god is the healer - we just need to show up - healed of AIDS in thailand

Todd Rutkowski, Sep 25, 2017, 3:07 PM
Todd Rutkowski National Catalyst of Vineyard Emerge

Chumpoo (pronounced Chum – poo) lived in Kloney Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok Thailand, when the vineyard team first met her. Over 100,000 squatters live in squalor in Kloney Toey; an area between the freeway and the Chao Phraya, a major river in Bangkok. Together, with her adult daughter, Chumpoo found herself caught up in the lifestyle of addiction. Her daily routine orbited around her drug addiction. Whether it was her insatiable appetite to suppress the guilt and shame, her irregular sleeping patterns or the lying that such a lifestyle demands, she was never free from her addiction. Chumpoo was in the grips of her cruel captor 24/7. Our team of friends, living in Kloney Toey began to connect to Chumpoo regularly in her makeshift home in this intensely populated squatted land. Eventually their friendship led to spiritual conversations and an encounter with Jesus that brought Chumpoo the ultimate spiritual healing she needed. After much prayer Chumpoo was delivered from her addiction and began to walk the journey of freedom in Christ. In a 95% Buddhist culture, the invitation of Jesus for freedom lands unencumbered as it is a relatively illiterate biblical culture.  Wide – eyed and spiritually hungry Chumpoo drank in the spiritual discipleship she received from the vineyard team.

The Kingdom of Thailand stretches from its northern political boundary, which borders Laos; to its southern point which borders Malaysia. To the east, Thailand borders Cambodia and to the west Myanmar. The Kingdom of Thailand is the only nation in Southeast Asia to have never been colonized. The Thai also boast the longest living monarch in the world and their king is deeply loved. As a result, Thai people who encounter Jesus understand Kingdom theology and the role of a king much more intuitively, as it is the only political culture they have known. They understand that the 'Rule and Reign' of a king is representative of a king's 'Will' and reach. Chumpoo was introduced to Kingdom theology and quickly embraced that the 'Will' or 'Rule and Reign' of her new king, Jesus, was one that desired healing, forgiveness, deliverance, freedom from oppression, along with people becoming aware, alive and responsive to God's voice.  For the next several years Chumpoo began to walk this new reality out in her neighborhood. She became a passionate follower of Jesus and his kingdom message on earth. Many in Kloney Toey have been impacted by Chumpoo's belief in Jesus.

Several years later, in 2007 Chumpoo was on a trip to her home village in the eastern region of Thailand. During her stay she visited a family friend, who was actively dying of AIDS.  This man was weeks from death when Chumpoo arrived. Gaunt, bones protruding from his frame, he breathed every breath with visible pain. Chumpoo laid hands on her family friend, asking God for his healing. Dying of AIDS is a culturally familiar reality, as many Thai suffer from being HIV positive. Chumpoo had witnessed others dying of AIDS, but this time she felt something different happening as she prayed.  As she laid her hands on her friend she felt a wind come rushing into the room. Caught off guard by its suddenness she quickly realized more than the changing of weather was happening. Chumpoo recognized that it was the Holy Spirit. She continued to pray.  Now whether it took hours, days or weeks for full healing I am uncertain, but what I am certain of is that her family friend was dramatically healed of full blown AIDS while on his deathbed.

Three months after the healing, I arrived in Thailand and heard the story.  We were on our way, with a bus load of friends from Bangkok, to our first ever Thai vineyard gathering of the 4 Thai churches. Our retreat center was in eastern Thailand and hours from the village Chumpoo had been to earlier that year. As we arrived at the retreat center I learnt of a baptism we are going to undertake during our time together. Little did I know the first person we would baptize was the very man, who 3 months earlier lay on this death bed with full blown AIDS. As this man walked into my presence shivers went down my spine.  A walking miracle stood before me.  As a witness to that baptism it was a great moment for that man, Chumpoo, and the whole Thai vineyard family.  Faith was released in our presence.

Below are pictures of Chumpoo baptizing this man, whose name I never remembered, but whose story I will never forget!!!

Todd Rutkowski