Wednesday, March 18, 2009

uncle sawat

Uncle Sawat is an 83 year old man that I admire; his faithful heart is in direct contrast to his leprosy ravaged flesh. In a leper colony in Bangkok Thailand, I sat at his feet for an hour and listened to his story.

When he found that he had leprosy, Uncle Sawat decided to move to a leper colony and build his home. When he was being treated a man in a bed next to him told him about Jesus and at the age 57, he pleaded with the government to allow him to build a church in the leper colony. Uncle Sawat became a pastor via correspondence, and was the pastor there until he could no longer see and move on his own.

After he sang us Hymn #13 (“How Great Thou Art”) I fought away the tears and struggled to think of a way to tell this story. The only thing that I could think of was to take pictures of his flesh to talk about his spirit. May these be a reminder of the frailty of our flesh but more so a direct contrast to the strength we have in Christ.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary. But what is unseen is eternal.”2 Cor. 4: 16-18

Uncle Sawat’s accomplishments are great but nothing in comparison to his heart. His story was not about what he did but what God did in him, and how faithful God is.

Every summer, Uncle Sawat invites InterVarsity students into his home, these students are volunteering in his community while on a Global Urban Trek, go here for more info. Michelle, talked about in this post, went on this Trek as an InterVarsity student and was convinced to move to Bangkok long term by Gods love for the poor. Uncle Sawat tells the students, “You are elephants, and I am a mouse. You have opportunities because you are privileged Americans, and I have none because I am an outcast Thai. What are you going to do with that opportunity?”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These photos are great, Matt. Definitely "visual story-telling" at its best.

Good job. I'm moved by this story.