Ezra was one of the first boys who entered the village. At just 6 years old (he was estimated to be around 6 years old but his actual age is unknown) he was left to fend for himself. His mother and Father both died, brother lost, he was alone and unwanted by those in his village. Hunting bugs and rats for food, his life at just a young age was unimaginable. He lived under a chicken coop to find shelter from the rain and was suffering from severe malnutrition, tuberculosis and scabies.
It wasn’t until Ronny came through his village that Ezra’s life changed drastically. Whilst showering at the river Ronny spotted Ezra from afar. He befriended Ezra, who was hesitant to come to speak to Ronny after so many years of his parents saying if he was naughty they would hand him over to the ‘white man’. Ronny took Ezra to the chief who explained his situation. Ronny asked if he could take Ezra back with him, making clear that he would not return Ezra but he would come to live with them. The response of the tribal leader being “take him. We do not want him”. Ronny picked Ezra up and hugged him. Knowing this was God’s doing. Once back, Ezra was shown around his new home and introduced to his new family. Their first meal together was stuffed down, Ezra guarding his plate whilst he ate. It was his first proper meal in years.
Ronny then took Ezra to the doctor. This was different to the typical doctor Ezra was used to, there was no black magic involved, no fear imparted. This doctor cared about Ezra. The doctor turned to Ronny after examining Ezra and said “if you had not brought this child today, he would be dead in one week”. Medication was given and a plan for treatment and portion sizes for eating to ensure he did not eat so much so quickly after not eating properly for so long and the severe malnutrition.
Over time he began to feel healthier, look healthier, began to flourish and love life with his new family. One day Ezra came up to Ronny, whom he called Bapak (dad), and told him about his older brother, Arip, and asked if he could come and live with them. Ronny headed back to Ezra’s village and searched for Arip. The chief said that Arip went into the jungle to look for food. Ronny waited but there was no sign of him. Three times Ronny went to the village in search of Arip, but every time the same response, he was looking for food in the jungle. And so Ronny presumed Arip was dead.
It wasn’t until a few years later when something miraculous happened. Antan, one of the boys, and one of Ezra’s new brothers, was planning to go home to visit his mother and family. It was close to Ezra’s village and belonged to the same tribe as Ezra belonged to. As Antan was searching for food in the jungle one day he came across someone he would never expected to have come across. Arip! He embraced Arip and told him they have been looking for him and that Ezra is alive and well. They got permission from their tribal chief and headed home to be reunited and meet Arip’s new family.
Ezra and Arip were able to live together again and grow up together. They slept comfortably under shelter, ate three meals a day, had education and most importantly learnt about Jesus and how loved they are by Him. Soon enough they both received Jesus into their heart.
Today, Ezra and Arip are still living in LWV. They have finished their education and are now serving within the ministry. With different responsibilities, and encouraging and helping other new children who enter the ministry. Being able to be a testimony of how God worked in their lives and brought them back together. Being a blessing to those around them, and a walking miracle to those in the kampung, who had given up hope of them all those years ago.
“ I often think back to that scene in the river, seeing that strange White Man taking a bath. How I thank God that our paths crossed that day! To me, he was like an angel of God, sent to the wild jungle. He took me, a starving six-year-old, and loved me, fed me, and helped heal me. Even today, Bapak is still caring for me” – Ezra