The day my husband died from AIDS, I remember a big mountain of burdens, larger than what I felt I could carry, crushed down on my heart. Where would I go? My parents and other relatives disowned us because of their fear of our disease. How would I feed Vy and Vo, my growing, active teenage boys? The money I carefully saved away would not last more than a month. I was desperate, discouraged and ready to die. As I sat on the sidewalk, the thought came to me, if I die, what would happen to my dear boys?
I mustered enough strength to get up, pick up my small bundle of belongings and start looking for a place to stay. I found a small bamboo shack with a tin roof that I could rent for $10 a month. This seemed like a lot of money, but after paying for the first month, I had a little money left over. I had a plan.
I got up early the next morning and bought some fruit; bananas, oranges and mangosteens, along with a big basket I could carry on my head. “I can sell this fruit for a little more riel than what I bought it to the people who stop to get gas and to the cars at the stoplight,” I planned. After the first few minutes of being out there, I realized that many other people also thought of the same plan. They would push their way in front of me and reach the car windows first. Because of the symptoms of AIDS, I was not as strong as most of them. Some days people would actually push me to the ground and trample me. When I got injured or felt sick from the disease, I could not go out to sell. When the landlord came to collect the rent, I explained my situation and begged him to give me a few more days.
One day, it was almost dark. I was so tired I felt like I could not take another step. All day long, I ran after cars, back and forth down the street, dodging the trucks, mopeds and bicycles, but had sold nothing. I sat down on the curb, looking at my full basket of fruit and felt sorry for myself. Suddenly I heard a sweet voice right in front of me ask, “How much is it for one kilogram of oranges?” “Was she talking to me?” I wondered in disbelief. I quickly got to my feet, and not only told the lady the price, but begged her to buy my fruit because I had been working since the early morning hours and had much left. Maybe it was the kind look in her eyes that prompted me to share my terrible predicament of how I was going to get kicked out of my house if I did not pay the rent money. The kind lady looked at me, smiled and said, I’ll buy all the fruit you have. I could hardly believe my ears! “Are you joking?” I asked her. “No, please package it all up for me,” she said. I asked her again, “Are you really going to buy all my fruit?” “YES!” she said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” is all I could say. Then she asked me, “Do you want to have this kind of success more often? I have the secret. Come to my church on Sabbath and I will tell you what it is.”
Saturday came and I brought my sons to the church. I got there early and my new friend warmly invited me to sit down and listen to the preacher. He talked about how God is our Father and prayer is how we communicate with Him. He went on to say that God loves everyone and wants to hear what is on His children’s hearts. Anyone who believes can talk to Him and He will hear them. Afterwards, my new friend told me that prayer is the secret. I can ask God to bless my fruit and He will help me sell it. He will take care of me. So every day after that, I prayed to God before I went out to sell fruit. He heard my prayers and I was able to sell much more than ever before. In the evenings, I went back to the church to study more from the Bible about a God who listens. At first I could not believe that God would really love to listen to me because I am poor and sick. But the more I learn about Him, I find out He is opposite than I expected. I thank God so much that He does not ignore me. He has helped me more than I could ever imagine. He carries my big burdens for me. It is a blessing for me and my sons to live in the Sda Center. We have a new family of brothers and sisters who care for us. I have the peace to know that when I pass away, my sons will be cared for by kind Seventh-day Adventists. Now we know and love our Father in heaven.