Riyon’s Journey Upward




The events of that day are still clear. I was scheduled to leave Cambodia on a flight later that night. But before the work day was over I wanted to visit the workshop, pray with the women, and say goodbye.  As they began to move into their version of a prayer circle I noticed that Riyon was walking with a noticeable limp. I asked her what was wrong – but honestly I didn’t get much more than a comment that might have been translated “my leg hurts.” Sensing an opportunity, I asked her to sit on one of the cheap plastic chairs and then called on the entire group to connect together and pray for her leg to heal. But now I know that I should have done more.  In a few short weeks I would receive word that Riyon had a stroke. The pain in her leg had been a sign and maybe had we gotten her to a doctor all of this could have been avoided.

It was only a few months ago that I heard Riyon had been brought back to the city. After months away, receiving “treatment’ in the village, it was only when I saw her then that I realized the truth.

Riyon’s family had simply given up on her and now she had been brought back to die.

Angie Harris, a nurse from Indianapolis and a part of the team from Center United Methodist Church, was with me last summer when we made that first visit.  She quickly realized that Riyon was being given the wrong medication and encouraged her family to start simple physical therapy. My job was to encourage the caregivers and to let them know that giving up on Riyon was not an option and that CGI would help them as needed with the cost of food, medicines, and even adult diapers.  It was obvious that our willingness to share the burden was enough to encourage the family at least for a little wile. Then we prayed. We prayed from a deep place. And we prayed specifically for healing and for restoration. We asked for nothing short of a miracle – and God said “OK”.

Now for those of you who have a hard time believing in modern day miracles I have both photos and video clips of Riyon before and after.  And while I know that there are ways to reduce or expand just how “miraculous” this event has been all I can say is that on the following day Riyon was actually standing on her own and taking a few steps. Within another day she was eating better and could recognize people around her and even smile.  In recent weeks she has begun walking down the street to a neighbor’s house.  She has gained back her weight and is regaining both strength and confidence every day. So much so, in fact, that I did not immediately recognize her when I arrived at her home today.  She looks so much better. Her recent photo shows that life and hope have returned.

Before I left today Riyon said that she was hoping to soon return to the byTavi workshop. That may actually take longer than she would like but I, for one, believe that she will.

If you have read this far I want to thank you but I would also like to ask you to do one more thing. Would you say a prayer specifically for Riyon asking that she regain an even greater use of her left arm and hand?

Until ALL have heard,

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