Today I want to tell you a story about an amazing boy named Juvy from the Philippines. I met Juvy in 2010 while living in Mindanao. 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. 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. Everyday 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.”
Someone 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”.
We 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! 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. We took him to the local medical clinic and the nurses told us that we needed to rush him to the hospital.
We had to travel 6 hours to get to the hospital. 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, leukemia, brain cancer and rabies. He was fighting for his life and 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 prayed 3 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.
We took his body with us back to his village. Arriving, his body was set in the center of the village and everyone gathered for a funeral service. Many people wept. I’ve never seen tears like that before; I’ve never heard weeping like that before. I thought no one would arrive at the funeral because he was considered a nobody. But he was clearly somebody. He 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.
During the funeral, someone 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! 28 people 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. They are now our disciples.
One boy’s life opened the door to eternity to many. Juvy’s name lives on because God honors the humble.