his body to mourn. Many people wept. I’ve never seen mournful wailing like that before.

To my surprise, many tribesmen came to grieve together. It was my understanding that Juvy was considered a nobody, but that was not true. He was clearly a somebody! Juvy was the one who went from house to house, carrying a servant hood spirit with him, blessing people’s fields and home for no wage except a bed to sleep in. He was the one who did the most filthy jobs for the most simple return. He was fervent for life despite all of the wrong done to him. No one saw all of the wrong done to him, except one, the Father! And the Father truly rewarded him for his heart.

During the funeral, Eddie told the testimony of Juvy giving his life to Jesus which just happen two days before. People were amazed at his story of how God was so intentional for him and wanted him in His family. That's how much God cared for someone who was cared by no other person in the world! At the end of the funeral service, people were weeping; they weren’t weeping because of the death of Juvy but because of God’s love. God cared enough for Juvy that He saved him and gave him eternity. The people were so moved by his story that 28 individuals from that village wanted to give their lives to Jesus! There wasn't even an alter call or someone preaching to them; Juvy's life and testimony was enough. One boy’s life opened the door to eternity to many. Juvy’s name lives on because God honors the humble.

January 11, 2014

Caleb Byerly

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