After three kids, 22 years of marriage and a fortune spent on his wife's health, Hafiz didn't know what else he could do for her. In a land where women often face brutal mistreatment, Hafiz was a fervently attentive husband, but Laboni was incapable of caring. She didn't know why, but she was ready to leave—again.

Septmeber 2012

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By now, Hafiz knew the drill, but that didn't make him resent it any less. As hard as he tried to keep Laboni from wandering out on her own, her mental illness would always make her resist. Their once happy marriage had turned into a nightmare, and Hafiz was desperate to wake up.

Parents Seek Cure for Mentally Ill Daughter

Laboni's problems began during childhood. Watching her as she helped around the home, Laboni's parents worried about their daughter's frailness and strange behavior. Unlike the small, playful quirks of other children, Laboni's habits were bizarre and disturbing.

Her parents took her to medical doctors and invited many witch doctors to perform various rituals. Eventually, the efforts seemed to pay off, and Laboni began to look and act like a typical 18-year-old girl.

Assured of their daughter's good health, her parents arranged a marriage to a young man from a nearby village.

Symptoms Return after Daughter Marries

For the first two years, Laboni and her new husband, Hafiz, lived a regular life. Unfortunately, though, Laboni's symptoms slowly began to return.

Sometimes Laboni stopped speaking to everyone, or she made strange noises. Other times, she had spells of vomiting or would talk incessantly as if she might never be allowed to speak again.

Like his in-laws before him, Hafiz brought in every resource available. The couple saw the best doctors they could afford—even traveling to their nation's capital to see specialists.

They spent thousands of dollars, but no one could solve Laboni's illness, and her symptoms were only getting worse. She had begun wandering from the house alone, adding to Hafiz's list of responsibilities in caring for his wife.

In desperation, Hafiz prayed to his gods for relief, however, they did no more than the doctors. After 20 years of striving for Laboni's wellbeing, he was growing weary of the struggle.

He hated the way Laboni's life had been wasted and the way both of them had suffered for so long—so when a group came through the area speaking of a treatment he hadn't tried, Hafiz was still ready to hope for a miracle.

Her Illness; His Nightmare
Her Illness; His Nightmare

After 20 Years without Cure, Husband Tries Prayer

The Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries were on their way to another village when Hafiz met them. Their leader, Pastor Chhiring, told Hafiz about Jesus' love for everyone and His power to heal even the worst illness. When Hafiz heard this, he urged Chhiring and the others to return home with him, and they agreed.

When Chhiring saw Hafiz's frail wife, his heart broke for the couple. He visited and prayed with them for three hours and promised to return.

For two months, Chhiring visited the couple every day, reading from the Bible and praying for Laboni to be healed. One week, though, Chhiring had to delay his visit, and when he arrived Sunday morning, Laboni was nowhere to be found.

Knowing her habit of wandering off, Chhiring was instantly worried, but Hafiz was strangely unconcerned. In fact, he seemed relieved.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

Wife Healed, as if Waking from Deep Sleep

When Chhiring asked what happened, Hafiz explained that Laboni was out in the forest—on her own—getting food for the family's cows. Earlier that week, she'd been healed from her illness.

Hafiz said it was as if Laboni had woken from a long, deep sleep. Now she was ready to return to life, just as her husband had always dreamed.

Grateful for the love and power Jesus had shown them, the couple decided to follow Him. As other villagers witnessed the dramatic change in Laboni, they chose to embrace Christ's love, too.

Her Illness; His Nightmare

Now Pastor Chhiring returns to the village not just for Hafiz and Laboni, but for a small congregation. As the church continues to grow, the believers have a perfect reminder of God's faithfulness: the couple who escaped a nightmare and woke up to the light of Christ.

You can help open the eyes of thousands across Asia and show them Jesus' mercy and love.

Published 2012 Gospel for Asia

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